National Wear Red Day + National Female Physicians Day; US adds 517K new jobs; Chinese spy balloon over the US right now
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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 | February 3, 2023

It's Friday and the end of the 3rd week of the legislature. It's also National Women Physicians Day. There are two female physicians on the hill - be sure to say Hi if you see Dr. (Rep.) Rosemary Lesser and Dr. (Sen.) Jen Plumb. It's also National Wear Red Day to bring awareness to heart disease in women. AND - it's wear blue day on the Hill. So - maybe purple?

Also, if you want a little behind-the-scenes peek at Governor Cox getting ready for the State of the State, check this out. 

What You Need to Know

  • Yesterday, HJR10, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - Election of County Sheriffs, and SB162, Marriage Solemnization Amendments,
    passed unanimously and  HB289, Blockchain Provider Registration passed committee 5-4.

  • Today, HB311, a bill that would prohibit minors under age 16 from having accounts on social media platforms, will be heard in the House Judiciary committee. HB265, in the House Political Subdivision committee, would prevent municipalities from annexing certain land around military installations and HB171 in Government Operations would repeal the ranked choice voting pilot program. All Senate committees are canceled this afternoon. 

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

17 days down, 28 days to go!  


8:00 am: Sub-appropriations: Business, Economic Development and LaborInfrastructure and General Government; Public EducationSocial 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


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: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services; Economic Development & Workforce Services

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

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Utah Republicans block resolution to create target level for the Great Salt Lake (Great Salt Lake Collaborative/UPR)
  • Utah lawmakers’ ‘water week’ was more about small tweaks than groundbreaking policy (KUER)
  • After Great Salt Lake bill stalls, some question legislature's commitment (Fox13)
  • With vouchers and pay out of the way, Utah lawmakers turn to school safety (KUER)
  • Here’s what these state lawmakers propose to improve school safety in Utah: Proposals range from increasing numbers of school resource officers and standardized responses to threats in schools to dropping fees for school employee seeking concealed permits (Deseret News)
  • Bill on sexual assault victim services and abortion medication unveiled in Utah legislature (Fox13)
  • Advocates urge more state funding for sexual assault victims (KUTV)
  • Senate committee approves bill limiting sex offenders at pools, parks and playgrounds (KUTV)

Other political news

  • Gov. Cox administration spearheads dive into growth, how to contend with it (Standard Examiner)
  • Kaufusi touts Provo as 'exceptional' city; announces future goals (Daily Herald)
  • Sen. Mike Lee on being booted from Senate Commerce Committee: ‘Mitch happens’ (Deseret News)
  • Utah Sen. Mike Lee delivers ultimatum to Japanese government to release imprisoned Navy officer (Deseret News)

General Utah News

  •  Utah's age discrimination agency rarely favors workers (Fox13)
  • ABC4 celebrates Black History Month: Mia Love (ABC4)
  • Man accused of human trafficking after routine traffic stop in Washington County (ABC4)
  • Parolee charged in killings of 3 year olds, dirty for drugs weeks prior, AP&P had no clue (KUTV)
  • Steal. Sell. Repeat. Wave of construction thefts leaves Utah buyers stuck paying the price (KSL TV)


  •  Dirty Dough becomes UVU’s official cookie, update on #UtahCookieWars (Deseret News)


  •  USU announces monthlong events for Black History Month (Herald Journal)
  • Provo school district asks public for input on new superintendent (Daily Herald)
  • Local nonprofit hopes to bring teen centers to all Utah high schools (Fox13)
  • Utah Tech’s plan for student housing in soaring St. George’s real estate market. The university will break ground on a $70 million high-rise for students. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  •  Tribal communities secure $580M in water rights settlements (KUER/AP)


  • Latino children are over-represented in Utah’s foster care system (KUER)


  • Physicians push for more air purifiers in classrooms amid air quality concerns (Fox13
  • Eye drops linked to drug-resistant bacteria outbreak in Utah and 11 other states. Patients told to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears after at least 55 cases found, with one person dead. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  •  12 seasonal workers in a 1-bedroom — for $12K a month — equals a Park City problem (Salt Lake Tribune)

National Headlines


  • David Brooks: In the age of AI, major in being human (New York Times)
  • College Board faces storm of criticism over AP African American studies (Washington Post)
  • Yale honors the work of a 9-year-old Black girl whose neighbor reported her to police (NPR)
  • Councilwoman fatally shot in car outside her New Jersey home (Washington Post)
  • Law barring people with domestic violence restraining orders from having guns is unconstitutional, court rules (KSL Newsradio)
  • Friend or fraud: Seven ways to spot a Ponzi scheme, and other scams (Washington Post)
  • Cash-strapped Americans are tapping into their 401(k) savings (Wall Street Journal)
  • Déjà vu? Texas ice storm leaves hundreds of thousands without power (NPR)
  • The stuff of nightmares: Woman sent to Iowa funeral home in a body bag was alive (KSL)


  • President Biden urges lawmakers to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’. Biden spoke about the importance of unity Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast (Deseret News)
  • Trump declines to say if he’ll support eventual 2024 GOP presidential nominee (Washington Post)
  • Trump trashes ‘ambitious’ potential 2024 rivals in sprawling interview (The Hill)
  • Trump campaign staff on 2020 election lies: ‘fan the flame’ (AP)
  • McCarthy rejects Rep. Greene’s claim that Jan. 6 rioter Babbitt was murdered (Washington Post)
  • House GOP struggles to unify over budget ideas (The Hill)
  • The state where the GOP would rather lose than change: Arizona (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Celebrating Stalingrad, Putin tries to justify his Ukraine war (Washington Post)
  • The number of Russian troops killed and wounded in Ukraine is approaching 200,000. Moscow is sending poorly trained recruits, including convicts, to the front lines in eastern Ukraine to pave the way for more seasoned fighters. (New York Times)
  • Ukraine hopes new bombs from U.S. will help it push back Russia. Small-diameter bombs would extend Ukraine’s strike range, putting more Russian positions in danger (Wall Street Journal)
  • Along Ukraine-Belarus border, a war of nerves — and drones (AP)


  • In the shadow of Ukraine, Myanmar’s crisis gets worse (Washington Post)

Guest Opinion: Tax cuts hurt our kids

by Moe Hickey

Once again, it’s the “Year of the Tax Cut” which seems to have become an annual event in Utah. We have been cutting taxes for years, and by doing so we are neglecting the long-term needs of our children. 

We have heard consistently that we are investing more in education. That may be accurate in terms of dollars allocated, but it does not account for continued growth and inflation. Once you calculate those two factors, our spending on education has been relatively flat for decades. We need to invest more in our K-12 system to meet the needs of our children. Otherwise we will continue to suffer from the largest class sizes in the nation and high school graduation rates at or below national averages for nearly every racial and ethnic category. 

We are also ignoring the lack of early care and education supports that are needed to address the changing challenges facing families. Utah is one of 33 states where infant care is more expensive than college...

This winter we had to turn children away from homeless shelters due to lack of space. We have seen food pantries expand at schools across the state. We have seen our student homeless population expand, creating a need for more onsite Teen Centers. It is amazing to see community members and donors’ step in to address these issues, but it is not addressing the causes, nor is it a sustainable solution...

We need to take a step back and assess what our children need and have the political will to fund it properly. We can no longer continue to cut taxes while ignoring the needs of 30 percent of our citizens. (Read More)

News Releases

Jean Bingham joins Sutherland Board

Sutherland Institute announced today the addition of former General Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham to its Board of Directors. Bingham will draw from her leadership experience in the faith, educational and philanthropic sectors to enhance Sutherland’s work on religious liberty, education, family, and the institutions of civil society. (Read More)

Rep. Stewart introduces social media ban for kids under 16

Today, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced the Social Media Child Protection Act, which would make it unlawful for social media platforms to provide access to children under the age of 16. The rates of teen and adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicide have risen at unprecedented levels since the emergence of social media. (Read More)

Owens announces Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee assignments

Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) announced his selection to three House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees: Water Resources and Environment, Highways and Transit, and Aviation. (Read More)

Owens re-introduces bill to fight learning loss crisis, empower parents

Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) re-introduced the Raising Expectations with Child Opportunity Vouchers for Educational Recovery (RECOVER) Act to empower parents to solve the learning loss crisis facing today’s students.

As of January 2023, states and school districts had yet to spend 77% of the education funding allocated to them under the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan Act. Rep. Owens’ bill would allow states and school districts to use those unspent funds to issue Child Opportunity Scholarships directly to parents. (Read More)

Romney, colleagues formally challenge Biden WOTUS rule through Congressional Review Act

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined all 48 of his Republican colleagues, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, in introducing a formal challenge to the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval. The resolution of disapproval “will give every member of Congress the chance to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and builders, and protect future transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects of all kinds in their states." (Read More)

Romney, colleagues urge administration to designate copper as a critical mineral in interest of national security 

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined a bipartisan letter, led by Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), urging U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to designate copper as an official U.S. Geological Survey Critical Mineral, emphasizing new analysis, and its well-documented importance to national security, water infrastructure, electrical and clean energy infrastructure, and more. (Read More)

Senate GOP introduce concealed-carry reciprocity bill 

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), along with 42 of their Senate colleagues, introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that allows concealed carry, while still abiding by that state’s laws. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 3, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-03 at 7.44.48 AM



  • State of the Union — Feb. 7, 7:00 pm MST
  • Great Salt Lake Strike Team with Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Newsmaker Breakfast — Feb. 8, 8:00a am - 9:30 am, RSVP to
  • Ditch Your Debt and Transform Your Net Worth with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Feb. 28, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • Legislative session ends — Mar. 3,
  • Teaching Your Child Consent with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Mar. 16, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, Virtual, Register Here

On This Day In History

  • 1821 - Elizabeth Blackwell is born. She became the first fully accredited female doctor in the U.S. (1849)
  • 1870 - The 15th Amendment passes, granting suffrage to Black men.
  • 1874 - Gertrude Stein is born. You probably know her as the poet with the phrase “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
  • 1874 - Blanche Kelso Bruce, born a slave, is elected to a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate by the Mississippi legislature. He is the first Black senator to serve a full term.
  • 1878 - Hattie Wyatt Caraway is born. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate (1932, D-AR) and the first woman to preside over the Senate (1943).
  • 1930 - Ruth Ross is born. She became a magazine editor and helped found “Essence” (1970), the first magazine to celebrate the intellect and beauty of Black women and published articles from leading Black scholars and writers. However the magazine feared advertising losses and fired her so the magazine could become “less black.”
  • 1931 - Arkansas legislature passes motion to pray for soul of journalist H. L. Mencken, after he calls the state the "apex of moronia"
  • 1956 - Autherine Lucy becomes the first Black American to attend the University of Alabama. By Lucy’s 3rd day, she had been threatened by angry white mobs and had to lock herself in a classroom. The University eventually expelled her. In 1988, they apologized.
  • 1959 - “The Day the Music Died,” when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P Richardson are killed in a plane crash in Iowa.
  • 1964 - School officials reported that 464,361 Black and Puerto Rican students - about 45% - boycotted New York City public schools after civil rights leaders called for a one-day boycott to protest segregation and over-crowding of non-White schools.
  • 1981 - The US Air Force Academy drops its ban on applicants with sickle cell trait, following class action lawsuits by cadets who were forced to resign or who were not admitted based on that trait alone. Sickle cell trait is present in approximately 2 million Black Americans. 
  • 1994 - President Clinton ends trade embargo with Vietnam.
  • 1998 - A U.S. Marine jet severed a ski-lift cable in Italy, sending a tram crashing to the ground and killing 20.
  • 2002 - New England Patriots defeat the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in their first Super Bowl win.
  • 2005 - Alberto Gonzales becomes the first Hispanic U.S. Attorney General.
  • 2009 - Eric Holder confirmed as the first Black US Attorney General

Heard on the Hill

“In order to prevent more school shootings, we really have to address gun violence. That’s something we really haven’t been able to do as effectively here in the state of Utah."

—Rep. Angela Romero

On the Punny Side

Why didn’t the skeleton want to send any Valentine’s Day cards?

His heart wasn’t in it.


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