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Political Cornflakes

News roundup: Schwarzenegger tamps down Senate rumors, but says he’ll stay involved

First Published      Last Updated Mar 17 2017 11:18 am

Schwarzenegger tamps down Senate rumors, says he’ll focus on redistricting reform. Huntsman faces ‘impossible’ job as ambassador to Russia. NYTimes looks at Chaffetz’s constituents choice between health care and cell phones.

Happy Monday. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vocal critic and target of President Donald Trump, is tamping down rumors that he may run for the Senate but he still plans to stay politically involved. "I’m deeply flattered by all of the people who have approached me about running for Senate, but my mission right now is to bring sanity to Washington through redistricting reform like we passed here in California,’’ he wrote, adding that gerrymandering has broken the political system. [Politico]

Topping the news: President Donald Trump’s pick as U.S. ambassador to Russia, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, faces an "impossible" task given the tense U.S.-Russian relationship and Trump’s fractured foreign policy approach. [Trib]

-> Utah physician Kathryn Allen, a Democrat, announced her 2018 bid to run against incumbent Rep. Chaffetz after raising more than $410,000 in light of his comments about health care and iPhones. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> The New York Times talks to some of Chaffetz’s constituents who face the hardship of trying to afford health insurance and pay their cell phone bills. [NYTimes]

-> Attorney General Jeff Sessions sought the resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys nationwide remaining from former President Barack Obama’s administration — including Utah’s top federal prosecutor. [DNews] [APviaKUTV]

Tweets of the day: From @Vanilliott: "Things that need reform or to be abolished: 1. The Electoral College 2. Daylight Saving Time 3. Man Buns"

-> From @TheGoodGodAbove: "Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward tonight to eliminate one hour of the Trump presidency."

Happy Birthday: To Jeff Robinson and Gary Guelker, and belated wishes to Mitt Romney who celebrated yesterday.

Opinion section: Dr. F. Ross Peterson, an emeritus professor of history at Utah State University, says the election and inauguration of President Donald Trump upended his classroom emphasis on integrity, ethics, morals and values, leaving him wondering what he’ll teach about next year. [Trib]

-> Frederick Mark Gedicks, a law professor at Brigham Young University, argues Trump’s new executive order addressing immigration still targets Muslims and is a failure The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which historically faced religious discrimination — should recognize. [Trib]

-> Kathy Carlston, an LGBT youth community volunteer and a member of the LDS Church, urges her faith to "become as Christ intended" and shift its focus from defending religious refusal bills toward actively protecting transgender students. [Trib]

-> Stan Rasmussen, the director of public affairs for Sutherland Institute, thanks Utah lawmakers for their work during the 2017 session and says Washington should take notice of the state’s productive Legislature. [Trib]

-> Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel for Alliance for a Better Utah, looks at the progress made in the 2017 legislative session but argues that lawmakers have an addiction to unnecessary and time-consuming nonbinding resolutions. [Trib]

-> Mark Bouchard, the senior managing director of the Salt Lake City office of CB Richard Ellis, says this year’s legislative session missed another opportunity to significantly support public education  and the people must now step up to help fund Utah’s schools. [Trib]

-> Shelby Cate, an MBA student at the University of Utah and a constituent of Rep. Mia Love, says Love’s sponsorship of a bill that would provide hormonal birth control over the the counter is the kind of common-sense approach needed to make meaningful change in the United States’ abortion rate. [Trib]

-> Sarah Longwell, the managing director of the American Beverage Institute, argues Utah’s likely enactment of a law lowering the legal blood-alcohol content for drivers to 0.05 "defies logic and common sense" and is unlikely to save lives — but is sure to ruin some. [Trib]

-> Maggie Wilson — the owner of Magpie Cycling in the Zion National Park area — says the park, its local jobs and small businesses are at risk from a Bureau of Land Management proposal to offer oil and gas leases in the park’s backyard. [Trib]

-> Members of the board of directors of Wasatch Cooperative Market say their new co-op is democracy in action, strictly maintaining a one-member, one-vote control of decision making to open a community-owned, full-service grocery store in the Salt Lake area. [Trib]

-> In response to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s remark on CNN that individuals may have to choose between their iPhone and health care, Tribune columnist George Pyle says an iPhone can be a tool for getting oneself out of poverty — not a weight for getting trapped in it. [Trib]

-> Robert Gehrke reimagines Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s closing remarks on the last night of the legislative session. [Trib]

-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli imagine how space aliens would feel observing the Utah Legislature. [DNews]

In other news: President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration is set to go into effect on Thursday, and some Utah refugees say they feel nervous as they wait to see what effects it will have on the country’s refugee population. [DNews]

-> Members of Salt Lake City’s Muslim community say they feel they’re being targeted because of their religion after Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained a Utah Muslim couple from Kenya who said they believed they were in compliance with immigration law. [Trib] [Fox13] [KUTV]

-> Park City Police are investigating an incident that happened last Saturday at a Java Cow store, where a group of men and women yelled at a Hispanic teenage employee, told him his family should be deported and threw ice cream on him over a "misunderstanding" about a magnet that held up an American flag. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> The Utah Supreme Court ruled that a death row inmate’s case will be heard before a lower court after he raised accusations that the LDS Church and its attorneys meddled in his trial by telling his former bishops not to testify or to limit what they said on the stand. [Trib]

-> Richard H. Schwermer, who has served with the Utah State Courts since 1990, was appointed as state’s new court administrator. [Trib]

-> A conservative group filed a complaint with the Utah attorney general’s office alleging Rep. Mike Winder broke the law with a robocall targeting the group, which had previously slammed him in a political battle over online sales tax collection. The group later said they planned to withdraw the complaint after receiving an apology. [Trib]

-> The citizen group "Utah Indivisible" says it plans to hold monthly town-hall meetings — with or without state representatives — until the 2018 elections. [KUTV]

-> A tribal coalition that considers areas in Bears Ears National Monument sacred is calling for a recognition of their religious rights in the fight to retain the monument. [RNS]

-> Who are the homeless? Data from 468 interview surveys show that only around half the homeless people in the Rio Grande neighborhood call themselves native Utahns. [Trib]

-> A group called Utah Residents for Medicinal Cannabis gathered at Library Square on Saturday to demand access to medical marijuana in the state. [ABC4]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert declared March 12 to March 18 "Flood Safety Awareness Week" as the Utah’s snowpack melts, causing water runoff that has emergency management personnel on alert for possible flooding. [Fox13]

-> The Governor’s Office of Economic Development board approved state tax incentives up to $1 million for five film projects coming to Utah, which are expected to provide jobs and add $4.2 million to the economy. [Trib]

-> Speaking about the challenges she’s faced during her first year as Salt Lake City mayor, Jackie Biskupski says she "loves" the position, despite frequent criticism of her leadership style. [Trib]

-> The keynote speaker at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography Conference said pornography is wrong not only because it causes marital breakdown and addiction but also because it treats people as objects to be consumed rather than people to be cherished. [Trib]

-> A former tent-city prison will be sold to a company in Utah that has operated the prison since it opened in 2006. [Trib]

-> As officials discuss plans for future developments at the site of the state prison in Draper after a new prison is built, some have suggested building an NFL stadium, a university campus, a research center, moving the zoo to the site, recruiting more tech companies and putting in more nature trails. [Fox13]

-> The Utah Highway Patrol shut down an area near the state Capitol for two hours on Friday over a "suspicious package" that turned out just to be a trash can with the lid zip-tied closed. [Trib] [ABC4] [Fox13]

From the Hill: At the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, Republican leaders announced big-idea initiatives — which then largely disappeared from public view for weeks as they worked behind closed doors to untangle snags from competing interests. [Trib]

-> Despite the prevalence of tax reform conversations in this year’s Legislature, major sales and income-tax reforms were shelved, though increases in gas, liquor and phone surcharges did make it to the governor’s desk. [Trib]

-> Among the winners of this year’s legislative session? Homeless advocates, Utah roads and sexual violence victims. Among the losers were victims of hate crimes, the National Rifle Association and political diversity. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers embraced homelessness as a statewide responsibility rather than a Salt Lake City problem with the passage of bills bolstering state funds for affordable housing and behavioral health and substance-abuse treatment, barring city programs that discourage renting to ex-convicts and requesting a study of homelessness. [Trib]

-> After the passage of a bill that would help fund the construction of new homeless resource centers in the state, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams praised Utah lawmakers for stepping forward "in a bold and bipartisan way" to work toward homelessness solutions. [DNews]

-> All five sites Salt Lake County officials are considering for a new homeless shelter are in either West Valley City or South Salt Lake — generating frustration from those city mayors, who may not have a choice where the site is placed under a bill awaiting the governor’s signature or veto. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV]

-> State regulators and environmental advocates called this year’s Legislature "a somewhat disappointing season" for environmental policy but praised lawmakers for spending $1.3 million for new air quality sensors. [Trib]

-> As some Utah lawmakers aim to gain control of millions of acres of public land currently under federal control, legislators passed a bill that would set state priorities and processes for managing such property. [Trib]

-> In the final minutes of the legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that would change the definition of polygamy to include an extra criterion for prosecution and increase penalties. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV]

-> Speaking in support of the bill, Sen. Kevin Van Tassell showed colleagues photos of bruises his daughter — a plural wife — allegedly suffered at the hands of her husband. Van Tassell’s grandchildren were at the Capitol as well to rebut the allegations against their father and oppose the bill. [Trib]

-> After the legislation passed, polygamists from the reality show "Sister Wives" said people in plural marriages should think about leaving the state. [Trib]

-> Utah may soon implement the lowest blood-alcohol content limit for drivers in the country, joining a variety of countries around the world with a 0.05 limit or lower. [DNews]

-> A Utah lawyers says the governor should veto the bill that would lower Utah’s blood-alcohol limit, calling it bad policy and arguing lawmakers should instead launch tougher restrictions against reckless drivers who drink excessively. [KUTV]

-> As two major alcohol-reform bills await Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature to become law, take a look at other significant liquor legislation throughout Utah’s history. [DNews]

-> From medical marijuana research to drug overdose and suicide prevention measures to abortion, the Legislature dove into a variety of health issues this year, passing some measures and sidelining others. [DNews]

-> A bill providing nearly $2.8 million in funding to help process the back-log of untested rape kits in Utah is awaiting the governor’s signature or veto. [APviaKUTV]

-> Lawmakers approved at least $6.2 million in state money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which is designated for clinical research expansion, technology updates and other faculty improvements. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers gave approval to legislation that would make changes to the state’s turnaround programs, which attempt to improve low-performing schools. [DNews]

-> Utah students over the age of 8 years old may soon be required to acknowledge they are aware of their school’s bullying policies under a bill that won House approval in the last minutes of the legislative session. [DNews]

-> Lawmakers passed several bills reforming law enforcement and criminal justice—addressing domestic violence and abuse, panhandling and body-camera footage and clarifying offenses or providing additional protections to police officers. [DNews]

-> Lawmakers passed a $1 billion transportation bonding bill that will speed up highway projects on I-15. [ABC4]

-> The Legislature ended without giving a public hearing to a bill that would have attempted to strengthen the state’s hate crime law and add protections for gay and transgender individuals. [DNews] [APviaKUTV]

-> Lawmakers brought humor into the repeal of minor regulations and technicalities, addressing the rights of barbers to offer post-haircut head massages, repealing restrictions on sunscreen in schools and targeting individuals using aerial drones for stalking and voyeurism. [DNews]

-> Read the best quotes from the 2017 Legislature. [Trib]

Nationally: Michael T. Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, retroactively filed papers acknowledging he worked as a foreign agent last year during the U.S. presidential election — representing the interests of the Turkish government while advising Trump’s campaign. [NYTimes] [PBSNews] [NPR] [TheHill]

-> Trump repeatedly dismissed official jobs reports from the Labor Department as phony during his campaign. However, after a report that employers added 235,000 jobs in his first full month in office, his spokesman, Sean Spicer, said, "they may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now."  [WaPost] [WaTimes] [CNN] [BBC]

-> Sen. John McCain said Trump should either retract or substantiate his claim that former President Barack Obama wire-tapped the phones in Trump Tower in the final weeks of his presidential campaign. [CNN] [ABCNews] [WaPost] [TheHill]

Where are they?

  • State Auditor John Dougall meets with the Commission of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Foods and a member of the State Board of Education and reviews draft audit reports.
  • President Donald Trump receives his daily intelligence briefing, leads a listening session on healthcare and has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Later, he meets with his Cabinet and signs an executive order entitled "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch." In the evening, he has dinner with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven’t already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/tstevens95




 

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