Former President Jimmy Carter enters hospice care; NBA All-Star weekend wraps up just ahead of a major winter storm
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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 21, 2023

Good Tuesday morning and Happy Mardi Gras! It's also National Pancake Day! Party party 🎉

And in case you haven't heard, a major winter storm is on its way into Utah today - be safe out there. 

Finally, big condolences to Rep. Christine Watkins whose husband passed away this weekend. 😢

What You Need to Know

  • Jimmy Carter, age 98, has entered hospice care at home. The former president who usually rates a "meh" on presidential rankings, but high on "moral authority," writes Jennifer Graham, has lived an exemplary post-White House life. Boyd Matheson shared that a speech that Carter gave in 1979 is every bit as applicable today, when Carter spoke of a "fundamental threat to American democracy." That threat, Carter said, was a "crisis of confidence." Carter shared advice he got from a citizen: “We’ve got to stop crying and start sweating, stop talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need will not come from the White House, but from every house in America.” He walked the walk. President Carter is well-known for his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, showing up to a job site with a black eye and 14 stitches after taking a fall - at age 95. He is also known for the incredible work with the Carter Center, the organization he set up to "wage peace, fight disease and build hope." The Carter Center is responsible for the almost-total elimination of the guinea worm, a horribly painful parasitic infection that affected an estimated 3.5 million people in 20 countries worldwide in the mid 1980's. Last year, that number was 13.  

  • On this President's Day weekend, President Joe Biden went to Kyiv to meet with President Zelenskyy in person. Biden's surprise visit to Ukraine was the first time in modern history that a US leader visited a warzone without the US military. “I thought it was critical that there not be any doubt, none whatsoever, about U.S. support for Ukraine in the war,” Mr. Biden said. Biden then returned to Poland where he is meeting with President Andrzej Duda, and is expected to give a speech on the war in Ukraine later today. Putin gave his "State of the Union" address on Tuesday, blamed NATO and the US for the war, readied Russians to prepare for a long war, and then pulled out of the last remaining major nuclear treaty with the US. In the meantime, Russian forces shelled a busy bus station in Kherson. 

  • Busy day on Utah's Capitol Hill today: tax policy discussions will include a bill to remove the tax on food, but it's contingent upon removing the constitutional earmark for education; a bill to eliminate signature gathering will be heard in House Government Operations and a bill addressing Utah's Inland Port will be heard in the Senate Business and Labor Committee. 

Rapid Roundup

  • Another earthquake rocked Turkey on Monday evening, this one 6.3; 145,000 cans of Enfamil ProSobee infant formula recalled over bacterial risk; and terrible news about a violent man who locked his girlfriend and her dog in a storage unit in Murray and walked away - they both died when the unit caught fire. 

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

34 days down, 11 days to go!  New revenue numbers are expected today.



Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • 2023 legislative session, week 5, with Sen. Todd Weiler, Rep. Rosemary Lesser, and Dennis Romboy with host Jason Perry (Hinckley Report)
  • Utah lawmakers pass ban on conversion therapy while addressing therapists’ concerns (Deseret News)
  • Utah is in a mental health crisis. Why are some social workers opposed to easier licensing? (Deseret News)
  • Lawmakers say they’ll repeal Utah’s food tax — if constitutional earmark for education is removed (Deseret News)
  • Utah Legislature passes bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips (KSL)
  • New bill would create a Great Salt Lake commissioner — but some have concerns (KSL TV)
  • Avremi Zippel: Wouldn’t you want your faith leader to call 911? Utah bill removing the clergy exemption for reporting abuse should be approved. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Bills requiring clergy to report abuse discloses won't advance in Utah legislature (Fox13)
  • Rebates and coupons actually make drug costs higher. Utah Legislature is considering a bill that would make drug prices worse. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • At 25, Utah’s youngest lawmaker is looking to make change. Despite his age, Rep. Tyler Clancy already seems confident in his latest role (Deseret News)
  • Lawmakers honor more than 20 fallen soldiers from Utah in the past year (KSL)
  • The Libertas Institute on the 2023 legislative session (ABC4)
  • The IUP Panel on the race for White House, social media, court injunctions (ABC4)
  • Utah is (again) taking a crack at funding full-day kindergarten (KUER)

Other political news

  • When it comes to policing Big Tech, Utahns say feds, not state lawmakers, should be in charge (Deseret News)
  • Romney, outspoken about his own party, weighs reelection run (AP)

NBA All-Star Weekend

  • Tatum scores All-Star record 55, Team Giannis wins 184-176. Markkanen, Mitchell, Lillard on winning team (Fox13)
  • Putting a bow on All-Star Weekend (Deseret News)
  • Photo gallery: Get a look at Salt Lake City’s All-Star Weekend (Deseret News)
  • Black business owners call NBA All-Star weekend ‘a win’ for Utah’s Black community (KSL TV)
  • Barkley and Shaq criticize Salt Lake City, say it’s ‘boring’ (KSL TV)
  • Gordon Monson: NBA All-Star Weekend comes to an end with a new appreciation for Utah, a broken scoring record and nothing left in the tank (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • All-Star festivities were slam dunk for Salt Lake City businesses (Fox13)
  • NBA Day of Service brings volunteers from all walks of life to help less fortunate (Fox13)

General Utah news

  • Ancient coin collecting is at risk. Ever increasing numbers of import restrictions are making coin collecting a more difficult hobby (Deseret News)
  • 2021’s park surge spurs record $10.6B in Utah tourism economy, report finds. The surge in tourism spending represents a 42.5% increase from 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down global traveling (KSL)
  • Cotopaxi founders return to Brazil, where the company began, but this time for a different purpose (Church News)
  • Ute gymnasts lose to Arizona State for the first time in 20 years (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • ‘We’ve been here': Utah Black Museum launches preview exhibit (KSL)
  • Utahns working to support Turkey after devastating earthquakes (Fox13)


  • This quiet Utah company has become a global life sciences software leader worth $1.3 billion. MasterControl builds software that ensures the quality and safety of pharmaceuticals and medical devices for companies all over the world (Deseret News)
  • Work is important, but it’s not family. Companies are trying to build family like cultures, even while laying people off (Deseret News)


  • Supreme Court will decide on affirmative action this summer. What will happen in Utah? (Deseret News)


  • Lake Powell is officially the lowest it has ever been since being filled in the 1960s — again (KSL)
  • Could California-type wildfires be Utah’s destiny without quick action? (Deseret News)
  • Salt Lake City’s flooding in 1983 followed a year of rain and snow. Here’s what this year’s deep snowpack could mean. Utah’s current snowpack levels are just above the levels recorded in February 1983, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Devastating 2005 flood looms large in St. George memory due to southern Utah’s robust snowpack. The 2005 flood left an unparalleled amount of devastation in its wake, doing more than $200 million in damage. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Eviction filings in Utah increase nearly 40% but stay below pre-pandemic levels (KUTV)
  • Southern Utah residents upset about noisy, crowded short-term rentals (KUTV)
  • Provo wants residents to weigh in on how it will use $4.3M for homelessness (KUER)
  • Salt Lake City unsheltered say state tried hiding them during All-Star Weekend (Fox13)

National Headlines


  • Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe out at right-wing org (AP)
  • A Supreme Court showdown for Google, Twitter and the social media world (NPR)
  • Feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘fatigue,’ some GOP voters look beyond Trump (Washington Post)
  • Bennie Thompson rips McCarthy for giving Tucker Carlson Jan. 6 footage (The Hill)
  • Santos says he didn’t think people would find out about lies because he ‘got away with’ them during 2020 campaign (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Ukraine's unlikely wartime leader, Zelenskyy instill hope (AP)
  • Ukraine's year of pain, death —and also nation-building (AP)


  • Newborn saved from earthquake in Syria adopted by her aunt (AP)
  • Ruins of Turkish city of Antakya tell story of a rich past (AP)
  • Brazil's glitzy Carnival is back in full form after pandemic (AP)
  • ‘Equality of Injustice for All’: Saudi Arabia Expands Crackdown on Dissent. The kingdom’s courts are meting out harsher punishments than ever to citizens who criticize the government, with prosecutions built on Twitter posts ending in prison sentences of 15 to 45 years. (New York Times)

Guest opinion: An open letter to Utah legislators re: HB215

by Teri Rhodes, President, Cache County School Board; Pres. Elect, Utah School Boards Assoc.

I’ve heard that the Legislature is confused about the less than positive response from teachers over the passage of HB215. Perhaps you should know how the majority feel about that. It’s like the Legislature offered them a Twinkie as a diversion while you punched them in the gut. Our support staff feels even worse–they didn’t even get a Twinkie! What they heard with HB215 is “you are not educating our most at-risk students well, so we’re going to take some of the funding that could have been yours and give it to a private company, so you have some competition. Maybe then you’ll do a better job.” 

I believe one of the best kept secrets in the Utah Legislature is that local school board members are also publicly elected officials AND we share the same constituents with Legislators. However, I argue that we are closer to our shared constituents than Legislators because we are in their schools daily, engaging with their most precious belongings–their children. We sit with them in their school community councils, their PTA meetings, their school activities, assemblies and graduations. We celebrate with them and mourn with them personally. That’s why we so often advocate for local control in legislation.

We appreciate WPU increases and a 5.5% increase in the WPU cannot equate to a 5.5% increase in teachers’ salaries. The WPU must also pay for support staff wage increases, as well as heating, lighting, curriculum, technology, supplies, etc.–all necessary so teachers can teach well...

We just want Utah Public Ed funded ADEQUATELY to provide a liveable wage for our staff members as they provide a world class education for our students. We believe the Legislature should try a little harder to do a little better in constitutionally funded, and appropriated, public education funding for generations to come. 


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 21, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-02-20 at 9.31.20 PM



  • 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 

  • 1792 - US Congress passes Presidential Succession Act
  • 1848 - Karl Marx publishes the Communist Manifesto.
  • 1855 - Alice Freeman Palmer was born. She founded the predecessor organization to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 1881.
  • 1885 - Washington Monument dedicated.
  • 1916 - The Battle of Verdun begins - it will drag on for 10 brutal months and come to represent WWI.
  • 1936 – Barbara Jordan is born. She served in the Texas state legislature 1962-72, was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1973 where she sponsored expanding the coverage of the Voting Rights Act and voted to impeach Nixon.
  • 1940 - John Lewis is born. 
  • 1965 - Malcolm X assassinated by rival Black Muslims while speaking in the Audubon Ballroom in New York City
  • 1970 - Henry Kissinger begins secret negotiations with North Vietnamese
  • 1972 - Richard Nixon meets Mao Zedong.
  • 2014 - President Barack Obama meets with the Dalai Lama
  • 2018 - Billy Graham dies.

Heard on the Hill

"Utah is the only state in the nation that has these types of budget constraints. We can't remove the sales tax on food and continue to efficiently balance the state budget."

—House Majority Leader Mike Schultz

On the Punny Side

I accidentally sprayed deodorant in my mouth.

Now when I talk, I have this weird axe scent.


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