Mia Love releases her book 'Qualified;' helicopter crash in Ukraine kills Minister of Internal Affairs, others; years of abuse in Enoch
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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 | January 18, 2023

Good morning! It's Wednesday and National Thesaurus Day, in case you are stymied, baffled, perplexed, stumped, bewildered or uncertain. 

Be in the Know

  • The session is tackling a key controversy in today's committee meetings: transgender youth. In Senate Health and Human Services, the following bills are scheduled to be heard: SB16 sponsored by Mike Kennedy would ban sex-change surgeries and, after the first substitute is adopted, puberty blockers. Physicians who perform such surgeries would be engaging in "unprofessional conduct," and open themselves to medical malpractice lawsuits with an extended statute of limitations. SB93 by Dan McCay would prevent minors from changing their birth certificate and SB100 by Todd Weiler would ban schools from changing a student's pronouns without parental permission.

  • The true story of years of domestic violence in Enoch is beginning to emerge. Macie Haight went to police more than 2 years ago with allegations of physical and emotional abuse from her father, including smashing her head into the wooden couch frame, shaking and strangulation. Macie also told police of the ultra-controlling and emotionally abusive behavior of her father towards her mother. Her father denied the charges and his wife declined to press charges at the time. Strangulation is a key indicator that victims are at risk of additional abuse and homicide. 
  • More tragedy in Ukraine as a helicopter crashes near a kindergarten in Kyiv, killing the Internal Affairs Minister, 2 of his aides and 15 others. An additional 29 people were injured. "The pain is unspeakable," said President Zelenskyy.

Rapid Roundup


2022 Legislative Session

1 day down, 44 days to go!


  • Utah judges need an up to 20% pay raise, Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant says (Deseret News)
  • 2023 Utah Legislature: Here’s how lawmakers spent their first day of lawmaking. Water, housing, teacher pay and taxes among big issues facing legislators (Deseret News)
  • Utah lawmakers emphasize tax cuts, education, and water conservation in 2023 General Session opening remarks (ABC4)
  • Bid to reinstate Utah’s abortion ban takes lawmakers into uncharted waters. Changing judicial rules to reverse past rulings could run afoul of Utah’s Constitution, a lawyer for the Legislature warns (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Salt Lake City community group demands more measures to protect pedestrians (KSL)
  • Lt. Gov. Henderson discusses plans for the 2023 legislative session (KSL Newsradio)
  • Utah lawmakers speak on this sessions agenda (KSL Newsradio)
  • Day 1 is the easy part. (KUER)


8:00 am sub-appropriations: Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations; Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations; Public Education; Social Services Appropriations

11:00 am-11:50: Senate Floor Time

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

1:30 pm-2:00 pm: Senate Floor Time

1:30-2:00 pm: House Floor Time

2:00-5:00 pm: House committee meetings - Judiciary, Government Operations, Political Subdivisions

2:00-5:00 pm: Senate committee meetings - Business and Labor, Education, Health and Human Services


8:00 am sub-appropriations: Executive Offices and Criminal Justice, Higher Education, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality, Social Services

11:00 am-11:50: Senate Floor Time

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

2:00-5:00 pm: House committee meetings - Business and Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Economic Development & Workforce Services

2:00-5:00 pm: Senate Committee meetings - Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment, Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology

6:30-7:30 pm: Governor's State of the State address

Utah Headlines


  • An immigrant’s journey from deportation to citizenship. Jesús Contreras will become a U.S. citizen after a decades-long struggle in the courts (Deseret News)
  • Martin Luther King’s legacy is worth more than a single day (Deseret News)
  • Enoch officials say police 'thoroughly' investigated abuse claims against Michael Haight (KUTV)
  • Obituary praising life of Enoch father who killed his family pulled from newspaper website (Deseret News)
  • Utah woman, community preparing to welcome small group of Ukrainian refugees (Fox13)


  • After 2 virtual years, Sundance returns to the mountains (KUTV)
  • New Minority Business Center bolsters Utah businesses (ABC4)


  • Federal judge dismisses lawsuit brought by LGBTQ students at religious schools. The students challenged a federal policy allowing religious schools exemptions on some aspects of nondiscrimination law (Deseret News)
  • The Utah Legislature is rebranding its take on school vouchers. Now they are calling it School Choice funding. (KSL Newsradio)
  • Do Utahns want school vouchers? Why the state’s top lawmakers think so. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Lawmaker defends tying teacher pay raises to school voucher program (KUTV)


  • Can carbon-capture tech extend the life of coal plants? Not so far. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Scottsdale area community’s water cut off due to Colorado River drought. Residents of Rio Verde Foothills sue, turn to paper plates, fewer showers (Deseret News)


  •  Want to cut health risks and save on medication? Find some nature nearby (Deseret News)

National Headlines


  • World’s oldest known person, French nun, dies at 118 (AP
  • A guide to 9 global buzzwords for 2023, from 'polycrisis' to 'zero-dose children' (NPR)
  • Microsoft to cut 10,000 jobs as tech layoffs intensify (Reuters)


  •  What is ‘soft power’ and how should the U.S. wield it? (Deseret News)
  • Mary Dickson: Downwinders deserve more than a day of recognition. Congress must act to compensate victims of atomic testing. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Trump on possible DeSantis challenge: ‘We’ll handle that the way I handle things’ (The Hill)
  • Election-fraud conspiracies behind plot to shoot at New Mexico Democrats’ homes, police say. Solomon Peña, a defeated candidate for the state legislature, paid people to fire on the houses of four Democratic office-holders, authorities say (Washington Post)
  • McCarthy goes on attack against red-state Senate Democrats (The Hill)
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar land Oversight committee assignments after removal by Democrats (The Hill)
  • Governors to voters: The state of our nation is bleak, except under me. Do dark times respect state boundaries? At least 50 people believe they do. (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  •  The Pentagon is sending U.S. arms from a stockpile in Israel to Ukraine. (New York Times)
  • The minister who died in the helicopter crash oversaw Ukraine’s police and tens of thousands of war combatants. (New York Times)


  • As its only remaining elected officials depart, Haiti reaches a breaking point (NPR)
  • Church of England bishops refuse to allow same-sex marriages (Reuters)
  • UN secretary-general: World in ‘sorry state’ (The Hill)

News Releases

Utah Valley University announces Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week speakers

Utah Valley University (UVU) announced today that David Kwabena Wilson and Anthony Ray Hinton will speak on Jan. 19 at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. respectively in the Grand Ballroom, Sorensen Student Center as part of the University’s 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week.

The 2023 commemoration theme is “Peace, Education, and Healthcare,” and will include student- and staff-led programming, breakout sessions, and six service projects. The speaker events are open to the public and will be livestreamed for those who cannot attend. Visit uvu.edu/inclusion/mlk/ for more event information. (Read More)

Gov. Spencer Cox appoints Jason Nelson to 2nd District Court

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox has appointed Jason Nelson to Utah’s 2nd District Court, filling the vacancy left by Judge David Connors’ retirement. Judicial appointments are subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate.

Nelson has served as the Deputy Davis County Attorney since 2008. He has also served as a prosecutor for West Bountiful City and North Salt Lake City. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk in the Utah Second Judicial District in Davis County as well as the Utah Attorney General’s Office Criminal Justice Division. (Read More)

Utah Senate requests public comment on 2nd District Court Nominee

The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on Jason Nelson, who Gov. Spencer J. Cox nominated to serve as a judge in the 2nd District Court.

Those who desire 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. Tuesday, January 31, 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.

USBE: Public comment sought on draft standards for two middle school courses

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is seeking public comment on standards drafts for two middle school courses: College and Career Awareness and Digital Literacy. Comments will be accepted through February 15, 2023. 

These standards have been created to provide Utah educators with guidance on the specific knowledge and skills for students to learn when enrolled in these courses. USBE staff is seeking public feedback to gather stakeholder input to guide finalizing these draft standards. 

Direct link to comment on the College and Career Awareness draft standards.

Direct link to comment on the Digital Literacy draft standards.


Tweet #1 of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-18 at 7.48.35 AM


Tweet #2 of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-18 at 5.36.29 AM



  • State of the State — Jan. 19
  • Utah Women Run Winter Training — Jan 21 at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, 9 am - 3 pm, Register here
  • State of the County with Mayor Jenny Wilson — Jan 23, 6-7 pm
  • Legislative session ends — Mar. 3, le.utah.gov

On This Day In History

  • 1778 - Captain Cook reaches Hawaii.

  • 1788 - The First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay to set up a penal colony.

  • 1803 - President Thomas Jefferson requests $2500 from Congress to fund the Lewis and Clark expedition.

  • 1827 - Joseph Smith and Emma Hale are married

  • 1882 - A.A. Milne’s birthday.

  • 1911 - The first landing of an aircraft on the deck of a ship takes place in San Francisco Harbor.

  • 1912 - Robert Scott reaches the South Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen had beat him by a month. Scott and his team all died on their way back to base camp.

  • 1943 - The US bans pre-sliced bread to reduce bakery demand for metal

  • 1966 - Robert C. Weaver, confirmed as the first Black presidential cabinet member (Housing and Urban Development - HUD)

  • 2000 - Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky dies, just shy of her 103rd birthday. She was a renowned Austrian architect who created a standardized kitchen designed to maximize workflow. She was active in the Nazi resistance movement and was arrested and jailed until the war was over.

Heard on the Hill

“Coming into this session, it has become crystal clear to me that as a state ... we stand at one of those rare moments where our choices will ripple for generations. We have arrived at this point through a once-in-a-century confluence of events: being the fastest growing state in America; a worldwide pandemic; an historic drought; (and) an unprecedented budget surplus.”

—Speaker Brad Wilson

On the Punny Side

What kind of pizza did the pilot prefer?



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