Trump’s budget follows nationalistic and populist rhetoric. ACLU membership in Utah spikes. Interior approves coal lease in central Utah.
Happy Thursday. President Donald Trump released his blueprint for reshaping the American government this morning, a budget plan that slashes deeply into the State Department, redirects funds toward the military, guts environmental and housing programs—and continues to run a nearly half-trillion-dollar deficit. The document represents the most concrete translation of Trump’s nationalistic and populist rhetoric on the campaign trail into dollars and cents. [Politico]
Topping the news: Membership in the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has nearly tripled since President Donald Trump was elected—a surge where new members now outnumber the total number of members the organization has ever had. [Trib]
-> Latino leaders say the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would leave low-income seniors, children and women in the demographic particularly vulnerable and would cause millions of members of the population to become uninsured. [Trib]
-> Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke finalized a 55 million-ton coal lease ensuring continued operations of Utah’s oldest coal mine, despite opposition from environmental groups who say the the deal furthers the world’s climate crises. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The Interior Department also named the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management office, which manages 22.9 million acres of land in Utah. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @ezraklein: "I am old enough to remember when Donald Trump publicly asked Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails"
-> From @swalks: "If Trump took away Hawaii’s statehood he’d keep his travel ban and then Obama wouldn’t be born in the US. Do I have to think of everything."
-> From @Patbagley: "GOP says competition will create best healthcare--just like US free market created slowest, most expensive internet in the...huh, what?"
Happy Birthday: To former state representatives Kraig Powell, Ronda Menlove and Stephen Sandstrom and to Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke.
In other news: Though Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber stepped down from his post as part of the transition to President Donald Trump’s administration, he will continue to serve as the interim until his replacement. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaKUTV]
-> The Salt Lake County Council formally set the maximum operating capacity of its jail system at 2,050 inmates and established a process for reducing the number of new inmates coming into the system when the site reaches 80 percent capacity. [Trib] [ABC4] [KUTV]
-> State lawmakers recently passed a law decreasing the blood-alcohol content limit for Utah drivers from 0.08 to 0.05. To see how quickly he would reach the limit, Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis live-streamed himself drinking vodka and other alcoholic beverages and blowing into a breathalyzer. [Trib]
-> Restaurant groups and Utah ski industry officials are urging Gov. Gary Herbert to veto the bill, which they argue would damage hospitality and tourism in the state by establishing the nation’s strictest drunk driving threshold. [APviaKUTV]
-> Though Provo City officials initially said the city’s police chief was leaving to take care of out-of-state, family-related issues, the mayor said yesterday the major reason the chief was asked to resign was because of sexual misconduct allegations. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Officials say the new $2.9 billion project to rebuild Salt Lake City International Airport has a short projected shelf life for its ability to handle projected air traffic due to growing demand for more flights. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4]
-> The West Jordan City Council pulled a proposal to put a question about changing the city’s form of government before voters on the Nov. 7 ballot after receiving repeated requests from residents for more time and input. [Trib]
-> At her State of the City address, South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood spoke about successes and the new challenges the city is facing, including the proposal of a homeless resource center located in the area. [ABC4]
-> Salt Lake City officials are trying to dispel rumors that the city is planning a takeover of the Sorenson Unity and Multicultural Center to close it or turn it into a homeless shelter. [DNews]
-> Utah Gov. and Orem native Gary Herbert returned to Utah County, where he first launched his political career, on Tuesday night to receive the Pillar of the Valley award from the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. [DNews]
-> A state wildlife biologist was recovering at home yesterday after he was tranquilized with a dart gun meant for a bear and spent a night in Provo’s Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. [Trib] [ABC4] [KUTV]
-> Just days after the brutal torture and eventual death of Sage the cat in Clearfield, the Utah Human Society is offering a reward for information in another animal cruelty case—this one an 11-year-old miniature schnauzer in West Jordan who was shot with a pellet gun and later died after blood filled his lungs. [Trib] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Though it’s normal for colleges to lose some students between the fall and spring, Southern Utah University officials say they aren’t sure why they lost 1,050 students between semesters this year compared to 483 last year. [Trib]
-> Businesses and community leaders gathered in Riverton City to break ground on the city’s multi-million dollar, multi-use development project, which the mayor says will help boost the economy. [ABC4]
-> The former Dugway Proving Ground official who’s been accused of stealing military equipment worth more than $1,000 between June 2012 and January 2016 pleaded not guilty to the felony charge. [Trib] [APviaKUTV]
-> State Street and the Granary District of Salt Lake City received a "Main Street America" designation, meaning the two neighborhoods will have access to help from hundreds of city planners and economic development directors. [Fox13]
-> After state Rep. Mike Winder was accused of editing his own Wikipedia page for self-promotion, Tribune columnist Robert Kirby checked out and annotated his own entry on the website. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley says "this was the place" for outdoor recreation but imagines Utah may have lost that status at the same time it lost the Outdoor Retailer Show. [Trib]
Nationally: A federal judge in Hawaii issued a freeze on President Donald Trump’s new executive order on immigration just hours before it would have placed a 90-day ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations and a 120-day ban on refugees. President Donald Trump called the ruling "unprecedented judicial overreach" and pledged to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary. [BBCNews] [NYTimes] [WaPost] [CNN]
-> President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year would slash the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and make similar cuts to the State Department’s budget, though it would significantly increase military spending. [NYTimes][TheHill] [WaTimes] [CNN]
-> Unrelated to the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department indicted two Russian spies and two criminal hackers with stealing data from 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. [WaPost] [NYTimes] [TheHill] [NPR]
Where are they?
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz chairs an Oversight Committee business meeting to mark up legislation and meets with the president of the Utah Press Association.
- Rep. Chris Stewart attends a House Intelligence Committee meeting and a House Appropriations Committee meeting before meeting with the Salt Lake County Latin American Chamber of Commerce, the Community Action Partnership of Utah and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
- Rep. Mia Love attends a Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee meeting, meets with constituents in her office, heads to a briefing for the Terrorism Financing Investigation Subcommittee and holds a telephone town hall meeting.
- Gov. Gary Herbert heads to the Utah Retirement Systems and PEHP Annual Seminar at the Little America Hotel before heading to the Utah Business CEO of the Year Event at the Grand America Hotel.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox heads to the UServe Utah Commission and the Sanpete County Organizing Convention.
- President Donald Trump leads a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach of Ireland before departing the White House on his way to the Capitol. In the afternoon, he attends the Friends of Ireland luncheon and makes remarks. Then, he departs the Capitol for the White House, where he welcomes the Taoiseach and Mrs. Kenny of Ireland. In the evening, he speaks at the St. Patrick’s Day reception.
-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens