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(Courtesy photo) Rep. Jason Chaffetz
News roundup: Chaffetz's office, now with 40% more cot space

Stewart to Natural Resources, possibly Homeland Security. State auditor-elect to keep most staffers. UTA spends big bucks on lobbyists.

Happy Wednesday. Rep. Jason Chaffetz has a new office, and well, a new home. Chaffetz has abandoned his Longworth space for new digs at 2464 Rayburn. The congressman says it's 40 percent bigger than his old space, large enough, perhaps, that he could get a double cot to replace the one he's been bedding down on for four years now. The new office, sadly, is a little further from the House gym where he goes to get ready in the morning.

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-> Meanwhile, Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch joined the Senate's annual Secret Santa exchange, with Lee offering Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a Batman snuggie. [Trib]

Topping the news: Rep.-elect Chris Stewart lands a spot on the House Natural Resources Committee and is expected to hop onto the Homeland Security and the Science, Space and Technology committees, too. [Trib]

-> The Utah Transit Authority spent an average of $250,000/year lobbying local officials. [KSL] [DNews]

-> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blames House Speaker John Boehner and his team for the fiscal cliff deal's potential post-Christmas delay. [Politico]

Tweetsof the day: From @j_strong: "just heard 'fiscal cliff' used as a verb on CNN #ugh"

In other news: UTA's new FrontRunner extension suffered from "growing pains" during its first few days of operation. [Trib]

-> A group of Mormon feminists is encouraging women to wear pants to church on Sunday as a show of the need for equality in the faith. [Trib] [ABC4]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert asks President Barack Obama to approve Utah's health exchange program. [Trib] [DailyHerald]

-> Utah's auditor-elect John Dougal will keep 29 of the 38 staffers who requested to stay on. [Trib]

-> Several state societies and other groups in Washington are throwing inaugural balls but Utah is not in the mix. Anyone wonder if that might have been different if Mitt Romney had won? [Washingtonian]

-> Environmental groups protest a plan by the Bureau of Land Management to devote some 800,000 acres of land for oil shale and tar sand development. [Trib]

-> On Saturday, Utahns will celebrate the completion of two massive road projects. [Trib]

-> SL County Mayor Peter Corroon reflects back on the highs and lows of his eight years in office. [KSL]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on Dixie State College's name controversy. [Trib]

-> The SL Chamber's Natalie Gochnour suggests how you can help out those in need in Utah this holiday season and beyond. [UtahBusiness]

-> Paul Rolly weighs in on lobbyist discrepancies and questionable lauding. [Trib]

-> The SL Council passes a resolution that says immigrations should be treated with respect and dignity -- no matter their legal status. [Trib]

-> A consortium of conservation groups and Snake Valley residents say a Utah-Nevada pact on water sharing is a raw deal and Gov. Gary Herbert should renegotiate it. [Trib]

Where are they?

  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert reviews the budget with education leaders, makes a budget announcement and holds a budget discussion with newspaper editorial boards.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker heads to Washington for an Environmental Protection Agency Local Government Advisory Committee meeting.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends the Herriman holiday open house before heading to a choir concert at Valley Junior High.
  • President Barack Obama holds an afternoon conference call with a bipartisan group of mayors and community leaders in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the upcoming fiscal cliff.

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 Betsy Blanchard

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard

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