National French Fry Day + Krispy Kreme's birthday=healthy day ahead; Bruce Hough qualifies for primary ballot; elm seed bugs are EVERYWHERE
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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 | July 13, 2023

It's Thursday and National French Fry Day. It's also the 86th birthday for Krispy Kreme - you can get a dozen glazed doughnuts for 86 cents. Sounds like a healthy day ahead.

What You Need to Know

  • The Utah way? Typically, we define that as civility, working across party lines, and moving past the contempt we see in national politics. Turns out, it is probably more aspirational than reality. A new study conducted by UVU's Center for Constitutional Studies found a high level of political animosity in Utah and an unwillingness to compromise or work with the other side, matching the animosity found on the national level. Sigh. 

  • The GOP primary to replace Chris Stewart is set. Bruce Hough has submitted enough signatures to join Celeste Maloy and Becky Edwards on the primary ballot. Incredibly, the primary ballots go out on August 15, just over a month away.

Rapid Relevance


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

  • Editorial Board: Why Gov. Cox wants us to stop hating each other (Deseret News)
  • Sen. Mitt Romney says Congress has a ‘moral responsibility to act’ to shore up Social Security (Deseret News)
  • Senator proposing a different kind of change to DEI offices in Utah (KSL Newsradio)
  • Matt Sandgren: The Hatch Foundation will honor Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary Elaine Chao with the Titan of Public Service Award on Aug. 22 (Deseret News)

Election news

  • Bruce Hough, father of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ siblings, qualifies for House GOP primary ballot in Utah (KSL TV)

General Utah news

  • 100-year sentence ordered for Utah teen who killed family (KSL)
  • Salt Lake City Police Department suspends peer support mental health program (KSL TV)
  • Researchers tracking tiny owls in Utah to protect the species (Fox13)


  • The new Threads app by Instagram: How it works — and some words of caution (Deseret News)
  • Why do businesses love Utah? Because Utah loves the free market system (Deseret News)
  • When it comes to leadership in Utah, where are the women? (Utah Business)
  • Delta puts up record quarterly numbers as travel surges despite expectations of a spending pullback (AP)


  • Utah's new PTA president wants to build an army of child advocates (KSL)
  • Back-to-school spending is forecast to drop 10% as inflation bites (KSL Newsradio)
  • Granite School District is studying potential closure of an elementary school (KSL Newsradio)
  • Parents shocked by Salt Lake schools listed for possible closure despite high enrollment (KUTV)
  • Why are more Utah schools facing possible closures? (Fox13)
  • Weber State University providing Utah students support amid SCOTUS denial of debt relief (KSL Newsradio)
  • Students participate in archaeology excavation through BYU field school (Daily Universe)


  • Should there be a nuclear power plant in Utah? Most residents say yes (Deseret News)
  • Can Utah fight climate change by injecting carbon dioxide underground? (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Parts of Utah will be ‘dangerously hot’ this weekend (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Volunteers to help create heat map for Salt Lake City this weekend (Fox13)
  • Interior Dept’s Tanya Trujillo, a key player in Colorado River talks, is stepping down (KUER)


  • Meg Walter: The inflation problem parents never talk about (Deseret News)
  • Budget-friendly vacations: Navigating hotel costs (Deseret News)
  • So your tween wants a smartphone? Read this first (NPR)


  • Mary L. Phan: To combat the youth mental health crisis, embrace mindfulness. Critics of the practice ignore the data. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Awe and the Science of Wonder with Dacher Keltner (RadioWest)
  • American Red Cross faces blood donation shortage during the summer (UPR)
  • How extreme heat takes a toll on the mind and body, according to experts (AP)
  • FDA approves first over-the-counter birth control (Wall Street Journal)
  • Utah's explosive Indigenous maternal mortality rate (Axios)
  • The United Nations condemned the United States after a new report found that pregnant Black women and girls face a systemic and historical pattern of racist abuse in the health sector. (The Hill)
  • Parents are suffering from anxiety and depression at roughly the same rate as teens, according to new research. (Washington Post)


  • Salt Lake housing authority calls large rent increases 'a complete breakdown of communication' (KSL)
  • Volunteers renovate 2 housing projects for formerly homeless veterans (KSL)
  • Nonprofit plans for Sandy motel to become transitional housing (ABC4)
  • Foreclosures creep up in Utah but stay well below past levels (KUTV)
  • Why can't we stop homelessness? 4 reasons why there's no end in sight (NPR)
  • Homeowners fight new development at Thanksgiving Point. Their cry: ‘Not on my golf course!’ (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • It’s official — UDOT chooses the gondola for Little Cottonwood Canyon (Deseret News)
  • Here’s how people reacted to news of the Little Cottonwood gondola moving forward (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • GOP lawmaker says gondola not inevitable as canyon plan moves forward (KUTV)

National Headlines


  • US wholesale prices for June point to further easing of inflation pressures (AP)
  • Record-breaking heat waves set to bake South and Southwest (Wall Street Journal)
  • Tornadoes touch down near Chicago’s O’Hare airport and outside city, disrupts hundreds of flights (Washington Post)
  • 6-year-old stops kidnapping by biting man, police say: ‘She’s our hero’ (Washington Post)
  • Twitter owes ex-employees $500 million in severance, lawsuit claims (Reuters)
  • Patient shoots and kills Tennessee surgeon in exam room, police say (Washington Post)


  • FBI director grilled by GOP lawmakers over agency’s ‘weaponization’ during hearing (Deseret News)
  • RFK Jr. is building a presidential campaign around conspiracy theories (NPR)
  • Uninsured US patients pay up to $330 for Eli Lilly’s $25 insulin, Senator Warren says (Reuters)
  • GOP's far right seeks to use defense bill to defund Ukraine war effort (New York Times)
  • Republicans plan efforts to tout early voting tactics they once vilified (Washington Post)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Thousands of Ukraine civilians are being held in Russian prisons. Russia plans to build many more (AP)
  • Russian general dismissed after saying top military brass betrayed soldiers fighting in Ukraine (Reuters)
  • Russia detained several senior military officers in wake of Wagner mutiny (Wall Street Journal)
  • Artists, plumbers, bakers and five days to make them soldiers (New York Times)
  • NATO delivers gut punch to Putin (The Hill)
  • Uh oh. Gen. Sergei Surovikin of Russia, a onetime ally of the Wagner chief who hasn’t been seen publicly since a short-lived mutiny last month, is “taking a rest,” one of the country’s top lawmakers said Wednesday, when pressed by a reporter. (New York Times)


  • UN says 2.4 billion people didn’t have constant access to food last year and 148 million children are stunted by hunger (AP)
  • Brawl erupts in Kosovo parliament during prime minister’s speech on defusing tensions with Serbs (AP)
  • Junta's allies reject Thai election results, derailing opposition leader (New York Times)
  • Guatemala's election thrown into turmoil after top party is suspended (New York Times)

Number of the Day 

Number of the Day, July 13, 2023


News Releases

Gov. Cox appoints Eric Gentry to Fifth District Court

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox has appointed Eric Gentry to the Fifth District Court, replacing retiring Judge Michael Westfall. Gentry’s nomination requires confirmation by the Utah Senate. 

Gentry is a longtime prosecutor and currently serves as a Deputy County Attorney in Washington County where he’s been since 2007. Currently, he is assigned to the Special Victims Prosecution team, where he manages a caseload that consists exclusively of homicide, child and adult sexual offenses, serious physical abuse, and other high-profile cases. Prior to this role, he served as a prosecutor for the city of Santa Clara, the city of Enterprise and was an assistant city attorney for the city of St. George. Gentry was also an associate at Snow, Jensen & Reese and an associate at Christopherson, Farris, White & Utley, both in St. George. (Read More)

Utah Senate requests public comment on 5th District Court nominee

The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on Eric Gentry, who Gov. Spencer J. Cox nominated to serve as a judge in the 5th District Court.   

Those who desire to comment should contact the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee electronically or by mail at the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel by 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023. Electronic comments can be emailed to Written comments can be mailed to the Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee at the Utah State Capitol, Suite W210, PO Box 145210, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5210. All statements should include the respondent’s name, telephone number and mailing address. (Read More)

UVU appoints new chair, vice chairs, and members of the 2023 Board of Trustees

Nebo School District Superintendent Rick Nielsen has been named chair of Utah Valley University’s Board of Trustees. Scott M. Smith has been named first vice chair, and Jeanette Bennett second vice chair. 

Former chair James Clarke and former first vice chair Jill Taylor have completed their terms of service and have rotated off the board. Noel Vallejo, a business leader in technology training and certification, and Andrea Clarke, a business leader and philanthropist, will fill their vacancies. (Read More)

Mayor Wilson responds to UDOT’s record of decision

In response to UDOT’s announcement regarding Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson issued the following statement: 

“Today’s UDOT’s decision is not surprising, and the inclusion of the gondola is disappointing. However, thanks to pressure from residents and our county’s advocacy, UDOT has committed to making sure Common-Sense Solutions in this initial phase are successful. That’s great news because it means the gondola is not inevitable. (Read More)

Romney secures Utah priorities in annual defense bill

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) this week secured several measures in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities, ensuring America’s forces have the training, equipment, and resources they need to carry out their missions. The bipartisan Senate NDAA includes five Romney measures aimed at protecting against threats from China and Russia and reaffirming the critical role Utah plays in our national security. The legislation is expected to be considered on the Senate floor as soon as next week. (Read More)

Romney, colleagues introduce bipartisan bill to strengthen wastewater testing systems for public health emergency preparedness

U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Angus King (I-ME) today introduced the bipartisan Public Health Response and Emergency Detection Through Integrated Wastewater Surveillance (PREDICT) Act. This legislation would strengthen and expand the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS), which was initially developed to coordinate and build the United States’ capacity to track the presence of SARS-CoV-2, and other infectious-disease causing pathogens in wastewater, by awarding grants to state, tribal, and local health departments. These grants would allow communities to bolster their detection and monitoring capabilities of infectious diseases through wastewater for public health emergency preparedness and response. (Read More)


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-07-13 at 7.28.47 AM



  • Legislative School Security Task Force — July 17, 2:00 pm,
  • Legislative Court Reform Task Force — July 19, 1:00 pm,
  • Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee — July 27, 11:00 am.
  • Interim Days — Aug 7-10,
  • 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,
  • Municipal/Special election primary — Sept. 5
  • Interim Day — Sept. 18, Utah Tech University,
  • Interim Day — Oct 10-11,
  • Interim Day — Nov 14-15,
  • General election — Nov. 21

On This Day In History 

  • 1787 - Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance structuring settlement of the Northwest Territory and creating a policy for the addition of new states to the nation.
  • 1863 - The nation’s deadliest riots begin: The New York Draft Riots. Working-class New Yorkers were angry about a new federal draft law during the Civil War and it sparked five days of some of the bloodiest and most destructive rioting in U.S. history. Black men were hung from lamp posts, a Black orphanage housing more than 200 children was burned to the ground, 1000 people died and some 3000 Black people were made homeless. 
  • 1937 - American businessman, Vernon Rudolph, sells his first Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Winston-Salem, NC, using a secret recipe he purchased from a New Orleans French chef. Get a dozen today for 86 cents.
  • 1944 - Erno Rubik is born. A Hungarian mathematician, he invented the puzzle cube that bears his name.
  • 1985 - Live Aid concert raises $127 million for famine relief in Africa
  • 2013 - The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter first appears, sparking a movement
  • 2015 - Sandra Bland dies in jail after traffic stop confrontation
  • 2016 - Theresa May becomes the second female prime minister in British history.

Quote of the Day

"Like Indiana Jones, I don't like snakes - though that might lead some to ask why I'm in politics."
—Theresa May

On the Punny Side

What's the different between Black Eyed Peas and Chick Peas?

Black Eyed Peas can sing us a song.

Chick Peas can hummus one.


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