Lawmakers start general session. Romney says he'll speak up. Senators unveil immigration plans.
Happy Monday. The Utah Legislature gavels open this morning for its 45-day general session, and it's likely we're in for an interesting ride on issues ranging from guns to health care to ethics reform. The Trib's power team, Robert Gehrke, Lee Davidson and David Montero, will be camping out on the Hill to bring you the latest news. Take a look at the Trib's roadmap of the Legislature, with information on contacting your representatives, following bills, and more. [Trib]
-> Political Cornflakes, too, will bring you a daily roundup from the Hill, starting with a quick run down below.
Topping the news: Mitt Romney says he purposefully kept a low-profile since his failed presidential bid but that he's not going away. During a D.C.-fundraiser, Romney promised to speak up on issues that matter to him in the future. [Politico]
-> Nearly $9 of every $10 raised by incoming Utah lawmakers came from special interests in the last election. [Trib]
- The "Gang of Eight" senators has released its plan for comprehensive immigration reform that allows a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants that hinges on more border control and an citizenship verification system. [NYTimes] See the plan here: [NYTimes].
From the Hill: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say that this year's session will hit a more centrist tone, with fewer message bills expected. [Trib]
-> Ethics reforms, gun control, preschool funding and expanding Medicaid will be hot topics during this year's session. [Trib]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb offer their take on the five issues to be looking out for in this year's legislative session. [DNews]
-> Utah lawmakers may have to come back later this year to re-balance the state budget in light of congressional tinkering. [UtahPolicy]
Tweet of the day: From @sausagegrinder: "A quick reminder to media: If you don't have your #utleg credentials for session, your concealed carry permit is an acceptable alternative"
Happy birthday: To Clarity Sanderson and to PWC's Matt Dobias.
Opinion section: Three drafters of the new Utah Outdoor Recreation Vision laud the plan for its economic benefits and health merits. [Trib]
-> A professor breaks down the linguistics of the Second Amendment, arguing that the clause doesn't include an "individual right" to bear arms. [Trib]
-> A community advocate pleads with Utah's leaders to reduce smog. [Trib]
-> An educator decries economic inequalities in Utah's public school system. [Trib]
-> Chad Mullins, former chairman of the Salt Lake County Bicycle Advisory Committee, takes a look at "active transportation" issues. [Trib]
-> The president of the Utah Education Association asks lawmakers to slow down on slapping new rules on teachers. [Trib]
-> George Pyle takes a hard look at UTA's future. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly lays out the depth of the tobacco lobby in Utah. [Trib]
-> Moving the Utah State Prison in the interest of developing the land that it sits on is a violation of the public's trust, argues John Florez. [DNews]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says President Barack Obama's second-term goals are unrealistic and ignore reality. [DNews]
Weekend in review: An examination of the money trail in the case of embattled Utah Attorney General John Swallow points to a Las Vegas lawyer with ties to Sen. Harry Reid. [Trib]
-> Federal officials confirmed that Swallow is indeed under investigation by both the Department of Justice and the FBI. [Trib]
-> Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love said that the GOP needs to "end slavery from the federal government." [NationalJournal]
-> Utah sheriffs don't have to enforce federal laws on guns, but they can't obstruct the duty of federal officers either. [Trib]
-> Environmental activists are gearing up to legally challenge EPA haze reduction plans that would affect public lands in Utah. [Trib]
-> A group of Native Americans aligned with the Idle No More movement protested against tar sands drilling and its implications on tribal rights at City Creek on Saturday night. [Fox13]
-> The number of driving privilege cards issued to illegal immigrants took a dip last year. [Trib]
-> Former Gov. Jon Huntsman landed a visiting fellow position at Harvard University, where he will lead discussions and study groups in April. [Trib]
-> A government study of the Colorado River basin found that water reuse and other conservation measures have to be a top priority to ensure water security in the region.
-> Utah news organizations will keep their eyes peeled for any changes to GRAMA, Utah's public records law, during this year's legislative session. [DNews]
-> Utah Democrats celebrated the largest fundraiser in their history this weekend as they prepared for the legislative session. [DNews]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Emily Andrews
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