Intl Education Day; mass shooting at Half Moon Bay; Senate Ed committee passes HB215; animal shelter bill & vaccine passports up today
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Situational Analysis | January 24, 2023

It's Tuesday and International Day of Education. Worldwide, some 244 million children don't or aren't able to go to school. In Afghanistan, for example, it's been 491 days since the Taliban banned teen girls from attending school and 30 days since they banned women from attending university. 

What You Need to Know

  • Speaking of education, HB215 passed out of the Senate Education committee yesterday on a 7-2 vote. It heads to the Senate floor, but word is it won't be debated today. Meanwhile, Allison Sorensen, executive director of "Education Opportunity 4 Every Child," and a registered lobbyist is in hot water for comments she made about wanting to "destroy public education" at a "Utah Fits All" training meeting. "Let's actually take the money out of the public school system," she said, adding that changes will "literally pull money straight from the school." Senator Mike McKell has called for her to resign and other lawmakers are distancing themselves from her comments. The bill's sponsor called Sorensen's remarks "misguided and inaccurate." Late last night, Sorensen sent members of the media a short apology, saying her comments were "thoughtless and inappropriate." 
  • Another mass shooting in California, this time in Half Moon Bay. Seven people were killed in two related locations. Police have arrested 67-year-old Chunli Zhao who worked for one of the businesses. It makes the second mass shooting in California in 3 days and the 38th mass shooting in the US this year. We're not even through January. 

Rapid Roundup


Together, We Can Better Support Women in Business

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2023 Legislative Session

7 days down, 38 days to go!  

SB117, the domestic violence bill requiring a lethality assessment and database creation will be heard today in the Senate Law Enforcement committee at 2 pm. SB108, the bill to eliminate gas chamber euthanasia in animal shelters, is 3rd on the agenda for the Senate Natural Resource committee and HB131 prohibiting "vaccine passports" is last on the agenda in the House Business and Labor Committee


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

11:00 am-11:50: Senate Floor Time

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

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

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

5:15-6:30 pmExecutive Appropriations


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

12:00 pm: Administrative Rules Review and General Oversight Committee

1:00 pm: Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Confirmation Committee

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

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

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Choice scholarship, teacher compensation bill in hands of Utah Senate (Deseret News)
  • Utah Gov. Cox calls voucher bill tied to teacher raises ‘a very balanced approach’ (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Resolution targeting abortion law passes Utah House, heads for final vote in Senate (Deseret News)
  • Editorial Board: Gov. Cox's address was most notable for what it didn't include (Deseret News)
  • Utah Leg to pledge $2 million for ozone fight with EPA. Feds set to impose ‘good neighbor’ rule that would require costly emission controls on coal plants in Utah and Wyoming needed to limit ozone pollution in Colorado. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah Senate votes to approve new state flag (KUTV)
  • ‘Common sense sort of policy’ intends to increase cultural and religious inclusivity in Utah schools (St. George News)

General Utah News

  • Salt Lake City's mayor outlined dozens of major goals for 2022. Here's how many were achieved (KSL)
  • Mayor Wilson says Salt Lake County is resilient and 'stronger together' in annual address. (KSL)
  • S.L. County has bounced back from the pandemic, Mayor Jenny Wilson says, uses annual State of the County speech to promise major initiatives on housing, open space and conserving water. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Rep. John Curtis visits Park City to introduce himself to his new constituents (KPCW)
  • Utah plans to sue social media companies for alleged harms to children, teens (KSL)
  • Refugees fleeing dangerous conditions in Ukraine arrive in Utah (Fox13)


  • Intermountain Health releases new branding, with effort to serve and connect (KSL)
  • Malouf addresses layoffs, number of employees undisclosed (Herald Journal)
  • AmazonSmile charity program ends. The online retailer said it wants to focus on donating to bigger programs that have greater impact (Deseret News)
  • Microsoft drops gauntlet on Google, announces plans to make ‘multibillion-dollar’ investment in ChatGPT creator (Deseret News)
  • ChatGPT passes a Wharton School MBA exam (NBC News)
  • Valerie Hudson: ChatGPT and the dawn of the new Dark Ages (Deseret News)


  •  BYU became the first U.S university to offer Azerbaijani 101 (Deseret News)
  • More states are offering — or pondering — free universal lunch (Deseret News)


  • A southern Utah mayor’s water warning: ‘We are running out’. The mayor of Ivins says Washington County needs to address unfettered growth and its impact on drought (Deseret News)


  • ‘Nothing-can-be-done’ view of Alzheimer’s disease untrue (Deseret News)
  • Study finds that nail salon UV lamps could increase skin cancer risk (Deseret News)


  • Salt Lake City officials, homeless advocates prepare for freezing temperatures this week (KSL)

National Headlines


  • Companies shed temp workers in warning sign for labor market (Wall Street Journal)
  • Former senior FBI official accused of working for Russian he investigated. Charles McGonigal, a former counterintelligence chief, is also accused of taking $225,000 from a former Albanian intelligence worker while still at the FBI (Washington Post)
  • Juvenile crime surges, reversing long decline. ‘It’s just kids killing kids.’ (Wall Street Journal)


  • Ronna McDaniel hopes to win 4th term as RNC chair (Deseret News)
  • Four Oath Keepers convicted of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy (AP)
  • Man who propped feet on Pelosi desk guilty in Jan. 6 case (AP)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • President Zelenskyy shakes up Ukraine's cabinet amid corruption allegations (NPR)
  • Russia’s war breathes new life into a cold war symbol: Radio Free Europe (New York Times)


  • Finland’s top diplomat hints at joining NATO without Sweden (AP)
  • Navalny says Kremlin wants to break him in jail. His team fears worse. (Washington Post)

Guest Opinion: HJR2 is an attack on the Judicial Branch

by Dr. Ellen Brady

In the Committee Hearing on HJR2—a measure that removes one standard by which courts can issue injunctions against contentious cases, including ill-advised, harmful, or unconstitutional laws, Rep. Brammer commented that the injunction against the abortion “trigger law” (SB174) was the precipitating factor in his decision to introduce this resolution which allows retroactive Motions to Dismiss an injunction. Further, his intent was to restrict injunctions against future “controversial” bills, commenting that legislation belongs with “elected representatives.”  

The past years have seen multiple successful attacks by the Legislature on the authority of the Governor and Executive Branch agencies, as well as that of county and municipal governments. HJR2 is an attack on the Judicial Branch that is a road too far. (Read More)

News Releases

Gov. Cox orders flags to be lowered in honor and remembrance of the victims in Monterey Park, California

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox has ordered the flags of the United States of America and the great state of Utah be lowered in honor and remembrance of the victims in Monterey Park, California. 

Flags should be lowered to the half-staff position immediately until sunset on Jan. 26, 2023.  Read President Biden’s statement. Gov. Cox. encourages individuals, businesses, and other organizations to lower their flags to half-staff as well. 

USBE: State Board opposes House Bill 215

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) voted today in opposition to House Bill 215 (H.B. 215), Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities. The board voted 10-5 to oppose the bill as currently written. (Read More)

Democratic caucus statement on HJR2

Today, the Utah House of Representatives passed HJR 2 on a party line vote. This resolution, which still needs Senate approval to go into effect, would put politicians in the middle of the judicial process in order to retroactively lift the injunction currently blocking the trigger ban on abortion. The Utah Democratic Party issued the following statement in response:

“The Republican supermajority will stop at nothing to implement their extreme abortion ban. Rather than respecting the judicial process and waiting for the lawsuit challenging the ban to move through the courts in a fair and balanced manner, they are taking the extraordinary step of retroactively changing the rules to get their way. (Read More)

House Democratic Caucus Statement on HB215

“We are disappointed to see the passage of HB 215. Our children are the cornerstone and future of our state and their education should be one of our foremost priorities. Over 90% of Utah’s school-age children attend public schools. This bill puts taxpayer dollars that could be meaningfully invested into our public schools into exclusive and unregulated private schools without any accountability. As Utah House Democrats, we are passionate about ensuring our incredible public school teachers have their pay increased. Teacher pay should not be tied to the passage of a school voucher program. Our teachers and our children deserve better.”

Invest in Utah’s Future Coalition: $5.6 billion in unmet needs should be prioritized over tax cuts

On Monday, January 23, 2023 at the Utah State Capitol, a broad and diverse coalition of advocates for the poor, for disabled Utahns, for education, health care, clean air, the Great Salt Lake, transportation investment, and a variety of other popular Utah priorities held a press conference calling on the Utah Legislature to prioritize addressing Utah’s long and growing list of unmet needs over permanent tax cuts that undermine our long-term capacity to invest in Utah’s future. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Jan 24, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-24 at 7.32.25 AM



  • "Saving the climate is good for business" with the Hinckley Institute — Jan. 25, 12:00 pm, Zoom
  • Special Election, HD 31 — Jan 27, 6 pm 
  • Legislative session ends — Mar. 3,

On This Day In History

  • 1848 - Gold discovered at Sutter’s Creek.

  • 1925 - Maria Tallchief is born on the Osage reservation. She began dancing as a child and became the nation’s first major prima ballerina.

  • 1935 - First canned beer, “Krueger’s Cream Ale,” goes on sale.

  • 1950 - Percy L. Spencer receives U.S. patent no. 2,495,429 for a “Method of Treating Foodstuffs” - otherwise known as the microwave oven.

  • 1956 - Emmett Till’s murderers confess in a detailed article published in “Look” magazine. They were never brought to justice.

  • 1965 - Winston Churchill dies at age 90.

  • 1968 - Mary Lou Retton is born. Now I feel old.

  • 1972 - Japanese soldier found on Guam after 28 years of hiding.

  • 1984 - Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh personal computer.

  • 1989 - Ted Bundy dies.

  • 1945 - D. Todd Christofferson’s birthday.

  • 2003 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.

  • 2006 - Walt Disney International announces it is buying Pixar.

  • 2011 - Becky Lockhart is sworn in as Utah’s first female Speaker of the House.

  • 2011 - Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport is bombed by Chechen terrorists, killing 35 and injuring 173.

  • 2018 - After years of unhindered assaults, Larry Nassar is sentenced to prison for sexual assault. 260 women alleged that Nassar abused them while they were minors and the FBI found more than 37,000 images of child porn on his computer. He will spend the rest of his sorry life in prison. 

Heard on the Hill

“I think she (Allison Sorensen) should resign. If your stated purpose is to destroy public education then you should not have a seat at the table, period.”

—Senator Mike McKell

On the Punny Side

How did the cyber-criminals escape?

They Ransomware.


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