News roundup: Conservative group to aid Hatch's re-election hopes
Romney, LDS church align on contraceptives. Hatch getting help from outside group. City Creek adds some rules.
Happy Monday. Ahead of Utah's caucus meetings, Sen. Orrin Hatch is getting some help from the American Action Network, a conservative group started by economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin and former Sen. Norm Coleman. The TV and internet push is in the "low six figures," according to the group. [WaPost]
Topping the news: When Mitt Romney said that he was for contraceptive options but against any kind of crackdown on religious liberty, he was pretty much straight in line with the LDS Church's position. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake City's new downtown mall, City Creek Center, opens this month, but the question is: will its rules stymie its growth. [Trib]
-> The Daily Beast profiles Ask A Mormon Girl's Joanna Brooks as she takes center-stage with the Romney presidential run. [DailyBeast]
Today's news: The Uinta Basin's health concerns could use a little more concern as the region's economy continues to blossom. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly says some Republican leaders could learn a thing or two from Democrats. [Trib]
-> House and Senate Republicans are disagreeing about how much to bond for highways and roads. [UtahPolicy]
-> Bryan Schott asks what's wrong with Utah Democrats after they release their budget proposal Friday afternoon when the Legislature has already made most big decisions. [Blogger]
Opinion section: Pat Bagley offers his take on the LDS Church's recent public rap. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly gives his take on Rush Limbaugh's recent comments about a Georgetown law student. [Trib]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch goes after gas prices and the lack of state-side energy use. [Trib]
-> As the gavel sounds on the Legislature this Thursday at midnight, Tribune managing editor Terry Orme explains The Tribune's fixation on the 45-day session. [Trib]
-> Brian King argues that Utah's attempt to wrest control of federal lands won't have the affect it's hoping for. [Trib]
-> Sen. Stuart Reid and intern Tyson Prisbrey's take on a Tribune editorial to denounce state spending. [Trib]
-> Anthony Faber argues now that Olympia Snowe is retired, one of Sen. Orrin Hatch's main arguments is out the window. [Trib]
-> Save Our Canyon's Carl Fisher says that politics are beginning to environmentally mar Utah's lands. [Trib]
-> Amanda Hitt shares her view on Utah's proposed law prohibiting videos of farms and ranches, saying it puts a stop to helpful "whistle blowers." [Trib]
-> George Pyle talks about how keeping facts straight in this increasingly digital age will become more difficult for the media and media consumers alike. [Trib]
-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli offer their plaudits for state lawmakers. [DNews]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says America can overcome its challenges if people are willing to try. [DNews]
Happy Birthday: To our intern extraordinaire Laura Schmitz and our fellow colleague Stephen Hunt.
Tweet of the day: From @DaveMontero: "Gold resolution passes. If Flavor Flav moved to Utah, his money would literally be where his mouth is."
The Session: Salt Lake County mayor candidates are split on the possibility of a SkiLink between Canyons and Solitude. [Trib]
-> After some tweaking, senators give a preliminary nod to the promotion of connecting Utah's seven ski resorts, urging counties counties, cities and the U.S. Forest Service to consider the benefits and pitfalls of such a move. [Trib]
-> Utah stirs up a Sagebrush Rebellion towards the federal governments, passing a package of bills demanding more than 30 million acres of federal land. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Legislative leaders have finalized a $13 million budget proposal that will go to lawmakers Monday, with a primary focus on education funding, raises to public employees and covering the growth in Medicaid. [APviaDNews]
-> Lawmakers push a resolution encouraging Utahns to establish advance health care directives so, in case of a death, family members can honor the health care decisions of their relatives. [Trib]
-> The Senate gives a preliminary nod to a health care bill that would have Utah join an interstate compact to opt out of federal health care reform, letting states control programs such as Medicaid and Medicare with federal block grants. [Trib]
-> The House votes to reduce the required number of auto safety inspections on young cars, instead adding more Highway Patrol troopers on the streets. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
-> The Legislature OKs a bill that would protect homeowners when they use force on intruders, requiring injured parties to prove their actions did not constitute a crime. [Trib] [APviaABC4]
-> A bill headed to the governor will study the feasibility and effectiveness of electronic signatures for initiative drives. [Trib]
-> The House voted in favor of a resolution supporting Utah's freshly minted gold law that allows business to be conducted in precious metals instead of greenbacks. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> The Utah Legislature is cracking down on prostitution, passing a bill that would let police go after anyone who even enables the act such as drivers. [Trib]
-> A lawmaker's story of his son's suicide helps propel a bill mandating teachers get a an additional two hours of training to recognize suicidal tendencies in kids, which comes just one day after the House passed a bill requiring school districts to offer annual seminars on substance abuse, bullying, Internet safety and mental health. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The Senate granted final passage to a bill amending the state's factual innocence statute, requiring courts to determine by newly-discovered material evidence that the petitioner did not commit the convicted offenses. [DNews]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert vows to keep open several state liquor stores after state lawmakers exclude the shops in Friday's budget recommendations. [Trib]
-> The Senate tweaks Utah's law that allows high schoolers to take up to two online classes from districts and charter schools. [Trib]
-> The Senate kills a bill that would have had the Legislature study whether or not to introduce legislation to classify counties as urban or rural. [DNews]
2012 watch: Romney wins the Washington state caucuses his fifth straight win in the primary elections. [ABCNews] [NYTimes] [FoxNews] [NBC]
-> Rick Santorum is ineligible to qualify for up to 18 one third of Ohio's 68 delegates, because he didn't turn in delegate names in all districts. [Politico] [CNN]
-> Ahead of Super Tuesday, Santorum and Romney are tied in Ohio. [NYTimes]
-> What's so super about Tuesday? It's less super than it was it 2008, but Republican candidates still have one third 419 of all delegates on the line. [APviaDNews]
-> Forced to lower Super Tuesday expectations, Newt Gingrich focuses his strength on winning his home state of Georgia. [WaPost]
-> Santorum and Gingrich duke it out to woo Bible belt voters as the race heads into the deep, conservative south. [HuffPost]
-> House Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorses Romney just two days before Virginia's primary. [NBC]
-> Ron Paul explains he hasn't been winning in primaries because "changing a hundred years of history takes a little bit of time" and his continued focus on nabbing delegates. [CBS]
-> A new KSL/Deseret News poll finds that Utah voters believe Romney is the sole candidate able to unseat President Barack Obama. [DNews]
Weekend in review: The Legislature's final weekend means a host of staff work in over-drive to get everything together in time. [DNews]
-> Gov. Herbert issued a statement on Utah's employment rate on Friday, saying unemployment is dropping and for the first time since October, the state's four-week average for unemployment claims is below 2,000. [DNews]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz returns to Washington for votes and attends the AIPAC policy conference gala.
Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Dr. David Patton to discuss the preferred drug list then with UDOT's John Njord.
Lt. Gov. Greg Bell meets with Gov. Herbert to discuss the last week of the legislative session, sits down with Sen. Howard Stephensen and then welcomes Utah teenage Republicans to the state Capitol.
SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends the annual National Association of Counties legislative conference in Washington.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker heads to legislative meetings and then participates in a conference call.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with District Attorney Sim Gill and then a League of Cities meeting at the state Capitol.
President Barack Obama lunches with Prime Minister Netanyahu, later meeting separately with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
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Thomas Burr and Laura SchmitzTwitter.com/thomaswburr