5 candidates vie for HD 60, 9 for SD12 this weekend; Lisa Marie Presley dead at 54; Missouri moves to ban bare arms for female legislators
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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 editor@utahpolicy.com.


Situational Analysis | Jan. 13, 2023

It's Friday of a holiday weekend and the last before the Utah legislative session begins. Get some last-minute relaxation in....

Also, it's National Peach Melba Day - those things are delicious!

Be in the Know

  • A "gaping hole" in Utah law allows a registered child sex offender to go into a private park, according to a KUTV 2News investigation. Paul Bryant - who is president of his community HOA - was charged with one count of "Violation by Sex Offender of a Protected Area," but the charge was dismissed in late November by Judge Kraig Powell because current law does not address private parks in HOA communities. The two women who filed the complaint that he was around children are being sued by Bryant for defamation. 

  • In the special election to replace Rep. Adam Robertson, to be held tomorrow morning (Saturday), one candidate - Kimberley Nelson - has dropped out, leaving five: McKay Jensen, Sylvia Andrew, Tyler Clancy, Jared Oldroyd and Joe Brockbank. Robertson had previously endorsed Nelson as his successor, but with her no longer in the race, has chosen to support Tyler Clancy, a member of the Provo Police Department and former executive director of the Pioneer Park Coalition. 

Rapid Roundup


Together, We Can Better Support Women in Business

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Utah Headlines


  • Man allegedly throws ‘Molotov cocktail’ at Utah State Capitol, troopers say (ABC4)
  • New report: ‘Equilibrium’ not in sight as Utah’s 2023 economic outlook remains hazy. Unprecedented conditions have made economic forecasting trickier than ever. Here’s what experts believe is in store for Utah in the year ahead (Deseret News)
  • Donovan Mitchell on his return to Utah, friendship, family and inspiring change (Deseret News)
  • Man who burned South Weber home wanted to kill former partner, police say (KSL)
  • Massive gift headed to Ukraine, courtesy of neighbors in Midway (KSL TV)
  • 18 protests planned across country, including at the Utah Capitol, to demand Navy Lt. be brought home from Japanese prison (KUTV)


  • Lawmakers poised to approve $1.55 million settlement in Utah grant fraud lawsuit (KUTV)
  • Tax cuts are coming to Utah. Will more moving trucks follow? Statistics show high-tax states are losing population, while the low-tax states continue to grow. (Deseret News)
  • Move Halloween celebration date? Utah resolution proposes permanent Friday designation (KSL)
  • Choice in education; where does legislation stand after the pandemic? (KSL Newsradio)
  • Lawmakers encouraged after touring new Utah prison (Fox13)
  • Utah legislative leaders promise tax cuts, housing help in upcoming session (Fox13)
  • ‘Invest in the future’: Legislators zero in on budget surplus, water issues at St. George Chamber event (St. George News)


  • Sundance Film Festival has a new Salt Lake City venue for 2023. Grab the hand sanitizer, ride the shuttle buses, and lean into the craziness of it all (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • How can schools help students heal after a death? A new Utah toolkit shows the way. An evidenced-based digital resource offers guidance from Day 1 following a traumatic event and on through school milestones (Deseret News)
  • Granite School District police, students prepare for worst case scenario (KSL TV)
  • Davis School District has support team for military-connected children (KSL Newsradio)
  • Asbestos found in Sandy middle school leads students to move temporarily to old Crescent View building (ABC4)
  • Students and staff march for MLK at Westminster College (Fox13)
  • The BYU Slavery Project is putting a historian’s eye on a darker past (KUER)
  • USU student employees walkout to protest low wages (UPR)


  • Plan to dredge Utah Lake isn’t sunk. Developers sue the state to revive it. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • ‘Stumbling’ on pornography: Report says most children have seen some around age 12 (Deseret News)
  • To keep online pornography from minors, this new Louisiana law requires age verification. The Bayou State followed Utah in declaring pornography a public health crisis (Deseret News)


  •  3 unsheltered people have died on Provo streets this winter. Could a shelter prevent deaths? (KSL)

National Headlines


  • Opinion: The good news you need: We are living longer, poverty is declining and democracy is spreading globally (Deseret News)
  • Goldman Sachs lost $3 billion on consumer lending push (Wall Street Journal)
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook to take a 40% pay cut this year (Wall Street Journal)
  • Newly released Nazi map sparks multi-million dollar treasure hunt across the Netherlands (Deseret News)
  • MLK weekend to feature tributes, commitments to race equity (AP)
  • Idaho murders suspect felt ‘no emotion’ and ‘little remorse’ as a teen. Messages and online posts from the Ph.D. student now charged with four murders show that he was once detached and suicidal before he became fascinated with criminals’ minds. (New York Times)
  • BLM co-founder’s cousin dies after police repeatedly use Taser, video shows (Washington Post)


  • New poll: McCarthy, GOP came through speaker fight largely unscathed (Deseret News)
  • Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts to fill Ben Sasse’s Senate seat (Deseret News)
  • A special counsel will probe government documents at Biden's home and private office (NPR)
  • Biden political future clouded by classified document probe (AP)
  • Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is banning 'Latinx' from state documents (NPR)
  • Paul Ryan: Trump is a ‘proven loser’ (The Hill)
  • The real power in Congress isn't where Matt Gaetz thinks it is (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦 

  •  Russia says it took Soledar, Ukraine denies its capture (AP)
  • Rifts in Russian military command seen amid Ukraine fighting (AP)
  • In Ukraine, power plant workers fight to save their ‘child’ (AP)


  • Filmmakers, musicians, visual artists and writers have found new ways to protest in Iran (Deseret News)
  • China set for historic demographic turn, accelerated by COVID traumas (Reuters)
  • ‘Burying us alive’: Afghan women devastated by suspension of aid under Taliban law (New York Times)

News Releases

Gov. Spencer Cox names Ryan Starks, Brad Bonham to leadership roles in the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity

Gov. Spencer J. Cox has appointed Ryan Starks as the new executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. This appointment is subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate. He also named respected businessman Brad Bonham as the department’s first entrepreneur-in-residence. 

Ryan Starks is currently the managing director of growth and innovation in the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, overseeing business expansion programs and partnerships, rural economic development, international trade and diplomacy, and Utah’s targeted industries initiative. He helped stand up the Utah Immigration Assistance Center, the Utah Broadband Center, and the $69 million Utah Small Business Credit Initiative. He also serves as an honorary commander of the 419-fighter wing at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base.

Previously, he has worked for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, DC, as the executive director of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce and economic development office in Wasatch County, and as the founding director of the Wasatch Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) — an innovative workforce partnership between students and industry. He also taught as an adjunct professor of management for 10 years in the BYU Marriott School of Business. (Read More)

Salt Lake Chamber debuts 2023 legislative priorities at Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit

The Salt Lake Chamber hosted the annual Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute to release its 2023 legislative priorities at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. Chief among those priorities is sustaining Utah as a safe haven economy driven by good policy and good governance, addressing housing affordability, tackling the water crisis, and investing in infrastructure.

“Utah is a haven of stability amid economic uncertainty because of a united business community,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. “Being unified does not mean that we always agree, but when there are challenges we put aside our differences and come together for the greater good. In the coming 45-day legislative session, the Chamber will focus on critical issues of housing affordability, water usage, and workforce challenges. We look forward to working with our legislature and elected officials to continue Utah’s long-term economic prosperity.” (Read More)

Former Utah governor calls for drivers to slow down

Former Utah Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce have joined forces with the National Coalition for Open Roads (NCFOR) to encourage safer winter driving by the public and a continued commitment towards winter road maintenance by state, county, and city officials.

“In the past few weeks, we’ve had a driver cited for going 102 miles per hour in winter conditions and at least three state police cars have been hit during recent storms.  Drivers need to slow down. With more snow on the way, let’s be our best selves behind the wheel, especially during tricky road conditions,” said Herbert who served as Utah’s governor from 2009 through 2021 and now serves as the executive chairman of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. (Read More)

Utah Senate requests public comment on Utah Court of Appeals nominee

The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on Amy J. Oliver, who Gov. Spencer J. Cox nominated to serve as a judge on the Utah Court of Appeals.

Those who wish to comment should contact the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee electronically or by mail at the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2023. Electronic comments can be emailed to senatejudicialnominees@le.utah.gov. Written comments can be mailed to the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee at the Utah State Capitol, Suite W210, PO Box 145210, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5210. All statements should include the respondent’s name, telephone number and mailing address. (Read More)

WGU celebrates 300,000th graduate milestone in Utah by honoring nurse from Herriman

As Western Governors University (WGU) surpasses more than 300,000 graduates, the nationally recognized university will honor local maternity nurse Ashley Rawlins of Herriman as one of its distinguished 300,000th graduates at a celebratory reception at its national headquarters in Millcreek. The milestone marks a success for both WGU and Utah’s workforce. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Jan 13, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 7.07.03 AM



  • 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, le.utah.gov

On This Day In History

  • 1717 - Maria Sibylla Merian died. She was a famed entomologist renowned for her beautiful and scientifically accurate illustrations of insects in their natural habitat.

  • 1842 - A British army doctor reaches a sentry post in Afghanistan, the sole survivor of a massacre of 4,500 soldiers and 12,000 camp followers trying to withdraw through the Khyber Pass.

  • 1850 - Charlotte Ray is born. She became the first Black female lawyer and the first woman admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C.

  • 1898 - Juanita Brooks is born. She became a famed historian best known for her research on the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

  • 1903 - First group of Korean immigrants enter Hawaii

  • 1910 - The world’s first public radio broadcast occurred from the Metropolitan Opera House and featured Enrico Caruso.

  • 1929 - Wyatt Earp dies peacefully in Los Angeles at age 80

  • 1950 - Soviets boycott United Nations Security Council Meeting.

  • 1954 - Marilyn Monroe marries Joe DiMaggio. They were divorced 274 days later.

  • 1966 - Lyndon Johnson appoints Robert Weaver as the head of the newly created Department of Housing and Urban Development, making him the nation’s first Black cabinet member.

  • 1982 - A plane crashes into the Potomac River, less than a mile from the end of the runway, killing 78 people.

  • 1990 - Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the nation’s first Black governor

  • 1999 - Michael Jordan retires for the second time.

  • 2021 - President Donald Trump is impeached by the US House of Representatives voting 232-197, for “incitement of insurrection”, first time in history a US President is impeached twice

  • 2022 - Britain's Prince Andrew stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by Buckingham Palace, amid continuing sexual assault allegations

Wise Words

"Believe it or not, Republicans and Democrats can still get along (and may even be friends)."

—Speaker Brad Wilson

On the Punny Side

My dad used to say to me 'When One Door Closes another will Open'

He was a brilliant philosopher but a terrible cabinet maker.


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