Herbert's $13 billion budget. NSA stockpiles cell phone records. The challenge to Utah's same-sex marriage ban.
Happy Thursday. Get an inside look at the grungy row house occupied by three of the most powerful Democrats in the nation. It has a rat problem, a hole in the stove, clothes thrown everywhere and a music selection that hasn't changed since 1982. If you've seen the new Amazon Prime show Alpha House, this is worse. Way worse. [CNN] (video)
Topping the news: Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled his $13.3 billion budget, asking lawmakers to boost public ed spending by $100 per pupil, expand the state prison in Gunnison and give more help to colleges as well as a raise to state employees. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [KUTV] [Fox13] [UtahPolicy]
-> A Salt Lake City Methodist pastor was in Washington this week to participate in the Fast for Families in support of passing comprehensive immigration reform. The man he replaced didn't eat for 22 days. [Trib]
-> New documents show the National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones, meaning the agency can track the movements of individuals in more detailed ways than previously thought. [WaPost]
Tweet of the day: From @ryanbeckwith: "Autocorrect really wants me to write about the latest Snowmen revelations. Can't spell SANTA without NSA."
Happy birthday: To SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams.
In other news: The Tea Party Express rolled into Utah on Wednesday to endorse Sen. Mike Lee three years before his re-election. Supporters say they needed to show support for the freshman senator as others eye possible challenges. [Trib] [UtahPolicy] [DNews]
-> U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby will decide the constitutionality of Utah's same-sex marriage laws, and said his decision will hinge on whether the three couples who filed the lawsuit want a new right, or want access to an existing, fundamental right to state-sanctioned marriages. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on the GOP's comments about saying happy holidays. [Trib]
-> Rep. Chris Stewart may only be a freshman but he's earned a coveted spot on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. The move likely means he'll lose his chairmanship of a subcommittee over the environment. [Trib]
-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz makes it clear that the GOP isn't planning a repeat of the government shutdown in his appearance on Crossfire. [CNN]
-> Utah regulators approved a comprehensive plan to improve the Wasatch Front's winter air, but critics say it'll take six years to put into place and barely meet federal standards. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13]
-> UTA officials showed off the Sugar House Streetcar line, officially called the S-Line, which is ready for passengers, and offers a unique perspective on public transportation. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [Fox13]
-> Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., say they are out to restore the founders' patent system and want to get rid of patent trolling. [NatReview]
Nationally: President Barack Obama urged supporters of his signature health care law to keep pushing for the cause, noting that he, too, was once a "young invincible" and that the message needs to get out to young Americans. [Politico]
-> A man was arrested Wednesday after throwing an object over the White House fence. No explosives were found but the area was cordoned off for some time as authorities investigated. [WaPost]
-> Meanwhile, the Obama's second dog, Sunny, knocked down a young girl helping with the holiday decorations, creating a memorable photo and earning a hug from First Lady Michelle Obama. [Buzzfeed] [WaPost]
-> A deal on the federal budget may get a vote in the House as soon as next week. It could be a huge win for Rep. Paul Ryan and boost his chances to be the next Republican presidential candidate. [LATimes]
-> Police in Newton, Conn., have released the audio of 911 calls during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary last year and they reveal the haunting, yet calm, concerns by teachers and others at the school asking for help. [NYTimes]
Where are they?
-- Matt Canham and Thomas Burr
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