National Human Trafficking Awareness Day; Ogden already has 2 mayoral candidates; avalanche at Bridal Veil Falls
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The Utah Policy newsletter is your one-stop source for political and policy-minded news. We scour the news so you don't have to! Send news tips or feedback to Holly Richardson at


Situational Analysis | Jan. 11, 2023

Happy Wednesday. It's National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. 😢 Supporters are asked to show support by wearing blue and hashtag #WearBlueDay on social media.

Be in the Know

Rapid Roundup


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.


Utah Headlines


  • Was your flight canceled? Know your rights (Deseret News)
  • Utah alcohol sales exceed $500 million in 2022 (KSL Newsradio)
  • Video published by FOX 13 News indefinitely postpones POST Director appointment. Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby is accused of bullying and intimidating an officer. Now the video is raising ethical questions among state leaders. (Fox13)
  • Experts weigh in on dark trends in Utah murder-suicide cases (KUTV)
  • The isolation of rural life adds another challenge to dealing with domestic violence (KUER)


  • Holly Richardson: Dating app safety, postpartum depression, religious attire in athletics — your guide to the 2023 legislature. The 45 days of Utah’s legislative session will see hundreds of bills passed and billions of dollars spent. Buckle up. (Deseret News)
  • With the Utah legislative session just days away, there are many ways to keep track and interact (Cache Valley Daily)
  • 'We are putting you on notice': Utah governor, lawmakers plan crackdown on social media companies (KSL)
  • How did Mike Lee supporters get so many tickets for his debate against Evan McMullin? An ‘unfortunate miscommunication’ gave Lee fans a 5-hour head start (Deseret News)
  • Utah leaders want ‘historic’ tax cut — but here’s why Gov. Cox doesn’t want to cut income tax rate to 4.5% (Deseret News)
  • Utah's golf courses would have to make public how much water they use under new bill (Fox13)


  • Outdoor Retailer is back in Utah with a new vibe and a new mission (Deseret News)
  • Utah veterans now have access to online business registry (Fox13)
  • Utah small businesses close due to economic pressures (KUTV)


  • Research: Which Americans left church behind during the pandemic? (Deseret News)


  • University of Utah's engineering college just received its largest gift ever: $50 million (KSL)
  • After years of declining enrollment, Salt Lake City School District will begin closing schools (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • University of Utah announces plan to build 5,000 units by 2030, doubling amount of student housing (Fox13)
  • SLCC appoints director to serve rising number of Hispanic students (ABC4)


  • ‘We are about as wet as we can get,’ Utah water expert says. Utah is enjoying its 5th best start to a water year since records have been kept (Deseret News)
  • USU researcher: Conservation is key despite all of this snow and rain (KSL TV)


  • What family experts hope Congress will consider in ‘23. Experts talk paid leave, child care, tax credits, marriage penalties and more — but worry Congress may not be functional enough to get much done (Deseret News)


  • Seattle schools sue social media companies, claiming they’re hurting students’ mental health (Deseret News)
  • What Gov. Cox’s ‘burner’ Twitter account has to do with teen mental health (Deseret News)
  • Snapshot explores eating disorders among Utah women (UPR)

National Headlines


  • 82-year-old Walmart cashier retires after TikToker raises more than $100K for him (Deseret News)
  • DC residents demand police action after 13-year-old killed (AP)
  • Americans are piling up credit card debt — and it could prove very costly (NPR)
  • Oil and gas are back and booming (Wall Street Journal)
  • Was the Idaho murder suspect studying criminology to learn how to commit a crime? (New York Times)


  • US to max out on debt soon, setting up political fight (AP)
  • Feds propose ‘student loan safety net’ alongside forgiveness (AP)
  • Divided House approves G.O.P. inquiry into ‘Weaponization’ of government (New York Times)
  • Rep. Katie Porter announces run for U.S. Senate in California (Washington Post)
  • The American public no longer believes the Supreme Court is impartial (The Hill)
  • Pompeo protection extended due to Iran threats (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦 

  • Ukraine says mining town holding out against Russian assault (AP)
  • Ukrainian troops to train on Patriot system in Oklahoma (AP)


  • Afghan women athletes barred from play, fear Taliban threats (AP)
  • Tigray forces begin handing over heavy weapons to Ethiopian army (Reuters)
  • Australian Cardinal George Pell, acquitted of child sex abuse, dead at 81 (Reuters)
  • The people executed or sentenced to death in Iran's protest crackdown (New York Times)

News Releases

Gov. Cox hosts Social Media and Youth Mental Health Symposium

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox hosted a Social Media and Youth Mental Health Symposium Tuesday. Experts and legislators discussed recent research and the mental health challenges Utah youth currently face.  

Gov. Cox and University of Virginia sociology professor Brad Wilcox, a leading voice on family structure, civil society and culture influence, discussed the direct impacts social media is having on youth well-being. 

Topics during the day included potential legislation and policymaking opportunities to protect youth, public health trends and concerns for Utah teens, and how parents and youth can navigate social media safely. (Read More)

Two key business leaders join Utah Aerospace and Defense Association board

The Utah Aerospace and Defense Association (UADA) has added the head of Fortem Technologies and the CEO of Strider Technologies to its board of directors.

Jon Gruen is chairman and CEO of Fortem Technologies. He brings a strong background in the defense and aerospace industry, having previously served as a Navy SEAL Officer and as a Director of Business Development at Lockheed Martin. Gruen is also a founding partner of Gothams, a venture capital accelerator program. Greg Levesque is the CEO and Co-founder of Strider Technologies, Utah’s premier technology start-up delivering strategic intelligence and software solutions to advance national security. (Read More)

Home prices begin to moderate and basement level unemployment punctuate Utah’s economy

The Salt Lake Chamber’s Roadmap to Prosperity Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has updated the Economic Dashboard for December to help business leaders see where Utah’s economy stands. This tool provides data on the state’s economic outlook and actionable context for decision-makers.

“Utah’s labor market is strong, with unemployment at historic lows, despite recent layoffs in the tech sector,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “This is in line with the slowdown in financial and business services activity brought about by rising interest rates to slowing demand. Thankfully, Utah remains a safe haven for business with good governance and wise policy in a globally slowing economy.” (Read More)

Salt Lake County ends its COVID emergency status

January 3, 2023, marked the end of Salt Lake County’s 1,033-day COVID pandemic emergency declaration, originally set in place by Mayor Jenny Wilson on March 6, 2020. 

In a letter to the Salt Lake County Council on December 23, Dr. Angela Dunn, Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) stated, “Given the incorporation of COVID-19 response activities into the Health Department’s regular infrastructure, Mayor Wilson and I believe it is no longer fiscally [warranted] for the County to extend the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.” (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Jan 11, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-11 at 7.38.26 AM


  • Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit with the Salt Lake Chamber — Jan. 12, 2023, Salt Lake City Marriott, 8 am - noon, Register here
  • Special election for HD 60 — Jan. 14, 10:00 am, Provo Library
  • Special election for SD 12 — Jan. 15, 6:00 pm, Zoom
  • Legislative session begins, Jan. 17, 2023,

On This Day In History

  • 1807 - Ezra Cornell is born. He founded the Western Union Telegraph Company and co-founded Cornell University.

  • 1878 - Delivery of milk in glass bottles begins in Brooklyn, New York.

  • 1885 - Alice Paul is born. She later founded the National Women’s Party, was instrumental in the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 and 1923 and began the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment.

  • 1908 - Theodore Roosevelt makes the Grand Canyon a national monument.

  • 1922 - Doctors give insulin to a diabetic patient for the first time.

  • 1935 - Amelia Earhart makes the first solo flight from Hawaii to North America.

  • 1964 - U.S. Surgeon General first announced a definitive link between cancer and smoking.

  • 1989 - President Reagan gives his farewell address.

  • 2008 - Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and the first to climb Mt Everest in 1953, dies from a heart attack at 88

  • 2010 - Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank, dies at 100.

  • 2018 - President Donald Trump calls some countries s***hole countries during an immigration meeting

  • 2021 - US House Democrats introduce one article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for "incitement of insurrection" for encouraging his supporters to riot at the Capitol

Wise Words

“Any attempt at action is better than inaction. An attempt can go wrong, but inaction inevitably results in failure.”

—Miep Gies

On the Punny Side

Did you hear about the Italian chef with a terminal illness?

He pastaway. Cannoli do so much.

Now he’s just a pizza history


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