Cruz hires heighten 2016 White House bid speculation. Gay couples: SCOTUS should take up same-sex marriage case. Hatch: War may be needed to stop ISIS.
Happy Friday. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is a conservative favorite for a possible run at the White House in 2016 and he's helping fuel the speculation of a run by hiring some political advisers who could help such a bid. Cruz hasn't said whether he'll make a run but he isn't shying away from moves that could help him get to that point. [Politico]
Topping the news: Three gay couples from Utah are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the state's appeal of the its same-sex marriage ban to give a final decision on same-sex marriage nationally. [Trib][DNews][Fox13]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch says ISIS includes the "worst people in the world" and the United States may have to send troops to stop them. [KUTV]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert says the final kink in getting his Healthy Utah plan approved by the feds is the work requirement but he's hopeful he can work it out by the end of September. [Trib]
-> After an audit of Utah's Transit Authority revealed some issues, Herbert is confident that all problems have now been fixed and that the agency is back on track. [Trib]
-> Herbert also says that he isn't in board with a raise in taxes, even if it's to help the state's education system. [UtahPolicy]
Tweet of the day: From @neeratanden: "I'm a little unclear on how you have to be 16 to drive, 18 to vote, 21 to buy alcohol but can legally handle an Uzi at the age of 9."
Happy Birthday: To lobbyist Todd Thorpe, former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright and Republican activist Adam Piner, superlawyer Melissa Galleto and Minnesota's very own Brad Linn. And send your wishes to state Rep. Christopher Herrod and former Trib intern Andreas Rivera on Sunday.
In other news: Gov. Herbert supports state leaders' appeal of a federal judge's ruling to strike down part of the state's bigamy law. [Trib]
-> A BYU student who allegedly groped more than 15 women in the Provo area over a three month period had his preliminary hearing yesterday. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on age-appropriate things for kids. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly tells a story about a traffic cop who went above and beyond duty to help an elderly man exiting a Salt Lake Bees game. [Trib]
-> Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss the state's efforts to wrestle control of federal lands, how the Utah Debate Commission may put a damper on such forums and other Utah political news in this week's videocast. [UtahPolicy]
-> Sen. Mike Lee says Republicans need to take control of the Senate to stop the logjam in Washington. [Spectrum]
Correction: A tease to a story on Wednesday about an audit of UTA mischaracterized the findings. The UTA prepaid a developer $10 million to construct a parking garage - that he never built - and the agency hasn't gotten all the money back.
Nationally: In a candid news conference, President Barack Obama says he doesn't have a strategy yet on how to deal with ISIS but that he's asked the Pentagon to prepare options to deal with the threat. [WaPost][Examiner][NYTimes][WSJ][Politico]
-> Roughly a dozen Americans have traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS, according to law enforcement agencies and American intelligence. [NYTimes]
-> Ukraine is accusing Russia of invading the country after more than 1,000 Russian troops have helped pro-Russian separatists by fighting alongside them and have now captured a key Ukranian town. Ukrainian President Petro O. Poroshenko has cancelled a trip to Turkey because of the turmoil in the country. [WaPost][WSJ][LATimes][NYTimes]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Mallory Jesperson
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