National Pizza Day; moving the State Hospital; forensic genetics; Count My Vote gearing up for another citizen's initiative
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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 9, 2023

It's Thursday and National Pizza Day! The perfect political food. 🍕 That and caffeine. 

What You Need to Know

  • After a new bill that would allow convention candidates to skip a primary and boot all other candidates off the ballot, Count My Vote is ramping up another ballot initiative. This time, says  executive director Taylor Morgan, it would be to hold direct primaries only. Rep. Jordan Teuscher, the bill's sponsor, told Lindsay Aerts of KSL Newsradio it was just a "scare tactic." 

  • Today on the hill, HB284, Public Library Background Check Requirements, will be heard in the House Education committee; a bill to look at moving the state hospital will be up in the House Economic Development committee and a bill addressing investigative searches for genetic information will be heard in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice committee. 

  • In Turkey and Syria, the official death toll is now more than 19,300. Survivors of the twin quakes are struggling to stay warm and to find food. Hope for finding more survivors is pretty dim. UN aid has finally crossed the border into Syria, more than 3 days after the earthquakes hit. In addition to winter conditions, the region has been hit by 1,117 aftershocks since Monday. 

Rapid Roundup


Together, We Can Better Support Women in Business

Whether you’re a woman starting a business or looking to elevate your career, Inspire In Utah is dedicated to providing you with the resources to help on your journey. Find funding, training, and even inspirational stories in our dedicated resource center.


2023 Legislative Session

23 days down, 22 days to go!  


8:00-9:50 am: House committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services;

8:30 am: House Economic Development & Workforce Services

8:00-9:50 am: Senate committees: Transportation, Public Utilities & Technology

8:30 am: Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment

8:40 am: Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice

10:00-11:50 am: House Floor time

10:00-1:50 am: Senate Floor time

2:00-4:00 pm: House Floor time

2:00-4:00 pm: Senate Floor time

4:10-6:0 pm: Executive Appropriations 


8:00-9:50 am: House committees: Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture, & Environment; Public Utilities, Energy & Technology

8:00-9:50 am: Senate committees: Government Operations & Political Subdivisions; 

8:15 am: Economic Development & Workforce Services

9:00 am: Revenue and Taxation

10:00-11:50 am: House Floor time

10:00-1:50 am: Senate Floor time

12:15 pm: Executive Appropriations

2:00-5:00 pm: House committees: Judiciary; Government Operations; Political Subdivisions; Revenue and Taxation

2:00-5:00 pm: Senate committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Over a dozen bills to address air quality in Utah are being run this session (Deseret News)
  • Lawmakers propose UTA free fare year to improve Utah's air quality (KSL)
  • Bill would make tampering with Utah ballot drop boxes a felony offense (KSL)
  • Curt Bramble:  This bill would end a loophole and help patients pay for expensive drugs. Health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers are padding their bottom lines via a loophole that lets them shift costs to suffering patients (Deseret News)
  • Bill to make Utah railroad crossings safer advances in House (KSL)
  • How Utah lawmakers are trying to fight fraudulent ticket sales (Deseret News)
  • Bill introduced to keep teacher salary increases on pace with inflation (KSL Newsradio)
  • An ‘Amazon for marijuana’: Utah’s medical marijuana turf war (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Should the Utah State Hospital move out of Provo? A bill in the legislature would take a look at the feasibility of moving and the economic possibilities of redeveloping the land (KUTV)
  • Local legislator introduces bill to address traffic problems on 1400 North intersection in Logan (Herald Journal)
  • What to know now that we’re halfway through Utah’s legislative session (KUER)

Other political news

  • Why Rep. Blake Moore is an optimist amid impending economic doom. Utah’s youngest member of Congress believes the nation can get its fiscal house in order. If it doesn’t, an exploding national debt and the predictions that Social Security and Medicare trust funds are being depleted will hurt everyone (Deseret News)
  • Biden named names on Social Security dispute. Utah Sen. Mike Lee was one of them (Deseret News)
  • President Joe Biden calls out Sen. Mike Lee following Social Security, Medicare cuts (KUTV)
  • St. George’s growth and progress depend on water, mayor says in State of the City address (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Wife of Navy lieutenant imprisoned in Japan meets President Biden face-to-face (KUTV)
  • Orem City Council looks at changing form of government (Daily Herald)

General Utah News

  • Now more than 80% of Utahns want to host another Olympics, poll shows (Deseret News)
  • Ex-Sandy fire captain admits hiding cameras where teens undressed, uploading child porn (KSL)
  • Utah state prison needs to fill 300 vacant staffing positions (KSL)
  • Such a sad story! Boy dies after fall from a slide at school in Tooele County (KSL)
  • Black girls struggling with hair confidence turn to local beauty shops in Utah (Fox13)
  • Utah's arts and culture scene rebounds from COVID-19 pandemic (Fox13)


  • Zoom: The next victim of the tech layoff wave to lose 15% of staff (Deseret News)
  • Disney's Bob Iger is swinging the ax as he plans to lay off 7,000 workers worldwide (NPR)
  • Utah arts and cultural jobs are surging after COVID pandemic (KSL TV)
  • Gallup: Just 2 in 10 U.S. employees have a work `best friend’ (AP)
  • Utah is beginning to free its workforce from overregulation (National Review)
  • New Provo Airport discussing expansion after year of rapid growth (KSL TV)


  • State School Board member blasts ‘emboldened’ teachers who preach ‘divisive ideologies’ (Deseret News)
  • University of Utah public safety officials discuss 'reimagining policing' (KUTV)


  • Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm touts ‘holy grail’ of this Utah energy source (Deseret News)
  • Biologist explains why visitors are finding dead birds at Great Salt Lake shoreline (KSL TV)
  • New analysis says Great Salt Lake can be saved, but not without great effort, and expense. Even in ‘wet’ years, conservation, policy changes are paramount to restore the lake (Deseret News)
  • Great Salt Lake 'strike team' tells lawmakers to push conservation, commit water (Fox13)
  • DWR shuts down antler gathering to protect Utah’s big game. Harsh winter and deep snow is great for water supplies, but stresses deer and elk. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • 5B45: Teaching children empathy through regular service projects (KSL TV)


  • Did you know your boss can affect your mental health as much as a spouse? 69% of people surveyed reported that their managers impact their mental health just as much as a spouse or partner would, but more than a doctor or therapist (Deseret News)


  • Plan seeks to keep homeless off Salt Lake streets during NBA All-Star Weekend (KSL)

National Headlines


  • David Brooks: How do you serve a friend in despair? (New York Times)
  • Netflix lays out plans to crack down on account sharing (Reuters)
  • A federal court has ruled that a law barring domestic-violence offenders from owning firearms is unconstitutional. It's going to get women killed. (The Atlantic)


  • What is the Junk Fees Prevention Act? (Deseret News)
  • Vigil held for slain councilwoman as F.B.I. joins hunt for her killer. Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday in Sayreville, N.J., to remember Eunice K. Dwumfour, the first-ever Black person elected in the small borough. (New York Times)
  • Biden names Republicans seeking changes to Medicare, Social Security (Washington Post)
  • GOP hopefuls’ past positions on Social Security loom over 2024 primary. Donald Trump is going after Ron DeSantis and other potential GOP rivals, seizing on the same divisions over federal spending President Biden is seeking to exploit (Washington Post)
  • The GOP is starting to plot against Trump (Politico)
  • Here are the spending cuts Republicans have pitched in debt limit talks (The Hill)
  • Scott doubles down on sunsetting all federal programs after Biden’s jab  (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Zelenskyy seeks weaponry in surprise trips to London, Paris (AP)
  • US approves $10B arms sale to Poland as Ukraine war rages on (AP)
  • How a band of Ukraine civilians helped seal Russia's biggest defeat (Reuters)
  • Russia's Wagner Group says it no longer recruits prisoners to fight in Ukraine (Wall Street Journal)
  • Russia throws soldiers into firing line to gain inches (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ukraine readies along all fronts for Russia’s next big attack (Washington Post)


  • Major British oil company reduces climate goals following record-breaking year in profit (Deseret News)
  • One day. One city. Three lives in the shadow of Myanmar’s military rule. (Washington Post)
  • Earthquake stuns Syria’s Aleppo even after war’s horrors. The natural disaster piled on many man-made ones. (Politico)

News Releases

Utah leads nation streamlining occupational licensing reform

Utah’s innovative approach to occupational licensing reform is receiving national attention. In a new joint op-ed published by “National Review,” Governor Spencer Cox and Utah Department of Commerce Executive Director Margaret Busse explain why Utah is reforming occupational licensing

Busse also recently spoke on this topic on “Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson.” You can listen to the interview here. (Read More)

Moore, Spanberger reintroduce bipartisan bill to prevent wasteful government spending, reduce improper payments

U.S. Representatives Blake Moore (R-UT) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation for the 118th Congress to prevent the waste, fraud, and abuse of federal funds.

The rate of improper payments — or payments made by the government that should not have been disbursed or were disbursed in the incorrect amount — has consistently been an issue across the federal government. These improper payments have also been a significant concern related to COVID-19 pandemic relief programs. For Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that federal agencies had distributed an estimated $281 billion in improper payments — an increase of about $75 billion from FY2020. The Preventing Improper Payments Act would create safeguards to reduce improper payments for new federal spending programs. (Read More)

Inflation cools and home prices continue downward trajectory

The Salt Lake Chamber’s Roadmap to Prosperity Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has updated the Economic Dashboard for January to help business leaders see where Utah’s economy stands. This tool provides data on the state’s economic outlook and actionable context for decision-makers.

“Utah and the national economy continue to experience mixed signals with relative high inflation and strong job growth,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “We are seeing shifts with lower housing prices and financial services activity due in part to Federal Reserve monetary policy. But despite larger headwinds, Utah remains in a position of strength with a majority of industries adding jobs and expanding products and services.” (Read More)

Great Salt Lake Strike Team policy assessment

Research universities and state agencies team up to offer solutions for Great Salt Lake. Analysis includes a data repository, research, and policy options that will help return the lake to healthy levels 

Declining water levels of Great Salt Lake threaten economic activity, local  public health, and ecosystems. In response to this emergent statewide challenge, Utah’s research universities  formed the Great Salt Lake Strike Team, a collaboration of experts in public policy, hydrology, water  management, climatology, and dust. Today they released a Great Salt Lake Policy Assessment that affirms the  situation is urgent, but also identifies a variety of policy levers that can return the lake to healthy levels. (Read More)

Sutherland announces 2023 annual gala honoring Rep. Lowry Snow and Ian Rowe

Sutherland Institute is pleased to announce the 2023 Sutherland Annual Gala on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The event will include the presentation of a newly renamed recognition: the George A. Sutherland Award, which will be presented to former member of the Utah House of Representatives Lowry Snow and to American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Ian Rowe. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 9, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-09 at 7.12.15 AM



  • 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,
  • Provo Women's Day — Mar. 4, more information here.
  • Teaching Your Child Consent with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Mar. 16, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • Sutherland Institute Annual Gala honoring Lowry Snow & Ian Rowe — Mar. 23, 7 pm, Hyatt Regency, More Information Here
  • MWEG Spring Conference with keynote speaker Sharon Eubank — Mar. 25, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at UVU or virtual, Register Here

On This Day In History 

  • 1773 - William Henry Harrison is born. Harrison went on to serve as the ninth U.S. president for a brief 32 days in 1841, the shortest term ever served. Harrison is also credited with the record for the longest inaugural address in history. Delivered on a bitterly cold March morning, it clocked in at one hour and 45 minutes. He contracted pneumonia after his inaugural speech and died in April. 
  • 1825 - The Presidential election is decided in the US House, as no candidate received the majority of electoral votes. John Quincy Adams came out on top.
  • 1942 - Daylight Savings Time was instituted during World War II. It was repealed in 1945, then standardized again in 1966.
  • 1943 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order setting a minimum 48-hour work week in a number of critical war industries
  • 1944 - Alice Walker is born. In 1983, she became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her book, “The Color Purple.”
  • 1950 - Senator McCarthy says there are over 200 communists in the State Department.
  • 1960 - Joanne Woodward earns the very first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 1971 - Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 1995 - Bernard Harris becomes the first Black astronaut to take a space walk.
  • 2020 - Fastest supersonic New York to London journey made by British Airways Boeing 747-436 in four hours and 56 minutes, with speeds of 825 mph due to Storm Ciara

Heard on the Hill

"The problem that I have is yes, this (drop box tampering) is a big deal. This is a serious offense. But is it more of a serious offense than sexual battery? Assaulting a police officer?" 

—Rep. Norm Thurston on HB347

On the Punny Side

What did the scientist say to her valentine?

"I think of you periodically."


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