Gov. Cox signs 2 controversial bills into law; pregnant drivers and the HOV lane, bison hunting permits and education for inmates
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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 | January 30, 2023

It's Monday and Yodel For Your Neighbors Day. Trust me. They'll love it. 

Happy birthday to Speaker Brad Wilson yesterday!

Congratulations to Brett Garner who won the special election on Saturday to replace Rep. Karen Kwan who moved up to the Senate. 

Finally, the extreme cold has caused some schools to delay their start times: Cache, Logan City and Dugway Schools in Tooele County are on a 2-hour delay. Box Elder classes have been moved online. Classes before 10 am at Utah State University campuses in Logan, Brigham City and Tremonton are canceled. 

What You Need to Know

  • The governor signed two bills into law on Saturday. The first was the education bill that gives teachers a $4200 raise (plus $1800 in benefits) and provides $8000 in scholarship money per student outside the public education system. The second was SB16, banning sex-change surgeries and hormonal therapies for transgender minors. The ban on transgender treatments takes effect immediately.

  • This week is "Water Week" on the hill, with a series of bills being unveiled that will address conservation and the Great Salt Lake. Those policies "will be a big policy and a big funding priority for us," said Speaker Brad Wilson. Meanwhile, a bill requiring both public and privately owned golf courses to publish their annual water usage was tabled Wednesday after it was opposed by the golf industry and members of the committee. Sponsor Rep. Welton was accused of trying to "shame" golf courses. 

Rapid Roundup

  • Ronna Romney McDaniel won a 4th term as RNC chairwoman, handily defeating the MyPillow guy and the national committeewoman from California; Philadelphia Eagles will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl and Britain Covey will be there; Oregon torture suspect is using dating apps to evade capture; and the online system to seek asylum in the US is quickly overwhelmed.

30 Women to Watch: Submit Your Nomination Now

Utah Business magazine is honoring women who are on their way to truly amazing things. These are our state’s next legislators, CEOs, entrepreneurs, authors and arrivistes — and they’re all congregating in Spring 2023. Nominations close February 10. Submit your nomination now.


2023 Legislative Session

13 days down, 32 days to go!  

On the hill today: HB256, which would allow pregnant women to use the HOV lane, will be heard in the House Transportation Committee, HB203, a bill making it easier for Utah inmates to receive a college education, will be heard in the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee and HB222, which would require issuing a 365-day bison hunting permit, will be heard in the House Natural Resources 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: House committees: Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment; Transportation

2:00-5:00 pm: Senate committees: canceled for the day


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

2:00-3:30 pm: Senate floor time

2:00-3:30 pm: House floor time

3:40-6:00 pm: House Committees - Judiciary; Government Operations; Political Subdivisions; Revenue and Taxation

3:40-6:00 pm: Senate Committees - Business & Labor; Education; Health and Human Services

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Legislative wrap: Controversial bills are taking center stage during the second week (Deseret News)
  • 2023 legislative session, week 2, with host Jason Perry and guests Sean Higgins, and Reps Brian King and Candice Pierucci (Hinckley Report)
  • Utah governor OKs bill banning gender-affirming health care (AP)
  • LGBTQ rights activists protest outside Gov. Cox's office (Fox13)
  • Bill that would publicize how much water golf courses use meets opposition (Great Salt Lake Collaborative)
  • This bill by Rep. Teuscher would let home-schooled, online students play prep sports outside their boundary school (Deseret News)
  • Utah lawmaker Trevor Lee proposes bill to ban on cellphones and smartwatches in schools (Deseret News)
  • Utah Indian Child Welfare Act Bill held up in committee (KSL)
  • Stolen piglets and rural mental health: Here’s what the Utah House passed Friday (KSL)
  • Utah Inland Port Authority has moved away from ‘sketchy crap,’ new director says (KSL)
  • Utah State Bar issues memo opposing resolution to end hold on state's abortion ban (KSL)
  • The ACLU of Utah on the legislative session (ABC4)
  • The IUP Panel on the budget and HB215 (ABC4)
  • ‘Historic tax cuts’ means money not spent elsewhere in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune)

Other political news

  • Theresa Dear: What happened to Tyre Nichols was not about race. It was about police brutality. It is past time for Congress to come together and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (Deseret News)
  • Romney, Trump and other politicians react to police beating of Tyre Nichols (Deseret News)
  • Protesters gather in Salt Lake City in response to Tyre Nichols police bodycam video release (Fox13)
  • Multiple organizations file Supreme Court briefs debating hold on Utah’s abortion law (Deseret News)

General Utah News

  • Where does the term ‘Stockholm syndrome’ come from? (Deseret News)
  • Perspective: An oncologist reflects on death (Deseret News)
  • Michelle Quist: What can be done about the prevalence of domestic violence in Utah? Believe women. Get the guns out of your house. Promote gender equality. And stop killing them. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Susan R. Madsen: Helping those at a disadvantage doesn’t cost anything. One group making progress does not hold other groups back. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Want to view Utah history? State reopens research center after nearly 3 years (KSL)
  • Power fails for thousands in SLC on coldest day of year so far (KUTV)


  • Rise of the bots? Buzzfeed to adopt artificial intelligence for some content after slashing 12% of its workforce (Deseret News)
  • New restaurant emblematic of West Valley City's multicultural richness. Cafe Limon features Asian, Hispanic, Polynesian and American cuisine (KSL)
  • Empowering Latina moms to find a place in STEM (KSL)


  • Weber State harnesses 3D-printing technology for aerospace support, research (Deseret News)
  • Private schools celebrate state funding, expect ‘significant uptick in enrollment’ (KSL TV)
  • Study finds gender disparities between male and female graduates (UPR)
  • Weber State University professor Alex Lawrence using ChatGPT in the sales-technology classes he teaches (Wall Street Journal)


  • AP Exclusive: Emails reveal tensions in Colorado River talks (AP)


  • Weight loss surgery extends lives, Utah study finds (KSL)
  • Experts urge better opioid rescue drug (naloxone) access to save lives (AP)


  • Utah set aside $10M for homelessness. Instead of services, cities tapped it for police (KUER)

National Headlines


  • All 5 former Memphis cops charged with murder in Tyre Nichols’ death (New York Times)
  • Memphis deactivates the unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols, as officials urge reform (NPR)
  • 71 commands in 13 minutes: Officers gave Tyre Nichols impossible orders. Officers gave dozens of contradictory and unachievable orders to Mr. Nichols. The punishment was severe — and eventually fatal. (New York Times)
  • Black Memphis police spark dialogue on systemic racism in the U.S. (Washington Post)
  • Prosecutor: $100 repair bill sparked Half Moon Bay shooting (AP)
  • Marie Kondo’s life is messier now with three children — and she’s fine with it (Washington Post)
  • A project collects the names of those held at Japanese internment camps during WWII (NPR)


  • It’s not just Utah, other conservative states are seeing a school choice policy push (AP)
  • Republicans see education as winning issue in 2024 (The Hill)
  • Trump hits DeSantis: He's a Covid skeptic phony (Politico)
  • Blinken reaffirms two-state solution ahead of Israeli-Palestinian visit (Reuters)
  • McCarthy: Social Security, Medicare cuts ‘off the table’ (The Hill)
  • Schumer plots debt ceiling course against McCarthy: ‘We'll win’ (Politico)
  • GOP national sales tax talk backfires, as Dems see political gold (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • How a virtual chatroom is making a difference in the war in Ukraine. U.S. chat and video helplines give a new possibility to help Ukrainian soldiers fix machinery (Deseret News)
  • 66,000 war crimes have been reported in Ukraine. It vows to prosecute them all. (Washington Post)
  • ‘Very dangerous people’: Russia’s convict fighters are heading home (New York Times)
  • Putin threatened to kill me, Britain’s Boris Johnson says (Washington Post)


  • Retired Gen. and former NATO commander, Petr Pavel, defeats nationalist billionaire Babis in Czech election (Washington Post)
  • Suicide bomber targets police, kills 34, wounds 150 at mosque in NW Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility (AP)
  • Turkey favors approving Finland’s NATO bid before Sweden’s (AP)
  • Israel strikes Iran amid international push to contain Tehran (Wall Street Journal)

News Releases

Gov. Spencer Cox signs education funding, transgender medical bills

Gov. Spencer J. Cox signed two bills today. He signed Senate Bill 16, Transgender Medical Treatment and Procedures, and House Bill 215, Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education.

These two bills are the first two bills of the 2023 General Legislative Session to be signed by Gov. Cox. (Read More)

House District 31 special election results

Saturday night, Democratic state delegates in HD31 met virtually to hear from three candidates running to replace Senator Karen Kwan in the Utah House of Representatives. After hearing from each candidate, delegates voted virtually in a ranked-choice election. Brett Garner won the election in the first round with 58.82% of the votes. (Read More)

USBE: Board leadership statement on allegations of educator rule violation

As the elected leadership team for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), we are aware of recent allegations against several school districts regarding potential disregard for law or rule of divisive topics being taught within the school setting. All administrators and educators are required to abide by Utah law, board administrative rules, and official policy, including R277-328 Education Equity in Schools. (Read More)

Lee leads letter to President Biden

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and 23 of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to President Biden expressing opposition to a debt-ceiling hike without real structural spending reform that reduces deficit spending. The signatories expressed their intention to abide by the policy of the Senate Republican conference, which states that “any increase in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by cuts in federal spending of an equal or greater amount as the debt ceiling increase, or meaningful structural reform in spending, such as the Prevent Government Shutdown Act or the Full Faith and Credit Act.” (Read More)

Rep. Stewart appointed to Defense, Interior, and Foreign Operations subcommittees

Today, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) was appointed by Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) to serve on three subcommittees within the House Committee on Appropriations. These subcommittees include Defense; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Jan 30, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-30 at 7.21.20 AM




On This Day In History

  • 1781 - Maryland becomes the 13th and final state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, almost 3 years after the official deadline.
  • 1815 - The burned U.S. Library of Congress is re-established with Thomas Jefferson’s 6,500 volumes.
  • 1835 - Andrew Jackson narrowly escaped assassination, the first attempted assassination on a U.S. President. 
  • 1912 - Barbara Tuchman is born. The American historian and best selling author won Pulitzer Prizes for her historical account of the first 30 days of World War I in Guns of August 
  • 1913 - Ida B. Wells forms the Alpha Suffrage Club
  • 1933 - Hitler named chancellor of Germany.
  • 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
  • 1956 - Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home is bombed.
  • 1972 - “Bloody Sunday” in Northern Ireland when 27 unarmed civilians are shot by the British Army during a civil rights march. 14 die.
  • 1973 - Jury finds Watergate defendants Liddy and McCord guilty on all counts. 
  • 1976 - George H. W. Bush becomes 11th director of CIA
  • 1982 - The first computer virus is released. “Elk Cloner” was created by Richard Skrenta as a practical joke.
  • 2002 - Karl Malone becomes 2nd player in NBA history to register 34,000 career points.
  • 2020 - The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern at a meeting in Geneva.

Heard on the Hill

"Farmers need to be protected from burglary and theft. Activists don't have the right to declare themselves inspectors and then engage in private vigilantism."

—Rep. Carl Albrecht, speaking on a bill that addresses piglet theft (and more)

On the Punny Side

My dog accidentally swallowed a whole bag of scrabble tiles. We took him to the vet to get him checked out.

No word yet…


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