Supporting Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis; educating college students on human trafficking; and it's National Banana Bread Day
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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 23, 2023

Good Thursday morning! It's National Banana Bread Day - what a treat in the middle of winter!

If yesterday's storm felt like a whopper, it's because it was. It was the second-largest February snowstorm since Utah began keeping records. Some school districts are remaining on online learning: Granite, Jordan and Tooele. Two-hour delays in Canyons and Murray.

What You Need to Know

  • Today, HB518, a bill that would require all institutions of higher education to create an educational program about human trafficking, will be heard in the House Law Enforcement committee; a bill on feral cats will be heard in the House Natural Resources committee and a resolution regarding Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis will be heard in the Senate Government Operations committee. 

  • Yesterday, the bill that would have legalized medical mushrooms in limited circumstances was held in committee, the religious school uniform bill passed the Senate and heads to the governor's desk, and a bill to ban schools from participating in sports if the athletic association does not collect and review athletes birth certificates passed out of committee. HB467, Abortion Changes passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services committee. This bill would limit abortions to hospitals only and limits abortions to pregnancies resulting from rape or incest to less than 18 weeks. 

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

36 days down, 9 days to go! 



  • 8:00-9:50 am: House committees: Government Operations; Judiciary, Revenue & Taxation
  • 8:00-9:50 am: Senate committees: Education
  • 9:00 am: Senate Business & Labor
  • 9:15 am: House Political Subdivisions
  • 9:15 am: Senate Health & Human Services
  • 10:00-12:00: House floor time
  • 10:00-11:50: Senate floor time
  • 2:00-3:50 pm: House floor time
  • 2:-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
  • 6:00-7:30 pm: Executive Appropriations

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Bid to regulate Utah’s bromine emissions gets scaled back to a study in committee (KUER)
  • Is this the end of Utah’s income tax earmark for education? (Deseret News)
  • Utah bill targets drug dealers who cause fentanyl deaths (Standard-Examiner)
  • Threat of power grid attacks prompts call for tougher criminal penalties (Standard-Examiner)
  • House passes bill removing food tax, proposed constitutional amendment advances (Fox13)
  • Great Salt Lake bills start to advance in Utah's legislature (Fox13)
  • Great Salt Lake bill moves forward despite opposition from environmental group (KUTV)
  • Utah lawmakers significantly pare down air pollution reduction bill (KUTV)
  • Top lawmaker's first-time homebuyer plan passes Senate, heads to House (KUTV)
  • Utah bill would gut signature-gathering path to primary ballots (KSL TV)
  • Utah bill to legalize medical ‘magic mushrooms’ withers away (Deseret News)
  • Saul Anuzis: Short-term rental regulation can save us from revolving-door neighborhoods (Deseret News)
  • Second part of plan to remove food sales tax in Utah moves forward (KUTV)
  • Utah Indian Child Welfare Act bill passes committee (KSL)
  • Her sister died from a heroin overdose. A new bill would’ve also taken away her brother — to jail — for selling the deadly dose. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Buying a home, with a little legislative boost, could get a bit easier in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah legislators refuse to fund water testing for schools despite lead concerns (KUTV)

Other political news

  •  Chief of staff exerts quiet power at White House; Romney says he may have picked Leavitt (KSL)

General Utah news

  •  Over $12 million in narcotics found in southern Utah traffic stop (ABC4)
  • How a Utah shelter helped Venezuelan men settle in the US, and what it says about our immigration policy (KSL Newsradio)
  • Convicted sex offender arrested after going to a Jr. high school, looking for teenager (KSL TV)



  • Global declines in maternal mortality have stalled. Death rates in the United States have increased in recent years, as they have in Europe, the W.H.O. reported. (New York Times)


  •  Ogden increases homeless outreach during 'Code Blue' for inclement weather (Fox13)
  • New report shows increase in Utah children experiencing homelessness (KSL)

National Headlines


  • Florida journalist shot to death covering shooting from earlier in the day (Politico)
  • The children of the Nazis' genetic project. Across Europe, some adoptees have had to face a dark realization about their origins (The Atlantic)
  • Winter storm brings heavy snow, grounds more than 1,500 flights (Wall Street Journal)


  • ‘We will defend literally every inch of NATO’: Biden ensures security for Eastern allies (Deseret News)
  • U.S. diplomatic counter-offensive targets China’s ‘false information’ (Politico)
  • Biden may not run — and top Dems are quietly preparing (Politico)
  • Biden approval rating highest in almost a year (The Hill)
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene's civil war (The Atlantic)
  • Biden gets chance to redefine World Bank role (Politico)
  • Arizona’s top prosecutor concealed records debunking election fraud claims. Newly released documents show how Republican Mark Brnovich publicized an incomplete account of his office’s probe of the 2020 election in Maricopa County (Washington Post)
  • Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump subpoenaed in Jan. 6 investigation (New York Times)
  • Report: If the GOP wants to be the ‘parents party,’ they should pass these policies (Deseret News)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • U.N. to mark one year of Ukraine war with vote to 'go down in history' (Reuters)
  • Here's how Ukraine could retake Crimea (Politico)
  • Americans divided on who will win Ukraine war (The Hill)
  • A year of war seen through the eyes of ordinary Ukrainians (Washington Post)
  • They risk it all to cover war in Ukraine. Are people still watching? (Washington Post)
  • How Poland, long leery of foreigners, opened up to Ukrainians (New York Times)
  • Life and death in shattered Mariupol - a survivor's tale (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's birth rate was already dangerously low. Then war broke out (NPR)


  • At least 10 Palestinians killed during Israeli raid in West Bank (New York Times)
  • Magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes Tajikistan, near border with China (Reuters)
  • Discovery of 'superhighways' suggest early Mayans were more advanced than previously thought (KSL)

News Releases

Wood Stove and Fireplace Conversion Program Open to Cache County Residents, Monday, Feb. 27

The Wood Stove and Fireplace Conversion Program will open the registration for eligible Cache County homeowners on Feb. 27 starting at 6 a.m. The financial incentives help households convert their fireplace or wood stove to natural gas or propane fueled. The program is also an opportunity to improve their indoor air quality, and improve wintertime pollution caused by wood burning. (Read More)

Legislature and Governor’s Office release updated budget estimates

The Governor’s Office and Utah State Legislature released revised revenue numbers for state fiscal year (FY) 2023-24. Utah’s economy is in a strong position, ranking as the best state for economic outlook for 15 years in a row. However, the country is experiencing increased risks and volatility, with predictions of economic slowdowns.

Utah continues to manage its affairs well. While the new revenue growth reflects the ongoing momentum of the state’s economy, Utah has a history of prudent, smart planning for future downturns. Fiscally conservative policies and forward-thinking rainy-day funds enable the state to navigate economic uncertainties successfully, provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax relief to Utahns, and continue to fund education at historic levels. (Read More)

House Democratic Caucus statement on HB101

The Utah House Democrats remain frustrated and disappointed that the Utah House Majority continues to bring forward bills that hold good policies hostage. Representative Rosemary Lesser (D-10) has been a vocal champion on the removal of the sales tax on food.

While the House Democrats remain in favor of removing the sales tax on food, H.B. 101 cannot be supported in good faith. By tying the removal of the food tax to removing the earmark on education funding, the Majority continues to hold public education hostage. These items should be considered separately on the merits of their own policy and Representative Rosemary Lesser proposed an amendment to separate the two issues, which was voted down. (Read More)

Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education raises awareness of savings resources, focuses on reducing barriers for Utahns to access critical financial services

Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks and community partners are raising awareness of the importance of saving and the resources available to help Utahns achieve their financial goals as part of the annual “Utah Saves Week” campaign. One focus of this year’s campaign is to reduce barriers for Utahns to access safe and affordable financial services.

NeighborWorks Salt Lake, a member of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education and the Utah Saves campaign coordinator, launched Bank On Salt Lake last year. Bank On Salt Lake is a collaboration between financial institutions, community-based organizations and government to connect Utahns to safe, affordable and certified banking accounts. According to Bank On, 19% of Utahns are unbanked or underbanked. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Feb. 23, 2023


Tweet of the DaScreenshot 2023-02-23 at 7.24.10 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
  • The American Imperative: Reclaiming Global Leadership Through Soft Power with Daniel Runde & Bonnie Glick, Breakfast and Panel — Mar 2, 7:45-9:30 am, 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 

  • 1455 - Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible.
  • 1836 - The siege on the Alamo begins.
  • 1868 - W.E.B. DuBois is born. An American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, he was awarded the Spingarn medal by the NAACP in 1920 and the Lenin Peace Prize by the USSR in 1959.
  • 1940 - Woody Guthrie writes This Land Is Your Land.
  • 1945 - U.S. Marines raise the American flag on Iwo Jima.
  • 1954 - 1st mass inoculation against polio with the Jonas Salk vaccine takes place at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh
  • 1968 - The US Equal Opportunity Commission rules that a candidate’s gender (female) or marital status (single) could not be a required qualification for employment as a flight attendant.
  • 1979 - Frank E. Peterson, Jr. is named the first Black general in the Marine Corps.
  • 1991 - President George H. W. Bush gives Iraq a 24-hour deadline to withdraw from Kuwait or face a ground war.
  • 1998 - Osama bin Laden publishes a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and Crusaders.
  • 2020 - The first major COVID-19 outbreak in Europe hits Italy with 152 cases and three deaths, prompting emergency measures, locking down 10 towns in Lombardy.
  • 2020 - Ahmaud Arbery shot to death after being chased down by two white men in Brunswick, Georgia. Video of the killing emerges in May, prompting arrests.

Heard on the Hill

"I’m also really a competitive guy and I don’t like excuses for losing. And on the surface, it feels like we’re fixing it so we don’t have to fight a tough fight."

—Rep. Cal Musselman, speaking to the bill that would gut signature gathering

On the Punny Side

Police have arrested the World Tongue-Twister Champion.

They said he'll be given a tough sentence.


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