Brine shrimp as the state crustacean; a big tax bill; orphaned children in Turkey face uncertain future
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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 14, 2023

Good Wednesday morning - today is day 30 on Utah's Capitol Hill, which means we have hit the 2/3 mark of the session. 

It is also International Childhood Cancer Day. More than 400,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and a child dies from cancer every three minutes. 🎗️

What You Need to Know

  • Yesterday, the lemonade stand bill, the "Emergency Water Shortages" bill and the New Year's Day fireworks bill all passed out of their committees. 

  • Today, HB374, a bill that would eliminate the Unified Police Department, will be heard in the House Law Enforcement Committee, HB137, the bill to designate brine shrimp as the state crustacean, will be heard in the House Natural Resources committee and HB54, a big tax revision bill will be heard in the House Revenue and Taxation committee. 

  • The death toll in the Turkey/Syria earthquakes has now passed 41,000. As a result, there are "untold numbers" of children who are now orphaned and may not know or cannot tell anyone their names. Extended family will likely take care of the orphaned children, as long as they can be found. (And no, international adoption is not an option.) Would we do more if we could hear the nightly screams?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that suicides in the United States increased from 45,979 in 2020 to 48,183 in 2021, nearing 2018’s record high of 48,344 and reversing 2019 and 2020’s declines. There were significant increases among young Black people ages 10-24 and across multiple racial and ethnic populations aged 25-44. Suicide deaths among white people decreased almost 4% but still account for more than three-quarters of the total number. New research also shows that teen girls in the US are really struggling with mental health, with almost 60% reporting feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness. In 30 years of collecting similar data, "we've never seen this kind of devastating, consistent findings," said Kathleen Ethier, director of CDC's adolescent and school health division. 

Rapid Roundup


2023 Legislative Session

29 days down, 16 days to go!  



Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Salt Lake County sheriff says she'll reluctantly support bill to dissolve Unified police (KSL)
  • Utah lawmakers say more information on golf course water might lead to ‘uninformed’ conclusions. Bill to require water-use disclosure gets watered down, then denied a vote on House floor. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • ‘The world needs more kindness,’ Utah resolution says. Resolution wins approval from Utah Senate — but not without some banter poking fun at its sponsor’s at times prickly disposition (Deseret News)
  • Have referendums been ‘weaponized’ against housing projects? This Utah lawmaker thinks so (Deseret News)
  • Utah bill passes restricting registered sex offenders at HOA pools, parks, playgrounds (KUTV)
  • Will state lawmakers have more say over a possible Winter Games for Utah? New legislation increasing legislative oversight advances (Deseret News)
  • Legislature approves amended resolution to end Utah's trigger abortion ban (KSL)
  • New bill would close all Utah abortion clinics and prevent new ones (KSL Newsradio)
  • Utah abortion clinics will close in 2024 if new bill is passed. The proposed legislation from Rep. Karianne Lisonbee would add an exception for children under 12 who become pregnant, and it limits exceptions for rape and incest to pregnancies under 18 weeks. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Gas would be cheaper and charging EVs more expensive if this bill passes (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Bicycle safety personal and painful for Utah lawmaker pushing new bill (KUTV)
  • Two different bills aimed at stopping gun violence advance in Utah Legislature (Fox13)

Other political news

  • Poll: Nearly half of Utahns say abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, threats to mother’s health (Deseret News)
  • Judge orders husband of Bluffdale mayor to stand trial over threats to her opponent (KSL)
  • #OneUtah: Meet Joel Ferry (YouTube)

NBA All-Star Weekend

  • UTA extends service hours for NBA All-Star Weekend. (KSL)
  • Here are the roads closed for NBA All-Star events in Salt Lake City this week (KSL)
  • Unprecedented air travel anticipated over NBA All-Star, holiday weekend (KSL TV)
  • Not a basketball fan, but you want to know about this All-Star stuff? We’ve got you. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Beware of NBA All-Star weekend ticket scams, officials say (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Talkin Jazz Spence Checketts: Where Markkanen will shine on All-Star weekend (KUTV)

General Utah news

  • 😢 ‘He was a pretty good kid,’ grandfather of Tooele teen remembers his grandson who fell through the ice in Settlement Canyon Reservoir (KSL TV)
  • West side of Utah County exploding with growth brings rise in overall crime (KUTV)
  • Provo ranked #2 top ‘boomtown’ in the U.S., study finds (ABC4)


  • What do you know about Utah’s role in the birth of the internet? Or the creation of mega-companies like Adobe, Pixar, Novell and WordPerfect? Find out all about it in this new podcast: The 4th Node (Deseret News)
  • Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce merging with American Latino Chamber (KSL)


  • Top skiers and snowboarders call for action on climate change (Deseret News)
  • Vandalism on ‘world-class’ Utah dinosaur tracksite, BLM offers reward for information (ABC4)
  • Alta hits 500 inches of snow, surpassing most of last decade's totals (Fox13)


  • U of U study recounts horrifying history of forced sterilizations in Utah due to eugenics, 1925 to 1974 (ABC4)


  • SLC mayor: There will be no police crackdown on the homeless during NBA All-Star Game (Salt Lake Tribune)

National Headlines


  • Dave Hollis, Disney exec turned self-help author, dies at 47 (AP)
  • Study shows ‘striking’ number who believe news misinforms (AP)
  • Retail sales jump as Americans defy inflation and rate hikes (AP)
  • Elon Musk Signals New Twitter CEO Possible by Year End (Wall Street Journal)


  • California Sen. Dianne Feinstein Says She Won’t Run for Re-Election. Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter had already announced plans to run for the Democrat’s seat (Wall Street Journal)
  • White House: GOP plans would drive deficits up $3 trillion (AP)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Russia declares battlefield gains as Ukraine urges faster military aid (Reuters)
  • Russia Has Deployed 97% of Army in Ukraine but Is Struggling to Advance, U.K. Says (Wall Street Journal)
  • Putin, secure in power, sets stage for long and draining war (Reuters)
  • Russian ‘re-education camps’ hold thousands of Ukrainian kids, per report (Washington Post)


  • Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon leaves post after 8 years (AP)
  • ‘I just want my mother’: Syria, Turkey struggle to care for orphans after quakes (Washington Post)

News Releases

UVU to Host 12th Annual Autism Conference

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism (MNCA) will host Utah Valley University’s (UVU) 12th Annual Autism Conference on Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the UVU Sorensen Student Center, with pre-conference events taking place on Feb. 23.

The 2023 Autism Conference’s theme is “Bridging Gaps, Improving Lives.” The keynote speaker, Peter Gerhardt, is the executive director of the EPIC School in Paramus, New Jersey. (Read More)

Romney welcomes new report from Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today commented on a report released by the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission—which Romney secured in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—outlining a strategy to meet aerial firefighting equipment needs through 2030. As climate change fuels longer and more intense wildfire seasons, aerial assets bring unique response capabilities to wildland fire suppression. The report reexamines existing approaches to aviation fleet procurement, mobilization, composition, and quantity in order to set aviation management on a new trajectory for the next decade and beyond. (Read More)

Utah Senate passes bill that will increase teachers’ salaries

Today, the Utah Senate passed S.B. 183 Educator Salary Amendments, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Evan Vickers and several co-sponsors, which will increase teacher salaries.

S.B. 183 is a companion bill to H.B. 215 and appropriates funding and ties teacher salary supplement and educator salary adjustments raises to increase yearly with the WPU Value instead of remaining stagnant. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 15, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 7.21.51 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.
  • 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 

  • 399 BC - Socrates is sentenced to death for “corrupting the minds” of the youth of the city.
  • 1820 - Susan B. Anthony was born.
  • 1851 - Black abolitionists invade a Boston courtroom and rescue a fugitive slave.
  • 1891 - The USS Maine explodes in Cuba’s Havana Harbor.
  • 1903 - The first Teddy bears go on sale, named after President Teddy Roosevelt. They caught on.
  • 1910 - Irena Sendler is born. She was a Polish social worker who rescued around 2500 Jewish children. Two.Thousand.Five.Hundred. What a boss.
  • 1921 - The Suffrage Monument, depicting Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, is dedicated at the U.S. Capitol. It is almost immediately relegated to a broom closet in the basement, where it remained for the next 75 years.
  • 1950  - Disney’s Cinderella opens in theaters.
  • 1961 - The entire 18-member US figure skating team is killed in a plane crash on the way to the World Figure Skating Championship.
  • 1965 - Nat King Cole died of lung cancer at age 45.
  • 1986 - Ferdinand Marcos “wins” the presidential election in the Philippines.
  • 1989 - The last Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan
  • 2001 - The first draft of the complete human genome is published in the journal Nature.
  • 2005 - YouTube is launched.

Heard on the Hill

"At some point, it's a no-win and you have to be the leader and you have to make that leadership decision. That's our decision. You have to have the vision to see the writing on the wall and to see the political powers that be and what's up against you and make that hard decision.... It is a tough thing."

—Sheriff Mike Smith, speaking on the bill to eliminate the Unified Police Department

On the Punny Side

How do you console an English teacher?

There, their, they're.


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