Lee joins bipartisan immigration reform negotiations. Governor's budget is friendly to education. Romney may be looking to return to Utah.
Happy Thursday. Rep.-elect Chris Stewart appeared on his friend Glenn Beck's radio program to talk about his e-book fiction series (which Beck's company distributes), but the conservative host couldn't help but talk a little politics saying: " I was trying to hire him when he feels he had a higher calling from God to try to fix the problem in Washington. I tried to tell I think that was alcohol, Chris. Somebody might have been drinking around you."
Stewart, a former Air Force pilot, also tells Beck the Republican Party has yet to get over Mitt Romney's loss. "Normally in the military for example you have plan A and if plan A doesn't work, you go to plan B, and you go down the line. I'm not sure that the Republican Party has a plan B." [GB]
Topping the news: Gov. Gary Herbert's proposed budget would allocate nearly all of the new money $300 million to public and higher education, particularly in areas of science and technology. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [UtahPolicy] [Herald]
-> Sen. Mike Lee is among eight bipartisan senators exploring immigration reform, and the only participant who has never backed a path to legal status for illegal immigrants. [Trib]
-> Will Lee be the next Jim DeMint? [WaPost]
Tweets of the day: From @redistrict: "In my estimation, if every state awarded Electoral votes by Congressional district (a la ME & NE), Romney would have won, 276-262."
In other news: Herbert's budget includes no money for an expansion of Medicaid under federal health reform. [Trib]
-> West Valley City and Sandy fight over Hale Centre Theatre. West Valley City's latest offer ads short term lease agreements to its already-pledged $500,000 in repairs. [Trib]
-> Colorado joins Utah, Indiana and Maine in publishing a state immigration compact. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley shows what happens when Santa goes down the wrong chimney. [Trib]
-> Peg McEntee says the new LDS website is just another step in the Mormon evolution on same-sex attraction. [Trib]
-> The Colorado River Basin faces an eventual water shortage 50 years down the road. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Mitt Romney was spotted looking for ranch properties in the Park City area recently. [UtahPolicy]
-> Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick start their countdown of the top 10 stories of the year. No. 10: The impact Romney's candidacy had on the LDS faith and Utah. [UtahPolicy]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters that the White House's initial fiscal cliff proposal was so bad that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should have resigned instead of deliver it to Republicans. [Politico]
Nationally: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the notion that he is too overweight to become president "ridiculous." [WaPost]
-> Congress would already have a fiscal cliff deal if the female senators were in charge, Maine Sen. Susan Collins told ABC's Diane Sawyer. [ABCNews]
Where are they?
Utah Governor Gary Herbert meets with young entrepreneurs and later with Utah House and Senate Democratic leaders.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker dines at the mayor's breakfast with community council chairs, attends a performing arts center meeting, heads to a Salt Lake Valley Conference of Mayors meeting and then works on his office's holiday service project.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends the Conference of Mayors meeting in Riverton and hosts the WVC employee holiday open house.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Hanukkah Reception.
Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]
Matt Canham and Betsy Blanchard Twitter.com/mattcanham and Twitter.com/betsyblanchard