Happy New Year. Here are some reflections of last year and predictions for 2018:
2017 reflection • Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz leaves Congress to take a job with Fox News.
2018 prediction • Chaffetz is never seen on Fox News.
2017 reflection • Chaffetz’s decision to leave Congress just a few months after he ran for and won re-election costs the counties in his 3rd District thousand of dollars to administer a special election to replace him.
2018 prediction • Chaffetz emerges from obscurity, giving speeches and sending out news releases, suggesting he may run for governor in 2020. He touts as his reason for doing so his commitment to protecting the Utah taxpayer from any unnecessary expenditures.
2017 reflection • Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes goes to court to prevent the public from learning his office’s legal opinion about how special elections for Congress should be conducted. It’s the latest in a plethora of moves he has made to keep secret the business of his office.
2018 prediction • Reyes continues to stage fundraisers to bolster his campaign account and suggests he, too, might run for governor in 2020. He points to his commitment to transparency and open government as one of the reasons he would be a good chief executive.
2017 reflection • Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, becomes frustrated with the lack of leadership on the homelessness and opioid issues, so he jumps in to take the lead in finding ways to fix those problems.
2018 prediction • Gov. Gary Herbert, aka “Available Jones,” grows frustrated with the lack of credit he gets on the homelessness and opioid crises, so he writes about leadership on Facebook.
2017 reflection • The University of Utah loses a battle with philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. over administration and funding of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
2018 prediction • The next U. president will be Jon Huntsman Jr.
2017 reflection • The U. defeats Brigham Young University in football for the seventh straight time.
2018 prediction • The Legislature calls for an audit of the U. football team to see if the Utes are cheating.
2017 reflection • The Legislature loses Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, and Rep. Dean Sanpei, R-Provo, to career moves.
2018 prediction • After dropping their average IQ by 20 points from losing Shiozawa and Sanpei, lawmakers finally support affirmative action.
2017 reflection • The Legislature refuses to pass a meaningful hate crimes bill.
2018 prediction • The Legislature makes it a hate crime to ask a baker to make a cake for a gay wedding.
2017 reflection • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives its blessing to legislation to do away with the Zion Curtain requirement in restaurants.
2018 prediction • LDS Church lobbyists push for legislation to create the “Mormon Moat” by requiring restaurants to have an impenetrable barrier between the bar and the restaurant.
2017 reflection • Five grass-roots initiatives are launched to change Utah laws without going through the Legislature.
2018 prediction • The Legislature passes new initiative restrictions, requiring successful petitions to have signatures from every Utahn.
2017 reflection • The Legislature requires bars to post signs that say “This premise is licensed as a bar, not a restaurant.”
2018 prediction • An initiative is launched that would require Mormon churches to post signs that say “This premise is licensed as a church, not a political organization.”
2017 reflection • Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, emerges as a prominent figure during President Donald Trump’s visit to the Beehive State to announce the shrinking of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. Bishop’s glowing endorsement of monument desecrations resurrects criticism of his earlier comment that anyone who favors the Antiquities Act should “die.” He brushes off the criticism, noting his comment was simply sarcasm.
2018 prediction • Bishop sponsors a bill that would legalize assisted suicides for terminally ill people suffering great pain — as long as it can be shown that those patients have a history of being liberals.
2017 reflection • A federal judge rules that the San Juan County Commission and school board districts are unconstitutional because they were drawn to favor white communities over majority American Indian voters. He orders new political boundaries to reflect the population more fairly.
2018 prediction • San Juan County commissioners propose a tough voter identification ordinance — to be enforced only in predominantly Indian areas — to prevent voter fraud. The county’s Republican Party invites Alabama dingbat Roy Moore to be the keynote speaker at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner.