What to look for in the State of the Union. Lockhart goes after Herbert. Robles gets engaged.
Happy Tuesday. Don't expect unlikely policy ideas out of President Barack Obama's State of the Union tonight -- like gun control and immigration plans -- but instead look for what he can do through executive power, like job training and help for the longterm unemployed. A big announcement: the creation of a new retirement plan for workers whose employers don't offer one. [AP]
Topping the news: House Speaker Becky Lockhart criticized Gov. Gary Herbert over Medicaid expansion and other issues as the Legislature gaveled open. Cleaning the air, liquor laws and education are expected to be big issues. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [UtahPolicy] [KUER] [Fox13] [KUTV] [ABC4] (More legislative coverage below)
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch and two other Senate Republicans will release a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with tax credits to help those without insurance. [Trib]
-> The House investigation of ex-AG John Swallow will propose changes through legislation to the state's campaign and ethics laws. [UtahPolicy]
Congrats: To state Sen. Luz Robles, who was caught off guard during Monday's legislative opener when her boyfriend, Arizona Rep. Juan Carlos Escamilla, was granted a few moments of floor time and used the opportunity to ask for her hand in marriage. She accepted. Said Senate Majority Leader Okerlund to Escamilla: "You know, Sen. Robles says no to so many things in here, you're very fortunate."
Tweet of the day: From @SenHendrickson: "Well that was an exciting 1st day for Luz 'the jackal' Robles, personally I was bored to tears otherwise."
Happy Birthday: To PWC's Matt Dobias and to Clarity Sanderson
On the Hill: Pat Bagley pokes fun at Lockhart's comments about Herbert. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers may do nothing about same-sex marriage, or issues connected to it, until the Supreme Court rules on Utah's same-sex marriage ban. [Trib]
-> Should the bill mandating that churches do not have to perform marriages they disagree with and a bill criminalizing housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity be combined? Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, think so. [KUTV]
-> Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, proposed a bill to loosen some of Utah's liquor laws including doing away with the Zion Curtain. [Herald]
-> Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, is also working on a bill to get rid of the rule. [Fox13]
-> Utah teens drink alcohol at significantly lower rates than the national average. [DNews]
-> Senate Majority Leader Gene Davis says education is his top priority this session. [UtahPolicy]
-> Sen. Jim Dabakis says he doesn't support the Count My Vote effort but eyes a change to the caucus-convention system. [UtahPolicy]
-> Utah's legislative leaders seem to agree that preschool helps children succeed. Now they will debate which programs to fund. [Trib]
-> Ready for the day? Here's today's committee schedule. [Trib]
In other news: According to a new poll, Utahns favor raising sales tax to fund mass transit but oppose raising the gas tax to fund highways. [Trib]
-> Utahns share their "My Bad Air Day" stories. [Trib]
-> Sen. Mike Lee's tea party response to the State of the Union will focus on what causes economic inequality and conservative proposals to fix it. [DNews]
-> A group looking for longterm transportation options in the Wasatch canyons is looking for public input before it makes recommendations. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly discuses a parody Count My Vote website aimed at discouraging people from signing the group's petition. Around 20 commenters on the sight have asked where they can sign. [Trib]
Nationally: Play Angry Birds? The NSA may be spying on you. [NYTimes]
-> The Justice Department and tech companies have reached an agreement allowing the companies to publish the volume, but the not content, of certain types of intelligence requests for information about their customers. Currently, the companies are not allowed to even acknowledge they have received such requests. [WaPost]
-> Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla, has resigned his seat after pleading guilty to buying cocaine. [Politico]
-> House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on the long-stalled farm bill. It will go to the House floor Wednesday. [Politico]
Where are they?