National Caregivers Day AND National Random Acts of Kindness Day; Guv's monthly press conference, All-Star weekend
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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 17, 2023

Good Friday morning to you! It's National Caregivers Day and National Random Acts of Kindness Day - please do something nice for a caregiver you know. 

Enjoy All-Star weekend and President's Day. The legislature won't be meeting on Monday, so I'll be sleeping in. Look for Utah Policy in your inboxes Tuesday morning. 

What You Need to Know

  • Yesterday, Governor Cox held his monthly news conference. He discussed tax cuts (final revenue numbers are expected to be announced Tuesday), abortion, "magic mushrooms," All-Star weekend, air quality, water conservation, the Great Salt Lake and the 2024 election. 

  • Yesterday, HJR18, a proposal to amend the state constitution to change the limit on annual distributions from the State School Fund from 4% to 5%, HB332, Fallen Officer Memorial Scholarship Program, and SB133, a bill to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum women all passed out of committee.

  • Today in the House Transportation Committee, a bill on railroad drones is scheduled to be heard, HB322, Budget Reporting Requirements will be heard in the Senate Rev & Tax committee and a bill changing water wise landscaping requirements will be heard in the House Natural Resources Committee. 

Rapid Roundup


2023 Legislative Session

31 days down, 14 days to go!  



  • 8:00-9:50 am: House committees: Judiciary; Government Operations; Political Subdivisions; Revenue & Taxation
  • 8:00-9:50 am: Senate committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services
  • 10:00-12:00 pm: House floor time
  • 10:00-11:50 am: Senate floor time
  • 2:00-3:50 pm: House floor time
  • 2:00-3:50 pm: Senate floor time
  • 4:00-6:00 pm: House committees: Business & Labor; Education; Health & Human Services; Economic Development & Workforce Services
  • 4:00-6:00 pm: Senate committees: Judiciary, Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice; Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment; Transportation, Public Utilities & Technology

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • How much Utah water used in new development gets streamlined under bill (Deseret News)
  • Bill to ban most vaccine mandates in Utah passes both houses of Legislature (St. George News)
  • How to make adoption easier in Utah — and everywhere else. An innovative bill before the Legislature will help children find homes by making the costs transparent (Deseret News)
  • ‘This is a crisis’: 3 bills could help Utah better identify and treat mentally ill defendants (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Should the law force Utahns to vote? A state lawmaker would like cities to have the power to make voting mandatory. We force people to serve on juries. Why not make them choose the people who can pass laws and levy taxes? (Deseret News)
  • Utah governor slams door on medical ‘magic mushrooms,’ says state should not ‘experiment’ on Utahns (Deseret News)
  • Utah legislators unveil ‘historic’ tax cut proposal. How much could taxpayers save? (Deseret News)
  • Higher-income Utahns will mostly benefit from Republican leaders’ proposed tax cut. Income tax cut will give the average Utah family an extra $17 per month. (Deseret News)
  • 'We are literally killing our kids with this stuff': Cox says he'll sign any social media regulations (KSL)
  • Bill that would change how social workers are licensed in Utah advances to the Senate (KSL TV)
  • Major Great Salt Lake bill unveiled, criticized for potential lack of transparency (KUTV)
  • Kearns mayor opposes bill to dissolve Unified Police Department (ABC4)
  • Gov. Cox ‘feels pretty good’ about the bill to close Utah’s abortion clinics (KUER)

Other political news

  • Study finds that women in Utah politics lag behind nation (Fox13)
  • The unexamined legacy of Harry Reid. Why the late legendary Nevada senator meant so much to Latter-day Saint Democrats like me (Deseret News)
  • Will Utah Gov. Spencer Cox support Donald Trump for president in 2024? Republican governor says former president doesn’t give GOP best chance to win presidency (Deseret News)
  • Sens. Mike Lee, Chuck Grassley reintroduce balanced budget amendment. Will it go anywhere? (Deseret News)
  • Campaigns having difficult time finding younger people to fill staff positions (Inside Sources)

NBA All-Star Weekend

  • In NBA All-Star spotlight, Utah looks to change perceptions (AP)
  • Utah entrepreneur wins $50,000 at NBA All-Star Weekend pitch competition (KSL)
  • NBA unveils newly renovated gym and STEM lab at Salt Lake elementary school (KSL)
  • NBA All-Star weekend brings life-changing moment for local Utah student (KUTV)
  • Utah Jazz gift woman tickets after she was scammed out of All-Star tickets (KSL TV)
  • Karl Malone Will Be Judge At All-Star Dunk Contest (KSL Sports)
  • NBA Crossover kicks off Salt Lake City’s All-Star weekend, celebrating basketball culture. Fans can enjoy an “infinity room,” a portable salt cave and more at the Salt Palace through Sunday. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Shaq and Barkley help kick off All-Star Weekend (ABC4)

General Utah news

  • Linda King Newell, groundbreaking Emma Smith biographer, and a ‘giant’ in Mormon scholarship, dies at 82 (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The Latter-day Saint ghost town that keeps emerging from Lake Mead (Deseret News)
  • ‘We’ll get the Games back,’ in 2030 or 2034, U.S. Olympic leader pledges during Utah visit (Deseret News)


  • United Nations: Rising sea levels a ‘death sentence’ for some nations. Nearly 900 million people are ‘acutely’ in danger due to rapid rise (Deseret News)
  • Scientists used a robot to observe Antarctica’s ‘doomsday glacier’ — and it’s ‘in trouble’ (Deseret News)
  • Battle lines drawn around EPA’s move against Utah ozone emissions. Utah’s attorney general files suit to overturn “federal regulatory overreach” that could force early retirement for coal power plants. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Lake Powell hits a new record low (KUER)


  • Irregular sleep patterns could put your heart health at risk. (Deseret News)
  • Utah Department of Health and Human Services apologizes for 1925-1974 sterilization program (ABC4)

National Headlines


  • Bruce Willis diagnosed with full frontotemporal dementia, family announces (Deseret News)
  • EPA chief at train derailment site: ‘Trust the government’ (AP)
  • At 103, Sister Jean publishes memoir of faith and basketball (AP)
  • America's teenage girls are not okay (The Atlantic)


  • Paralyzed councilman asked to climb out of wheelchair onto debate stage (Washington Post)
  • Trump-era officials were aware of suspected balloons in U.S. airspace (Wall Street Journal)
  • Term limits aren't all they're cracked up to be (Daily Caller)
  • Haley’s candidacy shows balancing act for women in politics (AP)
  • Here’s what Donald Trump had to say about Nikki Haley (Deseret News)
  • New poll: Voters still wary of Biden’s claims on inflation, deficit. Americans were more likely to support what Biden said about job and business growth (Deseret News)
  • Off the air, Fox News stars blasted the election fraud claims they peddled (NPR)
  • Sen. John Fetterman is receiving treatment for clinical depression (NPR)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Leaders focus on Ukraine war at Munich Security Conference (AP)
  • Moscow’s military capabilities are in question after failed battle for Ukrainian city (New York Times)
  • In bleak Russian cemetery, sea of crosses signals war's true toll (New York Times)
  • In wake of Ukraine war, U.S. and allies are hunting down Russian spies (Washington Post)


  • Many newly orphaned quake victims in Turkey and Syria are having their identities ‘erased’ (Deseret News)
  • Turkish quake victims sleep in trains, tents, greenhouses (AP)
  • Turkish children play 'earthquake' with building blocks as they try to understand (Reuters)
  • Why did a Turkish city withstand the quake when others crumbled?
    Erzin survived last week’s 7.8-magnitude quake with no casualties and little damage. The mayor credited his enforcement of building standards, but scientists say it is more likely about geology. (New York Times)
  • In a battered Turkish city, keeping watch as the bodies emerge (New York Times)

News Releases

Utah Senate and House Majority announce tax relief proposal for Utahns

Over the past two years, the Utah Legislature has reduced taxes by nearly $300 million. To continue Utah’s commitment to reducing taxes and cultivating a family and business-friendly environment, the Senate and House Majority Caucuses propose an additional $400 million in tax relief for Utahns. (Read More)

Lee introduces balanced budget amendment

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced an amendment to the United States Constitution requiring the federal government to balance its budget each year. Sen. Lee has consistently advocated for binding, structural spending reforms embedded in a constitutional amendment. (Read More)

Romney, Hickenlooper, Barrasso reintroduce Bill to more accurately measure student success at community colleges

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), joined by Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and John Barrasso (R-WY), today introduced the Graduation Reporting for Accuracy and Decision-Making (GRAD) Act, bipartisan legislation that would improve transparency and inform the decision-making of prospective students by ensuring the reporting of graduation rates accurately reflect the success of community colleges. The senators first introduced the GRAD Act last Congress. Text of the legislation can be found here. (Read More)

Romney: We must address the widespread nursing shortage in this country

Today, at a Health Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) discussed the widespread shortage of health care workers in the United States, which has been exacerbated by an overwhelming backlog of immigration interviews for nurses and doctors overseas—primarily from the Philippines. He urged the State Department to resume its pre-COVID operations to allow more internationally trained health professionals to immigrate to the U.S. for work to help address widespread nursing shortages. Romney also highlighted Utah’s Western Governor’s University—which graduates more nurses than any other institution in the country—as an example of what other schools can be doing to train more nurses, for a reasonable cost. (Read/Watch More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 17, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-17 at 6.49.44 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
  • Hatch Foundation Gala with special guest Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sec. Elaine Chao — April 14, 7:00 pm, Grand America, Register Here

On This Day In History 

  • 624 - Wu Zetian, the only female Chinese emperor in history, is born.
  • 1621 - Myles Standish is elected as the first commander of the Plymouth Colony.
  • 1801 - Thomas Jefferson is elected 3rd president of the US, after a very acrimonious campaign against Aaron Burr.
  • 1820 - The U.S. Senate passes the Missouri Compromise.
  • 1912 - Alice Mary Norton is born. She wrote under the pseudonym Andre Norton because she thought it would be more salable in science fiction and fantasy and later legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton. She also used the pseudonyms “Andrew North” and “Allen Weston.”
  • 1963 - Michael Jordan is born. 
  • 1972 - President Nixon leaves DC for an historic trip to China.
  • 1996 - Garry Kasparov defeats IBM computer “Deep Blue” 4-2.
  • 2021 - Rush Limbaugh dies of lung cancer at age 70.

Heard on the Hill

"I just don’t believe the science is there. I don’t believe we should be experimenting on 5,000 people here in our state. And I think there are some serious consequences and side effects societally as well as medically that I’m not just comfortable with.”

—Gov. Cox, speaking on "magic mushrooms"

On the Punny Side

Last night, I dreamed I was swimming in an ocean of orange soda.

But it was just a Fanta sea.


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