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News roundup: Romney's Mormon faith could help with voters

Romney's faith may help with voters. Hatch Act under fire. Special session expected.

Happy Thursday! While it's a popular belief that Romney's Mormon religion will be a point of contention for voters, a new study hints that it may actually boost his chances.

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"Our results should not be taken as definitive, particularly because they are not based on a nationally representative sample," according to the authors of a new Brookings Institute report. "But they do suggest that concerns over Mitt Romney's 'religion problem' have been overblown." [WaPost] [NYTimes]

Topping the news: Several public employees, including fired Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, cry foul against the 80-year-old Hatch act that prevents them from running for office if they deal with federal cash. And both sides of the aisle agree the law should be tossed. [Trib]

-> The pressure is on lawmakers to create more restaurant liquor licences. A special session may be in the works to do just that. [ABC4] And that session may be called to fix the big budget oops with state schools as well. [UtahPolicy]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch continues to turn down requests to debate his primary opponent, Dad Liljenquist, and has only agreed to one radio debate. [DNews]

Tweets of the day: @Chris_Moody: "The Romney & Obama camps both complain about trivial reporting. Actual headline today: "Fly lands on Biden's head during speech"

and from @daveweigel: "Just remembered how horrible this election must be for a bigot who hates black people and Mormons. Then laughed."

Happy birthday: To state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck and state Sen. Margaret Dayton.

In other news: Sen. Mike Lee's balanced budget proposal is one of five bills shot down in the Senate. Democrats call it a waste of a day. [Trib]

-> Provo's Municipal Council puts a stop to electronic billboards until they can update the city ordinance, but the billboard companies say they can't wait that long. [Trib]

->Lawmakers are frustrated with a contractor's slow progress on the Lehi-Highlands highway, and like an overdue library book, UDOT is tacking on the late fees. [Trib]

-> Rep. Ryan Wilcox opted for a more zen-like approach to the theft of his laptop and other items. [Trib]

-> State Retirement Funds may have taken a big hit in the recession but appear to be in the upswing. [UtahPolicy]

-> Help for the 280,000 affected by the medical data hack comes with a big price tag, but only a few are asking for it. [Fox13]

-> After the fallout of the medical data hack, Peg McEntree is keeping a close eye on her credit accounts and taking the state's all-is-well message with a grain of salt. [Trib]

-> Utah prisoner population keeps rising and lawmakers are running out of places to put them. [KCPW]

-> Although funds run low, the new state parks director says park closures will happen over his dead body. [KCPW]

-> The EPA is able to carve out a settlement with a natural gas company on behalf of the Ute Nation in the Uinta Basin. [Trib]

-> The DEA wants to track drug traffickers on I-15 with license plate scanners, but the state is weary of the privacy of citizens. [Trib]

-> Utah public lands director is mistrustful of fed's decision to put the Sage Grouse on the endangered species list. [Trib]

-> People interested in the Utah Tar Sands debate can tune in via webcast to the Department of Environmental Qualities hearing on the PR Springs mining project. The hearing continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be found here: [Trib].

2012 watch: The Obama campaign fund-raising is slowing down, but still shows the grassroots support rather then big bucks donors. [Reuters]

-> Karl Rove and company launch a new attack ad emphasizing Obama's broken promises. [CNN]

-> Vice President Joe Biden takes on Ohio, covering all of Obama's campaign bases. Despite being the butt of jokes, pundits consider him an asset. [CNN]

-> Ex-President George W. Bush's endorsement of Romney was subtle and Republicans want to keep it that way. [AP]

-> The Obamas net worth is up to $8.3 million as compared to Romney's $250 million, new filings show. [AP]

-> With the GOP nomination out of their grasps, Romney's former rivals have nothing but praise. Remember what they were saying about him just a few months ago? [AP]

-> The Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez discusses why Obama's pricey Romney/Bain ad was worth it. [WaPost]

-> With survey participation dropping, are political polls such as Pew's still useful? [LATimes]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jim Matheson meets with Utah Petroleum Retailers and sits down with a federal representatives of veterans in federal service suffering from PTSD.
  • Rep. Rob Bishop chats with representatives from the Utah Petroleum Marketers & Retailers Association and attends National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee hearing.
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends a Judiciary Committee hearing for his Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act and meets with 2nd Congressional District Republican nominee Chris Stewart.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert attends his Economic Council Meeting.
  • AG Mark Shurtleff meets with Cobalt Coal CEO Mike Crowder, sits down with Utah PTA Safety and Welfare Commissioner, and dines with PromiseCare Pharmacy CEO Readus Smith and Jay Hampton.
  • SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends a National Association of Counties meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker attends the Utah Theater Business District press event, hits the Wasatch Front Regional Council Air Quality meeting and later heads to the Olympics Exploratory Committee meeting.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with Dr. Wang, a Fulbright scholar from China, meets with Salt Lake Community College officials and attends the Salt Lake County Republican Party Central Committee meeting.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Andreas Rivera

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/andreascrivera



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