News roundup: Obama’s White House frustrating press corps
Published: February 20, 2013 07:35AM
Updated: February 20, 2013 08:11AM
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FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama watches the ball after making a putt on the ninth green during his golf match at Mid-Pacific County Club in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama played golf Sunday with Tiger Woods, the White House said Sunday. Once the sport's dominant player before his career was sidetracked by scandal, Woods joined Obama at the Floridian, a secluded and exclusive yacht and golf club on Florida's Treasure Coast where Obama is spending the long Presidents Day weekend. The two had met before, but Sunday was the first time they played together. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Obama's White House frustrates press corps. Abortion bill advances in Senate. Halfway point for state lawmakers.

Happy Wednesday. The White House is tightening its grip on controlling its image by creating unique content like photos and blog posts and restricting access to President Barack Obama, frustrating press corps members.

-> The latest example was this weekend when White House reporters learned the president was golfing with Tiger Woods from the Golf Channel. Obama's aides have also steered away from newspaper interviews, opting for local television anchors. [Politico]

Topping the news: A bill that would require the state to collect data on women who receive abortions -- including their reason for having the procedure -- is advancing in the Senate, despite some heated exchanges between Democrats and the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Margaret Dayton. [Trib] [Herald]

-> Yesterday marked the halfway point for the 2013 Utah Legislature. With 483 bills proposed -- the lowest number in the past decade -- Sen. John Valentine says he's feeling good about what's been done so far. [Trib]

-> A House committee voted to close a campaign donation loophole, requiring corporations to list who donates money to them for political purposes. [Trib]

Tweets of the day: From @DaveMontero: "Love #utleg language. Bill today translates strip club to place 'where performers disrobe...in unclothed state for entertainment.'"

And from @KoryHoldaway: "Halfway through the 2013 Leg Sess with 80% of work to be done. Put both hands on the steering wheel of the bus and hang on"

Happy birthday: To state Reps. Earl Tanner and Keven Stratton.

In other news: SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams needs volunteers to fill some 100 seats on advisory boards. [Trib]

-> A $5 million ozone study in the Uintah Basin revealed that the pollution is coming from oil and natural gas emissions -- the region's largest industry -- but some local leaders aren't yet ready to move on the findings. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly reveals that the Utah GOP might have some International Baccalaureate graduates in their ranks. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the growing number of Second Amendment scholars. [Trib]

From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]

-> Sen. Mike Lee told the Utah Legislature that he wants to vote on immigration reform in a series of reforms, not one big package. [Trib]

-> Lee also said that he thinks the automatic budget cuts will go into place next week because Congress and the White House won't be able to make a deal. [DNews]

-> Despite an improving, post-recession economy, looming budget cuts have left some lawmakers wary. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Dubbed the "Jean Valjean bill" after the ex-con Les Miserables character -- who seeks to reform his life after going to jail for theft -- the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would make it easier for drug convicts to clear their records and get jobs. [Trib]

-> Electric ratepayers would bolster a new proposed nuclear power plant under a new bill, which is receiving criticism from consumer advocates. [Trib]

-> Schools would be required to tell parents about suicide threats from kids and bullying incidents that their child is involved in, under a new bill. [DNews]

-> A new bill would create a Prison Land Management Authority to fast-track relocation plans for the state prison. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> Citizens seeking to repeal a land-use policy passed by a local government would be thwarted by a new bill. [Trib]

-> The Senate passes bill that would make it trickier to sue the state over bad road design or conditions that lead to crashes, and the measure is now headed to the House. [Trib]

-> Bond elections would only be held on regular November election days, thanks to a new bill that's headed to Gov. Gary Herbert's desk. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers are giving more time for changes to be made to a bill requiring government agencies to post their meeting agendas 72 hours in advance. [Trib]

-> Two rivaling river access bills were pulled from the House. [Trib]

-> Bryan Schott says Utah lawmakers are being too reactionary over air quality concerns, rather than actually doing something. [UtahPolicy]

-> A bill that would mandate that insurance covers cancer-fighting pills alongside other forms of chemotherapy was unanimously passed by a Senate committee. [Trib]

-> Hair braiders wouldn't have to be licensed in Utah -- and go through the 2,000 hours of training required for other licensed cosmetologists -- thanks to a new bill that passed a House committee unanimously. [Trib]

-> A bill that would allow sanctions to be levied against adoption agencies that commit fraud is hanging on by a thread after an hour-long debate in a committee moved on without action being taken. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> A House committee called it a day before voting on a bill that would ban using welfare money at liquor stores, casinos or strip clubs. [Herald]

Nationally: Sen. Lee says there's "no legal justification" for using drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens. [HuffPost]

-> President Barack Obama accepted Gen. John Allen's request to retire from his duties commanding NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]

-> Here's your refresher course on the looming spending cuts: Sequester 101. [WaPost]

Where are they?

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Emily Andrews
Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/emilytandrews