Special Session to tackle liquor licenses. Lee weighs in on Supreme Court possibility. Huntsman not on the ballot.
Happy Wednesday. It's Special Session Day: The Utah Legislature will be back at the Capitol today to discuss liquor licenses, the public education budget, a few issues with the Attorney General's Office and outside counsel and expert witnesses, and also to consider removing a question about a cultural tax slated for this fall's ballot. The docket also includes possible modifications to nursing accreditation programs and to consider gubernatorial appointments. The session begins at 3 p.m. Mountain Time. Expect the liquor issue to dominate the time and the discussion could go late. And you can follow the developments here: [Le.Utah.Gov]
-> Adding the proposed 90 liquor licenses is only a temporary fix, though, and lawmakers will be back to deal with the problem next year. [DNews]
Topping the news: Sen. Mike Lee says that if the Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, then Congress' power will be limitless. And he doesn't think that's a good thing. [Politico]
-> A ballot question on raising sales tax to benefit museums and parks across the state is likely to be pulled after conservatives raised concerns that its not a good time to be talking about any tax hike. [UtahPolicy]
-> Ex-Utah Guv Mike Leavitt tells The Tribune he plans to spend a lot of time at the U.S. Capitol in preparing for a Romney presidency. [Trib]
-> Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. won't even be a choice on Utah's GOP primary ballot, although other ex-White House contenders will be. [ABC4]
Tweet of the day: From @UTferalcat: "Rep Oda's bill over a year ago was the first stage in a government take over of the feral way of life. The fight begins now!"
Happy birthday: To state Sens. Stephen Urquhart and Jerry Stevenson.
In other news: The feds say it will take three years and cost millions to fix the leaks in Navajo Lake, but locals who depend on it for tourism say they can't wait that long. [Trib]
-> The House passes Rep. Rob Bishop's bill that allows border patrol agents to bypass environmental laws within 100 miles of America's international lines. Democrats and environmentalists charge the bill is a ploy to undermine decades-old protections. [Trib]
-> State Sen. Ben McAdams is far ahead of his GOP rivals in the cash race for SL county mayor. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly backs up his characterization of the Digital Bridge deal after Red Meat Radio fired back at him. [Trib]
-> The state gets a hefty revenue source out of cigarette taxes, but what happens when people go out of states to buy smokes or just stop smoking? [Trib]
-> UTA is bombarded with tweets criticizing the elimination of free-fare zones. The transit authority fires back. [Trib]
-> The Department of the Interior approves 1,300 new natural gas wells from Gasco, much to the dismay of environmentalists. [DNews]
-> Utah Policy takes you on a tour of Mike Winder's campaign office. [UtahPolicy]
-> Utah's revenue figures are looking better, with the possibility of a $60 million surplus this year. [UtahPolicy]
-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz's latest bill gives the thumbs up for a hydroelectric plant between Strawberry Reservoir and the Wasatch Front. [Herald]
-> Two Democrats are duking it out for the 1st Congressional District nomination, a big plus in a seat that the party often struggles to recruit a candidate for. [DNews]
-> Abby Huntsman has landed a gig as a host-producer of HuffPost Live. [Examiner]
-> Pat Bagley's take on Chris Stewart's response to attacks from his own party. [Trib]
-> Mormon politicians and Mormon baseball players don't like "clown questions, bro," as Harry Reid channels Bryce Harper. [LATimes]
-> Romney denies early reports that Marco Rubio is out of the picture and says he is in fact considering the Florida senator for his running mate. [Reuters]
-> CBS' John Dickerson says Romney isn't likely to open up about his Mormon faith on the trail. [CBSNews]
-> However, Romney is more loose and gaffe-free on the stump these days. [AP]
-> The candidates' supporters continue the "war of the hecklers" as both the Romney and Obama campaigns seem to condemn and condone the efforts the same time. [CNN]
-> Romney says his home-state of Michigan is key to victory. However, the shadow of his well-documented take on the auto-industry bailout looms over the candidate. [Politico]
-> Unlike his son, Ron Paul is not so quick to endorse Romney. His quest for delegates continues. [CNN]
Where are they?
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-- Thomas Burr and Andreas Rivera
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