Montana station hacked: Zombies attacking. Shurtleff told feds about Swallow. North Korea tests third nuke.
Happy Tuesday. "This is not a test..." A hacker interrupted a Montana television station's programming last night to warn of a zombie attack underway, with the emergency alert system announcing that "dead bodies are rising from their graves." The best line of the story: "the hoax alert generated at least four calls to police to see if it was true." [AP] OK, and now back to our regularly scheduled news updates:
Topping the news: Then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says he went to the U.S. attorney for Utah after hearing of an arrangement with Jeremy Johnson that didn't sit well with Shurtleff. [Trib] [DNews]
-> North Korea tested a nuclear bomb yesterday -- the third so far -- prompting a stern warning from President Barack Obama and other nations, and setting the stage for possible intervention. [WaPost]
Tweets of the day: From @BjaminWood: "Sex education bill passes, and the room clears immediately after. #HotTopic"
And from @RobertGehrke: "House debating ban on smoking in cars. I've taken to smoking in my car so my kids are ready to breathe Utah air. #conditioning"
Happy birthday: To Sen. Mike Lee's Press Secretary Emily Bennion, and belated wishes to former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who turned 62 yesterday, and to Salt Lake County's Jason Yocom, who hit the big 4-0 on Monday.
Overheard on the Hill: "He's gonna be ticked. But he doesn't pack." - Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, trying to get a bill held in Rules, when asked what the sponsor will think.
Happening today: Gov. Gary Herbert holds a media availability to discuss issues from the Legislature, and President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address. Look for coverage of both at sltrib.com. And for added fun, follow along as we tweet from the SOTU: @thomaswburr and @emilytandrews.
In other news: On bad air days, Salt Lake County residents may get reduced fees at recreation facilities like pools and gyms under a proposed ordinance from two County Councilmen. [Trib]
-> In the wake of the release of a 60-page tome of criticisms against various city officials, Eagle Mountain's mayor says that the allegations of raising utility rates without advising citizens are false. [Herald]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. [Trib]
-> An unloaded handgun found in a carry-on bag marks the ninth firearm uncovered this year by TSA agents at Salt Lake City International Airport. [Trib]
From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]
-> Despite a bitter debate about kids' health versus personal freedoms, a bill that would make it illegal to smoke in a car where children under 15 are present passed through the House by a 41-30 vote. [Trib] [Herald] Bob Bernick notes that new House freshman voted against the bill. [UtahPolicy]
-> A bill that would create a website for parents to teach their kids sex ed passed through a Senate committee, with the support of teenagers from Timpview High School. [Trib]
[DNews] [Herald] [StandardX] [Fox13]
-> A new bill that will build on Utah's open records law passed unanimously through a Senate committee. [Trib]
-> Freshman Sen. Deidre Henderson is sponsoring a bill that would ask the federal government to lower its gas tax to let states raise their tax by the same amount -- giving states a more localized control over the revenue. [Trib]
-> A bill to add 80 mph zones on some stretches of freeways cleared a Senate committee, with some lawmakers even wondering if 80 mph should become the statewide freeway limit. [Trib]
-> It may be easier for drug offenders who have turned their lives around to get their records wiped, thanks to a new bill that passed a Senate committee. [Trib]
-> Government-owned recreation facilities and schools that offer free play at recess wouldn't be held liable for head injuries suffered on their property if a proposed bill advances. [Trib]
-> A task force that helps veterans reintegrate was reauthorized in a House committee.
-> In an effort to increase transparency, an advancing bill would create a website where lawmakers could post their emails and make them available to the public. [Herald]
Nationally: You can expect President Barack Obama to be forceful, even aggressive in his State of the Union speech tonight, with a new strategy in play. [Politico] You can also expect him to call for reducing the country's nuclear arsenal and hammer home a point about climate change. [NYTimes] [Politico]
-> Sen. Marco Rubio, the up-and-coming face of the GOP, will deliver the Republican's response to the president's speech. [WaPost] And for a third perspective, Sen. Rand Paul will deliver the tea party response. [WaPost] [Politico]
-> No slouching or yawning: being the First Lady's guest to the State of the Union means being camera-ready at all times. [WaPost] This year, Michelle Obama's guests will include the parents of a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed in Chicago last month, just days after marching in the Inaugural Parade. [APviaTrib]
-> Ted Nugent, a vociferous opponent of President Barack Obama, will be attending the State of the Union -- although decidedly not in the First Lady's box. The rocker will be attending as a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican. [Politico]
-> Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is threatening to hold up the confirmations of the CIA director nominee, John Brennan, and Defense Secretary nominee, ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel, if the Obama administration doesn't release more information on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico] [APviaTrib]
-> Despite strong support in the Senate, some House GOP members are still grappling with a 10-page segment of the Violence Against Women Act that would allow Native American cops and courts to go after non-Native Americans for offenses committed on tribal lands. [NYTimes]
-> Young people in Montana are more open to social change and engaging in politics -- and bigger government. [NYTimes]
Where are they?