Utah's National Parks downplay sequester impact. Feds release illegal immigrants to save money. Eagle Mountain has Cayman Island account.
Happy Wednesday. Immigration officials released a number of detainees slated for deportation this week to save some cash, a move to prepare for the budget slimming sequester that Republican call ridiculous. [FoxNews] [Politico]
Topping the news: While top people at the Interior Department warn that the sequester would seriously harm national parks, Utah's five parks say they'll be able to handle it with just some small changes. [Trib]
-> The House passed a bill with broad bipartisan support that would create a "safe harbor" for firearms -- allowing citizens to voluntarily give their guns to police for 60 days if they're faced with a mental health crisis. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Overseas investors with accounts held in the Cayman Islands like Mitt Romney and Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew have another addition to their ranks: the city of Eagle Mountain. [Herald]
Tweets of the day: From @th_wright: "In the race for POTUS the Democrats have built a machine while Republicans have run campaigns. GOP needs to build a machine."
From @JWGOP: "The only thing Washington has perfected in the last 12 years is the blame game. Consummate professionals -- bi-partisan even - at that."
Happy birthday: To state Sen. Wayne Harper.
In other news: Despite harboring some reservations, Sen. Orrin Hatch voted to move Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew's confirmation a step forward. [Trib]
-> However, Hatch joined Sen. Mike Lee in opposing former Sen. Chuck Hagel's confirmation as Defense Secretary. Hagel was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 58 to 41. [Trib]
-> Rep. Jim Matheson urged House leaders to make members work in D.C. longer, an idea that Rep. Rob Bishop dislikes. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert spent $60,000 on clean air public service announcements, an attempt to show the public that he takes the issue seriously. [UtahPolicy]
-> Paul Rolly reports that Utah's two political parties are planning dueling minority appreciation events at the end of the legislative session. [Trib]
-> State Auditor John Dougall released his first in a string of promised "performance audits" -- this time targeting the Utah Retirement Systems for public employees. [Trib]
-> Bryan Schott argues that Utah Democrats are missing an opportunity by not making a bigger fuss over the federal investigations into AG John Swallow and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell. [UtahPolicy]
-> Herbert appoints a Logan City prosecutor to fill a vacancy on the 1st District bench. [Trib]
Heard on the Hill: "This bill does not forgive DUI. It allows redemption of those who made a mistake." — Rep. Doug Sagers, R-Tooele, before House passage of his HB128 to mandatory driver's license suspension from two years to six months for those under age 19 convicted of drunken driving.
"It’s kind of like a bad marriage. There’s not a lot of good communication going on.… There is certainly no agreement on solutions, and it’s always the other one’s fault that caused the problem. So they need counseling." — Gov. Gary Herbert on the climate in Washington, D.C., during his recent trip.
From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]
-> Tattoo parlors would be required to photocopy IDs to prove that their customers were 18 before they were inked without parental consent, under a new bill. [Trib]
-> A Senate committee gave a nod to a bill that would close the "Swallow loophole" that would require top state officials to play by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to outside consulting gigs. [Trib] [Herald]
-> Utah's Medicaid investigator would find their powers limited by a hospital-backed bill that, while not eliminating its watchdog status, would clamp down on their investigative powers. [Trib]
-> A House bill that would make it a primary offense to not wear your seatbelt on roads with speed limits over 45 mph failed to make it through a committee hearing, though a similar bill is advancing in the Senate. [Trib] [Herald]
-> The spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic hitch-hikers could be thwarted by a new bill that would limit shore driving and boat launches at Bear Lake. [Trib]
-> Rep. Ronda Menlove is amending an earlier bill that would allow property owners to shoot turkeys at any time -- regardless of the season -- and without a license, which alarmed wildlife officials. [Trib]
-> A new bill would require online retailers to collect sales tax, which would bring in an estimated $180 million for the state. [DNews]
-> Sen. Aaron Osmond is sponsoring a bill to create a $3 million grant program that would bring more tablets and computers to classrooms. [Herald]
-> Despite some pushback earlier in the session, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that allows the state forester to restrict target shooting when wildfire danger is high.
-> A bill that gives the state engineer a broader oversight of water rights issues passed through the Senate after much debate. [Trib]
-> George Sutherland, a famous Utah lawyer who became a Supreme Court justice, may have a new courthouse named after him -- if Utah's Congressional delegation heeds the advice of a resolution passed by a House committee. [Trib]
-> Salt Lake City would be on its own if it wanted to build a convention hotel downtown, and it won't be able to receive taxpayer subsidies for the project, thanks to a new bill passed by a Senate committee. [Trib]
-> Restaurant chains that want to open new locations would have an easier time serving booze, with just one master license required instead of individual licenses for each location, thanks to a new bill. [DNews]
-> The sequester, slated to go into effect on Friday, would hit big cities and military towns the hardest. [WaPost]
-> Senate Republicans are considering a proposal to keep the $85 billion in cuts under the sequester this year, but to give the president more flexibility on how to implement them. [Politico]
Where are they?
-- Matt Canham and Emily Andrews
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