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(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) L-R Alish Megan and Julie Ogden, Sunnyvale California, and Mikaela Dufur, Orem, hold a sign at the ìCelebrate Marriage Equality Rallyî at Washington Square,Monday, December 23, 2013.
News roundup: GOP donors align to push gay rights, immigration reform

GOP donors to nudge party toward gay rights, immigration reform. Study: Voters want to protect Western lands. New bill would retract exemption for charter school siting.

Happy Tuesday. Some of the GOP's biggest donors are joining forces to try and nudge their party toward supporting gay rights, immigration reform and Israel, a move that could add a new center of gravity as the party struggles to find its way. It's still smaller, though, than the effort by the Koch brothers. [Politico]

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Topping the news: A new poll shows that a majority of Western voters support protecting public lands and keeping them in federal hands. [Trib]

-> A lawmaker wants to take away charter schools free-reign to build wherever they like. [Trib]

Tweet of the day: From @SenTedCruz: "Well, five years in, it looks like President Obama's stimulus did actually create jobs. Unfortunately, they're all at the IRS and NSA."

Happy Birthday: To state Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan.

On the Hill: Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, talks about his bill to make the AG a gubernatorial appointment rather than an elected position on Trib Talk. [Trib]

-> Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, is proposing legislation that would allow homeowners and other customers to buy electricity produced by renewable sources. [Trib]

-> Sen. Aaron Osmond says Utah needs to shift public education away from "seat time" and focus on getting results. [UtahPolicy] The senator plays a lightning round with Bryan Schott. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bob Bernick says that the alternative legislation to Count My Vote fall short of achieving that Utahns want. [UtahPolicy]

-> Legislation to put restrictions on e-cigarettes will come before a House committee this week. [Fox13]

In other news: The U.S. Forest Service reached a deal with with environmentalists to keep oil rigs out of 1.3 million acres of the 1.7 million the agency had planned to lease. [Trib]

-> USU will host a summit to help officials come up with ways to keep the greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list. [DNews]

-> The Salt Lake City School District is going to start an independent audit into why students had their lunches thrown away at Uintah Elementary last month. [Trib]

-> The Salt Lake City Council is looking to build an Olympic Legacy Park downtown. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly discusses some teachers' concerns about the online test Granite District uses to measure the progress of its students. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on what the NRA stands for now. [Trib]

Nationally: Trying to avoid a fight with some tea party members, House Republicans plan to only push popular measures this year and avoid hot-button issues that could tear the caucus apart. [WaPost]

-> Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are trying to play nice -- and avoid spats with their own tea party members -- ahead of the mid-term elections. [NYTimes]

-> Mitt Romney's niece has been elected to the Republican National Committee, one of two people representing Michigan. [Freep]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Chris Stewart speaks to an AP government class at Bountiful High School and meets with Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis. He will also meet with state Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and speaks the the Senate.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert offers remarks at the Sage-grouse Summit, meets with Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and Rep. Dean Sanpei, R-Provo, and later meets with Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and House Speaker Becky Lockhart.
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at Utah State Bar Legislative Day and hits the Vision and Mission Meeting.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams attends the Wasatch Front Regional Council Legislative Meeting and meets with Deputy Mayor Nichole Dunn and County Public Works Director Russ Wall. He will also speak at the BYU Faculty Dinner and go to a townhall meeting with unincorporated SL Co. Residents.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker hits legislative meetings, a scheduling conference and City Council meetings.
  • President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at a Safeway Distribution Center, meets with leaders from African American civil rights groups, sits down with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and holds a screening of The Monuments Men with the cast 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 Topher Webb

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb

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