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FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2014 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Holder called on a group of states Tuesday to restore voting rights to ex-felons, part of a push to fix what he sees as flaws in the criminal justice system that have a disparate impact on racial minorities. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
News roundup: Holder to state AG's: You don't have to defend gay marriage bans

Holder to state AG's: You don't have to defend gay marriage bans. New debate commission forms. House passes GOP alternative to Medicaid expansion.

Happy Tuesday. Attorney General Eric Holder says that his state counterparts don't have to defend laws that are likely unconstitutional -- gay marriage bans, for example, he says -- and urged them to apply scrutiny before jumping on board to take on such cases. "Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that's appropriate for an attorney general to do," Holder said. Obviously aimed at Republicans attorneys general, it's doubtful that it'll affect Utah's defense of Amendment 3. [NYTimes]

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Topping the news: A group of educators, news media and politicians announced the start of the Utah Debate Commission which will plan and air political debates for federal and state elections. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV] [UtahPolicy]

-> The Republican-backed alternative to a federally funded Medicaid expansion passed a House committee. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The 13 activists arrested during a protest calling for lawmakers to consider a bill banning housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity planned to plead not guilty, but found that charges had not yet been filed against them. They're organizing a rally at the Capitol next week. [Trib]

-> A House committee advanced a resolution to move the state prison in Draper. [Trib][DNews] [Herald]

Tweet of the day: From @utahsenate: "We couldn't help ourselves. We give you Jedi @JimDabakis. instagram.com/p/kz_xBVIfvX/"

On the Hill: You guessed it, they're holding more meetings. Today's schedule. [Trib]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz doesn't support the Count My Vote initiative. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald]

-> The House Rules Committee, through a technicality, avoided voting on a resolution allowing lawmakers to abstain from casting ballots on legislation when they have a conflict of interest. [Trib] [UtahPolicy]

-> Two key immigration reform laws may need to be repealed soon if the feds don't provide waivers. [Trib] [Herald]

-> A House committee advanced legislation requiring candidates to pay a fine if they do not disclose their donors within 30 days. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The House passed a bill to ban panhandling along state freeways and highways, a move that would also bar candidate honk and waves as well as fireman fill-the-boot drives in the same areas. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers are considering two competing bills dealing with the NSA data center in Bluffdale. [Fox13]

-> The House passed a bill to reform payday loans in the state. [Trib]

-> Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, discusses his proposal to raise registration fees on alternative fuel vehicles in The Trib's "In Their Own Words." [Trib]

-> While allowing cities to buy renewable energy would stimulate demand, it may also drive up electricity prices. [Trib]

-> Legislation to charge a fee to those who put electricity back on the grid with solar panels passed a Senate committee. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A bill to give an income tax credit for those who purchase monthly transit passes for bad-air months passed a House panel. [Trib]

-> Lawmakers are waiting for the courts to rule on stream access before considering the issue on Capitol Hill. [Trib]

-> A bill criminalizing revenge porn passed a Senate committee. [DNews] [ABC4]

-> A Senate committee passed legislation allowing alternative high schools and new schools to opt out of the state system that grades schools. [DNews] [KUER]

-> The Senate moved closer to a final vote on legislation to fund after school programs for children in poverty. [DNews]

-> Legislation creating nonpartisan elections state school board elections passed a House committee. [DNews]

-> The House gave its nod to legislation to expand the size of a parent board that reviews statewide testing materials. [DNews]

-> On the Hill, charter schools showed lawmakers what they are up to. [DNews] [ABC4] So did students in integrated arts programs. [DNews]

-> A Senate panel approved a bill to extend a program giving treatment to children with autism spectrum disorder. [DNews]

-> A House committee advanced legislation aimed at protecting voter registration information. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A new measure would make it harder to get citizen initiatives on the ballot. [UtahPolicy]

-> Sens. Jim Dabakis and Steve Urquhart plan to bring members of the LGBT community and state leaders together Wednesday for an amicable conversation. [UtahPolicy]

-> Putting the creation of Millcreek City on the November ballot is up in the air because of legislation that would change county government and freeze boundaries as they were at the beginning of the year. [Trib]

-> Legislation clarifying that on federal land, the sheriff is the primary state law enforcement officer passed a Senate committee. [DNews]

-> A Senate panel advanced a bill allowing cities to levy fees to pay for debt of installing and running telecommunications systems such as UTOPIA. [Herald]

-> Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox talks about the potential for a Medicaid expansion and improving education. [UtahPolicy]

In other news: At the White House on Monday, Gov. Gary Herbert pressed President Barack Obama to help Western states dealing with droughts. [Trib]

-> Herbert also said he is encouraged by Obama's pledge to work with states on Medicaid expansion. [DNews]

-> Sen. Mike Lee earns a perfect score from the Club for Growth, a conservative group that helped get him elected. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on those business folk who don't want to raise the minimum wage. [Trib]

Nationally: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is proposing shrinking the Army to its lowest size in 74 years, closing bases and reshaping the armed forces. [APviaTrib]

-> Serving since 1955, Rep. John Dingall, the dean of the House, will not seek re-election to a Congress that he says he doesn't recognize anymore. [WaPost]

-> After Obama and members of his Cabinet met with some of the nation's governors, a couple of the chief executives got testy outside the West Wing. [WaPost]

-> Republican lawmakers and governors around the country are looking for alternatives to Medicaid expansion while still accepting federal funds. [WaPost]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz meets with the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals and later with House Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart flies to Washington and also meets with the Utah Association of Elementary School Principals. Later, he meets with Utah's State Commander of Disabled American Veterans and the Water Research Foundation before voting and presiding on the House floor.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Summit Sotheby's International Reality president (and former Utah GOP chairman) Thomas Wright, National Commander of the American Legion Dan Dellinger, and later with aides Derek Miller, Wes Smith and Marty Carpenter. He also meets with legislative interns from the Hinckley Institute of Politics, UVU and SLCC leaders and holds a Boards and Commissions review
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox hits a legislative strategy meeting.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams attends the Utah Refugee Center Steering Team meeting, a County Council meeting and a County Council hearing.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker goes to a department directors meeting, a Utah Performing Arts Center meeting and hold a press availability.
  • President Barack Obama meets with House Speaker John Boehner and speaks on manufacturing institutes. He will also speak at the National Organizing Summit and at the Organizing for Action dinner.

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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