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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 20, 2023

Good morning! It's Thursday and National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day. 

What You Need to Know

  • The US House GOP released their plan to raise the debt ceiling $1.5 trillion while limiting spending growth to no more than 1% a year. It would pull back unspent COVID-19 funds, add work requirements for government benefits, and block student loan forgiveness. President Joe Biden called the proposals "wacko notions." 

Rapid Roundup


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Mayor Mendenhall kicks off reelection campaign hoping to move city ‘forward together’ (KSL)
  • Poll: Mike Lee is popular among Utah conservatives (Deseret News)
  • Is the federal government neglecting the Bears Ears National Monument? Rep. Curtis questions Interior Secretary Haaland (Deseret News)

General Utah news

  • Body found buried day after Brighton roof avalanche (Fox13)
  • Is there an opportunity for Utah in Armenia? A conversation with Ambassador Lilit Makunts (Deseret News)
  • A Sapporo resident is apologizing to Salt Lake for her country’s Olympic ‘bid pushers.’ Here’s why. (Deseret News)
  • Former Olympic skier found dead in his jail cell in Cedar City (St. George News)
  • UDOT to work on 217 projects in 2023. Here are the biggest ones (KSL)


  • 'Leave pity city,' as MillerKnoll CEO tells staff to focus on being better employees instead of asking about losing their bonuses (NPR)


  • Parent group threatens lawsuit against Alpine District school closures (KSL)
  • Vanguard Academy given additional time to address deficiencies (KUTV)
  • A string of fake active shooter threats at schools leaves Mountain West communities shaken (KUER)


  • Report: Northern Utah has some of the country’s worst ozone, particulate pollution (Deseret News)
  • Renowned climate scientist: What the U.S. should do to stop warming, help others (Deseret News)
  • USU landscape architecture students are 'All Hands on Deck' to save Great Salt Lake (UPR)


  • Porn accessible to minors on Kindle app, raising concerns (Deseret News)


  • Another COVID-19 booster shot gets final OK (Deseret News)
  • Provo mayor Kaufusi creates program offering free health assessments for children (Daily Herald)


  • Utah's new first-time homebuyer program won't take effect right away (KUTV)
  • Utah home prices continue to plunge to as interest rates rise (Fox13)

National Headlines


  • Emma Bates became the 2nd fastest U.S. woman in Boston Marathon history — 50 years ago, she wouldn’t have been able to run at all (Deseret News)
  • Jurors hear about Daybell's calm demeanor after husband's death, changed belief system (KSL)
  • Crime-scene investigators tell the world what they saw at Sandy Hook for the first time (New York Times)
  • North Carolina police hunt man who shot 6-year-old girl and father after a basketball went into his yard (Washington Post)


  • Semi-automatic rifle ban passes Washington state Legislature (AP)
  • More peril for Trump in pending probes than NY: AP-NORC poll (AP)
  • After high-flying start, DeSantis hits stumbling blocks on road to 2024 (Washington Post)
  • ‘Deeply frustrated': Florida legislators worn out by DeSantis. The governor didn’t wow D.C. It’s not great in Tallahassee either. (Politico)
  • ‘I’m not a paid assassin’: Inside Chris Christie’s 2024 decision (Politico)
  • Oklahoma county commissioner accused of making violent, racist remarks on tape resigns (NPR)
  • As Xi befriends world leaders, he hardens his stance on the US (New York Times)
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene silenced in committee after accusing Mayorkas of lying (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • NATO head says Ukraine belongs in alliance one day (AP)
  • Ukraine refugees face uncertainty and precarity as displacement persists (NPR)
  • The Russian military commandant who oversaw reign of fear in Ukraine town (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian pilots stretch Soviet-era helicopters to their limits in daring assaults (Wall Street Journal)


  • Fighting in Khartoum threatens to unravel Sudan cease-fire (AP)
  • Fighting rattles Sudan's capital as residents try to flee (Reuters)
  • UNICEF: 12.7 million children in Africa missed vaccinations (AP)
  • Stampede in Yemen at Ramadan charity event kills at least 78 (NPR)
  • Court rules Meta can be sued in Kenya over alleged unlawful redundancies (Reuters)

News Releases

Bestselling author Dr. Timothy Shriver named Gardner Institute Impact Scholar

Special Olympics Chairman and bestselling author Dr. Timothy Shriver has been named an Impact Scholar at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, where he  will spend several days each semester participating in guest lectures, roundtable discussions with state  and local officials, and consult with university and community leaders. Dr. Shriver is also the Chair and  Co-Founder of UNITE, an initiative to promote national unity and solidarity across differences. (Read More)

Gardner Institute honors community leaders with “Informed Decision Maker of the Year” Award

Each year, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute recognizes individuals and entities that work, often behind the scenes and with little fanfare, to help our community prosper. We call them “Informed Decision Makers” and select them based on criteria consistent with the Institute’s committable core values: Responsibility to the community; Research integrity and relevance; accountability; collaboration; and positivity and passion. “The Gardner Institute is pleased to honor five outstanding individuals and organizations who exemplify a genuine commitment to their community through their work,” said Gardner Institute director Natalie Gochnour. (Read More)

Curtis on the urgent need to prevent US default and restore fiscal health

Today, Representative John Curtis (UT-03) released the following statement addressing the critical need for the United States to avoid defaulting on its debts and to restore fiscal responsibility. The statement comes in response to the introduction of a debt limit plan by House Republicans that grows the economy and limits spending: “Point blank, there is too much on the line for the United States to default on its debts. The bill released today is a good-faith effort by House Republicans to begin reining in reckless spending,” said Rep. Curtis. (Read More)

Congressmen Blake Moore and Marc Veasey introduce legislation to place Medal of Honor Memorial on the National Mall

During the 117th Congress, Congressmen Moore and Veasey successfully led the bipartisan National Medal of Honor Monument Act through the legislative process to authorize the creation of a new monument in Washington, D.C., to honor Medal of Honor recipients. The bill was signed by President Biden in December of 2021. The Hershel “Woody” Williams National Medal of Honor Monument Location Act is the next and final legislative step in establishing a location for the monument on the National Mall. (Read More)

Owens, Costa reintroduce the bipartisan Mining Schools Act

Today, Reps. Burgess Owens (UT-04) and Jim Costa (CA-16) reintroduced The Mining Schools Act, bipartisan legislation to increase and improve opportunities for America’s university and college mining and geological programs to prepare students to meet future energy needs. (Read More)

Weber State building design program inspires redesign of grad’s future

When Abigail Trejo began looking into Weber State University’s Building Design & Construction program, she didn’t realize she already had a special connection to it. In 2019, Trejo and her family were recipients of a home built by Habitat for Humanity of Weber and Davis Counties — a home that students and faculty from Weber State’s construction program had spent the last year working on. “I didn’t know that they were working on it,” she said. “I didn’t know that I was going into a program that does similar projects, so it’s pretty cool.” Though it took time for her to settle on a major at Weber State, building design turned out to be right up her alley. (Read More)

Lee introduces SNAP Reform and Upward Mobility Act

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the SNAP Reform and Upward Mobility Act (SRUMA), a bold piece of legislation aimed at strengthening work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and closing loopholes that have contributed to its rapid expansion. The number of SNAP beneficiaries has grown from 17.1 million in 2000 to 41.1 million in 2022, while the cost of providing benefits has risen from $17 billion to $119 billion. Meanwhile, SNAP continues to experience fraud and abuse that undermines the program’s integrity. (Read More)


Number of the Day

Number of the Day, Apr 20, 2023


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-04-20 at 7.40.22 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 

  • 1862 - First pasteurization test completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard
  • 1902 - Marie and Pierre Curie isolate radium.
  • 1918 - Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day
  • 1971 - US Supreme Court declares desegregation busing constitutional
  • 1999 - Teen gunmen kill 13 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
  • 2010 - An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig kills 11 people and triggers the largest offshore oil spill in US history.
  • 2010 - Dorothy Height, American civil rights and women's rights activist (National Council of Negro Women), dies at 98. Her funeral is held in the National Cathedral.
  • 2021 - Former police officer Derek Chauvin convicted of the murder of George Floyd.

Quote of the Day

“We have to improve life, not just for those who have the most skills and those who know how to manipulate the system. But also for and with those who often have so much to give but never get the opportunity.”

—Dorothy Height

On the Punny Side

I used to be addicted to soap...

...but I'm clean now.

Today's Trivia

4/20 has come to mean marijuana day and that always seemed a little random to me. Here's what I found out about its origins: a group of teens in the early 1970's, at a high school in northern California, would meet at 4:20 pm to smoke pot. And then the Grateful Dead came to town, liked the slang and the rest is history. 


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