Romney takes Ohio, rivals keep on trucking. Utah Democrats sage passes. Utah schools could drop sex ed.
Happy Wednesday. Mitt Romney grabs twice as many states as Rick Santorum in yesterday's "Super" contests and took the battleground of Ohio but the goal posts seem to continue moving for Romney to secure the nomination. Rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are re-energized and are likely to do well in the coming 10 days with contests in Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Hawaii and Missouri. [CNN] [WaPost]
Topping the news: One of the session's most heated debates comes to a close, as the Legislature passes a bill to let Utah schools drop sex education, but if districts opt to tackle the subject, they must teach abstinence only. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
-> Lawmakers inch closer to finalizing its $13 billion budget, with straggling funding concerns for road construction and an autism insurance program. [Trib]
-> Democrats complain the message bills Republicans are sending this session are a waste of the Legislature's time, energy and resources. [Trib]
-> After a few LDS public service announcements aired during Rush Limbaugh's radio show, Paul Rolly investigates, clarifying the Mormon church is not an advertiser with the radio host. [Trib]
Tragic news: Todd Taylor was a sage of the Utah Democratic Party, and while candidates came and went, won and lost, there was always Todd. He was, in many ways, the Google of Utah politics, full of facts and details and always available. Todd died late Sunday night at age 46. "He was our compass, advisor, mentor, and wiseman, and will be greatly missed," the state party said in a statement. Several friends posted on his Facebook page yesterday as the news broke of his untimely passing. Check out the kind notes here: [Facebook]. Coverage here: [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13].
-> From Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah: "I admire someone who has been so committed to being part of a cause for so long. In the business of politics, you see so many people come and go but [Taylor] who made it a passion for a big part of his life and that's something that really stands out for me."
Tweet of the day: From @westonclark: "#ToddTaylor loved to tell the story about how he was born at the Democratic Party headquarters, when it was a hospital."
Happy Birthday: To Taylorsville's CFO Scott Harrington, Jared Whitley and Scott Burns.
In other news: The Air Force unveiled a restructuring plan, pegging Utah's projected military and civilian job cuts to more than 200 jobs. [DNews]
-> LaVarr Webb and Jordan Garn go point-counterpoint on why Romney would endorse Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election bid. [UtahPolicy]
-> Democrat and former DABC chairman, Sam Granato, will soon announce that he is running for the Salt Lake County Council. [ABC4]
-> Education First Utah is running radio ads in the state encouraging caucus participation. [UtahPolicy]
-> Pat Bagley suggests that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a terrible back seat driver. [Trib]
-> The Living Planet Aquarium is headed off to Draper where the city recently got zoning approval and financial help. [Trib]
-> Each candidate took home delegates on Tuesday: Romney raked in more than 200 delegates, with Santorum winning at least 77, Newt Gingrich taking at least 69 and Ron Paul coming in with at least 16. [FoxNews]
-> Santorum's camp is asking conservatives to push Gingrich off the ballot, trying to get them to rally around the "only candidate who can compete against Mitt Romney." [NBC]
-> Gingrich wins Georgia and plans to keep his campaign in the South to get all the life out of his support there. [NYTimes]
-> Paul continues ahead with his caucus-centric campaign strategy, stopping in remote North Dakota to get his hands on as many delegates as possible. [WSJ]
-> Utah's Republican and Democratic party leaders weigh in on Romney's Mormon faith in light of Super Tuesday's results. [DNews]
-> Gingrich probably has to take all the naps he can get, and after waking up from a snooze right before an AIPAC speech, the former House Speaker asks a panel-less crowd if the panel had questions -- then paused for 12 long seconds of silence. [ABCNews]
-> Paul gets a boost from independents and Democrats voting in their state's Republican primary. [CBS]
Heard on the Hill: "I'm sure Robert Redford would be appalled at what you're trying to do." - Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, on a resolution in support of connecting ski resorts.
The Session: In line with a session focus on education, the Legislature passed a bill that would dump $36 million to pay for nearly 12,500 new students expected in schools in the fall -- although teacher raises remain in question. [Trib]
-> The House clears a bill that would let voters cast their ballots by mail in upcoming elections in an effort to boost Utah's poor voter-participation rates. [Trib]
-> Amid significant backlash, the Senate amended a bill that would have made it illegal to take photos of farm animals and operations without permission, focusing instead on those who gain access under false pretenses. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The Legislature clears a bill that would link teacher pay to performance, requiring administrators to undergo annual evaluations based on student academic progress and feedback from parents, employees and students. [Trib] [DNews]
-> An ethics panel is in the works to file complaints at the state level against city officials, giving residents a venue when a local ethics process isn't in place. [Trib]
-> The Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would raise new safety signs honoring fallen Utah Highway Patrol troopers. [DNews]
-> A new contractor is set to take over the uranium-mill cleanup near Moab after bid protests by two companies -- EnergySolutions and Gonzales-Stoller -- that were working on the $1 billion project were denied. [Trib]
-> With retirements and potential losses, the Utah Legislature likely will look a lot different next session. [UtahPolicy]
-> The Provo Municipal Council unanimously approved the creation of a new beer license that would cover public events at the Center Street convention center. [Trib]
-> With much of the immigration debate hushed earlier in session, one bill requiring immigration consultants to register with the Department of Commerce and undergo a criminal background check breezes through the House. [Trib]
-> All public school students might soon be reciting the pledge of allegiance every day -- instead of elementary kids only -- under a bill headed to Gov. Gary Herbert. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers kill a bill that would have mandated members of Utah's Congress to observe classrooms for 32 hours during the Legislature's interim period, in an attempt to improve future legislation on education. [Trib] [DNews] [UtahPolicy]
-> SL Co. applicants for business licenses could soon be required to provide written assurance they've used E-Verify to ensure the legal working status of their employees. [Trib]
-> An attorney for ex-Provo Councilman Steve Turley says the state is purposely withholding state records from the case. [Trib]
Where are they?
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-- Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz