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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 | April 11, 2023

It's Tuesday and National Cheese Fondue Day.  Mmm...Cheese. 

What You Need to Know

  • Rep. Justin Jones was sworn back in to the Tennessee House after being expelled by the GOP-controlled legislature. However, Nashville's governing council members were the ones who got to decide who goes to the legislature after a vacancy and they voted 36-0 to send Jones back. Meanwhile in Shelby County, commissioners will meet on Wednesday to discuss sending ousted Rep. Justin Pearson back to the state legislature. 

Rapid Roundup


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Congressmen Stewart and Moore wary of China’s increased aggression say Utahns need to be cautious (Deseret News)
  • Susan Madsen: Change is uncomfortable, but we need diversity, equity and inclusion policies (Deseret News)
  • Utah Gov. Spencer Cox holds ceremonial bill signing at opening of Utah Policy Innovation Lab (KSL)
  • Fruit Heights residents seek answers from city officials after mudslide raises fears (KUTV)
  • Republicans voted no, but Democratic Air Quality Board nominee still has a shot (KUER)
  • Judge won't dismiss Utah's lawsuit against pharmacy chains over opioids (Fox13)

General Utah news

  • Salt Lake City is no longer seen as a ‘shoo-in’ to host another Winter Olympics. Here’s why (Deseret News)
  • Harley-riding historian Stan Ellsworth, former host of BYUtv’s ‘American Ride,’ dies at 63 (Deseret News)
  • ‘First of its kind': Indigenous fashion week coming to Salt Lake City (KSL)
  • UHP cracking down on Utah distracted drivers (Fox13)
  • Online sextortion, blackmail crimes against teens on the rise in Utah (KUTV)



  • Student violence reaching a breaking point in school districts nationwide (KUTV)
  • Teachers are learning about the science of reading. Next up: implementing it (KUER)
  • 3 Utah Military Academy graduates heading to world's best military schools (Fox13)
  • A new virtual elementary is among the schools Salt Lake City may close (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Why this community college teacher champions student loan forgiveness (Deseret News)


  • Arizona tribe will receive millions in federal payouts for water conservation (UPR)
  • Utah marks the 40th anniversary of the 1983 floods while also setting new records for snow this year (Cache Valley Daily)

National Headlines


  • What we learned on Day 1 of Lori Vallow Daybell’s murder trial: Prosecutors say Daybell was motivated by ‘money, power and sex’ (Deseret News)
  • Louisville bank employee livestreamed attack that killed 5 (AP)
  • The mom of the 6-year-old who shot his teacher is being charged with child neglect (NPR)
  • U.S. deems WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich ‘wrongfully detained’ by Russia (Wall Street Journal)
  • Black Americans hit hardest by gun violence (The Hill)


  •  In Ireland, Biden is on a diplomatic and deeply personal mission (NPR)
  • Trump appeals order for Pence to testify in Jan. 6 probe (The Hill)
  • White House announces new sanctions to combat fentanyl trafficking (Politico)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Leaked documents a ‘very serious’ risk to security: Pentagon (AP)
  • Leaked US intel: Russia operatives claimed new ties with UAE (AP)
  • ‘I’m sick to my stomach’: Pentagon officials shocked by intel leaks (Politico)
  • Ukraine cities pounded, US scrambles to find source of leaked documents (Reuters)
  • Lethal surprises hidden in the grass: Russia’s trip wires and land mines. As Moscow’s troops set booby traps in forests, houses and backyards, finding them has become a dangerous art for Ukrainian soldiers. (New York Times)


  •  Myanmar military airstrike kills dozens in Sagaing, opposition leaders say (Washington Post)
  • UN agency investigating humanitarian food theft in Ethiopia (AP)

News Releases

Utah’s consumer sentiment steady in March

Utah’s consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged in March (70.2) compared to February (70.4), according to the Kem C. Gardner Institute’s Survey of Utah Consumer Sentiment. A similar survey by The University of Michigan found sentiment fell from February (67.0) to March (62.0) among Americans as a whole. (Read More)

Utah economic indicators show strength and caution

The Salt Lake Chamber’s Roadmap to Prosperity Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has updated the Economic Dashboard for March to help business leaders see where Utah’s economy stands. This tool provides data on the state’s economic outlook and actionable context for decision-makers.

“Consumers continue to face market headwinds with high inflation and a tight labor market in Utah hampers labor expansion,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “Our industries continue to grow but taxable retail sales dropped steeply at the start of this year much like they did in the pandemic. The good news is that Utah continues its trend of economic expansion albeit at a slower rate due to larger issues playing out in the country. As the markets tighten and demand weakens, we expect Utah to continue outperforming others.” (Read More)

Utah Congressional delegation sends letter to Secretary Blinken over “unacceptable passport processing backlog”

U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Blake Moore (R-UT) today sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken raising concerns over extreme delays in the processing of passports. The six Utah congressional offices are struggling to handle all incoming emergency requests due to the sheer volume of requests being received—a direct result of passport processing grinding to a near halt. Additionally, the Delegation renewed its request for the State Department to open a passport agency in Salt Lake City to give Mountain West residents an in-person option for passport services. This request is consistent with legislation passed in the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Secretary of State to review the geographic diversity of passport agencies to identify areas of the country with both high demand and no in-person access. (Read More)

Water experts weigh in on availability of water this summer

Mother Nature has delivered a much needed, historic winter when it comes to snow and rainfall. So, what does this mean for our spring and summer watering plans? The added precipitation gives Utah the ability to build our “water savings accounts” and stop draining them. The extra water will help with two major goals. If Utahns will self-restrict outdoor water use these coming summer months, we help restore our water storage and importantly put some much-needed water into the Great Salt Lake. (Read More)

UIPA officially establishes Utah’s first-ever rural inland port

The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) Board of Directors unanimously approved the Iron Springs Project Area resolution, creating Utah’s first-ever rural inland port. The decision was made during UIPA’s board meeting held Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Kanarraville. The new Iron Springs Project Area covers 820 acres and is part of the Commerce Crossroads development. (Read More)

Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub submits application for U.S. Department of Energy funding grant

The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub LLC (WIH2) submitted an application last week for a $1.25 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance the hydrogen economy in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The submission is in response to the DOE’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to establish infrastructure-based hydrogen economies across America. WIH2’s H2Hub proposal identifies eight projects across the four states, with at least one project in each state. (Read More)

Utah finalists announced for 2023 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The Utah State Board of Education is pleased to announce the names of the five 2023 Utah finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. 

Three finalists were selected for secondary mathematics teaching: 

  • Karen Feld, American Fork Junior High School, Alpine School District 
  • Todd Vawdrey, West High School, Salt Lake City School District 
  • Melissa Brown, Riverton High School, Jordan School District 

Two finalists were selected for secondary science teaching: 

  • JoAnne Brown, Olympus Junior High School, Granite School District 
  • Wesley Morgan, Springville High School, Nebo School District (Read More)

Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Apr 11, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-04-11 at 7.19.29 AM



  • UVU Conference on Domestic Violence — April 14, 9:00 am-4:00 pm, Register here
  • Teen Girls Experiencing Increased Sadness and Violence with Utah Women and Leadership Project — April 25, 12:00-1:15 pm via Zoom, Register here
  • United Utah Party State Convention — April 29, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, Lehi High School with keynote speakers Teri McCabe and Jay Mcfarland
  • Mount Liberty College Spring Youth Seminar on The Virginian — May 6, 9 am-7 pm, Register Here

On This Day In History 

  • 1865 - Mary White Ovington is born. She co-founded the NAACP.
  • 1899 - Percy Lavon Julian is born. This African American chemist received 130 patents and was a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.
  • 1910 - Annie Dodge Wauneka is born into the Tse níjikíní (Cliff Dwelling People) Clan of the Navajo Tribe. She viewed education and leadership as the best ways to make improvements and earned a degree in public health from the University of Arizona. She ran for office on the Navajo Tribal Council, becoming the second woman elected. She went on to serve seven terms. She was awarded the National Medal of Freedom in 1963.
  • 1945 - The US Army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp. Among those saved by the Americans was Elie Wiesel, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
  • 1948 - Jackie Robinson signs a professional baseball contract and becomes the first Black player in the major leagues.
  • 1968 - LBJ signs the 1968 Civil Rights Act which outlaws discrimination in the sale, rental or leasing of housing. This bill also made it a crime to interfere with civil rights workers and to cross state lines to incite a riot.
  • 1970 - Apollo 13 launches to the moon.
  • 2005 - Maurice R. Hilleman, American microbiologist who developed over 36 vaccines including measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia, dies at 85

Quote of the Day

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel

On the Punny Side

At first I thought my chiropractor wasn’t any good…

But I stand corrected.


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