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News roundup: Romney co-chair sues Mother Jones magazine

Romney co-chair sues Mother Jones mag. Legal experts weigh in on Swallow. Should sex offenders be banned from school board bids.

Happy Friday. A former co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is suing Mother Jones -- but not for the infamous "47 percent" story the magazine broke. Instead, the Idaho businessman says Mother Jones defamed him during the campaign for depicting him as a "gay basher." [Slate]

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-> Romney's campaign, by the way, gave $90,000 to relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy. [Politico]

-> Rounding out the Romney news, his campaign forked over big payments to three companies led by his top aides in the waning days of the campaign. [HuffPost]

Topping the news: Legal experts weigh in on whether AG John Swallow may have broke any laws or shattered any ethical lines. [Trib]

-> Read excerpts from the Krispy Kreme sit down between Swallow and indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson. [Trib]

-> Utah lawmakers are considering a bill barring registered sex offenders from running for school board -- a move born out of such a situation last year. [Trib]

Tweet of the day: From @AriFleischer: "After yesterday's hearing, I'm very worried about what Chuck Hagel as SecDef would do if he was awakened by a 10:00am"

And from @‏KevinMaddenDC: "Reminded of one of Ed Koch's best comeback lines: 'I can explain it to you, but I cannot comprehend it for you.'"

In other news: Rep. Chris Stewart lauds the passage of "No Budget, No Pay," and says it's about time Congress force itself to do its job. [KSL]

-> Taylorsville's City Council tapped attorney Brad Christopherson to take over a seat left by outgoing member Jerry Rechtenbach, completing a shake-up of the council after Rechtenbach filled in for Mayor Russ Wall, who left to join Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams' team. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the governor's response to Utah's smog problem. [Trib]

-> People living in counties with higher percentages of protected lands tend to have higher incomes, according to a new study. [Trib]

-> American Fork's former city treasurer was sentenced to 45 days in jail and ordered to pay back the $80,000 that she stole from the city's coffer. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly reports some sensational comments by a tea party-backed Utah GOP official. [Trib]

-> Despite numerous job perks, members of Congress have a slightly lower life expectancy than the average American. [Inquirer]

-> The solution to the GOP's woes might be former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who would have appealed to independents, some women and Latinos had he been tapped as the Republican presidential candidate. [AmericanConservative]

-> The Washington Legislature is weighing a bill named after Braden and Charlie Powell, the slain sons of Josh Powell, that would prohibit suspects in active homicide investigations from having custody awarded to them. [Trib]

From the Hill: Check out the daily legislative schedule here. [Trib]

-> An initial crafting of the state's public education budget passed through the Senate. Any additional funding can be added later, but lawmakers wanted to at least have a skeleton budget for schools in case the bill meets opposition. [Trib]

-> In an ironic twist, the lights in the Senate went out as Rep. Jim Matheson spoke to state lawmakers about the need to figure out affordable energy, along with immigration and the fiscal cliff. [Trib] [Herald]

-> As Matheson was speaking to state lawmakers, his former opponent, Mia Love, happend to be wandering the halls of the Capitol, too. [UtahPolicy]

-> Utah's eight public colleges are asking for $70 million this year from the Legislature, with $20 million of that sum going towards the governor's "66 by 2020" plan. [Trib]

-> A small step towards reducing Utah's smoggy winter air, a proposed bill would require state officials to create a website to educate citizens about the health effects of the inversion. [Trib]

-> With fingers crossed, an LGBT group is hopeful that a non-discrimination bill may pass through the legislature this year, modeling ordinances in several local communities including Salt Lake City. [Fox13]

-> GOP lawmakers aren't sure how they're going to pay the $5.6 million court settlement to the attorney managing the FLDS trust. [UtahPolicy]

-> Veterans coming back to school would have an easier time earning college credit for military training, thanks to proposed bill. [Trib]

-> A bill that would raise the speed limit to 80 mph on some rural freeways passed through a committee hearing last night. [Trib]

-> Expect a vote from the Senate on its proposed pay changes by the end of the week.

[DNews]

-> Bob Bernick says lawmakers are still underpaid. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bernick and Bryan Schott discuss this week's news, including the idea that Swallow may want to turn into a turtle. [UtahPolicy]

-> Candidates would be able to accept anonymous campaign contributions up to $100, if a bill passed by the House yesterday does well in the Senate. [DNews]

Nationally: Former senator and Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel had a rough confirmation day in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as he dodged questions from Sen. John McCain and defended his sometimes-controversial positions.

[NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico] [APviaTrib]

-> Sen. Mike Lee didn't make the hearing any easier on Hagel, with tough questions about the nominee's views on Israel. [Trib]

-> The chief of the NRA described background checks for selling firearms as "burdensome." [Trib]

-> Congress has sent a delay on raising the debt ceiling to President Barack Obama's desk, with the bill passing the Senate yesterday. [APviaTrib] [WaPost]

-> Some insiders and environmentalists say REI executive Sally Jewell could be in the running for Secretary of the Interior, despite her lack of political experience. [WaPost]

Where are they?

  • Utah Governor Gary Herbert hits an interfaith roundtable event, has a meeting about moving the Utah State Prison, holds a Cabinet meeting, prepares for the Western Governors Association meeting and hits the legislative open house at the Governor's Mansion.
  • Utah Attorney General John Swallow flies back to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles and has his quarterly update with the governor.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder hits his city's strategic planning retreat.
  • President Barack Obama awards the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation at the White House.

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 Emily Andrews

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/emilytandrews



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