State wants Swallow tipsters. Putin says Americans not exceptional. Herbert to tweak school grading system.
Happy Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to speak directly to the American people about the crisis in Syria and in an editorial warned President Barack Obama from indulging the view that Americans are exceptional. [NYTimes]
Topping the news: The Legislature's special investigation committee looking into allegations against AG John Swallow have begun the arduous task and is asking the public to step forward if they have any information to share. And tips won't be subject to public records requests through GRAMA at least until after the investigation concludes. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [UtahPolicy]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert and state legislative leaders are negotiating changes to the new and controversial school grading system that they think will make it a more useful tool for educators and parents. [Trib]
-> Some thought the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn. would drastically change the political debate over guns. It hasn't and the recall of two state senators in Colorado shows just how much more passion remains on the side of the NRA and its supporters. [LATimes]
Tweet of the day: From @RobertGehrke: "You know, if witnesses contact me, their info isn't subject to GRAMA either. Just saying' …"
In other news: Activists rallied inside the Utah Capitol demanding that Gov. Gary Herbert shut down the incinerator plant in North Salt Lake run by Stericycle. The outrage stems from the "bypass emergency" event last Friday, which residents say happens far too frequently. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has recently penalized Stericylce for exceeding emissions of dangerous pollutants. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13]
-> Herbert said he believes that the NRA still considers him "on the team" even though he vetoed a gun rights bill this year. His meeting with NRA head honchos was canceled and will be rescheduled. [DNews]
-> Utah air-quality regulators approved a draft plan to clean up the Wasatch Front's air in accordance to federal standards by 2019. The draft focused on the air pollutant responsible for the inversions Utah has during the winter. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> Democratic state Sen. Pat Jones suggests dropping the tax exemption for large families to raise $400 million for schools. [Trib]
-> Bryan Schott takes a stab at who might run for Salt Lake City mayor in the future. [UtahPolicy]
-> A new Spanish newspaper, The Spanish Times, will be published in Utah soon. While many traditional Spanish papers have failed in Utah, this one will seek to expand its normal audience of Utah Latinos to include returned LDS missionaries who speak Spanish, and want to improve their language skills. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake City had a lot of events last weekend, so much so that TRAX ridership increased by 141 percent. Part of the increase is because UTA offered free fares to those riders who took TRAX as they left the State Fair or for ticket holders to the University of Utah's football game. [Trib]
-> After 69 years, a WWII pilot killed in battle will return to Utah for burial. 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird will be buried in full military uniform because his niece decided to track down Bird's body in Papa New Guinea where he was shot down. [Trib]
Nationally: After months of delay, the United States has started to arm the rebels in Syria. [WaPost]
-> House Republicans have delayed a vote on a bill that would fund the government over a disagreement on how to combat the Affordable Care Act. A group wants to use it as leverage to strip funding from Obamacare, while others feel that is a poor political strategy. [WaPost] [NYTimes]
-> Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will meet with House GOP leaders next week to discuss issues regarding Facebook. Top tech companies including Facebook, Apple and Microsoft have filed a lawsuit to be able to release more information about the surveillance orders they received. [Politico]
-> A super secret conservative group raised and spent $250 million in the 2012 election season and nobody even noticed. Freedom Partners, a group tied to the conservative Koch brothers, has no handed over its IRS documents, but won't identify its donors. [Politico]
Where are they?