News roundup: Florida congressman takes leave after cocaine bust
Fla. congressman takes leave after cocaine bust. LG report: Charge Swallow, invalidate his election. House Swallow probe spent $1.5M.
Happy Thursday. Rep. Trey Radel, R- Fla., will take a leave of absence after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine, a misdemeanor in Washington, D.C. Radel has only been in Washington for 10 months, but built a double life as an energetic, media-savvy freshman who also happens to be connected to the city's drug trade. [WaPost] [Politico] [CNN] [NYTimes] [BuzzFeed]
Topping the news: The Lieutenant Governor's Office finds that Attorney General John Swallow violated multiple Utah election laws, and sources say the report recommends criminal charges and the possibility of asking a judge to invalidate the election result and declare the office vacant. [Trib]
-> House investigators say the next stage in its own Swallow's probe will begin next month when witness interviews and evidence will be presented in public hearings. The investigation has spent nearly half its $3 million budget. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]
-> Utah's Health and Human Services Interim Committee endorsed a proposal that would raise the age a person can buy tobacco in Utah from 19 to 21. Members of anti-smoking groups and state and local health departments are in favor of the bill, while opponents feel it infringes upon personal liberty. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13] [ABC4]
Tweet of the day: From @pourmecoffee: "New Hunger Games coming out, and by that I mean Paul Ryan budget, of course."
Happy birthday: To Salt Lake County Council member Arlyn Bradshaw and Rep. Rob Bishop staffer Adam Gardiner.
In other news: Sen. Mike Lee is taking strides to step out of the shadow of Sen. Ted Cruz by delivering high-profile speeches that show he's more than just an unyielding conservative. Lee also said that Republicans shouldn't tie in funding for the Affordable Care Act to the next round of budget talks. [Politico]
-> Utah families hoping to receive cannabis oil to treat their epileptic children got good news as lawmakers had positive preliminary discussion about drafting a bill to allow hemp supplements into the state as long as it's done safely and legally. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> The proposed gasoline tax hike has lost steam as members from the business community have opposed the idea; legislators say they need to study funding options. [Trib] [KUTV]
-> Hundreds of Utahns rallied at the state Capitol for the expansion of Medicaid as the Utah Hospital Association gave its support, but only for those who are living within 138 percent of the federal poverty level. [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13] [ABC4]
-> Lawmakers endorsed a bill that would allow rural Utahns without access to trash pickup services to legally bury their non-hazardous household garbage. [DNews]
-> Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, proposed changed to a law that would allow teachers to intervene when they suspect a student is at risk of suicide; the proposal has the backing of Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers from the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee didn't give approval to a bill that would require a DNA collection at the time of arrest for any Class A misdemeanors and felonies. [Trib]
-> The Economic Development Task Force urged lawmakers to take immediate action to join Gov. Gary Herbert's office and the Utah Clean Air Partnership to create a public awareness campaign on how to reduce air pollution. [DNews]
-> The Utah Senate unanimously confirmed Ann Silverberg Williamson as executive director of state Department of Human Services. [DNews]
-> UDOT's annual report shows that carpool express lanes carry twice as many passengers, travel about 5 mph faster than regular freeway lanes and only amount to 6.2 percent of all accidents. [Trib]
-> Provo will begin research in housing and employment discrimination against LGBT community members in looking at a possible anti-discrimination ordinance. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> Peter Clemens, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in Utah's 1st Congressional District, gained the endorsement of Morgan Bowen, the Democrat who lost to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in 2008 and 2010. [Trib]
-> Bryan Schott suggests Utah attempt some out-of-the-box ideas to land the 2016 Republican National Convention kind of like how the state bribed its way into getting the 2002 Olympics. [UtahPolicy]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on what Texas will look like without that pesky regulation stuff. [Trib]
Nationally: The Senate is on the verge of changing the long-standing filibuster rules for most presidential nominations from a 60-vote threshold to a simple majority vote. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will begin the complicated parliamentary process, which he's attempted three times before yielded to a bipartisan compromises each time. [Wapost] [CNN] [NYTimes]
-> Five Senate Republicans, including Utah's Orrin Hatch, say they support Janet Yellen to be the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve giving her the 60 votes needed to be confirmed. [BusinessWeek]
-> President Barack Obama awarded 16 Americans, 3 posthumously, the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, the highest honor a citizen can obtain. Recipients ranged from former President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey to Benjamin C. Bradlee, former executive editor of The Washington Post. [WaPost] [Politico] [CNN]
-> The federal government will exhaust its borrowing authority in March if Congress doesn't reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling according to the Congressional Budget Office. [WaPost] [Politico]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz meets with Salem High School students and travels to Des Moines Iowa to speak at the Blue Jean Bash.
Rep. Rob Bishop sits in on the Chairs the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee hearing.
Gov. Gary Herbert attends various Republican Governors Association events in Phoenix.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker meets with community liaisons, participates in the Policy Consensus Initiative conference call and sits down with Office of Diversity & Human Rights Coordinator Yolanda Francisco-Nez.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with the Utah Arts Council and Museum Services Board and attends Granger High School's production of "Peter Pan."
President Barack Obama lunches with Vice President Joe Biden and honors a group of educators as ConnectED Champions of Change.
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Thomas Burr and Jordan Bailey Twitter.com/thomaswburr Twitter.com/thejordanbailey