News roundup: Trump offers to pay for White House tours
Published: March 12, 2013 07:59AM
Updated: March 12, 2013 07:59AM
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In this March 4, 2013, photo, The White House is seen through a chain-link fence where the inaugural reviewing stand once stood in Washington. Automatic spending cuts that took effect last Friday are expected to touch a vast range of government services. The Obama administration is canceling tours of the White House beginning Saturday, March 9, citing staffing reductions prompted by automatic budget cuts that began to take effect last Friday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump offers to pay for White House tours. Leavitt pushes Obama, Congress to compromise. House lawmakers reject a Medicaid expansion.

Happy Tuesday. After the White House said it was canceling public tours because of the sequester cuts, Donald Trump says he's willing to foot the bill to keep them going. Trump, no fan of President Barack Obama, says the shuttered tours is all about trying to score political points and wants to take it off the table because the administration is trying to "hurt people." [Politico]

Topping the news: Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who headed Mitt Romney's transition team, says Obama and Congress need to act more quickly when they can find common ground -- and should take a note from the efforts the Romney folks were readying in case he won. [USAToday]

-> Romney's rich-white-guy image could be hampering Republican efforts to reach out to black voters as evident by the GOP's outreach in and east New York race. [Buzzfeed]

-> House lawmakers voted to bar Gov. Gary Herbert from accepting a federal Medicaid expansion that would provide coverage to 130,000 Utahns -- calling instead for a "charity care" network. [Trib] [Herald] [UtahPolicy]

Tweet of the day: From @kirstenfrankly: "saun·ter -- /sôntər/ -- verb: to walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort - unless you're in politics. #utpol #utleg"

From @plaidspolitics: "Oh no! I've been relegated to @SenHoward and @gopTODD's auto-reply! Must be the last week of the #utleg session :)"

Happy birthday: To former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Congratulations: To Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who will be receiving the Democratic Municipal Officials' Susan Burgess Memorial Award today in Washington.

In other news: Ten years ago today, kidnapped Elizabeth Smart was found and returned to her parents. [Trib]

-> Helper's former mayor, who resigned late last month after the latest in a string of DUI arrests, was formally charged with driving under the influence and being an alcohol-restricted driver, both class B misdemeanors. [Trib] [Herald]

-> Paul Rolly calls out Rep. Mike Noel for his behavior towards a witness in a House committee hearing. [Trib]

Heard on the Hill: "I tell people at this point that I can find some money but you're not going to like where I find it." - Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, and Senate chairman of the budget committee.

"It's dogs, not cats." - Rep. Lavar Christensen, R-Draper, to Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, about HB381, regarding settlements made when people are bitten by dogs. Oda was the author of last year's controversial feral cat-shooting bill.

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

-> Senate lawmakers unanimously voted to limit how long governments can keep information picked up by license plate readers, saying the data could be used to track citizens' movements. [Trib]

-> Sen. Steve Urquhart isn't sure that he'll have the votes to bring his non-discrimination bill to the Senate floor for a vote. The legislation is modeled after Salt Lake City's non-discrimination ordinance, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and employment. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald]

-> Supporters of changing the state's convention-caucus system are shooting to get on the 2014 ballot, while the GOP is attempting to move internally to tweak the system to avoid a voter mandate. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bills to watch in the waning days of the Utah Legislature. [KSL]

-> Lawmakers have drafted up a sixth version of a bill that would tackle relocating the Utah State Prison, with changes that House Speaker Becky Lockhart says could sway her to support the plan. [Trib]

-> STEM -- or science, technology, engineering and math -- has been one of this session's buzzwords. But what does it really mean, and how are lawmakers approaching it? [Trib]

-> Convicted rapists would have their custodial and parental rights severely limited by a bill unanimously passed by House lawmakers who were surprised that the law wasn't already on the books. [Trib]

-> Restaurants caught selling booze to underage drinkers could face up to $2,500 in fines under a new bill passed by the Senate. The legislation includes other tweaks to the state's liquor laws. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]

-> Parents and advocacy groups are sending a message to Gov. Gary Herbert, asking him to veto a bill that would allow gun owners to conceal and carry without a permit. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> While Senate lawmakers outlined a plan to "grade" Utah schools on an A through F scale, some education leaders worry that the guidelines could muddle accountability. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Those caught trafficking humans or patronizing those trafficked for commercial reasons could face tougher penalties under a bill passed by the House. [Trib]

-> House lawmakers shot down an attempt to tax e-cigarettes, saying the charge isn't enough to deter young smokers. [Trib]

-> Hundreds of parents and teachers hit the Hill to show support for lawmakers' increasing per pupil funding, saying that the move will reduce class sizes. [Trib]

-> Senate lawmakers narrowly passed a bill that would give a $33 million tax break to bring in a convention-style hotel to downtown Salt Lake City. The legislation will see a tougher battle in the House, where critics say that taxpayer money shouldn't go towards the project. [Trib]

-> Public shooting ranges would be open to groups seeking to reserve time on the ranges, thanks to a new bill passed by the Senate. [Trib]

-> In an odd twist, Sen. Stuart Reid pulled his own legislation that would have given the Senate and governor more control over appointing the state superintendent of education, saying that he'd rather see the issue worked out by a task force. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The House unanimously passed a bill that reshuffles the Department of Veterans Affairs, overhauling how its leaders are selected and how the department deals with offering resources to veterans transitioning to civilian life. [Trib]

-> A software literacy program in Utah's schools will see $4.7 million in additional funding, under a new bill passed by the Senate despite concerns that the money could be better spent elsewhere. [Trib]

-> The Senate unanimously passed a clean air bill backed by Gov. Gary Herbert that would put more natural gas vehicles on the road. [Trib] [DNews]

-> House lawmakers moved to bolster a board that looks for ways to privatize government services. [Trib]

-> Utah's Medicaid inspector general survived a legislative attack. [Trib]

-> Senate lawmakers moved to earmark millions of dollars for road projects, circumventing the state's Transportation Commission. [Trib]

-> Despite successfully passing a bill that gives a tax break to the working poor, the legislation's sponsor admits that it faces an uphill battle in the Senate. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The Senate passed a bill that would equalize school funding across the state by freezing a property tax rate. [Trib]

-> A bill that would have given school principals more leeway in deciding how state funds are spent was shot down in the Senate. [Trib]

Nationally: In heavily-armed Utah, where more than half of its citizens own guns, you're more likely to die from a gun than from a car accident -- with 298 gun deaths in 2011; 236 of those deaths were suicides. [MJ]

-> Eight House Democrats are calling on the Obama administration to clarify its drone policy, with specific questions about using drone strikes on American citizens within the United States. [Politico]

-> Yellowstone National Park is feeling the sequester sting, with 430 seasonal park ranger jobs up for cuts, fewer walking tours and reduced visitor center hours. [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