Happy Valentine's Day! On Utah's Capital Hill: lemonade stands and firework; shooting at Michigan State kills 3, injures 5
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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 editor@utahpolicy.com.


Situational Analysis | February 14, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day! Did you know that the original Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi was released on this day in 1931? How romantic.

Also, 👏🏼 to Seraph Young who cast a vote on her way to work in Salt Lake City on this day in 1870, becoming the first woman in the nation to legally vote.

What You Need to Know

  • Today, the lemonade stand bill, which has passed the Senate, will be heard in the House Business and Labor committee; Rep. Carl Albrecht will be presenting his "Emergency Water Shortages" bill in the Senate Natural Resources committee and a bill regulating New Year's Day fireworks will be heard in the House Political Subdivisions committee.

  • Yesterday, HB308, School Grading Modifications, SB156, the "Sherry Black bill" expanding DNA testing options for law enforcement and SB181, Campaign Sign Amendments all passed out of their respective committees.

Rapid Roundup

  • A look at NBA events happening during All-Star Weekend in Utah, plus, ways to enjoy it without breaking the bank; inflation cooled to 6.4% in January; 3 people were killed in a Michigan State shooting last night - the suspect is also dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound; a U-Haul truck driver went on a "violent rampage" on NYC sidewalks, killing 1 and injuring 8; the earthquake death toll nears 38,000.

2023 Legislative Session

28 days down, 17 days to go!  



Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Utah House committee rejects 'safe storage' gun proposal (KUTV)
  • Utah House panel approves resolution urging action on Lt. Ridge Alkonis case (KUTV)
  • Bill allowing pregnant women to use HOV lane rejected in Senate (ABC4, Fox13, Deseret News)
  • Senators blast social media companies before approving tighter regulations (KUTV)
  • Paul Gibbs: Utah has the chance to ease medical debt for its families. Medical debt and bankruptcy can follow a family for years. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah bill sought to hold gun owners responsible for shootings with their firearms (Fox13)
  • Utah lawmakers might purge letter grades from school report cards after a House committee approved a bill to eliminate the requirement for giving grades to public schools (Deseret News)
  • Utah lawmakers made $3.2B in funding requests this year. Here’s how they want to spend your money. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Should police be allowed to search DNA obtained through genetic testing? A Senate committee says yes. (KSL)
  • Unified Police Department could be eliminated under new proposed bill (KSL Newsradio)

General Utah News

  • Utah women's basketball team moves into AP poll’s top 5. It’s the best ranking in school history for the Utes, who moved up three places this week. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Salt Lake City ready for turn as basketball capital of the world (Fox13)
  • Utahns feel pinch of inflation as state sits on billions in extra cash (KUTV)
  • UDOT to add more 'advanced' wrong-way driver detection systems in Utah (KSL)


  • If your Valentine’s chocolate came from Utah, be sure to thank the desert climate (KUER)
  • High-paying jobs that don't need a college degree? Thousands of them are sitting empty (NPR)


  • Sanctions imposed on Roy High School for racial taunts against Hunter High athletes (KUTV)
  • Aaron Starks: Helping students afford higher education benefits all of us. SLCC’s PACE program helps first-generation college students. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • A new COVID side-effect: Changed habits around going to school (KSL Newsradio)
  • Hungry? If you’re at the University of Utah, have a robot bring you a snack (KUER)


  • Teen girls and LGBTQ+ youth plagued by violence and trauma, survey says. Nearly one in three girls reported seriously considering suicide in the past year — a 60% rise from a decade ago, according to the CDC survey data. (NPR)


  • Instant noodles account for almost a third of childhood burn injuries, new study says (Deseret News)
  • USU instructors use horses to help veterans suffering with PTSD (KSL)
  • Goodbye, Johns Hopkins covid tracker (Washington Post)


  • Single women outpacing men in home ownership by millions (Deseret News)
  • Student housing website aims to hold landlords accountable (Fox13)

National Headlines


  • Data brokers are packaging your mental health data for resale. There’s no law stopping them. (Washington Post)
  • Lael Brainard set to lead White House National Economic Council. Fed vice chair has advocated steady but careful approach to raising interest rates to combat inflation (Wall Street Journal)
  • As costs rise, many older Americans have changed the way they shop and eat out. (New York Times)


  • Nikki Haley announces presidential campaign, challenging Trump (AP)
  • Biden fires architect of the Capitol after bipartisan criticism (Washington Post)
  • White House on unidentified objects: ‘No indication of aliens’ (Politico)
  • After wearing traditional dashiki on the Tennessee house floor, Democratic lawmaker told to look for a new career by the House GOP (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Moldovan leader outlines Russian ‘plan’ to topple government (AP)
  • Russia denies claims it plans to destabilize Moldova (AP)
  • Ukraine seeks warplanes at NATO talks, allies fret over ammo (AP)
  • Moscow's decades-old gas ties with Europe lie in ruins (Reuters)
  • Elderly brothers eke out life among ruins of Ukraine war (Reuters)
  • Guided missile killed U.S. aid worker in Ukraine, video shows. A Times analysis shows that Pete Reed died in a targeted strike (New York Times)
  • U.S. warns Ukraine it faces a pivotal moment in war (Washington Post)


  • Much of New Zealand goes without power as cyclone strikes (Deseret News)
  • Gunmen storm hospital of newborn saved from quake in Syria (AP)
  • Survivors leave earthquake zone in Turkey, focus turns to homeless (Reuters)
  • On their own: isolation, and resignation, in villages devastated by quake (New York Times)
  • Kenya seeks divine help to end crippling, ongoing drought (AP)

Guest opinion: Sound principles, data should guide how we prepare the next generation

by Derek Monson

A principle that unifies Utahns across ideologies is preparation of the next generation for a life of success and happiness. This is an ambition shared by philanthropists, business and community leaders, and elected officials – and with each legislative session we watch the policy debates and hope that the result will create lasting opportunities for our kids. 

Disagreement about the best way to accomplish this is normal and healthy. However, there are time-tested principles rooted in sound data that should guide our approach, and such principles often transcend what can be accomplished in any single legislative session. 

“America’s history,” wrote American Enterprise Institute scholar Ian Rowe last year, “is rife with stories of African Americans who embraced the institutions of family, religion, education, and perhaps most notably entrepreneurship to overcome dehumanizing discrimination and achieve enduring prosperity.”

Rowe’s experience and expertise has led him to advocate for family, religion, education and entrepreneurship as the path to economic mobility and life success for low-income children and families – even for the nation’s most disadvantaged communities.

Rowe’s successful policy and thought leadership is part of the reason that Sutherland Institute will be honoring Rowe with the George A. Sutherland Award next month. This award is given in honor of public service marked by character, respect for differing views, and devotion to our founding ideals. (Read More)

News Releases

Utah has the third-highest educational attainment in the nation

The latest data show that Utah’s post-high school attainment rate is 61.1%, well above the national average of 53.7%. We are the third highest in the country. (Read More)

Ibarra Foundation and Western Governors University team up to give the gift of education

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the Ibarra Foundation and Western Governors University (WGU) are teaming up to share the love with the ultimate gift—education. Beginning this year, the Ibarra Foundation Scholarship will be awarded to at least four WGU students to cover the cost of tuition and fees. The scholarships are made possible through the Ibarra Foundation’s donation of $100,000 over three years with the intent to support students of Mexican or Latino heritage who are pursuing higher education. (Read More)

Bestselling author and global business thought leader to keynote Utah Valley University Presidential Lecture

Utah Valley University (UVU) today announced that CEO of Disruption Advisors, host of the podcast “Disrupt Yourself,” and bestselling author Whitney Johnson will be the university’s spring Presidential Lecture Series speaker. Johnson’s lecture will be held on February 16 at 11:30 a.m. in the Keller Building (KB) Vallejo Auditorium on UVU’s Orem Campus. (Read More)

Utah Valley University partners with community to produce one-act ballet of “Hansel and Gretel”

Utah Valley University’s (UVU) theatre, dance, and art departments have teamed up with local community members and professionals to produce a one-act ballet of “Hansel and Gretel.” This interdisciplinary narrative ballet will premiere at The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts Scott and Karen Smith Theatre from Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., with a 45-minute family matinee on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. (Read More)

AT&T and Human-I-T provide 325 laptops to Salt Lake Education Foundation, Promise South Salt Lake, Latinos in Action and Neighborhood House

As part of its nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide, AT&T is working with Human-I-T to provide local Salt Lake City organizations with a total of 325 laptops. The computers, courtesy of a donation from AT&T, will be given to local students and families in need to help them participate in online learning and the digital world.

NBA Legend and former Utah Jazz player, Boris Diaw, will be onsite to help distribute computers to recipient families. Local non-profits Latinos in Action, Promise South Salt Lake, Salt Lake Education Foundation and Neighborhood House will choose families to be recipients of the computers. (Read More)

Moore, Kilmer, Lankford reintroduce the bipartisan Retain Skilled Veterans Act to permanently repeal the “180-Day Rule”

Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT), Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) reintroduced the bipartisan Retain Skilled Veterans Act for the 118th Congress. This legislation would permanently remove the existing requirement for retired military members to submit a waiver to work as a civilian employee at the Department of Defense within 180 days of their retirement or separation for positions at the GS-13 level or below. In 2020, the House Armed Services Committee improved veteran hiring by temporarily removing the “180-Day Rule” under a 2-year authority only for the Organic Industrial Base (Military Depots). The Retain Skilled Veterans Act furthers this progress by permanently repealing the rule across the Department of Defense for most positions. (Read More)

Sen. Lee raises concerns regarding Pfizer’s practices

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) led a letter addressed to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Robert Califf, and the Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Lawrence Tabak, expressing grave concerns regarding a recent video in which Pfizer employee Dr. Jordon Triston Walker made alarming claims about the company’s research practices and interactions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 14, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-14 at 7.17.04 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, le.utah.gov
  • Provo Women's Day — Mar. 4, more information here.
  • Women in International Business Conference with World Trade Center Utah — Mar. 8, 8:30 am - 2:00 pm, Register 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 Becky Edwards — Mar. 25, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at UVU or virtual, Register Here

On This Day In History 

  • 270 - St. Valentine is beheaded in Rome.
  • 1779 - Captain Cook killed in Hawaii.
  • 1803 - Chief Justice John Marshall declares that any act of Congress that conflicts with the US Constitution is void.
  • 1818 - Frederick Douglass is born.
  • 1847 - The impressive Anna Howard Shaw is born. She was licensed as a Methodist Protestant minister in 1880, graduated as M.D. in 1886, was an organizer with the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, lectured in every state, beloved president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1904-15) and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for her work during World War I. She died the year before the 19th Amendment was ratified.
  • 1870 - Seraph Young cast a ballot in the Salt Lake City election, becoming the first woman in the nation to vote. 
  • 1884 - Future President Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother die only hours apart.
  • 1870 - Esther Morris appointed US' first female Justice of the Peace in South Pass City, Wyoming, after previous justice, R.S. Barr, resigned to protest passage of Wyoming Territory's women's suffrage. Way to go, Wyoming!
  • 1929 - Penicillin is discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming.
  • 1971 - Richard Nixon installs secret taping system in the White House.
  • 1978 - 1st “micro on a chip” patented by Texas Instruments.
  • 1990 - The “Pale Blue Dot” photo of Earth is taken from Voyager 1, 3.7 billion miles away from the sun.
  • 2018 - Teenage gunman kills 17, injures 17 at Parkland, FL high school.

Heard on the Hill

"I'm not going to pretend like this is a perfect piece of legislation. But I think it's a really good start, and it will enable law enforcement to quickly exclude entire lists of people based on what is known about a family tree or ancestral origins of the DNA contributor, reducing the likelihood of a wrongful conviction."

—Sen. Todd Weiler on the "Sherry Black" bill

On the Punny Side

Did you hear about the radios that got married?

The reception was great.


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