Utah has a new flag; abortion clinics to be closed; air quality bill passed, cougar hunting now allowed year-round
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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 | March 3, 2023

It's Friday and the last day of the legislative session.

What You Need to Know

  • Yesterday, the legislature passed a major tax bill, the bill giving us a new state flag, a bill closing down all abortion clinics in the state, a bill that has removed grades from schools, an air quality bill and a bill that allows cougar hunting year-round. Tune in to le.utah.gov or head on up to the Hill for the last day.

Rapid Roundup



Saluting exceptional leaders

Utah Business recognizes members of the C-suite who are changing the way we do business for the better.

Are you acquainted with a C-suite executive who makes the hard decisions that impact daily operations as well as the long-term vision of their company? Submit a nomination before March 10


2023 Legislative Session

44 days down, 1 day to go! The 2023 session ends no later than midnight tonight when it will adjourn sine die. 


  • 8:00-12:00 pm: House floor time
  • 8:00-11:50 am: Senate floor time
  • 2:00 pm - as late as needed: House floor time
  • 2:00 pm - as late as needed: Senate floor time

Utah Headlines

General Legislative News

  • Efforts to curb youth social media use clear Utah Legislature, await governor's signature (KSL)
  • Utah legislature adopts new state flag (KSL)
  • New Utah flag poked the beehive of public passion in Utah’s Capitol. People threw words like “marxist,” “woke” and “cancel culture” as weapons against the new flag, in one of the biggest displays of citizen involvement during the 2023 legislative session (Deseret News)
  • Opinion: Washers, dryers, showers and food — this is what 15,499 homeless Utah students need. Thanks to the $15 million earmarked by the legislature for Teen Centers in schools, students in need will receive resources (Deseret News)
  • Utah Legislature approves $400 million tax cut package. Here’s what that means for Utahns (Deseret News)
  • 27% of Utah students are chronically absent. Here’s what lawmakers have directed schools, juvenile justice to do (Deseret News)
  • Bills challenging diversity, equity and inclusion efforts get pushback in Utah (KSL)
  • Utah school grades are now dead. How will you know how your school is doing? (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Effort to change Utah’s state flag narrowly passes Legislature after hours of debate (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Legislature passes bill to allow year-round cougar hunting by any hunter. If Gov. Spencer Cox signs HB469 into law, it will be open season on mountain lions 365 days a year. No tags required, just a hunting license. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The Legislature may let Utah’s richest man build a castle above Park City — despite city code. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Wife of Navy lieutenant imprisoned in Japan watches as Utah Senate approves resolution (KUTV)
  • Bill to honor inclusivity at graduation ceremonies moves through Utah Legislature (St. George News)
  • Utah bill to close abortion clinics passes Senate (KSL)
  • Utah lawmakers pass license plate reform bill — but you can still get personalized plates (KSL)
  • Gas chambers may soon be banned in Utah animal shelters (KSL)
  • After alarming rise in Utah jail deaths, lawmakers turn to suicide barriers (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Moab, Park City cry foul as Utah lawmakers target rules for vacation homes. Tourist towns worry that the Legislature will harm their efforts to ease the affordable housing crisis. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Bill protecting UTA workers passes after rise in assault cases (Fox13)
  • A major air quality bill just got revived and is passing the Utah legislature (Fox13)

Other political news

  • Utah to provide free period products in state buildings (Deseret News)
  • Utah GOP state party chair Carson Jorgensen is not running for reelection. Here’s who could replace him (Deseret News)
  • Utah Sen. Mike Lee deletes tweet on out-of-context Zelenskyy remarks (Deseret News)
  • Utah adopts a government-run amusement ride safety committee (KSL Newsradio)
  • Is upping ‘soft power’ deployment the key to U.S. global leadership? (Deseret News)

General Utah news

  • Ancestry creates new ‘Storymaker Studio’ to bring your family stories to life at RootsTech (Deseret News)
  • What previous recessions can teach us about our economy now (Deseret News)
  • Former mayor, Latter-day Saint bishop gets maximum sentence in child sex assault cases (KUTV)
  • Mother of Lauren McCluskey speaks on campus safety at University of Utah conference (Fox13)
  • Utah researcher who coined ‘racial battle fatigue’ says more work ahead (Standard-Examiner)
  • Utah Tourism Office spreads the ‘love’ to Southern Utah (St. George News)
  • Family of man shot by police release statement, call it ‘brutal murder’ (KSL TV)
  • North Ogden food bank says it needs thousands of dollars or it could close in days (KUTV)


  • With tech layoffs in the headlines, what does the future hold for students eyeing STEM jobs? (KUER)


  • Oral hygiene took a hit during pandemic, Utah college aims for education (Fox13)
  • Report finds 7th grade girl discriminated against, sexually harassed while performing Samoan dance (KUTV)


  • TikTok is limiting scrolling time for users under 18. But the limits are pretty easy to get around (Deseret News)
  • 10 ways to honor the work of motherhood during Women’s History Month (Washington Post)


  • What’s the sleep ‘sweet spot’ to boost longevity? (Deseret News)
  • Utah doula provides culturally competent care for marginalized parents (ABC4)
  • Amid the Adderall shortage, people with ADHD face withdrawal and despair (New York Times)


  • Pandemic housing boom pushed Americans to move more often (KUTV)

National Headlines


  • Jury quickly finds Murdaugh guilty of murdering wife, son (AP)
  • Decades after risking his life to save his men, a Black Green Beret gets the Medal of Honor (NPR)
  • Whiskey fungus fed by Jack Daniel's encrusts a Tennessee town (New York Times)


  • Rep. George Santos under investigation by House Ethics panel (AP)
  • Biden to tap Julie Su as next Labor secretary (Politico)
  • Supreme Court asks for more briefs on important election-law case (Washington Post)
  • Biden administration releases strategy to boost cybersecurity (Deseret News)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • US to send more ammo, folding armored bridges to Ukraine (AP)
  • A year into Ukraine war, bodies dug up in once occupied town (AP)
  • Wagner chief says eastern Ukraine's Bakhmut is effectively surrounded (Wall Street Journal)
  • These Ukrainian villagers live in Cold War nuclear bunkers — and plan to stay (Washington Post)


  • Afghan women, banned from working, can't provide for their children (Wall Street Journal)
  • Belarus sentences Nobel Peace Laureate to 10 years in prison (New York Times)
  • Years of warnings and inaction in Turkish city destroyed by earthquakes (Washington Post)

Guest opinion: Family should be priority for interim

by Derek Monson

The 2023 Utah legislative session closes this week. When it concludes, lawmakers will have enacted hundreds of new laws and policy reforms designed to address issues such as economic growth, education, healthcare and infrastructure. It often seems that there is no civic institution as important and impactful in society as government, guided by its elected institutional leaders.

But there is another civic institution guided clearly by leaders that is as important and impactful, if not more, to the well-being of society: families led by parents.

Family policy is economic policy, and vice versa. When parents make an education decision about where to live so their kids can attend a good school or about the next job they take in their quest to better support their family, they are making economic (housing and labor) decisions as well.

Too often in policy debates – including many in the current legislative session – we silo off family, economic and education policy from one another, when for most Utahns they are so interrelated that in some instances they are simply indistinguishable. That means that we may be missing important policy implications or straightforward solutions because we misunderstand the issue in one facet or another.

As we head into another interim between legislative sessions, policymakers and those working in the policy space should strive to better recognize and reflect in dialogue the connections between the economy, education and the family. Further, policy should treat parents as the institutional leaders that they are – offering them the same space to act and level of respect in their institutional realm that education leaders demand in schools, government leaders demand in government, and business leaders demand in their businesses. If we do, we just might find unexpected progress not only in matters of family, but in education, government and the economy as well. (Read More)

News Releases

Salt Lake Chamber to honor Mary Ann Lee with Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award

The Salt Lake Chamber announced today that Mary Ann Lee, Artistic Director for the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre & Tanner Dance Program, will be honored with the 5th Annual Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award. The award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address critical community needs. (Read More)

Utah Senate Democrats’ statement regarding the passage of H.B. 467, Abortion Changes

Today, the Utah Senate passed H.B. 467, Abortion Changes. This bill effectively bans all abortions in the state of Utah, leaving few exceptions for limited circumstances, including cases where a pregnant woman is faced with a very specific medical emergency and for victims of rape and incest, up to 18-weeks—including children under the age of 14. Additionally, the bill requires abortions to be performed in specific hospital settings, and it eliminates the licensing of all abortion clinics in Utah. All Senate Democrats voted in opposition. (Read More)

Congressmen Blake Moore and Jimmy Panetta reintroduce the bipartisan LODGE Act

Congressmen Blake Moore (R-UT) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) reintroduced the Lodging Options Developed for Government Employees (LODGE) Act for the 118th Congress to foster innovative public-private partnerships to increase the availability of affordable housing in and around our nation’s parks. (Read More)

Lee bill makes travelers free as a bird

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Fair Removal of Existing and Enforced Bans on Immunization Relating to Destination (FREEBIRD) Act to end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate placed on international air visitors to the United States. Foreign travelers, including family members, friends, and business relations, are being kept off U.S. soil due to the air travel vaccine mandate, which remains for nonimmigrant, noncitizen foreign travelers. The United States is one of the only countries that still impose this mandate. (Read More)

Romney, colleagues lead bipartisan push for new tax agreement with Taiwan

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, today joined the Subcommittee’s Chairman Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and their colleagues Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Chris Coons (D-DE) in leading a bipartisan push toward the enactment of a new tax agreement with Taiwan. The senators introduced a resolution that encourages the Administration to begin negotiating a tax agreement with Taiwan in order to further strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and Taiwan. (Read More)

Utah’s consumer sentiment drops in February

Utah’s consumer sentiment decreased from 75.6 in January to 70.4 in February, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s Survey of Utah Consumer Sentiment. A similar survey by the University of Michigan found sentiment rose from January (64.9) to February (67.0) among Americans as a whole. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Mar 3, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-03-03 at 6.46.03 AM



  • 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
  • Hatch Foundation Gala with special guest Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sec. Elaine Chao — April 14, 7:00 pm, Grand America, Register Here
  • Mount Liberty College Spring Youth Seminar on The Virginian — May 6, 9 am - 7 pm, Register Here

On This Day In History 

  • 1820 - Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri.
  • 1842 - The first US child labor law regulating working hours passes in Massachusetts.
  • 1847 - The US Post Office Department is authorized to issue postage stamps.
  • 1871 - Hiram R. Revels is elected to the US Senate by the Mississippi legislature, becoming the first Black Senator.
  • 1879 - After graduating law school in 1873, Belva Lockwood lobbied to be admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar. It wasn’t until March 3, 1879, that she would become the first woman admitted to appear before the Supreme Court.
  • 1887 - Helen Keller meets Anne Sullivan for the first time.
  • 1902 - Sarah Rector is born. She was an African American member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, best known for being the "richest colored girl in the world.” Given her wealth, the Oklahoma Legislature declared her to be a White person, so that she would be allowed to travel in first-class accommodations on the railroad, as befitted her position.
  • 1910 - John D. Rockefeller Jr. announces his retirement from managing his businesses so that he can be devoted full time to being a philanthropist.
  • 1912 - Isabella Goodwin is the first ever female municipal detective when she is promoted within the New York City police department.
  • 1913 - The Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C. gathered over 8000 women asking for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote.
  • 1923 - Time Magazine publishes its first issue. Happy 100th birthday!
  • 1931 - The Star Spangled Banner becomes official US national anthem.
  • 1991 - LAPD officers beat Rodney King on camera
  • 2017 - Mass grave of 800 children and infants confirmed at a former Catholic care home in Tuam, Ireland.

Heard on the Hill

"I'm not saying this is the most important bill that we will vote on this legislative session but I will say that it is historic."
– Rep. Jeffrey Stenquist, speaking on the bill to adopt a new state flag

On the Punny Side

When you speak two languages but start losing vocabulary in both of them...



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