Utah teen qualifies for 'American Ninja Warrior' semifinals; cheese wheels filled with cocaine; and a ‘Hocus Pocus’ Lego set is coming
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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 25, 2023

It's Tuesday and National Drowning Prevention Day. 🛟 Approximately 236,000 people die by drowning each year and it is one of the top causes of death for children aged five to fourteen. 😢

What You Need to Know

Rapid Relevance


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • Opinion: Gerrymandering is always political, the arguments against it are not (Deseret News)
  • Worried about increasing crime in the U.S.? Survey says you might be a Republican (Deseret News)
  • Utah Democratic leaders criticize ‘racially-charged actions’ by colleagues in the Legislature (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The IUP Panel on family policy and the race for the White House (ABC4)
  • New report examines how family structure impacts Utah economy (ABC4)

Election news

  • Public tours of Utah County ballot center will start Aug. 1 (Daily Herald)
  • DeSantis takes shot at Trump during Utah campaign event, says GOP wave can happen with ‘no distractions’ (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • In Utah, Ron DeSantis says he’s running to ‘reverse the decline’ in the country (Deseret News)
  • DeSantis, campaigning in Utah, says he’s driven more by faith than by politics (KUER)
  • Local NAACP leader urges GOP lawmakers to denounce DeSantis's comments on slavery (KUTV)
  • Utah politicians rush to endorse DeSantis during Salt Lake City visit — who’s on the list? (ABC4)
  • Mitt Romney: Donors, don't fund a Trump plurality (Wall Street Journal)

General Utah news

  • Ari Bruening: Growth has been Utah’s pioneer legacy for 176 years. If we want to honor the pioneers, we should be involved in guiding Utah’s growth (Deseret News)
  • ACLU says there are 'staggering' deficiencies in how Utah police work with non-English speakers (KSL)
  • Utah County road rage victims share dramatic video of man punching their car (KSL TV)
  • 😮 South Jordan man convicted of possessing weapons of mass destruction (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Utah's population is growing in different ways across the state (Fox13)
  • Moving scams and how to avoid them (Fox13)
  • SLC fire crews battle heat while preventing fire from spreading to foothills (KSL Newsradio)
  • Salt Lake County’s Clark Planetarium is getting more space. Here’s what it will have.. Mayor Jenny Wilson says the project marks a “a giant leap for science education” in Utah’s most populous county. (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Top artificial intelligence developers commit to security testing, clear labeling of AI-generated content (Deseret News)
  • FanX co-founder guilty of threatening to bomb Utah buildings over email (ABC4)
  • Elon Musk says tweets are to be called ‘X’s’ now (The Hill)
  • Meta, Microsoft, hundreds more own trademarks to new Twitter name (Reuters)
  • Could the U.S. still see a recession? A handy primer about the confusing economy (NPR)
  • Tech firms once powered New York’s economy. Now they’re scaling back. (New York Times)
  • Remote employees work longer and harder, studies show (The Hill)


  • ‘It’s important to know where we came from’: Days of ’47 Parade honors all pioneers (KSL)
  • Perspective: The pioneer legacy is an immigrant legacy. While celebrating Pioneer Day, don’t forget contemporary pioneers seeking refuge in America today (Deseret News)
  • The Pioneer past lives on, thanks to the Daughters (Deseret News)
  • The ubiquitous power of Taylor Swift (Deseret News)


  • How two Utah State students’ class project turned into a mobile thrift shop (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Elite colleges hugely favor the 1% over middle-class peers with same SAT scores, study finds (NPR)
  • Heat safety top of mind as Utah schools prepare for start of new athletic season (Fox13)


  • Great Salt Lake trust offers millions for wetland protection (KSL Newsradio)
  • One big battery: Thousands of homes joined in a ‘virtual power plant’ (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • This is what a day with extreme heat looks like at Zion National Park (KUER)


  • One-third of families can’t afford to keep their kids in diapers (Deseret News)
  • As crisis calls climb, Utah County’s domestic violence shelter is short on space (KUER)
  • Perspective: The nostalgia of a childhood pet. How does a pet become so much more than an animal you invite into your home? Nostalgic memories with a childhood pet can benefit you throughout adulthood (Deseret News)


  • Embracing the spectrum: How autism manifests differently in boys and girls (Deseret News)
  • Study: Indigenous maternal deaths on the rise in Utah (KSL)
  • Alysia Ducuara: Utah is one of the healthiest states in the nation — but we need to do more (Salt Lake Tribune)

National Headlines


  • Texas is using disaster declarations to install buoys and razor wire on the US-Mexico border (AP)
  • Justice Department sues Texas after Gov. Abbott refuses to remove floating barrier (NPR)
  • Obama family chef dies while paddleboarding on Martha's Vineyard (New York Times)
  • Woman killed by grizzly bear in encounter near Yellowstone, officials say (Washington Post)


  • The solution to polarization is the common ground right under our feet (Deseret News)
  • Biden will designate a national monument honoring Emmett Till and his mother (NPR)
  • States lose federal water funds as lawmakers redirect money to pet projects (Washington Post)
  • McCarthy: Biden probes ‘rising to the level of impeachment inquiry’ (The Hill)
  • Trump and DeSantis debut dueling military policies (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • Anger grows in Ukraine’s port city of Odesa after Russian bombardment hits beloved historic sites (AP)
  • Putin appeared paralyzed and unable to act in first hours of rebellion (Washington Post)


  • Israeli doctors walk off the job and more strikes are threatened after law weakening courts passes (AP)
  • China replaces foreign minister missing from public view since June (New York Times)
  • China’s new labor challenge: Too many workers, not enough jobs (Washington Post)

Number of the Day 

Number of the Day, July 25, 2023


News Releases

SL County provides dozens of places for residents to beat the heat with cool zones

With the scorching summer temperatures on the rise, Salt Lake County is delighted to announce the commencement of the Cool Zone program, a collaborative effort between Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services, The County Library, SLC Parks and Recreation, and the Salt Lake City Library. The program aims to provide relief from the heat and offer a variety of engaging activities for residents of all ages through October 15th. (Read More)

UT House Democrats ‘deeply concerned and disappointed by Gov. DeSantis’s comments on academic curriculum during Utah visit

The Utah House Democrats express deep concern and disappointment in comments made in the Utah State Capitol, the People’s House, by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. His enabling of an academic curriculum that ignores historical truths is damaging to the education system and a step backward in the civil rights movement. Manufacturing any perception of benefit from the travesty of our nation’s dark history of slavery does nothing more than make a mockery of any progress toward a kinder, more equitable America. (Read More)

State Auditor releases review of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services for FY 2023

The Office of the State Auditor (Office) today releases its limited review of the Department of  Alcoholic Beverage Services (DABS) for the period ended June 30, 2023. This is the second  review by the Office of the recently reorganized and renamed Department. The Office  identified ten findings and recommendations. The news release and related information may be found on the Office’s website. (Read More)


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-07-25 at 6.51.11 AM



  • 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 

  • 1775 - Anna Tuthill Symmes is born. The 9th First Lady of the United States is one of many firsts. She is the only First Lady to be both the wife of a president (William Henry Harrison) and the grandmother of one (Benjamin Harrison), too. She never lived in the White House, either. Exactly one month after President Harrison’s inauguration, he died making her the first First Lady to be widowed during her tenure and the one with the shortest tenure.
  • 1917 - Dancer and spy Mata Hari is sentenced to death by a French court for spying on Germany’s behalf during WWI. 
  • 1920 - Rosalind Franklin is born. She was an English chemist who was the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
  • 1941 - Emmett Till is born.
  • 1972 - AP reporter Jean Heller breaks the news about Tuskegee syphilis experiments the US government conducted on Black men over 40 years
  • 1978 - Louise Joy Brown is born. She is the first person born who was conceived through in vitro fertilization.
  • 1984 - From the Russian spacecraft Salyut 7, Cosmonaut Svetlana Savisskaya performs the first spacewalk by a woman. 
  • 1985 - Rock Hudson announces he has AIDS. He died a few months later, having brought awareness to a mostly unknown, highly stigmatized disease.
  • 2007 - Pratibha Patil becomes the first female president of India.

Quote of the Day

“I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”
—Rock Hudson

On the Punny Side

I was once so broke I couldn't afford to pay my electricity bill.

Those were the darkest days of my life.


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