Trump struggling to keep his base. House Dems claim Interior did work with Utah officials prior to Bears Ears designation. State audit finds problems in Kane County.
Happy Friday. It’s not yet been 100 days, but President Donald Trump is struggling to find his way in the White House and his base could be turning on him. While trying to keep his campaign promises and flirting with political moderation, his most steadfast supporters — from veteran advisers to anti-immigration activists to the volunteers who dropped their jobs to help elect him — are increasingly dismayed by the direction of his presidency. [Politico]
Topping the news: House Democrats say, after sorting through thousands of pages of documents, that it’s unfair for Utah officials to say that the Interior Department didn’t work with the them prior to the naming of the Bears Ears National Monument. [Trib]
-> Nine Western Democratic senators wrote President Donald Trump a letter urging him not to rescind President Barack Obama’s protections for lands like Bears Ears. The White House has said it is reviewing the former administration’s decisions in order to determine economic impacts and whether the law was followed with appropriate consultation with local officials. [APviaTrib] [DNews]
-> Elected and appointed officials in Kane County may have engaged in lax oversight, nepotism and self-dealing of a criminal nature, according to a state audit, which recommended a possible probe into the findings. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Coin-operated amusement devices, hay sales and vending machine transactions are just three of 90 sales tax exemptions Utah lawmakers are considering scaling back. A new report estimates such exemptions led the state to miss out on about $426 million in the last budget year. [APviaTrib]
Tweets of the day: From @OwensDamien: "The situation in Syria is incredibly complex, but if anyone can unravel it it’s a reality TV host who lost money running a casino."
-> From @CronkiteSays: "BREAKING NEWS United is pleased to announce they now offer both red-eye and black-eye flights. And That’s The Way It Is..."
Happy Birthday: Today to Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle, Saturday to state Rep. Scott Chew and Sunday to our colleague Jennifer Dobner.
Behind the Headlines: Tribune reporters Erin Alberty, Jessica Miller, Rachel Piper, and Alex Stuckey, as well as Managing Editor Sheila McCann and Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the series of stories that led to the Tribune winning this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. Listen at KCPW.org or tune in to KCPW or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast from 9-10 a.m.
In other news: Though many environmentalists are happy the federal government is again protecting the Utah prairie dog after a recent appeals court decision, some local landowners say it feels like their private property rights are being stripped. [ABC4]
-> Misty K. Snow, a Democrat who challenged Sen. Mike Lee last year, is entering the political arena again — this time for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District against Rep. Chris Stewart, who she said holds "a lot of problematic policy stances." [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Rep. Paul Ray plans to propose a bill that would allow the state to take over operational control of county jails that are deemed as failing — a response to his concerns about booking policies at the Salt Lake County jail. [DNews]
-> Funeral services for an incarcerated man who suffered a neck fracture while on suicide watch in late February are scheduled for Saturday. The man, who had been deemed mentally incompetent, had been waiting five months for a bed and treatment at the Utah State Hospital when he was injured. [Trib]
-> A web page set up to encourage Provo Mayor John Curtis to run against Rep. Jason Chaffetz in the Republican primary has earned $2,000 so far on his behalf. However, Curtis said he doesn’t see himself deviating from his focus on his mayoral duties in the next few months. [DNews]
-> All eight branches of the Salt Lake City Public Library system are equipped with designated spaces for non-citizens called "citizenship corners," which provide multimedia education and training resources. [Trib]
-> Residents in Plain City are banding together to keep a Great Britain family from deportation and keep the family’s local restaurant open. [Fox13]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert will host the 11th annual Utah Economic Summit in Salt Lake City today, bringing together "government officials, business leaders, topic experts, educators and others" for a wide range of discussions ranging from social media tools to international business strategies. [DNews]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert’s half brother — who is serving prison time for engaging in online chats with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl — has been charged with sexually abusing a girl more than a decade ago. [Trib] [DNews]
-> A statement from the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, which includes representatives from Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths, called on all Utah community members to come together to address homelessness issues in the state with compassion and civility. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> The head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ worldwide women’s organization spoke before the United Nations yesterday, where she used her first major appearance in her new role to discuss the value of interfaith aid. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Salt Lake City International Airport chief Maureen Riley said she plans to retire at the end of June, leaving the airport in the process of becoming larger than she found it, with the first phase of a $3 billion expansion scheduled for completion in 2020. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Former presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a rally in Salt Lake City on April 21 as part of the Democratic National Committee’s "Come Together and Fight Back" tour. [DNews]
-> Pat Bagley imagines the future of higher education under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly points to a Deseret News editorial from 1967 to show that the more Utah alcohol policy changes, the more it stays the same. [Trib]
Nationally: The United States dropped the most powerful conventional bomb ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump called it "another successful job" but did not say whether he had personally authorized the mission. [NYTimes] [WaTimes] [NPR] [CNN]
-> An airstrike from the U.S.-led coalition earlier this week that was meant to target ISIS in Syria instead killed 18 allied fighters in what was described as a ‘misdirected’ hit. [CNN] [NPR] [TheHill] [CBSNews]
-> Trump signed legislation erasing a rule instituted in the last days of the Obama administration that barred state and local governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services regardless of whether they also performed abortions. [PBSNews] [TheHill] [NYTimes] [NPR]
Where are they?
- Rep. Mia Love heads to a breakfast meeting with business leaders and meets with constituents.
- Gov. Gary Herbert spends the day at the Governor’s Economic Summit at the Grand America Hotel, where he delivers the 2017 keynote address and attends a luncheon featuring Arthur Brooks.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox spends the day at the Governor’s Economic Summit at the Grand America Hotel.
- State Auditor John Dougall meets with the State Board of Education’s Audit subcommittee and an assistant superintendent and conducts job interviews.
-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens