News roundup: Santorum's wins challenge Romney's lead
Santorum wins MN, MO and CO. Lee's campaign in debt. BYU prof challenges Bramble.
Happy Wednesday. Remember when Mitt Romney had the whole GOP nomination pretty much sewn up? Well, hold the presses because Rick Santorum is making a stand. The former Pennsylvania senator swept the presidential contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado last night to the surprise of most pundits who thought he could take maybe one or two of those states. [WaPost] [NBC] [TheHill] [Reuters]
-> With the exception of Maine's primary on Saturday, there's two weeks before the next balloting in Michigan and Arizona where Romney is expected to do well, but Santorum's gets the storyline for the next little while.
Topping the news: Sen. Mike Lee's campaign ends its first year $20,000 in the red, raising less money than it spent in three of the four fiscal quarters. [Trib]
-> A BYU professor announces a challenge to Sen. Curt Bramble at the pizza joint where the delivery girl he reportedly berated worked. [Trib]
-> The Senate is looking into some state departments that may have given raises with surplus funds while a pay freeze was in place. [DNews]
Tweet of the day: From @BenMcAdams: "Meet Utah's newest Senator:" [Pic]
New position: Sen. Orrin Hatch has been named chairman of the Senate Western Caucus' Subcommittee on Public Lands. "The West has many unique challenges that the Western Caucus has confronted head on, and we also have many opportunities," Hatch said in a release. "I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the Caucus to strengthen the Western way of life and protect Utah's needs as it works with federal land management agencies."
In other news: Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City officials are working together to distribute funds to help liven up downtown's core. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The appeals court ruling on Proposition 8 in California brought strong reactions from all sides in Utah. [Trib] [ABC4]
-> A Utah high school student is among dozens honored at the White House during its second annual science fair. [Trib]
-> Just four months after Provo began allowing beer sales on Sundays, the city is ready to relax its alcohol laws further by making it easier for conventiongoers to get a brew. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly gives his take on SLC Mayor Ralph Becker's environmentally friendly initiatives. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his view on the ongoing battle of what defines a marriage. [Trib]
2012 watch: KSL's Rich Piatt sits down with the Jon2012Girls. [KSL]
-> Romney's humbling loss to underdog Santorum in three caucuses leaves him in the No. 2 slot in overall state count on Tuesday. [NYTimes]
-> Romney gets "glitter-bombed" after his Colorado speech. [HuffPost]
-> Romney plans to take a tougher approach to Santorum, a candidate he nearly ignored in recent debates. [CNN]
-> Newt Gingrich starts to woo NASCAR voters as the race heads south. [APviaHerald]
-> MSNBC adds Jon Huntsman Sr.'s mansion as it's listing of the week. [MSNBC]
Heard on the Hill: "Every time certain cities go out and pass an ordinance I almost anticipate us now having a bill in the Legislature over it." - Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy
The Session: One lawmaker is working to lengthen the state's abortion wait times by two days, which would tie Utah with South Dakota for the longest waiting period in the nation. [Trib]
-> A bill that would ban 16- and 17-year-old's from using a cell phone on the road continues to progress after being approved by the Senate. [Trib] [Fox13] [UtahPolicy]
-> A proposal to ensure Internet gambling is banned in Utah is put on hold. [Herald]
-> A state lawmaker is proposing a bill to limit spending to population growth and inflation. [UtahPolicy]
-> A measure granting billboard companies free reign to upgrade any sign to a digital one passed unanimously through a Senate committee. [Trib]
-> An immigration bill surfaces that would suspend or revoke business licenses of employers who hire undocumented immigrants, mirroring Arizona's law. [Trib]
-> The House unanimously clears changes to the sex-offender registry, which would allow those with less egregious crimes to petition to get off the list. [Trib]
-> Local schools and governments thwart a bill that would restrict competition with businesses. [Trib]
-> Many Utah hospitals are guilty of overbilling the state's Medicaid program but just one is fighting back in court. [Trib]
-> Spouses of transferred military personnel who must quit their jobs to relocate could get unemployment benefits in a bill passed by the House. [Trib]
-> State parks fared better this year in its legislative audit, getting praise from legislators and storing up extra funds with no threats of park closures. [Trib]
-> The Legislature is confronted with a bill for $338,000 for attorneys fees after losing a court battle over the UHP crosses near public highways. [UtahPolicy]
-> The Senate rejects a bill that would've granted a tax break to cable TV customers. [Trib]
-> Lawmakers are looking for a compromise between one bill that mandates health insurance coverage for autism and another that bans a requirement for insurance coverage. [DNews]
-> Though public education must be free from fees under the state Constitution, a new bill would allow teachers to send parents an optional list of school supplies. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The House approves the launch of a 13-member legislative task force that would study poor air quality in Utah. [Trib]
-> A new proposal would help purchasers receive refunds for items taxed incorrectly. [Trib]
Where are they?
Sen. Orrin Hatch hosts a delegation meeting, meets with the Weber Basin Conservancy District and Rural Water Association of Utah and later holds a teletown hall meeting.
Rep. Rob Bishop goes to the delegation meeting and then hits a Republican Study Committee meeting. The congressman also holds constituent meetings in the morning and evening.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends a Judiciary Committee hearing on transnational organized crime, then goes to an oversight hearing on unions and sits down with the Rural Water Association.
Gov. Gary Herbert accepts the report from the women's college task force, holds a discussion with Republican legislative leaders, meets with CEOs from Utah health supplement companies and then heads to the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympics at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lt. Gov. Greg Bell hands out awards at the Boys & Girls Club meeting at the Capitol, and also attends the Olympic anniversary event.
SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends a Rocky Mountain Power customer and community conference, meets with the Economic Development Corporation of Utah executive committee and hits the Olympic event.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker attends a community development block grant and Emergency Solutions grant funding meeting.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder goes to Rocky Mountain Power's community conference, attends the Economic Development Corporation of Utah board meeting and the Olympic anniversary show.
President Barack Obama attends the Democratic Senate Caucus retreat at National's Park in Washington.
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Thomas Burr and Laura SchmitzTwitter.com/thomaswburr