Another mistake, another shooting; you might be eligible for money from Facebook (no, really); & Utah's cherry blossoms are finally opening
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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 | April 19, 2023

It's Wednesday, almost 3 weeks into April and my heater is on. Yay. Also, did you know that it's been 30 years since the Branch Davidian compound was burned to the ground in Waco, Texas? And 28 years since Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City building.  

What You Need to Know

  •  Fox News agreed on Tuesday to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million as part of a last-minute settlement resolving the latter’s defamation lawsuit against the cable news network. The payout is about half of the $1.6 billion for which Dominion originally sued, but is still one of the largest-ever sums handed out in a defamation case. “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false,” Fox said in a statement. The judge ruled that it was "crystal clear" that the claims Fox aired were false. Utah state Senator Mike McKell quipped "$787 million reasons not to believe everything you see on Fox 'News'." 

  • Another mistake = another shooting, this time in Texas when four members of an elite competitive cheerleading team were shot after one of the athletes reportedly mistakenly tried to get into the wrong car after practice. Just after midnight, cheerleader Heather Roth said she got out of her friend's car and opened the door to a vehicle she believed to be her own in the H-E-B parking lot. Roth said there was a man sitting in the passenger seat, so she initially panicked, thinking a stranger was inside her car, and got back into her friend's vehicle. When she noticed the man approach their vehicle, she said she rolled down the window to apologize, telling him she thought it was her car. Roth said the man threw up his hands, pulled out a gun, and started shooting.

Rapid Roundup


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Cities near deadline to decide on use of ranked-choice voting (Standard-Examiner)
  • Howard Stephenson and Katharine Biele: Ranked-choice voting ensures a majority voice (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Cox calls attention to bills for affordable housing, homeless services (Fox13)
  • Cox looking for new nomination after ‘unprecedented’ move to block choice for air quality board (Deseret News)
  • Sen. Mitt Romney says he’s troubled by ethical questions surrounding Clarence Thomas, while Sen. Mike Lee uses the issue to fundraise (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Breaking down the numbers: where are all of our tax dollars going? (Inside Sources)
  • The ‘seismic political shift’ happening among young Latter-day Saints (Deseret News)
  • Why Gov. Cox says southwest Salt Lake County is ‘growing in the right way’ (Deseret News)
  • Holly Richardson: ‘How does your husband let you do this’ and other sexist comments women in politics face (Deseret News)

General Utah news

  • Food insecurity on the rise in Utah County; pantries ask for help (Daily Herald)
  • Travelers out of Salt Lake City impacted by delays after Southwest Airlines resumes operations (Fox13)
  • Wrong-way driver intercepted head-on by UHP trooper on westbound I-80 (KUTV)
  • Utah vehicle safety inspections drop 92%, crashes related to equipment failure remain flat (KSL TV)
  • Highland family donates $500K for all-abilities playground (KSL)


  • Cache Chamber of Commerce to host two-day economic summit (Cache Valley Daily)
  • Netflix’s Reed Hastings buys part of Powder Mountain, joins resort board (Standard-Examiner)
  • Locally-grown flower market opens in Pleasant Grove (Daily Herald)
  • Utah ski resorts won’t have to go far to get their chairlifts anymore (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah’s newest ski resort is for the megarich only. Utah’s Wasatch Peaks Ranch and its private ski area in Morgan County is a destination for “the 1% of the 1%.” (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Are Crumbl cookies the best or the worst? It doesn't matter. The fastest-growing dessert chain in the United States has sweets lovers divided. But the debate is great for business. (New York Times)
  • Plunging marriage rates and more casual weddings push David’s Bridal into bankruptcy (Deseret News)


  • An unofficial BYU Lavender Graduation lets LGBTQ students celebrate as themselves (KUER)
  • Trailblazer Day of Giving ‘directly impacts students,’ Utah Tech president says (St. George News)
  • Alpine School District will close 2 elementary schools after this year; 3 others' future undetermined (Fox13)
  • Utah elementary school cancels underground railroad simulation following parent backlash (KUTV)


  • Public ponds are Utah’s secret weapon against runoff and flooding (KUER)
  • 20 California condors found dead amid Arizona bird flu outbreak (St. George News)
  • Stranded canyoneering group uses iPhone feature to get help in remote Utah slot canyon (KUTV)
  • Floodwaters could bring a new type of mosquito this spring, summer (KSL Newsradio)
  • High winds whip up dust in Utah, causing high pollution levels (Deseret News)
  • Drought drastically reduced in Utah, much of the West after winter storms (Deseret News)


  • 1 in 3 Utahns are not getting enough sleep (UPR)
  • Social media is fueling enthusiasm for new weight loss drugs. Are regulators watching? (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Salt Lake City ranked 5th healthiest city in the U.S. (Deseret News)

National Headlines


  • Washington appeals court reinstates $98M jury verdict awarded to Susan Cox Powell's parents (KSL)
  • 'Tylee and JJ know what happened,' Daybell tells son in phone call after bodies found (KSL)
  • Tax refunds more scarce as filing deadline hits (Politico)


  • Following a deadly school shooting last month, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee on Tuesday approved a proposal to give gun and ammunition dealers, manufacturers and sellers more protection against lawsuits. (AP)
  • DeSantis is in a rut. His trek to D.C. didn’t help. (Politico)
  • House fails to overturn Biden’s veto of GOP bid to undo administration water rule (The Hill)
  • Complaints about Justice Thomas’s disclosures sent to judicial committee (Washington Post)
  • Vaccine critic Robert Kennedy Jr to launch US Democratic presidential bid (Wall Street Journal)
  • There are even more 2020 election defamation suits beyond the Fox-Dominion case (NPR)
  • Republicans block effort to replace Feinstein on Judiciary panel (NPR)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • ‘A dream’: Patriot systems arrive in Ukraine (Politico)
  • US Defense Secretary visits Europe for meetings on aid to Ukraine (New York Times)
  • ‘No impunity’: G7 vows tough, unified stance on Russia’s war (AP)


  • India is passing China in population. Can its economy ever do the same? (New York Times)
  • Sudan's generals dined with peace negotiators, then started a war (New York Times)
  • More women describe enduring forced abortions in Nigerian Army programme (Reuters)
  • In grim drought, Tunisians ration water in state-ordered ban (AP)

News Releases

Gov. Cox declares state of emergency due to flooding and flood risks

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox has declared a state of emergency due to flooding and the resulting avalanches, landslides, rockslides, mudslides, and other dangerous conditions the state is experiencing. (Read More)

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute: Tax modernization in Utah: Part four

Utahns share a common interest in a state and local tax system that provides for our needs, keeps the economy strong, and remains viable over the long term. The Kem C. Gardner Institute today released a visual guide that illustrates key components of Utah’s individual income tax – the state’s fastest growing and most volatile major tax. (Read More)

In 2022, the “typical” Utah family paid 28.65% of their income in taxes as federal Social Security insolvency looms

The Utah Taxpayers Association has released the 3rd edition of their annual report, titled “The Beehive Family – The Tax Burden of the Bob and Brooke Beehive Family”. The report examines the annual tax burden that the typical Utah family pays based on current tax policy and tax rates for the 2022 tax year. (Read More)

UVU School of Aviation Sciences becomes first in nation to fully use unleaded fuel

The School of Aviation Sciences at Utah Valley University (UVU) will be the first collegiate flight training program in the nation to switch to fully unleaded aviation fuel (UL94) for its training fleet. Partnering with Swift Fuels, a fuel research and development company based in Indiana, the first shipment of unleaded aviation fuel known as UL94 arrived at UVU’s fuel farm on April 13. (Read More)

UVU brings home first- and second-place awards from national cheer and dance championship

Teams from Utah Valley University walked away as national champions after competing with more than 400 teams at the 2023 NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida from April 5-8. UVU’s Spirit Squad, which includes the cheer and dance teams and the Green Man Group, placed first in the Division 1A Game Day category. The dance team placed first in the Division 1 Hip Hop category and second in the Division 1 Jazz category. The cheer team placed second in the Advanced All-Girl Division 1 category. (Read More)

Romney to Mayorkas: In securing our southern border, the Administration would receive a failing grade

At a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) pressed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the Administration’s failure to secure our southern border. He urged the Secretary to prioritize the completion of the barrier along the southern border instead of solely focusing on addressing the root causes of illegal immigration—specifically crime and poverty in Latin America. (Read/Watch More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Apr 19, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-04-19 at 5.43.34 AM



  • Utah GOP convention — Apr 22, 10:00 am, UVU UCCU Center, Orem (More information 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
  • Interim Day — May 16-17, Utah State Capitol,
  • Utah Democratic Convention May 19-20, SUU (More information here)
  • Interim Day — June 13-14, Utah State Capitol,

On This Day In History 

  • 1775 - American Revolution begins with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
  • 1861 - First blood shed in the Civil War when a secessionist mob attacked troops bound for DC.
  • 1897 - First Boston Marathon
  • 1933 - FDR announces the US will leave the gold standard.
  • 1943 - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins when Nazi forces attempt to clear out the city’s Jewish neighborhoods
  • 1956 - American actress Grace Kelly becomes princess of Monaco. (My 15-seconds of fame - I met her in 1978 at the palace. Very cool).
  • 1977 - Fifteen women in the House of Representatives form the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
  • 1989 - Central Park jogger, Trisha Meili is attacked, badly beaten and sexually assaulted.  In a coma for nearly 2 weeks, she remembered nothing of the attack. Five young Black and Latino teens are quickly arrested and convicted. In 2002, new DNA evidence and a confession proved that convicted rapist Matias Reyes was the lone assailant. 
  • 1993 - Waco Siege ends after 51 days when the FBI launches a tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian compound, burning it to the ground and killing around 80 people.
  • 1995 - A massive truck bomb explodes in Oklahoma City, killing more than 160 people and injuring 500.

Quote of the Day

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

—Benjamin Franklin

On the Punny Side

You know, not everyone thinks of Cleopatra as beautiful...

But that's how Julius Caesar.


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