News roundup: Romney argues enthusiasm is overrated
Published: March 9, 2012 07:26AM
Updated: March 9, 2012 12:36PM
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at the Port of Pascagoula on Thursday, March 8, 2012 in Pascagoula, Miss. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The session's gaveled closed. Lawmakers pass a divorce waiting period. Dougall latest legislator to retire.

Happy Friday. The 2012 Legislative session has reached its conclusion, with lawmakers dolling out $440 million in new spending — the most in years. The big theme continued to be state sovereignty focused, with the fight focused on public lands. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [UtahPolicy]

We have all the action from the last day, plus a look back at the Legislature's actions over the past 45 days, but first, here's some images from the last night: [Trib]

Topping the news: Thousands have signed an online petition asking Gov. Gary Herbert to veto the recently passed sex education bill, but some lawmakers question its credibility. [Trib] [Fox13] [ABC4] [KSL]

-> After facing a veto threat, legislators remove an exemption for elected officials from the landlord bill. [Trib]

-> Mitt Romney is arguing the debate over voter enthusiasm is overrated, and the focus should be on which candidate can get the delegates to become the nominee. [WaPost]

Moving on: State Rep. John Dougall announced his retirement from the Legislature in the waning hours of the session, joining Senate President Mike Waddoups, House Democratic Leader David Litvack and a host of others. [Herald]

Congrats: The Daily Utah Chronicle was named one of the best all-around newspaper in its region by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Memorial: The funeral for Todd Taylor, the sage of the Utah Democratic Party, will take place Monday at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center starting at 1 p.m. A viewing will be held on Sunday starting at 6 p.m. at Larkin Mortuary. The Taylor Family is trying to start a scholarship fund for Utah students interested in supporting Democrats, donations will be accepted by the state party.

Happy Birthday: to the National Press Club's Sarahanne Driggs, who celebrates on Sunday.

GOP hits Matheson: The National Republican Congressional Committee is out with a new advertisement in Utah this week -- a $20,000 buy on cable television -- that slams Rep. Jim Matheson as President Barack Obama's biggest Utah supporter. "What’s happened to Jim Matheson?" the ad voice intones. "He's changed." [YouTube]

-> The Tribune piece cited in the ad is an editorial from The Tribune endorsing Matheson in the Democratic primary: "Before booting a five-term congressman out of office, Democrats should consider this: While Matheson's bona fides have been called into question, he still votes the Democratic party line the vast majority of the time. [Morgan] Philpot won't."

Tweets of the day: From @joshloftin: "Breaking! The #utleg apparently is mad at the federal government. Verifying now."

@governorherbert: "@SenatorSteveU's beard is now on my veto list."

In other news: The Legislature put the finishing touches on a bill that would require a 90-day cooling off period before a couple could get a divorce. [Trib]

-> Legislative interns help keep the Capitol running. [KSL]

-> The Salt Lake County Council signs off on the new money needed to build the district attorney's office space. [Trib]

-> Former Gov. Olene Walker said women should get as much education as they can and should attend the state's political caucus meetings. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley gives his take on the culmination of the Utah legislative session. [Trib]

The Session: State workers got a tiny raise and more troopers will patrol the highways as part of the new budget. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]

-> The Legislature passed legislation that would require women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion, up from the current 24. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers threw out a series of transportation-related bills, saving one that would reduce the frequency of auto inspections. [Trib]

-> LGBT-related anti-discrimination bills won't see past the House floor walls after getting tabled for the fifth year in a row. [Trib]

-> Two additional members will officially be added to the state's alcohol board as well as a watchdog independent audit committee to prevent future ethics scares. [Trib] [DNews]

-> This year's GRAMA bill were non controversial, creating an online training for public-records officers statewide and an ombudsman to help the public file records requests. [Trib]

-> Legislative leaders decided the had enough of immigration related bills last year, squashing any proposals on the topic this time around. [Trib]

-> Despite a local-control mantra repeated throughout the session, there were three bills -- on electronic billboards, vehicle idling and historic districts -- voted on to provide state oversight. [Trib]

-> The proposed open-carry gun law failed in its final vote, but the measure will be studied by a committee until next year. [Trib]

-> Schools got some more money, but the debate wasn't just budget based as lawmakers delved into teacher accountability. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Lawmakers passed a steeper bounty on coyotes -- from $25 to $50 -- with a goal of exterminating 20,000 of them to protect deer herds. [Trib]

-> Recipients of welfare will soon be asked to complete a questionnaire and if answers create suspicions that an applicant is using drugs, they would be required to take a drug test and seek treatment if they test positive. [Trib]

-> Two bills give attention to less represented groups, including unwed fathers and drug-using aid recipients. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers changed the make up of the state's environmental boards, which critics say will boost the conflicts of interest. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers allocated $3 million to county jails to house more state prisoners and to fund county jails. [Trib]

-> The Senate gave final passage to the "Lonnie Johnson" bill, mandating that mentally incompetent sex offenders are committed to a mental institution instead of being set free. [Trib]

2012 Watch: Romney calls the primaries in southern states "an away game." [CNN]

-> Despite a widely publicized election with the help of social media, GOP voter turnout remains lower than the primaries in both 2000 and 2008. [CNN]

-> Endorse Liberty, a Ron Paul super PAC headquartered in Salt Lake, releases its latest video: a choose-your-own-adventure showing the future State of the Union addresses from the remaining presidential candidates. [YouTube]

-> A former outreach coordinator for Jon Huntsman says in a Guardian piece that America has moved beyond the concerns about Mormonism. [Guardian]

-> Rick Santorum continues to cut himself short on delegates, after failing to appear on the ballot in Virginia and a few districts in Ohio, and the coming months could prove problematic in such locals as Washington, D.C. and Illinois. [ABCNews] [WaPost]

-> A Santorum-backing super PAC is buying between $500,000 and $600,000 worth of ads in Alabama and Mississippi, bashing Romney and Gingrich. [CNN]

-> Ron Paul decries the media for portraying his Super Tuesday results incorrectly, and vowed to stay in the race. [AJC]

-> Newt Gingrich's campaign could be in danger of bottoming out on Tuesday, with two polls in Alabama showing him trailing. [FoxNews]

-> Santorum supporters go country in a music video campaign ad, singing "Santorum is our man" and making references to God, the constitution and Ronald Reagan. [TIME]

Where are they?

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-- Matt Canham and Laura Schmitz