A retired Air Force intelligence officer says the US has retrieved UFOs and "non-human biologics"; Sinead O'Connor dies at age 56
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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 27, 2023

It's Thursday and Bagpipe Appreciation Day. I don't know any bagpipe players personally, but that doesn't stop me from wanting "Amazing Grace" played on bagpipes at my funeral.

What You Need to Know

  • Americans are fascinated with UFOs. My father-in-law was absolutely certain he had first-hand experience with one. He's not alone. (Cue "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" theme music.) Retired Maj. David Grusch, a former intelligence officer in the Air Force, told the House Oversight Committee during a hearing yesterday that the U.S. government is secretly operating a UFO retrieval and reverse engineering program. He also alleged that the government has recovered “non-human biologics” from recovered unidentified items. Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee accused the Pentagon—which has denied the claims—of covering up details around the supposed program. Republicans and Democrats now want to get to the bottom of what these incidents mean for U.S. national security. “There clearly is a threat to the national security of the United States of America,” Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) said.

Rapid Relevance

Today on the Hill


Utah Headlines

Political news

  • The adopted children this law forgot. 46 years after adoption, this Korean adoptee obtained U.S. citizenship. Now she’s advocating to update the national law (Deseret News)
  • Why lawmakers think they can find bipartisan solutions on clean energy. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, and Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., spoke about clean energy and permitting reform (Deseret News)
  • Utah County Commission nixes proposed change to clerk’s office structure (Daily Herald)

General Utah news

  • Tammy Daybell's aunt will be allowed to speak at Vallow Daybell sentencing, judge rules (KSL)
  • Law enforcement, UTV group report rise of side-by-side thefts in northern Utah (Fox13)
  • Orem, civil liberties group feud over public library policies; both sides see compromise (Daily Herald)
  • Utah crash victim given 5% chance of survival returns home after suffering 82 broken bones (KUTV)


  • Watch out, smarty-pants: College-educated and higher-paid workers most at risk for replacement by AI, according to new report (Deseret News)
  • ‘Normalizing career breaks’: Returnships help more Utahns get back to work (St. George News)
  • Are you a Facebook user? You have one month left to apply for a share of this $725M settlement (AP)
  • America's farms are desperate for labor. Foreign workers bring relief and controversy (NPR)
  • All but one Utah industry added jobs in the last year (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Arthur Brooks: How to have your most fulfilling vacation ever (The Atlantic)
  • Jacob Hibbard: We must stop ‘othering’ each other and instead see fellow Americans (Salt Lake Tribune)


  • Abby Cox wants to prevent teacher burnout in Utah. Here’s how (Deseret News)
  • Applications for Utah school vouchers not open yet, despite website claiming ‘pre-apply’ option (KSL Newsradio)
  • Salt Lake education leaders react to DeSantis's comments on slavery in Florida curriculum (KUTV)
  • BYU students using AI to translate the ‘bee waggle’ (ABC4)
  • Affirmative action ruling shakes universities over more than race (New York Times)


  • Environmental justice report shows air quality disparities on Salt Lake City’s west side (KSL TV)
  • Utah physicians warn of Great Salt Lake dust health impacts (UPR)
  • Over 18K acres of 'important' Utah forest preserved through US program (KSL)
  • Hotter days bring out hotter tempers, research finds (Washington Post)
  • Crews trying new way to save endangered Utah tree (Fox13)


  • Balancing screen time with small children: Consider content, not time experts say (KSL TV)


  • Bad posture can impact your mental health — here’s what to do about it (Deseret News)
  • Postpartum depression pill on the fast track for FDA approval (KSL)
  • Fatigue can shatter a person. Everyday tiredness is nothing like the depleting symptom that people with long COVID and ME/CFS experience. (The Atlantic)


  • See how much the government says your home is worth with this new tool (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Heat contributes to discomfort, illness and hopelessness among Salt Lake's homeless population (KSL)

National Headlines


  • Hunter Biden plea deal in jeopardy after judge questions its scope (Deseret News)
  • A Texas A&M professor was suspended for allegedly criticizing lieutenant governor (NPR)
  • Could a recession still be years away? Soft landing could deliver another extended economic cycle. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Labor Department decried surge in exploited migrant children (New York Times)


  • US House committee looks at generational learning loss amid COVID-19 pandemic (Deseret News)
  • Giuliani concedes he made public comments falsely claiming Georgia election workers committed fraud (AP)
  • A Mississippi law limits who can help mail-in voters. A federal court struck it down (NPR)
  • Senator Mitch McConnell suffers an episode at the Capitol, freezing midsentence (New York Times)
  • Tim Scott sparks fresh GOP interest as DeSantis stumbles (The Hill)

Ukraine 🇺🇦

  • How Ukrainian DIY drones are taking out Russian tanks (Wall Street Journal)
  • Russia bombards southern Ukraine, trying to keep Kyiv's advance at bay (New York Times)
  • With Wagner in Belarus, tension grows on northern Ukraine border (Washington Post)


  • African leaders arrive in Russia for summit as Kremlin seeks allies amid fighting in Ukraine (AP)
  • Russian attack on US drone spurs fears of escalation over Syria (Wall Street Journal)
  • Niger's army command declares support for military coup (Reuters)
  • North Korea's Kim shows off banned missiles to Russian minister (Reuters)

Number of the Day 

Number of the Day, July 27, 2023


News Releases

Amanda Covington to be honored with 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award

The Salt Lake Chamber has announced that Amanda Covington, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of The Larry H. Miller Company, will receive the 2023 ATHENA Leadership Award. The organization’s highest recognition for women in business, the national ATHENA Leadership Award, is presented annually to an active member of the Salt Lake Chamber who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in business. Each recipient must also provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and assist women in reaching their full leadership potential. (Read More)

Romney joins colleagues in introducing bill to boost support for programs to reduce salinity of the Colorado River

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) in introducing the Colorado River Salinity Control Fix Act, legislation which would provide greater support for Colorado River Basin water users and local governments working to reduce the salt load in the Colorado River. (Read More)

Albert Einstein’s iconic manuscript featured in local art gallery

Albert Einstein, renowned as one of the most brilliant minds of the  20th century, is once again in the spotlight with his portrayal in the highly acclaimed movie “Oppenheimer,” now showing in local theaters. As interest in the legendary physicist continues to soar, Anthony’s Fine Art proudly presents a rare gem for public viewing – Einstein’s personally signed script from the television program “The Atom,” where his character explains his special theory of relativity. (Read More)

State Auditor releases tool showing property values across Utah

The Office of the State Auditor (Office) today announces a new tool providing taxpayers insights into real property valuation across Utah. The Property Values Tool is the result of taxpayer concerns about inequitable valuations and questions about adequate oversight. Utah property owners are currently receiving their 2023 Notice of Property Valuation and Tax Changes. This new Property Values Tool is timed to help taxpayers review those notices within the larger context of property valuations within their neighborhoods and across their counties. (Read More)

Sutherland Institute announces 2023 Congressional Series

Sutherland Institute is pleased to announce its 2023 Congressional Series. Each year, Sutherland provides a public forum for Utahns to directly interact with their elected representatives and discuss policy ideas that matter most to them. This year, Sutherland is proud to partner with local universities to bring the series to students and communities across the Wasatch Front. Our full lineup of congressional speakers begins with Rep. Chris Stewart on August 3, 2023, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (Read More)

Sutherland Institute announces new podcast: Defending Ideas

Sutherland Institute announced the launch of its podcast, “Defending Ideas.” The new weekly program will equip voters with an elevated understanding of policy issues in a way that fosters healthier public discourse and reduces polarization. (Read More)


Tweet of the Day

Screenshot 2023-07-26 at 2.47.09 PM



  • 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 

  • 1866 - The Transatlantic Telegraph Cable comes ashore in Newfoundland. It was 1686 miles long. 
  • 1921 - Scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolate insulin
  • 1943 - Stalin issues Order No. 227 outlawing cowards. “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot.”
  • 1953 - North Korea and the United Nations sign an armistice to stop fighting and divide Korea at the 38th parallel.
  • 1965 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a bill requiring cigarette makers to print health warnings on all cigarette packages about the effects of smoking
  • 1974 - The House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. 
  • 1981 - Six-year old Adam Walsh is kidnapped.
  • 2003 - Bob Hope dies at age 100.
  • 2013 - Corinne “Lindy” Boggs, former US congresswoman and civil rights activist dies. She launched her political career in 1973 when her husband, longtime Rep and House Majority Leader, died in a plane crash. She won her first race with 80% of the vote. 
  • 2020 - US congressman John Lewis becomes the first black lawmaker to lie in state in the Rotunda in Washington D.C.
  • 2021 - Largest-ever repatriation of 17,000 looted Iraqi antiquities returned to Baghdad, including items from Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible and Cornell University

Quote of the Day

“The only thing that almost stopped me was that I didn’t know how I could do it without a wife.” 

—Lindy Boggs, when asked if she had any doubts about running for her husband’s seat.

On the Punny Side

Why do bees stay in their beehive in winter?



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