News roundup: Mitt Romney leads GOP pack for 2016 nomination
Published: January 31, 2014 07:46AM
Updated: January 31, 2014 07:46AM
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney signs autographs after taping an episode of the "Late Show with David Letterman," in New York, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

2016 GOP frontrunner: Romney, again. Senators demand action at Uintah Elementary. Lockhart pushes for new technology for schools.

Happy Friday. This is not a story from The Onion: The leading candidate for president in 2016, according to New Hampshire voters: Mitt Romney. A recent poll in the Granite State showed a quarter of residents would back Romney again, far more than other potential contenders. Romney has clearly said he's not running again but at least he knows he's still well-liked in the state. [NJ]

Topping the news: Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said Uintah Elementary School taking away lunches from students whose parents were behind in paying was "an abuse of power." [Trib] [DNews]

-> House Speaker Becky Lockhart is finishing up a bill to give students access to new learning technology. The legislation would cost between $200 million and $300 million. [Trib]

-> The outside counsel hired to help the state with its Amendment 3 appeal met with the House GOP Caucus in a closed meeting. The caucus discussed state of the appeal and where it could go, but did not have much discussion about whether to push legislation on same-sex issues. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews] [Herald]

Tweet of the day: from @kirstenfrankly: "If I had $1 for everytime someone at the #utleg asked me why I'm not married, I'd be able to fund @RobertGehrke's taffy habit permanently."

Happy Birthday: Today to state Sen. Pat Jones and Michael Kempner and on Sunday to state Reps. Michael Kennedy and Kay Christofferson.

On the Hill: Wrapping up week one: day five schedule [Trib]

-> The conservative Sutherland Institute apologized and pulled a television ad against proposed legislation banning housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation because the ad was misleading. [Trib] [DNews]

-> House and Senate Republican leaders are not totally on board with all of Gov. Gary Herbert's clean air proposals. [DNews] Specifically, the Senate doesn't like the idea of restricting wood burning stoves because its the sold heating source for some people. [UtahPolicy]

-> Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, proposed a bill to restrict drone use by state and local governments, state agencies and law enforcement. [Trib]

-> Rep. Michael Kennedy, R-Alpine, is touting a measure that would restrict bathroom use to a student's gender at birth. [UtahPolicy]

-> Proposed legislation would allow hemp supplements, which are non-intoxicating, to be imported into the state. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on Utah lawmakers concerned that gays have ruined the word gay. [Trib]

-> Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss the Legislature's first week on the job. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bernick says that Lockhart's leadership during the Swallow probe was a defining moment for her. [UtahPolicy]

-> The House added a provision granting anonymity as well as immunity to those who report overdose victims to the Good Samaritan bill the body passed yesterday. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Rep. Lee Perry,R-Perry, introduced measures with different ways of tackling drunk driving and people not wearing seat belts. [Trib]

-> Urban and rural lawmakers disagree over the legal battle to prevent federal wilderness protection of 12,000 rural Utah roads. [KUER]

-> A bill would allow children 11 and over to get a hunting license without taking classes. They would have to be accompanied by an adult over 21 and could not use guns or archery equipment until the age of 12. [Trib] [Herald]

In other news: The the Volunteers of America and other groups are counting SL Co.'s homeless population for the annual census. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill to tax the NFL and other professional sports leagues with non-profit status. [Trib]

-> Demolition started on Salt Lake City's Regent Street in order to make way for a theater. The street was once a commercial hub and later became a home to brothels. [Trib]

-> Gov. Herbert and local business leaders started a $2 million campaign aimed at interesting children in science, technology, engineering and math fields. [DNews] [APviaHerald] [KUTV] [ABC4]

-> A lesbian couple sued the state asking that Utah recognize their marriage. [DNews]

-> Paul Rolly discusses why some students in the Canyons School District cannot ride the same bus as their siblings, House Speaker Becky Lockharts's potential run for governor and other topics. [Trib]

Nationally: House Republican leaders officially said they would be open to a pathway to legal status to undocumented immigrants, but not a pathway to citizenship. [WaPost]

-> Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., will retire at the end of the session after 40 years in the House. [WaPost]

-> MSNBC has fired a staffer who sent an offensive tweet aimed at right wingers. [WaPost]

-> President Barack Obama has commitments from 300 companies such as, Ford, Apple and Wal Mart, to hire the long-term unemployed. [CNN]

Where are they?

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-- Thomas Burr and Topher Webb and