News roundup: Atheist group bumped from conservative gathering
Officials cancel atheists' plans to join conservative gathering. Swallow, Shurtleff probe could be 3-6 months more. Senate GOP has own Medicaid plan.
Happy Wednesday. The American Atheists who are holding their national convention in Salt Lake City in April were excited yesterday to announce the group would set up a booth at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington. But that jubilation lasted only a few hours until CPAC organizers realized the atheists may not fit in with the confab's atmosphere, especially after the head of the group said conservatives "should be threatened by us." [TPM]
Topping the news: Utah could have been facing the same firestorm as Arizona over LGBT legislation but the measure was shelved for now. [Trib]
-> Common Core opponents are speaking out against House Speaker Becky Lockhart's education plan. [Trib]
-> The investigation into former AGs John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff will take another three to six months. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @Chris_Moody: "The Gaytheist booth and after party at CPAC is gonna be off the chain."
Happy Birthday: To KSL Radio's Lee Lonsberry.
On the Hill: Senate Republicans have a plan to partially expand Medicaid that involves taking federal funds. [DNews]
-> In a closed door meeting, the House GOP caucus discussed the bill that would make the Count My Vote initiative moot. [DNews]
-> A Senate panel advanced a proposal to give production tax credits to large-scale solar projects. [DNews]
-> The House passed a bill giving a $2,500 credit to those who buy electric cars. [Trib] [KUER]
-> The House also passed a bill to replace old diesel school buses with new clean fuel buses. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Lawmakers advanced a resolution to recognize biodiesel as a renewable, clean fuel that should be encouraged. [DNews]
-> Lawmakers are looking for a way to take a fund used to help crime victims out of the red. [Trib]
-> Legislation regulating the use of drones by law enforcement passed a Senate committee. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaHerald] [Fox13]
-> A new bill would allow students with a 3.5 GPA or higher to skip school without facing sanctions. [UtahPolicy]
-> The Senate agreed to legislation keeping Utah's authority to tax the NSA data center in Bluffdale, but making actually levying the tax unlikely. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]
-> A bill to amend the Utah Constitution to allow recall elections is on its way to the House floor. [Trib]
-> SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams asks to hold a measure to freeze the boundaries of unincorporated Salt Lake County so he can talk to opponents about the ramifications. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers are considering a bill to limit when cities can split off and form their own school districts. [KUTV]
-> The House passed a bill allowing voters to keep their information private, even from academics, journalists and political parties. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [KUER]
-> A House committee sent a bill to interim study that could result in people losing accident insurance claims if they are not wearing seatbelts. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert said moving the state prison in Draper needs to be part of a broader discussion of the corrections system. [APviaKUTV]
-> A Utah lawmaker wants to move a class required to get a divorce earlier in the process hoping that it will lower the divorce rate. [APviaTrib]
-> Lawmakers sent a canal safety bill to an interim study in order to find the best way to spread the responsibility. [DNews]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on Utah's new and different type of lottery. [Trib]
-> A fourth grade girl toured the Capitol and sat in on the Senate with Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden. [DNews]
In other news: AG Sean Reyes said he will defend Amendment 3 even if U.S. AG Eric Holder says that attorneys general do not have to do so. [Fox13]
-> Farmington may sue UDOT to block the proposed West Davis Corridor freeway route. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly discusses the mayor of South Jordan's defense of pit bulls, forbidden food at UVA and reserved parking spaces at the Capitol. [Trib]
Nationally: A long-anticipated tax reform plan by House Republicans would cut the tax rate but add a surcharge for America's richest people. It would also slash the number of tax brackets. [WaPost]
-> House Democrats, meanwhile, may try to force a vote on raising the minimum wage, a hot-button issue this election year. [Politico]
-> With Debbie Dingall considering a run for her husband's congressional seat which was held by his father before him there's a possibility of one family holding on to a single House seat for more than 100 years. [ABCNews]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends a hearing with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, meets with Utah credit unions and later with Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Rep. Chris Stewart hits a weekly Republican conference meeting, meets with the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, the Puyallup Tribe and the National Association of Health Underwriters. He also goes to the weekly Republican Study Committee meeting, sits down with officials from Utah credit unions, the Wahlen Ogden Veterans' Home, the National Association of Convenience Stores and has dinner with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae.
Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Democratic leaders, and later with Workforce Services executive director Kristen Cox, hits Tourism Day on the Hill and the Health Insurance CEO luncheon. He also meets with Alicia Connell, Terryl Warner and holds a meeting with Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and House Speaker Becky Lockhart.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox goes on Let's Talk to the Lt. Governor on X96 and attends the Commission on Civic and Character Education .
SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams also hits Tourism Day at the Hill and speaks at the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee Meeting.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker attends Salt Lake City New Employee Orientation has a conference call with National League of Cities Executive Director Clarence Anthony, hits a Homelessness Committee meeting and opens his door to constituents.
President Barack Obama tours the Metro Transit Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in St. Paul, Minn., and speaks on a new competition to restore infrastructure and create jobs. He later returns to Washington.
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Thomas Burr and Topher Webb Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb