Huntsman visits New Hampshire. NRA chief speaks in Utah. Utahns could feel hit from sequester.
Happy Monday. Jon Huntsman was back in New Hampshire over the weekend, visiting a state where he spent a good portion of time in the run up to the first primary in the nation. The ex-Utah governor's visit spurred talk of a possible 2016 bid but Huntsman just said he was there to visit friends.
-> "You always run the risk whenever you set foot in this great state of people speculating about politics, but you know what? Friendships are a lot more enduring than just politics," Huntsman told a local TV station. "We've got some great friends here." [WMUR]
Topping the news: NRA executive Wayne LaPierre told about 1,200 Utahns that a universal background check system for gun buyers would lead to a national firearm registry, intended to take guns away. [Trib] [DNews
-> Everyone from travelers passing through security lines at Salt Lake City International to 4,100 IRS workers to visitors to Utah's national parks could face difficulties under the looming sequester. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @chucktodd: "Strategically, I get the sense that neither the WH nor the Cong. GOPers have an idea of what their 'end game' strategy is on sequester"
He continues in another tweet, "They are both hoping to win a mythical P.R. battle on sequester but neither side seems to have a rational idea of how to stop it."
Happy birthday: Today to Paul Dougan, Dana Dickson and AP's Lolita Baldor. Belated wishes to Utah GOP Executive Director Ivan DuBois and former state Rep. Craig Frank who celebrated this weekend.
From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]
-> With UTA's blessing, Rep. Joel Briscoe asked an appropriations committee for funding that would allow free ridership on trains and busses during January in July -- an attempt to curb emissions and clean up the murky valley air. [Trib]
-> The Senate passed a bill tweaking the rules about when candidates may ask for election recounts. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers gave Vietnam veterans a standing ovation -- and a resolution honoring them -- in a ceremony last week. [Trib]
-> A bill that would grant the state more oversight over radioactive waste cleared a House committee. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers seeking funding for transportation projects were met with tightening purse strings, as the Department of Transportation issued a reminder that their funds were to be used for highways only. [Trib]
Opinion section: Peg McEntee blasts Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch for not supporting the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. [Trib]
-> George Pyle breaks some hard news to gun rights advocates. [Trib]
-> Utah's AARP director warns of the chained CPI, a tool by which Social Security benefits are calculated. [Trib]
-> The chair of the State Board of Education calls for an overhaul of Utah's public schools. [Trib]
-> Women fighting in direct combat is nothing new -- just look at the Soviet Union, says a writer. [Trib]
-> A wildlife ecologist says that bear spray might be a better alternative to large firearms when it comes to self defense. [Trib]
-> Two professors say that quality healthcare doesn't operate well on a free market system. [Trib]
-> The former chair of the Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee says making public transportation a viable option for everyone would improve air quality. [Trib]
-> Bullying and suicide prevention bills are late to the game, says Paul Rolly. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the GOP's protest against tax increases for the wealthy. [Trib]
-> Here are three things that any American history/Oscars buff needs to know about Lincoln. [DNews]
-> John Florez says education needs to be tailored for a digital world. [DNews]
-> Despite the troubles plaguing law schools across the country, the U.'s law school continues to thrive, says a member of the university's Board of Trustees. [DNews]
-> A BYU family life professor says the same-sex marriage debate needs to shift towards thinking of children's rights. [DNews]
-> In the same-sex marriage debate, a law professor asks about divorce. [DNews]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb offer their takes on whether the Legislature will be able to tackle the big issues of the day this session. [DNews]
-> Credit card debt is the real crisis, says Jay Evensen. [DNews]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says using a meat axe (the sequester) and not a scalpel (designated cuts) will only bring pain and no gain for the country. [DNews]
Weekend in review: Under fire (and a federal investigation) for issuing an audit of the Department of Child and Family Services, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell says he was just trying to sift through the facts of a conflicting case. [Trib]
-> Sen. Mike Lee gave a nod to his outgoing chief of staff Spencer Stokes by doing his own take on the Dodge Ram "God Made a Farmer" Super Bowl ad. [Trib]
-> Timpanogos Cave could see cut backs if the sequester goes through. [Herald]
-> The Utah Transportation Commission says they'll fix a bottleneck on U.S. 40, aggravated by oil tankers stopping to check their brakes. [Trib]
Nationally: President Barack Obama warned of dark days ahead for all 50 states if the sequester goes into play, in an attempt to persuade Republicans into compromising on the cuts. [WaPost] [NYTimes] [Politico]
-> Meanwhile, Gov. Gary Herbert urged GOP lawmakers to move forward on a plan to stop the cuts. [Politico]
-> Luke Russert thinks Sally Field was robbed of an Oscar for her portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz thought the show was a bit too edgy. Here's Washington's Twitter take on Hollywood's big night. [Politico]
Where are they?