Sequestration starts now... kinda. Efforts to relocate the state prison move forward despite potential conflict. Matheson backs Violence Against Women Act renewal
Happy Friday and welcome to March. Sequestration begins today, but the actual spending cuts and furloughing of federal workers will take weeks to put into place. That may explain why members of Congress felt just fine heading home for the weekend. [Trib] [NYTimes]
Topping the news: Those around Hill Air Force Base are still nervous about sequestration and trying to figure out how they would pay the bills if their pay is cut. [DNews] And Gov. Gary Herbert calls it "butt-biting time." [DNews]
-> A fast-tracked bill dealing with relocating the Utah State Prison advanced through the Senate, despite concerns about how leading lawmakers such as Senate President Wayne Niederhauser could benefit from the move. [Trib] See a clip with Niederhauser talking about his land near the prison. [YouTube]
-> Despite lacking the support of the LDS Church, Sen. Steve Urquhart is pushing ahead with a bill that would make it illegal for employers or landlords to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation -- legislation that is modeled after Salt Lake City's non-discrimination ordinance. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @daveweigel: "You know who DIDN'T dream up sequestration? Jon Huntsman. #AmericansElect2016"
From @RepChrisStewart: "My first opportunity to sit in the speakers chair and preside over the House. My mom and dad must be sitting in heaven, amazed."
In other news: Rep. Jim Matheson was the only member of Utah's Congressional delegation to vote for the version of the Violence Against Women Act that made it through Congress. [Trib]
-> According to a new study, expanding Medicaid could save the state more than $200,000 in its first year. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly reports that new Auditor John Dougall has hired a new government relations assistant: House Speaker Becky Lockhart's daughter. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley's take on the pope stepping down. [Trib]
-> A Utah anesthesiologist is under investigation by the DEA and Congress, as part of a complicated examination of how doctors prescribe opioids. [Trib]
Heard on the Hill: “Speaking of pronunciation, I need to be careful with tonight’s Event at the Hale Theater. Tonight we have ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” — Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden.
From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]
-> It seems that only Utah's Boy Scout organizations would benefit from a new tax refunds bill, run by Rep. Steve Eliason. [Trib]
-> A bill that would mandate that insurance providers cover autism treatment was drastically pared down by its sponsor. [Trib]
-> A Senate bill to rename parts of the Legacy Parkway and the Mountain View Corridor after former Gov. Mike Leavitt -- who championed the construction of the highways -- met opposition in a committee hearing. [Trib]
-> A laundry list of road construction projects would be eligible for funding, thanks to a new House bill. [Trib]
-> Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott discuss what to expect in the Legislature's last two weeks. [UtahPolicy]
-> Lawmakers were split on a bill that would strip law enforcements' ability to arrest someone for disorderly conduct for openly carrying a holstered handgun or encased rifle. [Trib]
-> BLM and Forest Service officers who attempt to enforce state or local laws on public lands may face being charged with impersonating a police officer -- a class B misdemeanor -- under a new law. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Rep. Paul Ray wants to stop cities and agencies like the Utah Transit Authority from hiring lobbyists to represent them before state lawmakers. [DNews]
-> Drivers of clean-energy vehicles would get a tax break, thanks to a new bill that seeks to reduce air pollution. [Trib]
-> A bill that would ban welfare recipients from using their funds on strip clubs, casinos or liquor swept through the House. [Trib]
-> A House committee approved a bill that would largely stop animal shelters rom using carbon monoxide to euthanize animals. [Trib]
Nationally: The White House weighed in on the Prop 8 case before the Supreme Court saying that California's ban on gay marriage violates the Constitution. [WaPost]
-> Many Washington-based reporters are raising an eyebrow to Bob Woodward's outrage over a clash with the White House. [Politico]
Where are they?