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J. Scott Applewhite | AP file photo The Capitol in Washington, D.C.
News roundup: Congress could be even more unproductive this year

Congress could be even more unproductive. Poll: Utahns split on gay marriage. Mitt Romney dancing; need we say more.

Happy Tuesday. If you thought last year's Congress was all about doing nothing, just wait for this year! With elections only 10 months away, and Congress still split, keep an eye out for show votes and partisan bickering that could rival the horribly unsuccessful 2013 that we saw in Washington. [Politico]

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-> There is some good news, though, as congressional negotiators have unveiled a $1.1 trillion spending bill that both sides believe could pass. [FoxNews]

Topping the news: Utahns are evenly split -- 48 percent for, 48 percent against -- the idea of same-sex marriage, according to a new Tribune poll. Nearly three-quarters of residents, though, support allowing civil unions or domestic partnerships, a stark change in attitude from a decade ago. [Trib]

-> By the end of December, 18,633 Utahns had selected an insurance plan through Healthcare.gov compared to 1,865 in November. And a good portion of those signing up are young adults, a key demographic that's needed to make the whole Obamacare plan work. [Trib] [Herald]

-> If you haven't seen it yet, here's Mitt Romney dancing -- albeit briefly -- on stage at a Mormon youth conference in Arizona. [Trib] Romney is in Utah today and points to anyone who gets a question to him about this.

Tweet of the day: From @Kristine_ish: "Haha. Oh man, you know you've slept through a good news night when you wake up to Mitt Romney dancing."

Happening today: SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams delivers his State of the County address and Aimee Newton is sworn in as the first Republican woman on the County Council. Also, Gov. Gary Herbert meets with President Barack Obama as a member of the Executive Committer of the National Governors Association.

In other news: Herbert is asking the Legislature for $2 million for school counseling to help achieve the goal of having 66 percent of adults have some sort of post-secondary education by 2020. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> The Utah National Guard says the state could lose more than 200 jobs if the U.S. Army takes back the 16 Apache helicopters located in Utah. [Trib] [DNews]

-> An association of oil and gas producers is appealing a BLM decision that pulled 57 leases, arguing that it was a political move. [DNews]

-> A former aide to Rep. Jason Chaffetz plead not guilty to charges that he lied about being wounded in Iraq in order to get disability benefits. [DNews]

-> Some public education groups such as the PTA and Utah Education Association support the Count My Vote effort to reform the caucus-convention system. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Debate on a bill that would prohibit discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity heats up after Judge Robert Shelby's ruling that temporarily legalized same-sex marriage in the state. [DNews]

-> Over 32,000 people have signed a petition asking AG Sean Reyes to drop the fight against same-sex marriage. [ABC4]

-> Utah has expanded and refined its case against same-sex marriage in its filings with the Supreme Court. [NYTimes]

-> State Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, is proposing 1.5 cent per gallon increase of the gas tax to help fund roads. Nielson said, "I think it's a very strong conservative principle that the ones who use a resource should be the ones who pay for it." [KUER] [Herald] But there may be serious blowback from fellow lawmakers who don't want to hike anything. [UtahPolicy]

-> There could be some movement toward a compromise that would expand Medicaid in Utah, though the Legislature might sock money away in case the feds don't come through as promised with funding. [UtahPolicy]

-> UTA is working on ways to make trains and buses more reliable as well as making the riding experience more enjoyable. [DNews]

-> Utah has filed court documents trying to get a case tossed challenging the state law that prohibits trespassing on private property to record images of a livestock operation. The state says the plaintiffs haven't shown an immediate threat of prosecution. [Herald]

-> Jon Huntsman's daughter Mary Anne, a classically trained pianist, will play at New York's Carnegie Hall for charity. [USNews]

Nationally: Americans ages 18 to 34 make up less than 25 percent of those who signed up for health plans on state and federal insurance marketplaces. [WaPost]

-> According to documents, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's campaign manager canceled meetings and cut off connection with the mayor of Jersey City after he declined to endorse Christie. [BergenRecord]

-> The Supreme Court refused to reinstate an Arizona law prohibiting most abortions after 20 weeks or pregnancy. [WaPost]

-> A woman challenging a law creating a buffer zone free of protesters around abortion clinics said she poses no threat and has persuaded more than 80 women to not have abortions despite the buffer zone. She said the zone prohibits her from talking to more women. [NYTimes]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz hits a GOP conference meeting, a Judiciary hearing, a Complete America reception and appears on CNN's Crossfire and holds a tele-town hall meeting.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert reviews the State of the State address, attends a Governor's meeting in Washington and meets with President Obama.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams gives the State of the County address.
  • President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting, meets with NBA champions Miami Heat, the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Maria Shriver.

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 Topher Webb

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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