World Water Day; death penalty off the table for Lori Daybell; new president announced for BYU; drowsy driving cases on the rise in Utah
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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 22, 2023

Happy Wednesday. It's World Water Day. Did you know that 26% of the people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water?? Almost half don't have access to basic sanitation.

What You Need to Know

  • The bill creating a new Utah state flag has been signed by Governor Cox, along with an executive order calling for the historic flag to also be flown every day at the Capitol. The historic flag will be the top one and the new flag flown underneath it. Referendum signature gatherers say they will continue their efforts. 

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.


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Utah legislator uses his own law against telemarketer (Fox13)
  • Curtis, Lee among the 'most effective' in Congress, study says (KSL)
  • Gov. Cox blasts Biden’s veto, calling it an attempt to bypass Congress (Deseret News)
  • Derek Monson: How to remedy the West’s fractured election policies. Utah is an example of how state policymakers can implement change while retaining voters’ trust (Deseret News)

General Utah news

  • Police: $65K worth of fentanyl seized on I-15 in St. George after driver stopped for speeding (St. George News)
  • Silence: Two of SLCPD’s most powerful officers under investigation since last summer (Fox13)
  • Polygamist leader Samuel Bateman used prison phones for explicit talk with young girls (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial begins in Park City, lawyer calls it “B.S.” (KSL Newsradio)


  • Holly Richardson: Loss doesn’t have a timeline: BYU ‘Life after Loss’ conference helps mourners at all stages (Deseret News)


  • USU president to deliver her final "State of the University" message on March 27 (Cache Valley Daily)
  • West High students compete for major award with tech to connect with lawmakers (Fox13)
  • A ‘remarkable, outstanding tenure’ coming to an end for BYU’s Kevin Worthen (Deseret News)


  • Great Salt Lake rises 2 feet since historic low (Fox13)
  • Record-breaking snowfall continues in Utah, systems lined up into the weekend (ABC4)
  • U.S. Forest Service faces lawsuit over wildfire damage from Pole Creek fire (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • While Washington County is on flood watch, the rest of the state waits for April (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Citing an 1868 treaty, the Navajo Nation argues it deserves more Colorado River water (Deseret News)
  • UN report reveals immediate action is needed to counter climate change. Why this report is being called a ‘survival guide for humanity’ by one of its authors (Deseret News)


  • Child mortality in the US is rising at the fastest rate in 50 years (The Hill)
  • Steps have dropped since COVID-19 and the trend is worrisome, study says (KSL)


  • Final numbers show Utah home prices rose from January to February (KUTV)
  • Nationally, home prices fell in February for first time in 11 years (Wall Street Journal)

National Headlines


  • Meet the 'glass-half-full girl' whose brain rewired after losing a hemisphere (NPR)
  • Idaho hospital to stop delivering babies, partly due to ‘political climate’ (Washington Post)
  • More than 200,000 without power as deadly storm slams California (Washington Post)


  • Nancy Pelosi on how women can succeed in politics, business (Wall Street Journal)
  • Michael Cohen's long arc from Trump ally to chief antagonist (New York Times)
  • The legal intricacies that could make or break the case against Trump (New York Times)
  • 'Stand in their way': Trump tells supporters he's fighting alongside them (KUTV)
  • Sponsor of 'Don't Say Gay' in Fla. guilty of COVID relief fraud, faces 35 years in prison (KUTV)
  • Would this planned Western mining project violate religious freedom protections? (Deseret News)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • A shrinking reservoir signals Ukraine and Russia are waging a dangerous water war (NPR)
  • Russian drone strikes in Ukraine kill at least 4, wound another 20 (NPR)
  • Russian drones swarm Kyiv in display of force as Xi leaves Moscow (Reuters)
  • A Russian student posted about the war in Ukraine. Then she faced a prison term. (New York Times)
  • Ukraine, IMF agree on $15.6 billion loan package (AP)


  • Uganda passes a law making it a crime to identify as LGBTQ (Reuters)
  • Taliban leader faces blowback over girls’ school ban—from his own movement (Wall Street Journal)
  • As Haiti's police retreat, gangs take over much of the capital (New York Times)

News Release

Gov. Cox issues executive order outlining how to display the historic state flag and new state flag

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order today continuing the significance of Utah’s historic state flag as Utahns gain a new state flag. The executive order reaffirms the historic state flag will continue to be displayed.

“As governor, I am proud to issue today an executive order requiring that the current state flag be flown at the Capitol at all times and at all state buildings on certain holidays and special occasions. I am further requesting that, during an upcoming session, the Legislature amend SB 31 to require the historic state flag be flown above the new state flag when the two flags are flown together. This will ensure that the historic flag will remain a symbol of our history and strength. (Read More)

79-year-old Weber State student becomes TikTok sensation with 2.3 million followers

Among the thousands of seniors finishing their last semester at Weber State University this spring, another kind of senior is relaunching her educational journey — and gaining millions of followers in the process. Sharon Barber, 79, is earning an associate’s degree at Weber State after taking a 40-year break to work and raise a family. She has five children, 16 grandchildren and recently welcomed her ninth great-grandchild. (Read More)

Utah Democratic Party Vice Chair Oscar Mata returns from trip to Taiwan with national delegation

Last week, Utah Democratic Party Vice Chair Oscar Mata traveled to Taiwan as part of a delegation from the Association of State Democratic Committees. Vice Chair Mata joined a select group of leaders from state parties across the country, along with ASDC Chair Ken Martin, on the trip. (Read More)

Romney, Bennet, Curtis, Garamendi reintroduce bipartisan, bicameral emergency wildfire cleanup bill

U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), with Congressmen John Curtis (R-UT) and John Garamendi (D-CA), today announced the reintroduction of their bipartisan, bicameral Making Access to Cleanup Happen (MATCH) Act, legislation to expedite disaster cleanup, save taxpayers money, and prevent further disasters. (Read More)

Gov. Cox signs 10 bills of the 2023 General Legislative Session

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox signed 10 bills today. Gov. Cox has signed 470 pieces of legislation from the 2023 General Legislative Session to date. Information on bills signed today can be found here.


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Mar 22, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-03-22 at 7.10.52 AM



  • 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 

  • 1638 - Anne Hutchinson is banned from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for her religious teachings. She went on to help found Rhode Island.
  • 1765 - Stamp Act imposed on American colonies
  • 1790 - Thomas Jefferson becomes the 1st US Secretary of State under President Washington.
  • 1973 - Puerto Rico abolishes slavery
  • 1903 - Niagara Falls runs out of water because of a drought.
  • 1931 - Happy 92nd birthday to William Shatner!
  • 1938 - Violet Bear Allen is born. She was a Skull Valley Goshute artisan who nurtured the next generation.
  • 1941 - James Stewart is inducted into the Army, becoming the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II.
  • 1947 - President Truman orders loyalty checks of federal employees. 
  • 1965 - Nicolae Ceausescu is elected General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party
  • 1972 - The Equal Rights Amendment is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. We know how that turned out. (Hint: Still not ratified)
  • 1988 - US Congress overrides President Reagan's veto of sweeping civil rights bill

Quote of the Day

"My greatest disappointment in all the projects I worked on during the White House years was the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified... Why all the controversy and why such difficulty in giving women the Constitution that should have been theirs long ago?"

—Rosalynn Carter

On the Punny Side

I can’t take my dog to the park anymore. The ducks keep biting him.

I should have known this would happen.

He’s pure bread.


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