Situational awareness - February 13, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 11:00am
Utah Policy

Situational awareness - February 13, 2018


Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Lawmakers abandon the attempt to hijack the medical cannabis initiative. Lawmakers may attempt to force Attorney General Sean Reyes to sue opioid manufacturers. Trump's budget has big cuts for social programs, but a big boost for the military.

Tuesday morning scoop: has learned Jan Garbett, who was Democrat Vaughn Cook's running mate in the 2016 gubernatorial race, is set to run for the 2nd congressional district seat under the banner of the United Utah Party. Garbett's husband Bryson served two terms in the Utah House in the 1980's. The couple owns Garbett Homes, so she should be able to bring some personal wealth to the race.

Tick Tock:

  • 23 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 24 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 30 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 35 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 67 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 74 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 133 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 265 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 349 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 995 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here's what's driving the day:

No more marijuana shenanigans

Lawmakers abandon the main effort to circumvent the medical marijuana ballot initiative before it gets to November's ballot [Utah Policy].

Opioid lawsuit

Even though the legislature can't tell Attorney General Sean Reyes what to do, Rep. Mike McKell is sponsoring a resolution calling on him to sue opioid manufacturers "immediately" [Utah Policy].

"Absolute right"

A new piece of legislation from Sen. Stuart Adams asserts that the legislature has the "absolute right" to intervene in lawsuits against the state over whether laws they've passed are constitutional. The bill could lead to the creation of a new legal team on the Hill that works for the legislature [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Rep. Greg Hughes was at the White House on Monday for the rollout of President Trump's infrastructure plan [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Washington County GOP delegates pick attorney Travis Seegmiller to replace Jon Stanard in the Utah Legislature. Seegmiller is also an associate professor of law and economics at Dixie State University [St. George Spectrum].
  • House Republicans revive, then pass a bill to create an oversight committee with the power to subpoena state and local government entities [Deseret News, Associated Press, Tribune].
  • The House approved Rep. Cory Maloy's "stand your ground" self-defense bill despite loud objections from Democrats [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Senate advanced a measure to prevent cities from giving huge tax breaks like the one Sandy City gave to Rio Tinto Stadium without much public scrutiny [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Utah House rejects Rep. Brian King's bill requiring people who witness an assault or an accident to call 911 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A bill to facilitate the removal of some county officials who are mentally incapacitated advances to the House floor [Deseret News].
  • The bill to replace Philo Farnsworth's statue in the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon moves out of a House committee [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A House committee approved a ban on political donations to the executive branch during the legislative session [Deseret News].
  • Sen. Lincoln Fillmore wants the state to spend $36 million to equalize funding between richer and poorer school districts [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Authorities are reviewing surveillance footage of an alleged entrapment attempt on a Utah lawmaker at a Salt Lake City hotel [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers are considering a bill that could send low-level offenders to job training instead of jail [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • President Trump's $4.4 trillion budget proposal makes big cuts to social safety net programs like food stamps and housing vouchers while boosting spending on the military [Washington Post].
  • The Trump budget contains a novel plan to replace food stamps with food boxes for those requiring assistance [Politico].
  • Trump's budget also allocates $10 million to continue special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into FY2019 [Politico].
  • Congressional conservatives are angry that their colleagues and President Trump are blowing trillion-dollar holes in the budget with their recent spending sprees [Associated Press].
  • The Senate begins the search for an immigration deal. Nobody knows if they can get to 60 votes on any proposal right now [Politico].
  • The revolving door at the White House has led to a 34% turnover rate in the Trump administration, which is higher than any administration in decades [New York Times].
  • Boring but important: Economists are fearful that U.S. workers won't have the skills needed to handle the next generation of jobs wrought by the technological revolution [The Hill].
  • Satelite data shows sea levels are rising because of climate change. A new report says sea levels have risen about 3 inches since 1993, but the rate is increasing [CNN].
  • A former top FBI official has been hired by BuzzFeed to verify parts of the dossier of allegations against President Trump compiled by former British intelligence agency Michael Steele [Foreign Policy].
  • Omarosa Manigault, who was fired from the Trump White House, is making shocking claims about the Trump administration on the Big Brother reality show. The latest? Vice President Mike Pence would be "worse than Trump" because he "thinks Jesus tells him to say things" [Washington Post].
  • Gun sales are cratering now that Donald Trump is in the White House. The company that owns Smith & Wesson reported a 90% drop in quarterly profit and a 36% drop in sales [CNN Money]. Veteran gun manufacturer Remington is filing for bankruptcy [CNN Money].
  • Amazon is laying off corporate employees, cutting several hundred jobs at their Seattle headquarters [Seattle Times].
  • Despite the "Trump bump" in ratings, CNN is readying to lay off dozens of employees [Vanity Fair].

On this day in history:

  • 1542 - Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
  • 1633 - Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.
  • 1635 - The Boston Latin School was founded. It is the oldest public school in the United States.
  • 1935 - A jury in New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, the son of Charles Lindbergh.
  • 1960 - Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.



Today At Utah Policy

Lawmakers abandon effort to stop medical cannabis initiative
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
A legislative effort to possibly circumvent the medical cannabis citizen's initiative is dead....

Bill says the legislature has an 'absolute right' to intervene in lawsuits
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
While it's usually the purview of the Attorney General to defend legal challenges to state law, the Utah Legislature may create their own legal team to defend constitutional challenges to laws they pass....

'We're done waiting.' House resolution calls on AG to 'immediately' sue opioid manufacturers
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
It's no secret that some GOP state lawmakers are not happy with Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes these days....

Guest opinion: Mining Utah taxpayers
By Terry Marasco
Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, dropped the Obama-era rule claiming modern mining practices made an increased fiscal responsibility rule "superfluous."...


Policy News

Fox files: 'Teamwork'
This week we were able to formally thank our state legislators for creating an environment that's conducive for corporate recruitment in Utah....

EDCUtah elected official orientation
Join EDCUtah for our Elected Official Orientation and breakfast....

Nominations open for Governor's Medal for Science and Technology Awards
USTAR, in partnership with the Governor's Office of Economic Development, is now accepting nominations for the 31st Annual Governor's Medal for Science and Technology Awards....

Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: Charter schools need state board's oversight

Schools want to send teachers to Utahns' homes, but critics say it's government overreach

Should cash-strapped Utah school districts get extra money from the state?

Utah lawmaker describes opposition to his charter-school authority bill as a 'schoolyard fight'

Where would Utah's statue of TV inventor Philo Farnsworth go if lawmakers vote to replace him at the U.S. Capitol?

Are California climate policies unfair to Utah?

Her family's from Tonga. She grew up on Salt Lake City's west side. How this 'in-betweener' got to the mayor's office.

Senate takes step to shed light on big, under-the-radar tax cuts like the one given to Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy

Resolution to place statue of polygamous suffragette Martha Hughes Cannon in U.S. Capitol clears House committee

Lawmakers reject bill that would have made it a crime to ignore people in need of assistance

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes lauds Trump's infrastructure plan after White House meeting

Hate crimes bill stalled as Senate president says no need for debate when 'it doesn't have the votes to pass'

Trump budget would create $18B fund for parks but allow sale of public lands, Interior Department cuts

Bill would require visible 'No Parking' signs in lots that tow away unauthorized cars

House Republicans move bill to create powerful new oversight committee to the floor after initial stumble

This state lawmaker wants to force the Utah attorney general to sue prescription opioid manufacturers

Here's look at 15 years of the fatal accidents involving drivers with a BAC between 0.05 to 0.08

Gehrke: Data shows few die from 0.05 DUI crashes, so let's focus on where the real danger is

Deseret News

Editorial: Latest budget deal in Congress does little more than kick the can ... again

Low-level offenders could undergo job training instead of serving jail sentences under bill

Utah House rejects bill making it a crime for failing to call 911 during assault, injury accident

Bill would make deafblindness a qualifying disability for scholarship

These 11 cities, like Cape Town, are in danger of running out of water. But what about Utah, Arizona and Nevada?

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes meets with Trump administration on road issues

Rep. Rob Bishop calls for more power for states in address to Utah lawmakers

Bill would extend more protections to Utah food truck operators

Lawmaker wants to bring back black Utah license plates for Utah State Historical Society

Utah self-defense bill passes House despite 'outraged' Democrats

Bill seeks to prevent quiet tax devaluations, inspired by Rio Tinto Stadium appeal

Utah's Martha vs. Philo debate marches on

Committee approves telehealth mental health pilot for schools

House panel OKs ban on donations to executive branch during session

School funding equalization bill would create no winners or losers, says sponsor of SB145

$2.5 million tech career incentive program wins House committee approval

Are major water reforms poised to take a dive?

Surveillance footage reviewed in alleged entrapment of Utah state senator

Senate approves bill making Utahraptor state dinosaur

Bill to remove mentally unfit elected officials advances to Utah House floor

Utah lawmakers give thumbs-down to 'hands-free cellphone bill'

Bill to create legislative oversight entity revived in House committee


BDO expires next year; school district, county, city to get tax dollar influx (Standard-Examiner)

Trump renews threat on CDBG as Logan moves forward with plans (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

Comey told Congress FBI agents didn't think Michael Flynn lied (Daily Caller)

Democratic Campaign Workers Unionize Just in Time for Midterm Elections (Bloomberg)

Five takeaways from Trump's fiscal 2019 budget proposal (The Hill)

Vanessa Trump taken to hospital as precaution after white powder sent to her home (NBC News)

GOP senators question 'unusual' message Susan Rice sent herself on Inauguration Day (The Hill)

Harvard's Laurence Tribe Has Become a Deranged Russia Conspiracist: Today Was His Most Humiliating Debacle (The Intercept)

Hillary Clinton, a favorite GOP foil, plans discreet 2018 strategy (Washington Post)

CNN, Despite Trump Bump, Prepares for Dozens of Layoffs (Variety)

'We're doomed': Internet reacts to robot that can open doors (CBS News)

Stocks regain some ground after dreadful week; Dow jumps 410 points (Los Angeles Times)

Trump Administration Plans To Defang Consumer Protection Watchdog (NPR)

Wise Words


"If a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade." Tom Peters


Lighter Side

New Tech

"I read today Best Buy and Target are planning to stop selling CDs in their stores. To which I say: Best Buy and Target are still selling CDs?" JimmyKimmel