Medical cannabis amendments; local health department restrictions; inmate treatment and suicide prevention bills in committee today
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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 31, 2023

It's Tuesday and National Hot Chocolate Day - sounds pretty good with way-below-freezing weather....

Box Elder, Cache County and Logan school districts on a two-hour delay today.

What You Need to Know

  • The three bills I highlighted yesterday all passed committee. Those were HB256, which would allow pregnant women to use the HOV lane, HB203, a bill making it easier for Utah inmates to receive a college education, and HB222, which would require issuing a 365-day bison hunting permit.

  • Today in the House Political Subdivisions Committee, HB111, Inmate Treatment Amendments and HB259, Suicide Prevention in Correctional Facilities are among 4 bills on the agenda. Senator Mike McKell is presenting SB152, Social Media Regulation Amendments requiring age verification in the Senate Business and Labor Committee. In Senate Health and Human Services, Senator Escamilla will be discussing SB137, Medical Cannabis Amendments and Senator Kennedy will present SB116, a bill preventing local health departments from isolating and quarantining an individual. 

Rapid Roundup


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

14 days down, 31 days to go!  

Two-a-days begin today and by that I mean morning and afternoon floor times. 


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


8:00 am: Sub-appropriations: Business, Economic Development and LaborInfrastructure and General GovernmentPublic EducationSocial Services

11:00 am-11:50: Senate Floor Time

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

12:15 pm: Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee

2:00-3:30 pm: Senate floor time

2:00-3:30 pm: House floor time

3:40-6:00 pm: House committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services; Economic Development and Workforce Services

3:40-6:00 pm: Senate committees: Judicial, Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment; Transportation, Public Utilities & Technology

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Should pregnant women be able to use the HOV lane? A bill that says they should passed out of committee and heads to the House floor. (Deseret News)
  • Gabby Petito’s parents, lieutenant governor urge Utah lawmakers to pass domestic violence bill (Deseret News)
  • Sen. Scott Sandall: Utah legislature has a plan to save water in our desert (Deseret News)
  • Utah leaders unveil plans for water conservation, helping Great Salt Lake (KUTV)
  • Utah State Legislature turns focus to water conservation, Great Salt Lake (Fox13)
  • Utah lawmakers: ‘We are not going to let our state go dry on our watch’. Legislators commit to spending a half billion or more on Utah’s water (Deseret News)
  • Senate passes slightly altered design as new Utah state flag (KSL)
  • Newly designed state flag will better represent Utah’s historic tribal nations, senator says (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Rep. Birkeland introduces new abortion bill, opposed by her own sister (ABC4)
  • Utahns push to make Porcini the official state mushroom (Fox13)
  • Here’s what Utah Sen. Todd Weiler’s bill on gender identity in schools actually does (KUER)

Other political news

  • LGBTQ groups promise lawsuit over new Utah law banning transgender surgeries, treatments (Deseret News)
  • Sen. Mitt Romney on debt ceiling, spending, classified documents, immigration (KUTV)

General Utah News

  • Judge awards $10.55M in Arches accidental beheading trial (KSL)
  • How to take part in Salt Lake City’s NBA All-Star Weekend on any budget (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • 'Knowledge keeper and storyteller': Darren Parry selected as The Herald Journal's 2022 Resident of the year (Herald Journal)
  • What are the chances free fares will come to Utah transit? The transit authority had some success with free-fare February last year and plans a 10-day free period for the All-Star Game. Will transit riders see permanent free fares in the future? (Deseret News)
  • One-fourth of public pools in Salt Lake County closing over noncompliance with safety rule (KSL)
  • House cleaning argument ends with man running over wife, police say (KSL)
  • Emails: Sheriff Jared Rigby helped write a thank you letter to himself (Fox13)


  • University of Utah set to turbo-charge fintech programming with new $65 million investment partnership (Deseret News)
  • Dixie Technical College’s biggest problem? GrowthThe school has grown from two dozen students in 2001 to nearly 1,500 students today. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Utah’s Peter Sinks reaches -62 Monday; Why does it get so cold? (KSL TV)
  • Utah saw huge improvement in wildfires last year. (ABC4)
  • The drought-weary West can no longer turn a blind eye toward water evaporation losses (KUER)
  • California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal (AP)


  • Biden announces end to COVID-19 emergency declarations in May (Deseret News)
  • Gratitude might be key in reducing stress (Deseret News)


  • County opens warming center after Salt Lake homeless advocates build unsanctioned tent (KSL)

National Headlines


  • Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet (AP)
  • 2 more Memphis officers disciplined, 3 fire department employees fired after Tyre Nichols’ death (Deseret News)
  • Tyre Nichols case shows officers still fail to intervene (AP)
  • Police statements tell the first version of an incident. Then video footage comes out (NPR)
  • Priscilla Presley disputes trust of late Lisa Marie Presley 
  • Exxon posts record annual profit of $55.7 billion (Wall Street Journal)


  • Trump tells campaign rally crowd he has “unfinished business”. Trump said he’s “more angry now and more committed now than I ever was” (Deseret News)
  • A conservative judge helped stop Trump on Jan. 6. He wants to finish the job. Michael Luttig, one of the most celebrated legal minds of his generation, never ascended to the Supreme Court. But many think the retired jurist played a far more consequential role for the nation. Now he envisions ‘the beginning of the end of Donald Trump.’ (Washington Post)
  • Trump-DeSantis rivalry approaches boiling point (The Hill)
  • Sec. Blinken had a plan for his visit to Jerusalem. Then he had to pivot (NPR)
  • New York Republicans want George Santos gone. They know just the person to help. (Politico)
  • Biden’s next 2 years: A brutal war and a rough campaign (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Ukraine intel chief predicted Russia’s war. He says Crimea will be retaken. (Washington Post)
  • Russian forces ratchet up pressure on a key eastern city. (New York Times)
  • Major new Russian assault in Ukraine unlikely to achieve breakthrough, UK says (Reuters)
  • In besieged Bakhmut, everyday life Is a struggle to survive. Locals who are too old, sick or poor to leave brave the dangers of the front-line city (Wall Street Journal)
  • Russia sidesteps western punishments, with help from friends (New York Times)


  • Pakistan reels after bombing death toll hits 95, fears more terrorism to come (Washington Post)
  • Two years on, Myanmar coup takes a 'catastrophic toll' (Reuters)
  • The I.M.F. says the war in Ukraine poses a risk to a resilient global economy. (New York Times)

News Releases

Joint effort underway to house the unsheltered as valley temperatures drop

With dangerously low temperatures expected overnight, Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City have partnered to open the Central City Recreation Center for unsheltered residents. While there have been beds available in the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homelessness system recently, staffing shortages continue to make it impossible or unsafe for non-profit shelter providers to create additional capacity at identified winter overflow shelters.

The Central City Recreation Center facility, located at 615 South 300 East in Salt Lake City, opened at 9 p.m. tonight and will be opened based upon need while the dangerously cold weather persists.  Community volunteers including doctors and specialists are at the center of this effort, assisting with putting this plan into action.  Additionally, staff and other homeless advocates are out on the streets working to identify and move people inside. (Read More)

Utah Manufacturers Association releases 2023 Competitiveness Redbook

The Utah Manufacturers Association is pleased to provide the 2023 Competitiveness Redbook for the state of Utah.

The Competitiveness Redbook provides a snapshot of Utah’s economic health by using data-driven comparisons with other states in a variety of key indicators. Utah remains in the top ten in multiple positive rankings, including age group by percentage, net migration, top states for business, total enrollment in higher education, national assessment of educational progress, the average retail price per KwH for commercial and residential customers, and airport on-time performance. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Jan 31, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 7.17.51 AM




On This Day In History

  • 1865 - House passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America (passes 121-24)
  • 1870 - Mary Woolley Chamberlain is born. She, along with 4 other women, was elected to the Kanab city council in 1911.
  • 1872 - Zane Grey is born. The popular author wrote about the American frontier and was one of the first widely-read western novelists.
  • 1876 - The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.
  • 1915 - Thomas Merton, French-American Catholic writer and Trappist monk is born in Prades, Pyrénées-Orientales, France
  • 1919 - Jackie Robinson is born.
  • 1940 - The Social Security Administration issues the first Social Security check in the amount of $22.54 to Ida May Fuller.
  • 1950 - President Harry Truman publicly supports development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • 1968 - Viet Cong attack U.S. Embassy in Saigon.
  • 1988 - Don Williams became the first African American to start and win a Super Bowl. Playing for the Washington Redskins, he led Washington to a 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
  • 1990 - First McDonald’s opens in the Soviet Union.
  • 2000 - Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83 crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.
  • 2006 - US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retires and is replaced by Samuel Alito
  • 2017 - President Donald Trump fires Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructs Justice Department officials not to defend Trump's travel ban
  • 2020 - United Kingdom formally withdraws from the European Union (Brexit)
  • 2022 - Online word puzzle Wordle bought for “low seven figure sum” by The New York Times

Heard on the Hill

"Friends don't let friends run water bills." 

— Rep. Casey Snider, speaking on this year's water bills 

On the Punny Side

How do you find Will Smith in a snow storm?

Look for the Fresh Prints.


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