The Utah legislative session is halfway over; a signature threshold bill fails to make it out of a Senate committee; more audit bills
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Situational Analysis | February 8, 2023

Today is Wednesday and the half-way point in Utah's legislative session. 

What You Need to Know

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency on Tuesday in the 10 provinces hit hardest by the series of earthquakes that struck the southern part of the country Monday. More than 11,000 people have been confirmed dead and hope is fading. The death toll is expected to continue rising as officials continue their rescue efforts. We finally heard from the friend I wrote about here. He, his wife and children are alive, but homeless, with no access to food, clothing or blankets. His wife's family is dead, crushed in a building collapse. In Utah, Turkish Americans are raising funds to help the survivors. 

  • Yesterday, HB202, the bill to change signature thresholds for getting on the ballot was held in committee, and the resolution to promote kindness in Utah and SB117, the domestic violence bill requiring lethality assessments and creating a database both passed out of committee.

  •  Today on Utah's hill: SB17, a bill on voter residency requirements and another election audit bill are scheduled to be heard in House Government Ops; HB324 would allow an employer to petition for a workplace violence protective order and is scheduled for the House Judiciary committee and the companions bills on first responder mental health are on the Senate Health and Human Services agenda. 

Rapid Roundup

  • LeBron James is now the NBA's career scoring leader with 38,388 points, breaking the record held for nearly 4 decades by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Together, We Can Better Support Women in Business

Whether you’re a woman starting a business or looking to elevate your career, Inspire In Utah is dedicated to providing you with the resources to help on your journey. Find funding, training, and even inspirational stories in our dedicated resource center.


2023 Legislative Session

22 days down, 23 days to go!  

Today - last day of appropriations subcommittees

8:00 am: Appropriations subcommittees: Executive Offices & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environmental Quality

10:00 am: Appropriations subcommittee: Higher Education

11:00 am-11:50: Senate Floor Time

11:00 am-12:00 pm: House Floor Time

12:00 pm: Administrative Rules Review and General Oversight

2:00 - 5:00 pm: House committees: Judiciary; Government Operations; Political Subdivisions; Revenue & Taxation

2:00 - 5:00 pm: Senate committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services


8:00-9:50 am: House committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services;

8:30 am: House Economic Development & Workforce Services

8:00-9:50 am: Senate committees: Transportation, Public Utilities & Technology

8:30 am: Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment

8:40 am: Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice

10:00-11:50 am: House Floor time

10:00-1:50 am: Senate Floor time

2:00-4:00 pm: House Floor time

2:00-4:00 pm: Senate Floor time

4:10-6:0 pm: Executive Appropriations 

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Signature-gathering candidates could be eliminated at convention if new bill passes (KUTV)
  • Why 70 artists behind Utah’s new state flag are splitting the $5,000 prize money (Deseret News)
  • Transgender health care for kids: Do Utahns think state lawmakers did the right thing? (Deseret News)
  • How Utah lawmakers are trying to fight fraudulent ticket sales (Deseret News)
  • Utah domestic violence service providers ask state for funds to stay afloat (KSL)
  • Needle exchange participants would not have to worry about prosecution under new bill. The Senate passed a bill from Sen. Jen Plumb that would create an “affirmative defense” for people who are carrying syringes from an exchange program (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • How the Eagle Forum and Equality Utah came to agree on a conversion therapy bill (KUER)
  • An electric vehicle research bill may not move forward after committee hearing (UPR)

Other political news

  • Biden’s hecklers should decide why they’re in Washington. Incivility has become an American vice, and it threatens to keep the nation’s elected representatives from solving problems. (Deseret News)
  • What did Mitt Romney say to George Santos before State of the Union speech? Romney says Santos doesn’t belong in Congress (Deseret News)
  • Analyzing a feisty, contentious State of the Union (Deseret News)

General Utah News

  • The latest development in the Gabby Petito case. A photo of Petito that was on her cellphone was released Tuesday, and was reportedly taken on Aug. 12, 2021, before she and Laundrie were stopped by police in Moab following a report that the couple had been fighting (Deseret News)
  • Attorneys say new photo is proof Moab police ignored Gabby Petito’s visible injuries (KSL)
  • Chilling search history on Enoch father’s phone included: ‘Can neighbors hear gunshots?’ (KSL)


  • Google playing catchup with clever ChatGPT, releases its ‘Bard’ chatbot (Deseret News)


  • Utah students barked like dogs at Asian American and Polynesian basketball players. Parents say they feel school officials have brushed off their concerns about the behavior. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Nate Blouin and Sara Baldwin: Switch to clean energy and bring $15 billion to Utah’s coal communities (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • ‘Mommy brain’ probably doesn’t exist — and definitely needs a name change, experts say. Studies fail to find much difference that can be attributed to pregnancy or recently giving birth, JAMA Neurology paper says (Deseret News)
  • Transgender youth dealing with suicidal thoughts days after bill bans surgeries for minors (KUTV)


  • What experts say about happiness — and how to grow your own (Deseret News)

National Headlines


  •  Air Force leader’s spouse opened fire during Andrews breach (AP)
  • Memphis officer took and shared photos of bloodied Tyre Nichols, documents show (NPR)


  • Biden speech takeaways: More conciliation than conflict (AP)
  • Biden in State of Union exhorts Congress: ‘Finish the job’ (AP)
  • Biden mixes bipartisanship with defiance. Speech is marked by back-and-forth between president and Republican lawmakers (Washington Post)
  • 5 takeaways from Biden's State of the Union address (NPR)
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene yells ‘liar’ during combative State of the Union (Washington Post)
  • Sanders says the choice in the U.S. is 'normal or crazy' in GOP response to Biden (NPR)
  • Arkansas Gov. Sanders slams Biden for ‘woke fantasies’ (AP)
  • Tech legislation presents opportunity for Republican unity. With distrust of Big Tech on both sides of the political aisle, House Republicans have an opportunity to pass the TEAM Act (Deseret News)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Ukraine’s Zelensky visits U.K. as Britain steps up training, military aid.
    Britain, which has trained 10,000 Ukrainian troops in the past six months, is set to begin training jet-fighter pilots (Wall Street Journal)


  • Newborn, toddler saved from rubble in quake-hit Syrian town (AP
  • Turkish leader acknowledges problems with earthquake relief effort (Reuters)
  • Why is it so hard to help Syria’s earthquake victims? (Washington Post)
  • In a Turkish town shattered by the earthquake, death is everywhere (Washington Post)
  • North Korean leader Kim brings daughter to visit troops (AP)
  • Putin implicated by Dutch prosecutors in downing of Malaysia passenger jet over Ukraine in 2014 (Washington Post)

News Releases

Utah public schools to receive record $101 million distribution from School and Institutional Trust System

Funds go directly to schools for programs chosen by parents and educators

Public schools will receive a historic $101 million distribution from the Permanent State School Fund this year as a direct result of the strong performance from the School and Institutional Trust Lands System – a 5.4% increase from last year’s distribution of $95.85 million and an 8.8% increase from the previous year’s distribution of $92.84 million. This record annual distribution is independent of other tax-funded sources supporting K-12 public schools. (Read More)

Utah Black History Museum exhibit scheduled at Utah Valley University on February 8

The Utah Black History Museum traveling exhibit will be displayed on the Utah Valley University Orem Campus on February 8, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Fulton Library quad and in the Language Arts Building, room 114. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will feature gripping and inspiring stories about local and national Black history. (Read More)

Utah National Guard Major General Michael Turley to attend State of the Union as Romney’s guest

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today announced that Major General Michael J. Turley, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, will attend the State of the Union as his honored guest. (Read More)

First-generation immigrant finds greater voice, vision at Weber State

For Yuritzi Jamileth Rosas Hernandez, the path to college was not easy. Growing up a girl of color in predominantly white schools, she often felt like the “odd one out” and sensed that the people charged with helping her succeed didn’t believe she was college material.

Her parents were the exception, having moved the family from Mexico to Utah with hopes of building a brighter future – one that prioritized college. “I always knew I wanted to get my degree, I knew it would open doors, but I couldn’t always see the path to get there,” Rosas Hernandez said.

This year, she plans to start an internship with a marketing agency. She hopes her future will include helping others get into college — no matter their color or background. (Read More)

Blake Moore’s statement on President Biden’s State of the Union address

Congressman Blake Moore issued the following statement after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address:

“I was grateful to listen to tonight’s State of the Union address with my guest Kody Jean Cooper from Clearfield, Utah. She is an Air Force veteran and the surviving spouse of fallen Utah National Guard Staff Sergeant Jon Cooper II, and it was a privilege to have her join me tonight. 

I appreciated the opportunity to hear President Biden’s remarks and agree with his sentiments in support of Ukraine, investments in medical technologies and research to fight cancer, and resources for our veterans and their families, like Kody and her sons.

However, his attempts to herald his administration’s policies came across as tone deaf to Americans who are struggling with historic inflation, harmful open border policies, and compromised national security... (Read More)

Owens statement on the State of the Union

Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) released the following statement on President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Tonight, we saw Joe Biden take a victory lap for his administration’s ‘historic accomplishments,’ but Americans know the truth: This president is responsible for the highest inflation in four decades, unaffordable and unreliable energy, weakened national security, surging violent crime, and the worst border crisis our country has ever seen.

Instead of leading the nation through a string of self-inflicted crises, President Biden has once again put a radical agenda above the safety, security, and prosperity of Utahns in the Fourth District and Americans across the nation. (Read More)

Mike Lee discusses the State of the Union with Gov. Cox

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sat down with Gov. Spencer Cox to discuss their reactions to President Biden’s State of the Union address. The two expressed their shared disappointment that the President’s speech lacked in substance and mischaracterized Republican positions related to the debt ceiling. (Read/Watch More)

Romney comments on Biden’s State of the Union address

Senator Mitt Romney recorded his thoughts on the President’s speech and began by saying the president is a friend who is a patriotic man. He praised the President’s comments on and commitment to Ukraine, and his comments on China. “He got off on the wrong foot,” Romney said, when President Biden said that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare. (Read/Watch More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 8, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-08 at 7.44.30 AM



  • Great Salt Lake Strike Team with Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Newsmaker Breakfast — Feb. 8, 8:00a am - 9:30 am, RSVP to
  • Ditch Your Debt and Transform Your Net Worth with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Feb. 28, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • Legislative session ends — Mar. 3,
  • Provo Women's Day — Mar. 4, more information here.
  • Teaching Your Child Consent with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Mar. 16, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • MWEG Spring Conference with keynote speaker Sharon Eubank — Mar. 25, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at UVU or virtual, Register Here

On This Day In History

  • 1587 - Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded for treason.

  • 1725 - Peter the Great, emperor of Russia, dies.

  • 1894 - Congress repeals the Enforcement Act which makes it easier for some states to disenfranchise Black voters.

  • 1910 - The Boy Scouts are founded.

  • 1915 - “The Birth of a Nation,” opens, glorifying the KKK.

  • 1943 - Americans secure Guadalcanal.

  • 1944 - Harry S. McAlphin becomes the first Black journalist accredited to attend White House press conferences.

  • 1968 - Officers kill 3 Black students protesting segregation of a bowling alley.

  • 1986 - Oprah Winfrey becomes the first Black woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

  • 2002 - The U.S. Winter Olympics open in Salt Lake City.

  • 2013 - A massive blizzard begins in the US and Canada that resulted in 15 deaths, 5,300 canceled flights, and loss of power for 900,000 people

Heard on the Hill

“It’s a step that supports everyone. It supports the communities, it supports people who are engaging in substance use and potentially want to be more well. It will help our law enforcement folks stay safer, it will also give them a path to work with prosecutors.”

—Sen. Jen Plumb

On the Punny Side

What did the light bulb say to the other light bulb?

You light up my world.


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