Briefing Local

  • Legislators are looking at suing Attorney General Sean Reyes to force him to release a legal opinion about the special election process set by Gov. Gary Herbert. The Legislature originally asked Reyes to give them an opinion on the election, but Herbert blocked it claiming attorney-client privilege [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch raised nearly $1 million during the last fundraising quarter, which gives him more than $4.5 million of campaign cash in the bank. His primary Democratic challenger, Jenny Wilson, raised about 1/9th of what Hatch pulled in [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch's office says his eyesight is declining following a medical procedure 18 months ago. However, they say the Senator is otherwise in excellent health [Utah Policy].

  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski details a new policy on releasing police body cam footage to the public [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he's "disappointed" that Rep. Tom Marino withdrew as President Trump's nominee to become the administration's drug czar following a Washington Post article that said Marino and Hatch were responsible for passing a bill that weakened the DEA's ability to combat the opioid crisis. Hatch has been very vocal about what he claims are flaws in that report [Deseret News].

  • Utah finished the previous fiscal year with a $26 million budget surplus [Tribune].

  • Advocates for ending the death penalty say they'll make another effort to get lawmakers to ditch capital punishment in 2018 [Tribune].

  • The state will need to spend $40 million upgrading existing Olympic facilities if Utah wants to host the Winter Games again [Tribune].

  • Utah spent $80 million combatting homelessness in 2016 according to a legislative audit. That number is $10 million more than last year and $20 million more than 2014 [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • A Legislative audit says the University of Utah did not follow state law when it awarded a $10 million contract to an outside group working on the Utah Population Database [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The Salt Lake City Council has canceled the Twilight Concert Series for 2018 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A new study from the Utah Foundation finds Utah has terrible voter turnout (39th in the nation), and the high number of "uncompetitive" races is the likely culprit [Utah Policy].

  • Rep. Mia Love posts some alarming fundraising numbers. She's spent more this year than she's raised. However, her campaign chief, Dave Hansen, says they're not worried because most of their spending has been on prospecting for future fundraising. Hansen says they've also seen a sharp uptick in donations following word that Democrat Ben McAdams might challenge Love in 2018 [Utah Policy].

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch defends himself against a news report that claimed legislation sponsored by him weakened the effort to slow down the spread of opioid painkillers [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz joins the chorus of those on the right who say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to go [Utah Policy].

  • Utah leaders announce they're forming an exploratory committee to possibly bid on hosting the Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030 [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Sen. Mike Lee endorses conservative firebrand Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate race [Tribune].

  • Faith leaders are urging Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski to boost the amount of affordable housing available before the homeless shelter in downtown Salt Lake closes in 2019 [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • House Speaker Greg Hughes fires back at Iain De Jong, an expert on homeless issues, who has been critical of Operation Rio Grande. Hughes also questions whether it's appropriate to keep De Jong on as a consultant for the new homeless resource centers in Salt Lake City [Deseret News]. 

  • The Utah Transit Authority wants to borrow $88.5 million next year. UTA already has about $2 billion in debt [Tribune].

  • Utah's fight against a movie theater that served alcohol during a showing of the movie "Deadpool" could end up costing taxpayers more than $500,000 in legal fees for the theater. Brewvies is asking the state to pay their legal fees following a judge's ruling against the state [Tribune].

  • Some Utah school officials are complaining that wealthier school districts are "poaching" teachers away from jobs in their organizations, which is making the teacher shortage in Utah acuter [Tribune].

  • Weber School District officials are investigating a social media post in which a group of teen girls takes turns shouting racial slurs [Deseret News].

  • Federal prosecutors will drop 11 of the 14 felony charges brought against former Utah Transit Authority board member Terry Diehl [Tribune].

  • LaVarr Webb looks at how autonomous vehicles might change the future of transportation planning in Utah [Utah Policy].
  • Steve Bannon, Orrin Hatch, Rocky Anderson, Jackie Biskupski, and Donald Trump all show up in our rundown of the week that was. Watch as Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott break down what happened this week and why [Utah Policy]. Here's a podcast version of that discussion if you prefer [Utah Policy].

  • Bob Bernick says recent poll numbers show Utahns don't have much confidence in President Donald Trump or Congress [Utah Policy].

  • Former Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott was diagnosed with an advanced form of Alzheimer's disease before the 2014 campaign [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The State Records Committee orders Attorney General Sean Reyes to release the legal opinion about the special election to replace Jason Chaffetz requested by the Legislature [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • A Koch brothers-funded group opposed to the Our Schools Now ballot initiative launched their campaign against the proposal [Deseret News].

  • Republican John Curtis is taking issue with a post on social media from Democrat Kathie Allen, his opponent in November's special Congressional election, saying it wrongly suggests the Mayor is sympathetic to the white supremacist alt-right movement [Tribune].

  • Rep. Chris Stewart taps Chris Harmer as his new chief of staff [Utah Policy].

  • The Utah State School Board approves a program to give some school children the opportunity to see the blockbuster musical "Hamilton" when it comes to Salt Lake City next year, but that did not come without objections to some of the content in the show [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • A new analysis shows Utahns are waiting longer to get married and have children, which means smaller families [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • POLL: Half of Utahns say they don't believe that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, but big numbers of moderates and liberals think there was cooperation between the two entities [Utah Policy].

  • A bombshell report says Sen. Orrin Hatch played a key role in weakening the DEA's ability to combat the opioid crisis while pulling in $177,000 in campaign contributions from the companies producing the drugs [Washington Post]. Hatch's office responded to the article, calling it "flawed" [Hatch press release].

  • John Curtis, the GOP nominee in the 3rd CD special election, raised about 3-times as much money as Democrat Kathie Allen during the latest financial reporting period. Allen, who had posted spectacular fundraising numbers earlier this year, saw her cash haul drop dramatically over the last two quarters [Utah Policy].

  • The Cook Political Report takes note of the possibility that Ben McAdams could challenge Rep. Mia Love in 2018. They've shifted their rating of the district slightly toward the Democrats, changing it from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican" [Utah Policy].

  • PODCAST: John Curtis is the guest on the latest "Beg to Differ" podcast with Bryan Schott and Mike Winder [Utah Policy].

  • Our "Political Insiders" say they don't expect Congress or the Utah Legislature to take action on gun legislation following the mass shooting in Las Vegas [Utah Policy].

  • The four leading candidates in the 3rd CD special election took to the debate stage on Friday. Republican John Curtis shrugged off attempts by his opponents to tie him to President Donald Trump [Associated Press, Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The final day of testimony in the hearing over who will care for former County Recorder Gary Ott featured testimony that Ott's finances were in "shambles" after he began living with his former secretary and girlfriend Karmen Sanone [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Provo officials have decided to no longer prosecute class A misdemeanor cases, instead, those cases will be sent to the Utah County Attorney. The move is a response to legal issues between Provo and Utah County that has increased the workload in the Provo City Attorney's office [Daily Herald].

  • Gov. Gary Herbert's office wants to appeal a decision by the State Records Committee that ordered the Attorney General's office to release a legal opinion prepared for the Legislature on the rules Herbert's office set for next month's special Congressional election. Previously, the governor's office blocked the release of the opinion claiming attorney-client privilege [Tribune].

  • Salt Lake City's longshot bid to possibly host the 2026 Winter Olympics got a boost after Innsbruck, Austria pulled out of the running [Deseret News].
  • Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is apologizing for endorsing current Mayor Jackie Biskupski during the 2015 campaign. Anderson says, in his opinion, Biskupski is incompetent and lacks the qualifications for her job [Utah Policy]. Here's a podcast of our conversation with Anderson [Utah Policy].

  • Utah leaders are praising the results so far of Operation Rio Grande, but experts say the efforts to clean up homelessness in downtown Salt Lake City are "misguided" and a "disaster" [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • Rep. Rob Bishop's bill to curb the power of the president to create national monuments under the Antiquities Act passes a House committee [Deseret News, Tribune].

  • The Utah Transit Authority may need another $10 million to cover cost overruns on a rapid-transit project in Utah County [Deseret News].

  • The Utah A.G. office is fighting to keep the legal opinion on whether the timeline for the special election in Utah's 3rd CD was proper secret from the media [Tribune].

  • Enrollment at Utah State University drops for the second straight year [Tribune].

  • Snap Inc., the company behind the massively popular apps Snapchat and Bitmoji, is considering opening an office in Utah [Deseret News].