Happy birthday to Gov. Spencer Cox; it's Ntl Slurpee Day; JetBue-Spirit merger would benefit UT; 16 people file to fill SLC Council vacancy
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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 | July 11, 2023

Happy, happy birthday to Governor Spencer Cox! 🎉 🎂 He (and everyone else) can celebrate by getting free Slurpees at 7-Eleven this fine Tuesday morning.

What You Need to Know

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Get tickets for the Utah Days of '47 Rodeo for some country fun from July 19th-22nd, 24th.

This summer, experience the wild west without wandering too far from home. Whether you're a Salt Lake downtowner or a tiny hometowner, come to the Utah State Fairpark for live music, food, and family fun. Join us July 19th-22nd and the 24th for the Utah Days of '47 Rodeo.


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Utah congressmen weigh in on defense spending bill, as House Republicans take on ‘woke’ military policies (Deseret News)
  • Mike Lee says Ukraine joining NATO is like 'insuring a house on fire' (KSL)
  • Utah measure aims to cut 'lethal' domestic violence incidents (UPR)
  • Utah Supreme Court to hear challenge to new congressional district maps Tuesday (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah's GOP map carved up Salt Lake Democrats. Is it a legal matter? The Utah Supreme Court will hear arguments today (New York Times)
  • Utah's governor has absolutely no concerns about his social media laws (New York Times)

General Utah news

  • Utah boy in ICU after neighbor's homemade firework causes severe head injury (KUTV)
  • Here’s how much money Utah taxpayers are spending on the state’s Olympic venues (Deseret News)
  • 'The Sandlot' cast coming to Utah for a weekend of baseball, movie viewing and more (Fox13)
  • Utah nonprofit gives forgotten horses, donkeys new lease on life (Fox13)


  • Threads becomes fastest growing app in decades (Deseret News)
  • Santaquin cherry man wins national award (ABC4)
  • Utah's outsized child care problem: The state’s lack of child care options disproportionately affects working women. On-site child care is a benefit that inarguably increases workplace returns. (Utah Business)


  • Utah mom breaks taboos, talks openly about husband's suicide in hopes to save others (KUTV)
  • What the duck? Rubber birds left on Jeeps baffle the nation. Drivers are finding the toys on their door handles and in turn putting them on other vehicles. Never-duckers wish the game would stop. (Wall Street Journal)


  • Jay Evensen: Why Biden’s Plan B for student loan forgiveness won’t work (Deseret News)
  • Salt Lake City School Board to get list of possible elementary school closures Tuesday (KSL Newsradio)
  • Inmates at Utah State Prison graduate from college through SLCC program (KSL Newsradio)
  • Layton teen decries sexual harassment at schools, says issue merits more attention (Standard-Examiner)
  • Colleges offer students digital detox experiences without phones (Inside Higher Ed)


  • How Salt Lake County avoided severe flooding from Utah’s record snowpack (KSL TV)
  • Nalini Nadkarni: Equitable access to the outdoors will improve health and conservation in Utah and other states (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • From babies to teens, how to keep kids safe in record-breaking heat (Deseret News)
  • Utah's summer demand for food assistance surges just as donations drop (KSL)


  • Exhale the stress, inhale the rest: How to amplify vacation bliss with breathing exercises and meditation (Deseret News)
  • What is ‘bed rotting’ and what do experts have to say about it? (Deseret News)
  • FDA called on to investigate content in Prime drinks, brand founded by Logan Paul and KSI (Deseret News)
  • Melanoma, often on feet and nails, more deadly in Black men, study shows (Washington Post)

National Headlines


  • Tennessee soccer coach’s lost phone contained videos of him raping boys, police say (Washington Post)
  • US military police find missing 14-year-old girl in barracks on California Marine Corps base (AP)
  • Rescuers brace for more rain as relentless storms flood Northeast, Vermont hit hard (AP)
  • Northwestern University on Monday fired Pat Fitzgerald, its longtime head football coach, after an investigation found that his players had participated in widespread hazing (New York Times)


  • Perspective: The secret to Abraham Lincoln’s success. Cultivating Lincoln’s ‘elasticity of spirits’ could help many of our public leaders today (Deseret News)
  • Courtesy or censorship? The resurgent fight over politically correct speech (Deseret News)
  • Republican’s hold on nominations leaves Marines without confirmed leader for 1st time in 100 years (AP)
  • Few Republicans confident votes will be counted accurately in 2024 (The Hill)
  • GOP group aimed at electing female candidates raises $2.3M in second quarter (The Hill)
  • Trump wants classified documents trial delayed until after 2024 election (Politico)
  • Florida poll finds Trump well ahead of DeSantis in state (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Desperate Ukrainians take long and uncertain journey to escape Russian occupation (AP)
  • The Ukraine war is tearing apart the West's largest Russian diaspora (Wall Street Journal)
  • Dirty socks and rotting bodies: What Russians left in the trenches (New York Times)


  • Israeli parliament gives initial OK to measure limiting the Supreme Court’s oversight powers (AP)
  • Spain rescues boat with 86 migrants, hundreds likely still missing (Reuters)
  • Turkey agrees to allow Sweden to join NATO (Wall Street Journal)
  • Zambia reaches watershed deal on China debt (Wall Street Journal)

Number of the Day 

Number of the Day, July 11, 2023


Guest Opinion: JetBlue-Spirit merger will benefit Utah

by Mayor Troy Walker

From the Great Salt Lake to our five national parks, Utah is an incredible state with seemingly endless wonders to experience. It is no surprise then that visitors from across the country – and the world – want to see what makes Utah special. Fortunately for us, these visitors provide incredible economic benefits, with visitors to Utah in 2021 spending a record $10.56 billion and supporting 90,000 jobs in our travel and tourism industry.

Key to driving these numbers is the airline industry, which flies millions of visitors to Utah annually. And while there has been significant focus on the cost of airline tickets and the impact inflation is having on the family vacation, low-fare airlines are helping to make air travel more affordable. One such airline working to disrupt the market and lower the cost of travel is JetBlue, which recently announced plans to acquire Spirit Airlines...

Unfortunately, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Transportation are seeking to block JetBlue’s merger with Spirit. As a result, it has now become the responsibility of those advocating on behalf of business communities, consumers, and local economies to address what is at stake if this merger is not approved...

JetBlue has supported Utah’s economy, and it is important we offer our support in return. The federal government should reverse course and allow JetBlue to compete with the ‘Big Four’ and offer great service at a low fare. Utah needs a strong airline partner, and JetBlue’s merger with Spirit is precisely what our state needs to propel our vision for Utah’s economic future. (Read More)

News Releases

Utah’s consumer sentiment rises sharply in June

Utah’s consumer sentiment rose in June 2023 to its highest level in more than a year (76.3, up from 71.0 in May), according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s Survey of Utah Consumer Sentiment. A similar survey by the University of Michigan found an increase of similar magnitude among Americans as a whole (64.4 in June, up from 59.2 in May).  (Read More)

Romney demands answers on Chinese Intel Center in Salt Lake City

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues, led by Senator Tedd Budd (R-NC), in penning a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding answers regarding reports of Chinese Intelligence outposts operating inside the United States, including in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Read More)

Salt Lake County Mayor Announces End of the Flooding State of Emergency

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Director of Flood Control Kade Moncur announced the end of the flooding state of emergency in Salt Lake County. Mayor Wilson declared the emergency on April 13, in anticipation of potentially devastating flooding thanks to an historic snowpack which was 200% of normal.

The county is proud to say we have come through the 2023 spring runoff season successfully. Our work protected lives, homes, and businesses. Now, Salt Lake County is offering locations for residents to drop off their sandbags for free or come pick up free sand through July 15. Find locations at slco.to/dropoff. (Read More)

Mayor Jenny Wilson welcomes Salt Lake County’s new Communications Director

Chris Jones has started as the new Communications Director for Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and is the primary media contact for inquiries related to Salt Lake County matters. 

Chris has been a television journalist in Utah for 23 years. He started at ABC 4 in 1999 covering the justice system. He joined 2News in 2008 and was the chief education reporter there for the past five years.  (Read More)


Tweet of the Day

Um, no thank you

Screenshot 2023-07-11 at 6.49.16 AM



  • Legislative School Security Task Force — July 17, 2:00 pm, le.utah.gov
  • Legislative Court Reform Task Force — July 19, 1:00 pm, le.utah.gov
  • Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee — July 27, 11:00 am. le.utah.gov
  • Interim Days — Aug 7-10, le.utah.gov
  • Municipal election filing period for cities using ranked choice voting — Aug. 8-15
  • 'Titan of Public Service' gala recognizing Senator Mitch McConnell and former Transportation and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, hosted by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation — Aug. 22, 7 p.m., Register here
  • Legislative Education and Mental Health Coordinating Council — Aug 23, le.utah.gov
  • Municipal/Special election primary — Sept. 5
  • Interim Day — Sept. 18, Utah Tech University, le.utah.gov
  • Interim Day — Oct 10-11, le.utah.gov
  • Interim Day — Nov 14-15, le.utah.gov
  • General election — Nov. 21

On This Day In History 

  • 1274 - Robert the Bruce, Scottish king (1306-1329), national hero and relative of mine, is born in Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire
  • 1656 - First Quaker colonists land at Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • 1767 - John Quincy Adams is born 
  • 1804 - “The damn fool that shot him.” Aaron Burr shoots Alexander Hamilton in an early-morning duel. 
  • 1916 - US Congress passes Federal Aid Road Act
  • 1945 - Soviets agree to hand over power in West Berlin
  • 1955 - Congress authorizes all US currency to say "In God We Trust"
  • 1975 - Spencer J. Cox is born.
  • 1977 - US Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Rev Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1988 - Mike Tyson hires Donald Trump as an advisor

Quote of the Day

"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity."
—Eleanor Roosevelt

On the Punny Side

If I were rich I would give most of my money to the poor.

But instead I'm poor so I give most of my money to the rich.


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