White House plants aides in agencies to monitor loyalty to Trump. Sen. Lee meets with Trump at Mar-A-Lago. Chaffetz met by protesters in N.C.
Happy Monday. Most members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty. This shadow government of political appointees with the title of senior White House adviser is embedded at every Cabinet agency, with offices in or just outside the secretary’s suite. [WaPost]
Topping the news: Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who have raised concerns about the Republican health care bill to replace Obamacare, flew to Florida over the weekend to meet with President Trump at Mar-A-Lago. [WeeklyStandard]
-> About 30 residents of Winston-Salem, N.C., gathered for a protest outside the Marriott Hotel where Rep. Jason Chaffetz was speaking Friday night. One protestor called him "out of touch with America" after his recent statement that some individuals may need to sacrifice their iPhone for their healthcare. [Winston-SalemJournal]
-> So far, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed 84 bills into law that address issues like homelessness, payday lenders, panhandling and election reform. He has now signed 103 bills and is still reviewing another 432 to decide whether to veto them, sign them or allow them to become law without his signature. [Trib] [APviaDNews]
-> Utah Democrats’ super-small minority in the Legislature didn’t prevent them from passing a majority of their bills this year, finds an analysis from Brigham Young University political science professor Adam Brown. [Trib]
Tweets of the weekend: From @inkedtater : "This commercial trying to convince me to visit St George has wine being poured. I might become an alcoholic now. Thanks a lot Utah."
-> From @: "Mulvaney calls climate science ‘a waste of your money.’ Official govt position is now earth is 6000 yrs old and may, or may not, be flat."
-> From @mitchellvii: "I love Twitter. It’s free and I don’t believe Trump would be President today without it."
Opinion section: Ronald B. Scott, a former reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, examines the connections between President Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Rex Tillerson and imagines Machiavellian scenarios. [Trib]
-> Three University of Utah professors — two from the department of atmospheric sciences and one from the biology department — provide evidence disputing a claim from the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming, arguing such a rejection of decades of research undermines the integrity of the scientific process. [Trib]
-> Stephen Trimble, a conservationist and professor in the University of Utah’s honors college, says he’s counting on newly-confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to keep his word to ensure respect of tribal sovereignty and to push back against Utah lawmakers calling for the rescission of Bears Ears National Monument. [Trib]
-> M. Ray Kingston, an architect and former member of the National Endowment for the Arts Advisory Council, calls on Sen. Orrin Hatch to defend the National Endowment for Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities from defunding as he did when he was younger. [Trib]
-> Tribune editorial writer George Pyle argues that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act betrays a lack of understanding about what health insurance is and argues that health care drowns when the pool of people paying in gets too small. [Trib]
-> Connor Boyack, president of the free-market think tank Libertas Institute, praises what he calls five free-market victories in this year’s legislative session. [Trib]
-> Jonathan Johnson, the chairman of the board of Overstock.com and a former gubernatorial candidate in Utah, takes a look at five tax and fee increases the Legislature passed. [Trib]
-> Anna Thomas, the strategic communications manager of the Utah American Civil Liberties Union, says people of color would be most adversely affected if a bill that would decrease the blood-alcohol content limit for Utah drivers becomes law. [Trib]
-> As Salt Lake County considers several homeless shelter sites in West Valley City, Wayne T. Pyle, the city’s manager, voices opposition to a bill passed in the Legislature that overrides cities’ control to determine land use and planning decisions like where and whether to allow such shelters. [Trib]
-> Ilse DeKoeyer-Laros, a lecturer in psychology, and Cheryl Wright, an associate professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah, say the best way to support future generations is to make sure children’s parents are supported and laud a few "strong" Utah programs doing this work. [Trib]
-> Kat Martinez, a mother of three and the owner of Little Friends Daycare in Murray, recounts her journey of becoming a "keyboard lobbyist" after Trump’s election, saying early-morning activism is now what gets her out of bed in the morning. [Trib]
-> Paul Mero, who manages ptmstrategies LLC, says the only way to effectively defend religious freedom today is to stop opposing gender equality and to stay out of public policy negotiations and litigation. [Trib]
-> Holly Richardson, a former Republican lawmaker, argues for principle over party and tells the former head of the Trump campaign in Utah, a Mormon who is calling for non-Trump voters to repent, to listen to the apostles. [Trib]
-> Repent for not voting for President Donald Trump? #$%@! that, says Tribune columnist Robert Kirby. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley looks at those caught in the crossfires of President Donald Trump’s military-first budget blueprint. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly remembers Marion Cox, the honorary mayor of Fort Union and a beloved figure at the County Government Center and Middle City Hall — a man who never held political office but showed what any person can accomplish if dogged enough to do it. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke says the legislative sponsor of a Utah law banning lawmakers from jumping straight from Capitol Hill to a lobbying job used a loophole to do just that. [Trib]
-> Gehrke and Michelle Price from the Associated Press joined ABC4’s Glen Mills to talk about this year’s legislative session, discussing education spending, tax reform, alcohol reform and medical marijuana. [ABC4]
-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli ask, "Was the recently concluded legislative session as harmonious and generous as has been portrayed?" and "Will the governor veto any bills?" [DNews]
In other news: South Salt Lake and West Valley residents opposed to five proposed sites for homeless shelters in their area say they’re worried about the impact the sites could have on businesses and think lower-income communities are being targeted. But Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the county has been studying reforms for two years and needs sites that center health and employment services. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> The Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association held a rally at the Capitol on Friday to protest a bill awaiting Gov. Herbert’s signature or veto that would lower the blood-alcohol content limit for Utah drivers from 0.08 to 0.05. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> House Speaker Greg Hughes spoke about some of the big issues addressed during the 2017 Legislative session, in which state lawmakers passed a record number of bills and resolutions. [ABC4]
-> Among the bills Herbert has signed so far is one that will allow a person to give his or her heir or trustee power to oversee their social media and email accounts if they die or are incapacitated. [APviaKUTV]
-> Herbert also approved a bill allowing the state to issue an extra $100 million in bonds to pay for the new Utah state prison, bringing the project’s total estimated cost to about $650 million. [APviaKUTV]
-> Though Utah received a boost in funding from this year’s Legislature and is getting a new, bigger crime lab and robotics station to automate some of the DNA extraction process required to test rape kits, the long wait times for results may not be over due to a lack of staffing and funding. [Trib]
-> New laws mandating the testing of all rape kits has slowed work at state crime labs not only in Utah but also in other states and has contributed to the long wait times for DNA results. [Trib]
-> At a Utah Transportation Commission meeting, mayors, county commissioners and legislators from around the state sought to persuade the commission to spend some of the $1 billion bond the Legislature authorized to accelerate highway projects in their areas. [Trib]
-> Officials with the group Our Schools Now said they plan to start gathering signatures this summer for a ballot initiative that would ask Utah voters in 2018 to raise the state income tax in an effort to generate an extra $750 million annually for public school issues. [APviaTrib]
-> The Utah Transit Authority has plans to spend between $42,000 to $54,000 to construct five-foot-tall chain-link fences down 200 South in Salt Lake City to create a barrier between the downtown homeless shelter and The Gateway Mall at the request of the mall’s owners for "safety and security needs." [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, called an incident where an intruder was on the White House grounds for 17 minutes a "complete and utter total failure." [APviaKUTV]
-> A former congressional staffer for Chaffetz and Utah Rep. Chris Stewart offered simple advice to her Twitter followers last November about how constituents can best utilize a phone call to get their message across to their elected representatives, which is still resonating today. [DNews]
-> Stewart plans to hold a town-hall meeting Friday night, and one community activist said this format is still the "gold standard" for people to engage one-on-one with their elected officials. [DNews]
-> The Bears Ears Commission, an advisory group comprised of one elected official from each of the five tribes, wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requesting a meeting with him and arguing that rescinding or shrinking the monument would be an absolute tragedy. [DNews]
-> As conservation groups work to raise the $38 million needed to purchase Bonanza Flats, a popular recreation spot that’s among the last pieces of undeveloped land in the central Wasatch and that is destined to become a private resort, no Salt Lake County entity has agreed to help fund the deal. [Trib]
-> From sleeping in a car as a young boy when his family was homeless in Salt Lake City to finishing his degree at Yale Law School, Utah native Bryant Watson said he wanted to share his story to reinforce the need for homeless shelters and demonstrate that people experiencing homelessness aren’t beyond hope. [Trib]
-> A participant in Utah’s Mental Health Court system — an alternative court that aims to address underlying mental health issues — says the program has helped him overcome addiction after he was sentenced to prison on multiple felony drug convictions. [TheSpectrumviaTrib]
-> The state’s current deputy superintendent for the Utah Board of Education will become Ogden City School District’s superintendent in June. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake County Councilmember Jenny Wilson was appointed to the Democratic National Committee’s new transition team, where she will aid its push for strategic redirection and restructuring to help the party "get back on track." [Trib]
-> The Utah Controlled Substance Database is now open to doctors in 27 states, allowing them to look at prescription records of controlled substances—including prescription pain medicine—in an effort to address the overdose death epidemic in the state. [KUTV]
-> Sandy City teamed up with the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to pass out free smoke alarms and in some cases install them. [ABC4]
-> After a successful two-day Salt Lake Comic Con FanX event, organizers say the franchise will only continue to grow and could eventually fill some of the void left by the departing Outdoor Retailer shows. [DNews]
Nationally: The House is tentatively scheduled to vote Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Donald Trump is helping the GOP "close this bill." The president agreed to add fresh Medicaid curbs to the legislation to help bolster support from conservative lawmakers. [NYTimes] [PBSNews][ABCNews] [TheHill]
-> Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin today, and liberal and conservative groups have been gearing up forces both for and against the nominee, though he is expected to gain approval from the Republican majority. [NYTimes] [PBSNews] [NPR]
-> Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would consider military action against North Korea if it was provoked and said Washington’s policy of "strategic patience" had ended. At the same time, Trump denounced the country, tweeting, "North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!" [BBC] [CNN] [WaPost] [WaTimes]
Where are they?
- Rep. Mia Love flies to Washington from Utah, attends a GOP strategy session, participates in a discussion on upcoming legislation and votes.
- State Auditor John Dougall welcomes new hires, visits with foreign dignitaries, officials and visitors and meets with the Utah Conservation Commission in St. George.
- President Donald Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing and meets with Bill Gates before speaking with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Dr. Zeke Emanuel. He then eats lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and meets with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Later in the afternoon, he welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and leads a bilateral meeting with him before departing the White House for Joint Base Andrews on his way to Louisville Air National Guard Base. In the evening, he participates in a Make America Great Again Rally and departs Louisville Air National Guard Base for Joint Base Andrews on his way back to the White House.
-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens