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Republican presidential candidate, former House speaker Newt Gingrich during a campaign stop, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
News roundup: Newt shoots for the stars... or at least the moon

Newt: To the moon. Herbert tells feds to butt out. Winder gets sued.

Happy Thursday. The presidential race has been full of surprises, but we doubt anyone will top Newt Gingrich's most ambitious plan to date. He wants to colonize the moon by the end of his presidency and put it on a path to statehood. [WaPost] [CNN] [ABCNews]

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Topping the news: Gov. Gary Herbert decries the feds and champions state sufficiency in his election-year State of the State address. [Trib] [DNews]

A new proposal would gut Utah's controversial guest-worker immigration law forcing it to get congressional approval to move forward. [Trib]

-> It was a good news/bad news day for WVC Mike Winder, a poll showed him leading the GOP contest to run for Salt Lake County mayor. [UtahPolicy] But he also sued by an ex-UTOPIA executive. The suit also goes after West Valley and Deseret Digital Media for the news articles Winder secretly wrote under the pen name Richard Burwash. [Trib]

Tweets of the day: From @politicalchess: "Strong STOS tonight.."..blah.blah..Utah Rocks!!...out!"..Gov. Gary Herbert ..it really was good."

From @mollyesgue: "We laugh at Newt's moon-base plans now, but our children growing up in the Pres. N.L. Gingrich Moon Colony won't be laughing."

In other news: Utah ranks among the top 10 states for best business tax climate. [Trib]

-> A new audit of Utah's liquor operations shows improved financial controls. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on America's "two-party system." [Trib]

-> More than 100 rallied on Utah's Capitol Hill to show support for the Alzheimer's resolution. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

-> The Army is look at Dugway for a place to launch drones. [Trib]

-> Republicans, including Sen. Mike Lee, took umbrage with President Barack Obama's call on states to keep high school students from dropping out, forcing them to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. [Yahoo]

-> Students at Utah's colleges launched the "We are the 66%" campaign to urge state lawmakers to provide more funding because a new study shows that two-thirds of Utah's workforce will need more than a high school diploma by 2018. [Spectrum]

-> Snowmobile registration fees could hike $8 for trail maintenance costs to keep up with rises in traffic. [Trib]

-> Jumping ahead of two lawmakers' push for a state-wide anti-discrimination ban, Harrisville is now the 14th Utah locale to ban anti-gay bias. [Trib]

2012 watch: Newt Gingrich slams Mitt Romney's "self-deportation" plan for illegal immigrants, but Romney fights back, accusing Gingrich of pandering to the snag Latino votes. [AP] [WaPost] [LATimes] [DNews]

-> A Florida poll shows Romney, Gingrich in a dead heat in the Sunshine State. [ABCNews]

-> A portion of Romney's tax returns has sparked critics' interest -- $3 million in a Swiss bank account. [NYTimes]

-> Following his rivals' lead, Rick Santorum pledges to release his tax returns next week. [ABCNews]

-> Gingrich's super PAC eliminates Romney's money advantage in Florida. [Globe]

-> Santorum says President Barack Obama's State of the Union address was "purely political" in the president's hopes to stack up blue collar votes. [CNN]

-> After Nancy Pelosi hints at "knowing something" about Gingrich, the presidential hopeful calls on her to speak out if she has something to say. [FoxNews]

-> The Orlando Sentinel endorsed Romney, calling him a "steady and competent leader for these divisive and turbulent times." [Sentinel] [CNN]

-> Would Romney be the wealthiest president in history? [WaPost]

-> And now for a little comedy: Romneymania sweeps America. [Onion]

The Session: A committee stops bill that would have let all residents of a school district vote on a proposed split. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers set a budget goal for themselves, but found out that the money is just not there to meet it. [UtahPolicy]

-> A bill would have the Legislature take a look at Utah's air pollution problem. [Trib]

-> The House advances a bill that would require caseworkers to show more proof of health concerns before taking kids from their relatives. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A bill would limit cell phone use while driving to adults. [DNews]

-> One lawmaker hopes to end daylight savings time, which would make Utah third in the nation to keep clocks put. [APviaABC4]

-> A proposal would allow same-sex and un-wed couples living together to adopt. [Fox13]

-> The House approved a 10-year extension of tax credits for certain environmentally-friendly businesses. [Trib]

-> The Legislature debates a plan to oversee billboard laws, creating a showdown between local and state control. [Trib]

-> Panel says no to a bill that would allow state lawmakers to live outside the district they represent. [Trib] [Herald]

-> A weakened breast-cancer screening bill was passed after the Utah Medical Association balked at state control over physicians. [Trib]

-> Utah may soon pay for students to take the ACT by replacing state testing -- a measure that could cost $700,000 per year. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The state's practice of mailing voter info booklets could be a thing of the past. They may soon be posted online. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz attend the presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert holds his monthly KUED press conference, attends the Sundance business and technology connection event and then answer questions from the public through the Utah Broadcasters "Let Me Speak to the Governor" show.
  • Lt. Gov. Greg Bell meets with directors of UTA to go over rail transit then welcomes Chilean Ambassador, Arturo Fermandois, to the state Capitol.
  • SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends the Utah Association of Counties legislative meeting and an active transportation policy meeting, later going to the Wasatch Front Regional Council.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker shares his morning meal with U. Interim President Lorris Betz, later attending the Wasatch Front Regional Council.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends the Power of Prevention conference, conducts the Salt Lake Valley conference of mayors then goes to the WFRC.
  • President Barack Obama speaks about American-made energy at UPS Las Vegas South and Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., then heads to Detroit, Michigan to spend the night.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com.

-- Matt Canham and Laura Schmitz

Twitter.com/mattcanham



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