Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 341st day of the year. There are 24 days remaining in 2017.

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 10:15am
Utah Policy

Daily Briefing


Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 341st day of the year. There are 24 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 26 days until candidates can declare their intent to gather signatures for the 2018 election (1/2/2018)
  • 46 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 91 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 92 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 98 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 103 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 135 days until the GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 201 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 334 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,062 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


Today's political TL; DR -


  • POLL: Utahns give sky-high approval ratings to both Gov. Gary Herbert and Mitt Romney [Utah Policy].
  • Utah Republicans hit back hard at former White House strategist Steve Bannon after he attacked Mitt Romney over his Mormon faith [Utah Policy].
  • Mitt Romney speaks on the phone with President Donald Trump after Trump reportedly urged Sen. Orrin Hatch to run for another term in 2018 to block Romney from entering the race [Utah Policy].
  • A Utah County employee has accused County Commissioner Greg Graves of sexual harassment. Other commissioners have called on Graves to resign in the wake of the accusations [Daily Herald, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he's "deeply disturbed" by Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. The reversal comes two days after Hatch defended President Donald Trump's endorsement of Moore [Tribune].
  • Several groups, including outdoor giant Patagonia, are suing President Donald Trump for his decision to slash the size of two national monuments in Utah [Tribune].
  • The number of homeless people in Utah jumps slightly from last year, but overall the number is down from 2010 [Daily Herald].
  • A report from a government watchdog group says some Utah lawmakers sponsored legislation that directly benefitted their employer [Deseret News].
  • San Juan County officials are worried that white voters could be discriminated against under proposed boundaries for county commission and school board [Tribune].
  • The Utah Transit Authority is blaming Operation Rio Grande for a drop in ridership numbers [Tribune].


National headlines:


  • Republican leaders are confident they can find the votes to pass a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week [Politico].
  • Republicans could settle for a smaller corporate tax rate cut as they try to secure votes for their tax reform plan [Politico].
  • Senate Democrats call on Sen. Al Franken to resign after more women have come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct [Washington Post].
  • The Middle East is bracing for violent protests after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel [NBC News].
  • The State Department issued a "worldwide caution" for U.S. citizens traveling abroad following President Trump's announcement about Israel. The last time the State Department made this move was following the Iraq war [State Department].
  • Donald Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege to avoid telling Congressional investigators about a conversation he had with his father about a meeting he had with Russians in Trump tower during the 2016 campaign [Politico].
  • A whistleblower says former national security adviser Michael Flynn told a business associate that U.S. sanctions on Russia would be "ripped up" once President Trump was in the White House [NBC News].
  • Republicans are ramping up their attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI to try and discredit the Russia investigation [Washington Post].
  • Lawmakers in the House overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to impeach President Donald Trump. Just 58 Democrats voted for the measure [Politico].
  • The House passed a bill to dramatically expand gun rights [New York Times].
  • A producer for ABC news has been reprimanded for giving President Donald Trump's campaign exit polling data on election day [Politico].
  • Massive wildfires in Southern California race through parts of Los Angeles [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1776 - Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, arranges to enter the American military as a major general.
  • 1787 - Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1869 - Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
  • 1917 - The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary in World War I.
  • 1941 - Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Japanese Navy carries out a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Hawaii.
  • 1972 - Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched.
  • 1982 - In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.



Today At Utah Policy

Utahns give Herbert, Romney sky high approval ratings
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Riding high on new performance approvals in Utah, GOP Gov. Gary Herbert lambasted former presidential advisor Stephen Bannon on Wednesday, after Bannon took after adopted Utah son Mitt Romney....

Utah lawmakers clap back at Bannon after he trashes Romney
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon blasted Mitt Romney's decision to go on a Mormon mission instead of serving in the military. The reaction from prominent Utah Republicans was swift and savage....

Romney speaks with Trump
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Mitt Romney had a phone call with President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning to discuss Trump's actions on public lands in Utah and next year's US Senate race....

Weekly survey: Trump's national monument changes
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
On Monday, President Donald Trump pulled federal protection from millions of acres of public lands in Utah and altered the borders of two national monuments. In response, environmental and other groups are prepping lawsuits against the move. What do you think will be the ult...

Utah health care costs are nation's lowest, but medical prices vary widely
By Press Release
A new report on health care costs in Utah finds that, while Utah's per capita health care costs are lower than any other state, charges for medical services can vary dramatically from one provider to the next....


Policy News


Governor lowers flags in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
As authorized by the President of the United States of America, Gov. Gary R. Herbert has requested the lowering of the Flag of the United States of America and the Flag of the State of Utah in honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day....


Sen. Lee applauds President Trump's Jerusalem announcement
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) issued the following statement Wednesday after President Trump issued a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital....


Hatch statement on President Trump's Israel announcement
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, issued the following statement on the President's Israel announcement:...


Rep. Stewart announces new national park in Utah
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) introduced legislation to create Utah's sixth National Park, Escalante Canyons Park and Preserve, H.R. 4558....

WTC Utah awards 38 STEP grants to Utah companies
World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) recently awarded funding to 38 Utah companies as part of the State Trade Expansion Program. STEP is managed by WTC Utah and funded in part through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration. ...


Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Utah health care providers are steadily raising rates and charging widely different amounts for common procedures, report says

UTA says its ridership is down because homeless riders were swept up in Operation Rio Grande

Hatch, Herbert, Mormon observers blast Bannon's attack on Romney's LDS faith as 'disappointing and unjustified'

A sexual harassment complaint alleges Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves intimidated staff and was prone to outbursts

The number of police officers in Utah is down by about 650 - not including the 5 disciplined on Wednesday

Gehrke: Steve Bannon's attack wasn't just targeting Mitt Romney, it pitted Alabama's evangelicals against Mormons

Utah Dine Bikeyah, Patagonia and others file latest lawsuit challenging Trump's authority to shrink Bears Ears

After Hatch said Trump had 'no choice' but to back Moore, the Utahn now says he's 'deeply disturbed' by the Alabama GOP Senate candidate

Park City is now the nation's 2nd wealthiest small urban area, with average incomes $27,000 more than in Salt Lake City

Deseret News

Jay Evensen: Why national monuments are bad for democracy

Hal Boyd: Bannon's attack against Mormon missions and Mitt Romney has no moral authority

Editorial: Changes to UTA's board could bolster its public image

American Community Survey says Utah's getting older, earning more and paying more for housing

Utah County commissioner accused of sexual harassment, intimidation, bullying

Census data pinpoints diversity among Utah's Pacific Islanders

Salt Lake Comic Con organizer testifies he saw no trademark barrier to 'comic con' name

'You hid behind your religion': Bannon's comments on Romney draw fire from Utah leaders

Utah governor calls Steve Bannon a 'Mormon bigot'

Man announces excessive force lawsuit against police, then gets arrested


Complaint details sexual harassment allegations against Greg Graves, fellow commissioners call for his resignation (Daily Herald)

Logan mayor envisions smooth handoff to successor (Logan Herald Journal)

National Headlines

Was Jerusalem Declaration Trump's First Move Toward 'Deal of the Century'? (Weekly Standard)

I Believe Franken's Accusers Because He Groped Me, Too (Atlantic)

A Democratic Chorus Rises in the Senate: 'Franken Should Resign' (New York Times)

House passes bill loosening gun restrictions (CNN)

Democrat Pushes Vote On Trump Impeachment. It Didn't Succeed (NPR)

Republicans hammer Mueller, FBI as Russia investigation intensifies (Washington Post)

John Conyers III Was Arrested in February, Accused of Stabbing His Girlfriend (New York Times)

Homeless Population Rises, Driven By West Coast Affordable-Housing Crisis (NPR)

Chirps, hums and phantom noises - how bizarre events in Cuba changed embassy workers' brains (Washington Post)

LA to become largest US city with recreational marijuana (FOX News)

UnitedHealth Buys Large Doctors Group as Lines Blur in Health Care (New York Times)

Wise Words


"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Mahatma Gandhi


Lighter Side

Rock Bottom

"Matt Lauer got a public message of support from Geraldo Rivera. In response, Lauer said, "My God, now I've really hit rock bottom." Conan O'Brien