White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Christian Broadcasting Network she believes Donald Trump is president because that’s the way God wanted it. “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there,” Sanders told CBN. Sanders added that Trump has done a “tremendous job” backing the issues “that people of faith really care about.” [CNN]

Happy Thursday.

Topping the news: Gov. Gary Herbert delivered his 10th annual State of the State address where he implored lawmakers to cut the state sales tax rate from the current 4.85 percent to 1.75 percent by taxing unspecified services that are now exempt. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

-> The Utah Senate voted 22-7 to roll back the Medicaid-expanding Proposition 3 in favor of a more restrictive Medicaid plan on a party-line vote. The Senate must vote again before SB96 could move to the House. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A new poll shows that 64 percent of Utahns back a tougher hate-crimes law that would include protections for LGBTQ residents. This comes ahead of what the sponsor says will be the Legislature’s first public hearing for the bill in years. That is expected next week. [Trib]

-> An audit years in the making revealed that Utah police officers are given lighter punishment than law enforcement in other states for crimes like driving under the influence, illicit drug possession and domestic violence. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

Tweets of the day: @ShireenGhorbani: “Every Utah voter should be raging. Even if you didn’t vote for #MedicaidExpansion, you must be able to see that one day you will vote for some proposition and this state legislature will reject the will of the voters. They serve us. Do not let them forget. #utpol”

-> @gopTODD: “Unsolicited advice for engaging the #utleg: texting me “Vote no on SB XX” is not particularly helpful. I’m not smart enough to memorize 800 bill numbers/titles every session. Also, tell me the reason why you oppose it. #utpol

-> @betterutah: “If we had a dollar for every time a republican said, “We live in a republic, not a democracy,” we would have enough money to expand Medicaid. #utpol #utleg #utahdecided

-> @GovHerbert: “This is the year to stand together to create a fairer, a simpler and a more sustainable tax code, by broadening the base, cutting the rates and giving low and middle income families their biggest tax cut in Utah’s history.”

Happy Birthday: to Pat Jones, CEO of the Women’s Leadership Institute and a former state senator.

In other news: The Utah Attorney General’s Office has dismissed its lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, one of the leading manufacturers of opioids, in favor of administrative action that it says will much more quickly result in civil penalties. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> Shireen Ghorbani, a communications professional from the University of Utah and former congressional and county mayor candidate, announced that she intends to run for Salt Lake County Council — and if elected, will fill Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s former seat. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Rep. Phil Lyman, the former San Juan County commissioner jailed for 10 days after leading an ATV protest ride into the closed Recapture Canyon, introduced a bill that would make blocking a road or trail a class C misdemeanor. [Trib]

-> The Utah Transit Authority, which is already $2 billion in debt and considering borrowing more for a $1 billion new TRAX line, received a warning that its bond rating could be downgraded. [Trib]

-> A Utah police chief is busted for alleged DUI. [Trib]

-> A bill introduced by Rep. Ken Ivory would allow a church or other nonprofit to apologize for abuse without admitting culpability. [Fox13]

-> A legislative audit said the state’s waste tire recycling program isn’t keeping up with the stream of discarded tires that Utahns are generating. [Trib]

-> Utah legislative auditors explored claims that a sound wall bordering I-80 near Parleys Summit was built illegally and concluded that the highway department did nothing wrong. [Trib]

-> Citing potential benefits like reduced fraud and general convenience, a Utah Senate committee unanimously approved a bill that would within two years transform driver licenses into a digital mobile version. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Democratic leaders have called an emergency meeting Thursday night to decide whether to proceed with disciplinary action against former state party treasurer and chairman candidate Rob Miller over allegations of sexual harassment. [UtahPolicy]

-> Columnist Robert Gehrke points the good, bad and the ugly of Sen. Allen Christensen’s bill to replace the Medicaid expansion initiative approved by voters. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley’s view of the Senate move to roll back Proposition 3. [Trib]

Nationally: President Donald Trump attacked U.S. intelligence officials on twitter, accusing them of being naive and passive about the dangers Iran poses. The president’s posts were in response to the senior American intelligence officials who contradicted him yesterday about national security. He reiterated that North Korea would likely be denuclearized and that Islamic State control in Iraq and Syria is fraying. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]

-> The federal government has disclosed that it secretly shipped weapons-grade plutonium months ago from South Carolina to Nevada. [APviaTrib]

-> With the Feb 15 deadline for reaching a compromise on the border wall fast approaching, President Trump met with White House officials to prepare a potential national emergency declaration to be ready if need be. Elsewhere, a bipartisan group compiled of 17 lawmakers met to discuss a possible border security deal. [Politico]

-> Republicans in the U.S. House killed a resolution condemning government shutdowns as a negotiating tactic even after Democrats stripped out language blaming President Trump for the record shutdown recently ended. [RollCall]

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-- Dan Harrie and Sahalie Donaldson