News roundup: Mitt Romney criticizes Russia's Olympic spending
Published: February 12, 2014 07:40AM
Updated: February 12, 2014 07:41AM
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, a visitor hangs onto an Olympic ring as she has her photo taken in the Olympic Plaza during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

GOP lawmakers defend gay marriage ban. Romney criticizes Olympic spending. Voting twice changes little in state Senate.

Happy Wednesday. Mitt Romney argues that its time to set a cap on Olympic spending, saying the $50 billion Russia plowed into Sochi is way too high. The 2002 Games in Salt Lake cost less than $3 billion. [USAToday]

Topping the news: Why does Utah's Senate vote on bills twice and what is the impact? A BYU political scientists says the practice has little impact. If the Senate passes a bill on first reading it is all but assured to gain final approval on a second vote. [DataPoints]

-> Eighty-one Republican state legislators defended Utah's gay marriage ban in a brief to the 10th Circuit. That's all but four of the sitting GOP lawmakers. [Trib] [KUER] [Fox13] [ABC4]

-> The Senate warily advanced a bill to exempt the NSA data center in Bluffdale from paying taxes on its electrical bill. [Trib] [DNews] [KUER]

Tweet of the day: From @TroyWilliamsSLC: "Thnx for the support. Did our protest work? The Gov's office graciously called me this morning. More talks to come."

From @SenatorSteveU: "'Did our protest work?' @TroyWilliamsSLC Not if the goal was to move #sb100 forward. Arrests = drama. Mtg. w/Pres = progress."

Happy birthday: to Tribune alum Carol Sisco.

On the Hill: AG Sean Reyes is asking the Legislature for help to pay for the appeal of the ruling striking down the gay marriage pprohibition. [APviaHerald]

-> Reyes also announced the state will appeal a judge's ruling that struck down key parts of Utah's polygamy laws. [ApviaHerald]

-> Rep. Jim Dunnigan is preparing four bill in reaction to the John Swallow scandal. [UtahPolicy]

-> House Speaker Becky Lockhart's $300 million education proposal will include $50 million to improve wireless capabilities in schools. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald]

-> The House passed legislation creating grants to help at-risk children attend preschool. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]

-> A House panel passed a bill allowing parents to see the questions from the end of year state test before their children take them. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald]

-> Legislation allowing the state to enact air-quality standards stricter than federal regulations barely passed a Senate Committee. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Lawmakers requested more than $7 million for air quality projects. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley gives his take on second hand smog. [Trib]

-> Legislation giving broad immunity to police officers from lawsuits by suspects injured in police chases passed a Senate committee despite concerns that the bill may encourage reckless behavior. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Sen. Luz Robles talks about her bill to make not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense on the Trib's new video feature "In Their Own Words." [Trib] A Senate committee killed the bill. [Trib]

-> Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, is proposing a bill to ban aggressive panhandling and other conduct that blocks traffic on some roadways. [DNews] [KUTV]

-> Paul Rolly discusses how a bill making revenge porn a felony is a refreshing show of bipartisanship. [Trib]

-> Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, wants to require voters to opt-in for their information to be public rather than opt-out as the law is now. [Fox13]

-> Advocates questioned a legislative estimate that raising the minimum wage to $10.25 per hour would cost the state $20 million each year. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Supporters of a compromise bill on stream access for recreationalists rallied at the Capitol. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The House Republican Caucus delayed a discussion about moving the state prison in Draper. [DNews]

-> The House unanimously voted to set aside March 29 as day to honor Vietnam vets. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Lawmakers took some electric cars for a spin. [ABC4]

In other news: Utah health officials found higher rates of some types of cancer in areas around Stericycle's medical incinerator. However, the increased cancer rate may not be linked to the incinerator. [Trib] [DNews] [KUER]

-> NSA protesters picked up litter in front of the NSA data center. [Trib]

-> The Davis County Board of Health approved restrictions on the amount on nicotine in e-cigarettes. [Trib]

-> Josh Romney said he would like his dad, Mitt Romney, to run for president again, but it's not going to happen. [Fox13]

Nationally: The House passed a no strings attached debt ceiling extension. All four of Utah's House members opposed the bill. It passed largely with Democratic votes. [WaPost]

-> AG Eric Holder urged states to repeal laws that keep felons from voting. [NYTimes]

-> Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, plans to sue President Barack Obama and NSA officials challenging surveillance practices. [CNN]

-> Check out some picture from the State Dinner for French President Francois Hollande. [WaPost]

Where are they?

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-- Matt Canham and Topher Webb and