Five reasons the government could shutdown. Chaffetz says he won’t run in 2018 -- but leaves open chance for governor. Candidates scramble for new open seat.
Happy Thursday. The deadline to keep the federal government open is just about here, but a deal is far from done. With just five workdays left until government funding expires, members of Congress return next week to all the same sticking points that have made full-year funding so elusive and now threaten a government shutdown. Here are the five reasons to be worried about another government shutdown. [Politico]
Topping the news: In a shocking move, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he would not seek re-election for any political office in 2018 — though he did leave open the possibility of a future public office bid, potentially for governor in three years. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Chaffetz’s announcement spurred a scramble among potential candidates to fill the open seat in 2018 among "all the state lawmakers that live in the district, half the county commissioners and council members, some businesspeople and one gadfly in the name of Evan McMullin," joked longtime GOP consultant Dave Hansen. [Trib] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Salt Lake City International Airport police told airlines its officers will not remove passengers because of things like overbooking problems or dress violations. "We keep the peace, but don’t enforce company rules," said Airport Police Chief Craig Vargo. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @HeerJeet: "Jason Chaffetz constituents yelled at him in town halls: "Do your job." Chaffetz’s response? "I’m retiring.""
-> From @exjon: "My only problem with cable news is that it’s too thoughtful and informative."
Happy Birthday: To former state Rep. Bill Wright and the National Press Club’s Suzanne Struglinski Broadfield.
In other news: Roll Call says all signs point toward Sen. Orrin Hatch running for re-election in 2018, since it appears he’d have an easy road to the Senate and has the support of President Donald Trump in the White House. [DNews]
-> Members of Utah’s 1st Congressional District held a town hall meeting Tuesday night. Though Rep. Rob Bishop was not in attendance, a life-size cutout of the congressman did make an appearance. [ABC4]
-> Candidates competing to replace the current Utah Democratic Party chairman hope to capitalize on the popularity former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders found in Utah last year by moving the party more to the left. However, some believe such a move would risk Democrats becoming unpalatable to the state’s largely conservative electorate. [DNews]
-> A report released by the Utah Foundation shows Trump’s coal-friendly policies may not be enough to reverse the trend of decreasing jobs in Utah’s mining industry. [DNews]
-> After University of Utah officials abruptly fired Mary Beckerle, the CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, about 100 faculty and staff members marched to the university president’s office and hand-delivered copies of an online petition to his staffers calling for her reinstatement. [Trib] [ABC4] [Fox13] [APviaKUTV]
-> A Utah judge ruled for seven separate criminal cases to move forward against former Utah State University football star Torrey Green, who will stand trial for 11 felonies amid accusations he sexually assaulted seven women while he was a student at the school. [Trib] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> A lawsuit claiming Salt Lake City code wasn’t amended to authorize procedural changes alongside new electronic pay meters has reached the Utah Supreme Court, where three plaintiffs are seeking refunds of parking fees and parking violation fines paid by themselves and others that could involve millions of dollars. [Trib]
-> Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap is weighing an investigation into Kane County special districts and County Commissioner Jim Matson, who audits released last week found received excessive payments he made to himself for his work on a service district. [Trib]
-> As part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct by staff members at the Daggett County jail, two corrections officers have been fired and the jail commander has resigned. The Utah Department of Corrections moved 83 state inmates out of the jail in February soon after allegations of "inappropriate behavior" arose. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [APviaKUTV]
-> Findings from the 2016 Airport Service Quality survey show Salt Lake International has higher-than-average marks compared to other airports globally and nationally but ranked low on terminal cleanliness, Wi-Fi service and overall ambiance of facilities. [Trib]
-> The Salt Lake Chamber and United Way of Salt Lake awarded four Utah immigrants the American Dream award for their everyday contributions to the state. [Trib]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch called sex trafficking an "epidemic" and pledged to work to ensure federal funding for programs to combat the problem in the United States and around the globe. "I believe we have moral obligation to help those who have suffered through the evils of trafficking," Hatch said. [Trib]
-> The trial of one of the first members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be taken to court for polygamy in Canada continued yesterday with testimony from a historian who researches the group. [Trib]
-> After eight months of renovations, Salt Lake City will reopen a park in the Avenues with a new playground that includes new swings, slides, a climber and other features. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley imagines Chaffetz heading home after five terms in Congress … to a cot in Gov. Gary Herbert’s office. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke says Chaffetz’s decision not to run in 2018 is likely a strategic move to reboot his brand in preparation for a 2020 gubernatorial race. [Trib]
-> Gehrke also argues that the 4th District judge who last week called a man he convicted of sex crimes "an extraordinary, good man" should either resign from the bench or be stripped from his position. [Trib]
Nationally: As the Trump administration reviews U.S. policy toward Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson concluded the country is sticking to the terms of the nuclear deal it made with former President Barack Obama. However, Tillerson later described the deal as a failure and accused Iran of working to destabilize the Middle East through its sponsorship of terrorist groups throughout the region. [TheHill] [CNN] [NYTimes] [NPR]
-> After Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s strong performance in a red district special election Tuesday, Democrats are now setting their eyes on a special election for Montana’s House seat next month. Meanwhile, some GOP strategists say the Georgia results are a possible harbinger of tough times ahead in the wake of a groundswell of liberal activism. [NYTimes] [Politico] [PBSNews] [CNN]
-> Top-rated cable news host Bill O’Reilly lost his primetime air yesterday when Fox News forced him out amid mounting public pressure after a series of sexual harassment allegations piled against him and an internal investigation turned up more accusations. [NPR] [BBCNews] [NYTimes] [NBCNews]
Where are they?
- Rep. Chris Stewart speaks with University of Utah Hinckley Institute students, with students at Viewmont High School and with constituents in his Salt Lake City office. Later, he participates in a service project with the Ronald McDonald Home and hosts a Service Academy Informational Night for junior high and high school students.
- Rep. Mia Love listens to legislative concerns from the Utah Association of Counties and meets with Utah’s professional firefighters.
- Gov. Gary Herbert talks to the media, takes photos with constituents and speaks at the Utah Municipal Power Agency conference in Midway, Utah.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox heads to the Cache Business Summit in Logan and then to the Victims of Crime Conference in Midway.
- State Auditor John Dougall spends the day in his office, works on a research project, speaks with a legislator and tentatively plans to release an investigative report.
-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens