It's FOIA day and Sunshine Week; flooding occurring around the state; and Tiger King for president?
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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 | March 16, 2023

It's Thursday and National Freedom of Information Day, in the middle of Sunshine Week, promoting transparency in government.

What You Need to Know

  • The maternal mortality rate spiked 40% in the United States during 2021. The US rate is more than ten times the estimated rate of other high income countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan and Spain and hitting the highest level since 1965. The rate among Black mothers in the US is more than 2.5 times greater than white mothers. 

Rapid Roundup


Hatch Foundation to Host Gala Event with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Sec. Elaine Chao in SLC, April 14th

The Hatch Foundation will honor Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the Honorable Elaine Chao, the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation and the 24th Secretary of Labor, with the Titan of Public Service Award at a gala event to be held on Friday, April 14 at 7 p.m. For tickets, click here.


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Trump attacks DeSantis, compares him to Mitt Romney in campaign speech (Deseret News)
  • Mike Lee says Biden overstepped authority with new executive order on guns (Deseret News)
  • How could ChatGPT and artificial intelligence change politics? (Deseret News)
  • Abortion clinic ban signed by Utah Gov. Cox; abortion still legal up to 18 weeks (Salt Lake Tribune)

General Utah news

  • 45% of Utah women report feeling “chronically unsafe” at some point. University of Utah professor Lisa Diamond set out to quantify social safety and to understand its impact on Utah women. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Heavy rains lead to flooding in Highland (KSL TV)
  • Flood watches extended across southern Utah as state hits record snowpack water level (KSL TV)
  • Family of 5, including three children rescued from floodwaters in Snow Canyon State Park (KUTV)
  • A beloved Utah sports writer knocks now on God’s wondrous door. Former Deseret News reporter Dirk Facer died Wednesday, his family announced. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Eggsperts are predicting another bout of avian flu. Here’s what that means for your wallet (Deseret News)
  • Man found guilty for killing man who interfered with attempt to kidnap his ex-girlfriend (KSL)
  • Officers crack down on parking in canyons after cars block emergency vehicles (KSL)
  • Salt Lake Tribune chair Paul Huntsman founds California newspaper (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah humanitarian group continuing to help Ukraine more than a year into war (Fox13)


  • Retiring high school girls basketball coach Van Price leaves behind a great legacy as the winningest coach in state history (Deseret News)


  • Church makes largest-ever donation of water shares to benefit Great Salt Lake. Historic move hailed by governor as donation is equivalent to 20,000 acre-feet of water (Deseret News)
  • Editorial Board: The church’s historic water donation for saving the Great Salt Lake is the ‘Utah Way’ (Deseret News)
  • Perspective: Water has always been a symbol of faith and renewal (Deseret News)


  • Why families should talk about Alzheimer’s symptoms, seek help early. The Alzheimer’s Association report says individuals wait until it’s too late to tell their doctor they have symptoms (Deseret News)
  • First colonoscopy saves life of one of Intermountain Health's own, Dan Liljenquist (Fox13)
  • Here’s one way to talk to your boss about mental health (KUER)


  • Are the West’s housing markets in for more pain after Silicon Valley Bank collapse? (Deseret News)

National Headlines


  • NASA’s Webb Space Telescope captured rare dying star—and it kind of looks like a cherry blossom (Deseret News)
  • Perspective: Religious intolerance is taking new forms (Deseret News)
  • How Americans feel about Latter-day Saints and other faith groups and some context behind the numbers (Deseret News)


  • Biden administration threatens a TikTok ban if its Chinese owner doesn’t sell the app (Deseret News)
  • US releases video of Russian jet dumping fuel on its drone (AP)
  • Texas announces takeover of Houston schools, stirring anger (AP)
  • Stormy Daniels meets with prosecutors investigating Trump (AP)
  • Paid time off is not part of workers' 'salary,' U.S. court rules (Reuters)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Russian security service building catches fire in Rostov (AP)
  • Wagner’s convicts tell of horrors of Ukraine war and loyalty to their leader (Reuters)


  • Decisive day for Macron’s pension gamble in tense France (AP)
  • Poland breaks up Russian spy network, says minister (Reuters)

Guest Opinion: If the US does not lead in the technologies of the future, our national security is at risk

by Ryan Easton

Utah’s silicon slopes have triggered an avalanche of advanced innovation, leading the Beehive State to be ranked as the top state for startups.

With Utah at the forefront of innovation in the United States in recent years, developments and ideas from our state have helped our country remain the leading voice on the world stage. This position helps ensure that America can share its values with the world and encourage the spread of democratic values...

One major way they are doing this is through the export of technology. China has been working diligently to become the world’s leader in major tech like artificial intelligence and other emerging capabilities. They have made significant investments in research and development and have even stolen technology and intellectual property from the United States to achieve these goals. In addition to creating national security and economic challenges, China’s dominance in the tech industry gives them a significant advantage in cyber warfare and intelligence gathering. This could lead to compromised national security and potentially losing our technological edge.

Having served our country in the military, I deeply understand the importance of promoting American values and what that takes. China is and will continue to be aggressive, and if we do not act, America could end up in a vulnerable spot. Our leaders in Congress are already laser-focused on China and I appreciate the concern that has already been raised by key committees including the new China committee in the House of Representatives. But we cannot just talk; we must act to ensure that technological innovation in the United States continues to lead the world. That means passing legislation supporting our small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovation, and ability to compete while avoiding bad policies that would undermine America’s – and Utah’s – ability to innovate.

News Release

Utah leaders speak out against Ozone Transfer Rule

Utah’s elected leaders – Gov. Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes, Senate President J. Stuart Adams, House Speaker Brad Wilson, U.S. Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, and Congressmen Chris Stewart, John Curtis, Burgess Owens, and Blake Moore – issued the following statement:

“Utah’s measured, all-of-the-above energy policy has powered decades of prosperity by providing some of the country’s most reliable and affordable energy. This balanced and commonsense approach has powered our state, fueled our economy, and maintained a high quality of life for our people. We’ve also dramatically decreased emissions. However, the Biden Administration has turned to executive rulemaking to enact policies that will force early closures of Utah power plants, putting reliable, affordable, and dispatchable power significantly at risk – and only in a few years. (Read More)

Romney, Shaheen renew bipartisan push to establish U.S. strategy toward Black Sea region

U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation that would direct the Administration to develop a strategy toward the Black Sea region, which has increasingly become a critical inflection point for European and global security amid Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. 

“Russia’s recent provocation against a U.S. drone in the Black Sea underscores the need for a revamped strategy in the Black Sea region. We cannot leave it up to Putin—who chose to invade Ukraine and pursue other forms of aggression in the region—to define the rules of the Black Sea. It’s critical that the Biden Administration develops a robust Black Sea strategy to strengthen the coordination between the U.S., NATO, and our Black Sea partners,” said Senator Romney. (Read More)

Romney to OMB Director: It’s offensive and dishonest to claim that Congress wants to cut Social Security benefits

At a Budget Committee hearing today to discuss the President’s budget, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) engaged in a heated exchange with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young who claimed that members of Congress are proposing cutting benefits for current Social Security recipients. He rejected her claim as dishonest and offensive, and highlighted how the President’s budget fails to include a plan to save Social Security, which is projected to run out of money in the next 10 years—triggering automatic benefit cuts. Senator Romney advocated for a bipartisan effort to work together to save Social Security and protect Medicare. (Read/Watch More)

Romney, colleagues seek information from stakeholders on the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act reauthorization

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today joinedSenators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ranking Member and Chair of the HELP Committee respectively, in requesting input from public health officials, health care providers, and other stakeholders on policies the Committee should consider during the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). 

Specifically, the senators asked stakeholders to provide feedback on the effectiveness of existing programs, how to improve the ability of states and localities to respond to public health crises, any gaps in activities or authorities in the PAHPA framework, and ways to bolster partnerships between the federal government, states and localities, the private sector, and non-government stakeholders. They hope to use the input during the reauthorization process to enhance PAHPA and improve the nation’s preparedness for future health crises. PAHPA expires on September 30th, which is the end of fiscal year 2023. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Mar 16, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-03-16 at 7.08.59 AM



  • Teaching Your Child Consent with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — Mar. 16, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, Virtual, Register Here
  • Family, Religion, Education & Entrepreneurship Forum with Sutherland Institute & AEI — March 23, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm, Hyatt Regency, 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
  • Advancing Women Through “Developmental Relationships”: A Dialogue with Global Experts with the Utah Women and Leadership Project — April 4, 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm, 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 

  • 597 BC - Babylonians capture Jerusalem, replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king.
  • 1751 - James Madison is born.
  • 1802 - President Thomas Jefferson signs the Military Peace Establishment Act establishing the Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Military Academy known as West Point.
  • 1827 - Editors Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm publish the first issue of Freedom’s Journal in New York City. The newspaper is the first in the United States owned and operated by African Americans.
  • 1846 - Rebecca Cole is born. She was a physician, organization founder and social reformer, the second African-American woman to become a doctor in the United States
  • 1850 - Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter, is published.
  • 1861 - Edward Clark became Governor of Texas, replacing Sam Houston, who is evicted from the office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy
  • 1900 - Eveline Burns is born. An economist and technical expert and an immigrant to the U.S., she helped design social security and wrote “The American Social Security System,” the standard text in this field.
  • 1926 - The first liquid-fueled rocket is launched in Massachusetts, traveling for 2.5 seconds and reaching an altitude of 41 feet.
  • 1955 - President Eisenhower upholds the use of atomic weapons in case of war
  • 1968 - As many as 500 Vietnamese villagers killed by U.S. soldiers in My Lai Massacre
  • 1995 - Mississippi House of Representatives formally abolishes slavery & ratifies 13th Amendment
  • 2021 -  Declassified US intelligence report says Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized efforts to aid re-election of Donald Trump

Quote of the Day

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

On the Punny Side

What do you call a herd of sheep falling down a hill?

A lambslide.


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