News roundup: Salazar to leave Interior post in March
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Salazar to resign from Interior. Obama to announce gun control plan. Smoothie shop charging liberals $1 more.

Happy Wednesday. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will leave the president's Cabinet in March, The Denver Post's Allison Sherry scoops. Salazar, a former Colorado senator, has been a target of much criticism during his tenure from Utah Republicans who saw him as an obstructionist to oil and gas drilling. President Barack Obama, however, has praised Salazar as doing a "great job." It's unclear just yet who would take over Interior. [DenverPost]

Topping the news: Surrounded by children who wrote letters to him following the Newtown school shooting, Obama is expected to announce a plan to curb gun violence today, an effort that may include issuing executive orders to tackle the issue. [NYTimes] [Politico] [WaPost] The White House gave a preview of some of the letters to The AP. [AP]

-> A resolution is being proposed to the Washington County GOP to exempt Utah from any gun laws enacted by the federal government. [Trib]

-> A deathbed declaration by the middle-man in the controversy with AG John Swallow could help, or possibly hurt, Swallow's case. [Trib] (More on this In Other News.)

-> Republican state senators raised concerns about Swallow's situation in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, but opted to wait until an investigation is complete before taking any action. [Trib]

Tweets of the day: From @PoliticoRoger: 'Letterman: "President Obama's half-brother is running for governor in Kenya. His opponent claims he was born in Hawaii.'"

From @mwbowler: "Hey @utahsenate are you OK with your president asking a married female lawmaker which senator she'd like to date?" (Paul Rolly has more on the incident behind this tweet: [Trib]. And the Senate president offers his apology here: [SenateSite])

Happy birthday: To state Rep. Jim Bird and former state GOP Vice Chair Christy Achziger.

In other news: St. George's daily newspaper joins The Salt Lake Tribune and The Daily Herald in calling for Swallow's resignation. [Spectrum]

-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the whole Swallow situation. [Trib]

-> New state Sen. Jim Dabakis wants to push stricter ethics rules in light of the Swallow controversy, including a ban on outside employment by elected officials. [DNews]

-> At a smoothie shop in Vernal, being left of the political spectrum is going to cost you: a local businessman is charging liberals $1 more for their drinks. [DNews] [KSL]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz criticized the White House's stance on immigration at a political event in Washington, but also adding that the GOP needs to communicate more. [Politico]

-> A group of activists is pushing a petition to make sure that polygamy isn't decriminalized in Utah. [Trib]

-> Utah has enacted only eight of 15 "life saving" traffic laws, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, garnering a low traffic safety rating from the organization. [Trib]

-> Former state Department of Health Director David Sundwall is opening his grad-level class at the U on health policy to the public, hoping to foster an educated, nonpartisan debate about healthcare reform. [Trib]

-> A children's book about lesbian mothers returned to shelves in the Davis School District in response to an ACLU lawsuit spurred by a district committee voting to ban the book. [Trib]

-> Lt. Gov. Greg Bell has chosen a new chief deputy to replace outgoing Cody Stewart, who will now be Governor Gary Herbert's energy adviser. [DNews]

-> The cities of Wendover, Utah and West Wendover, Nev. have applied for water use permits on aquifers outside of the communities, to the chagrin of some residents, who see the move as a "water grab" that will compromise existing water rights. [APviaDNews]

-> Bankruptcy filings went down by a drastic 12 percent in Utah. [Trib]

-> Bryan Schott profiles journalist-turned-activist Jesse Fruhwirth. [UtahPolicy]

-> An environmental group is encouraging the public to learn about participating in a group solar power purchase in Utah county. [DailyHerald]

-> The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is looking for public input on a nominee for the Fifth District Court, which serves Beaver, Iron and Washington counties. [DNews]

-> In the midst of a bitter cold snap, state wildlife officials are asking for the public to leave deer alone. [Trib]

Nationally: Wondering how the NRA rates politicians nationally? Check out this interactive map, with information on campaign contributions and stances on gun control. All six members of Utah's congressional delegation earned "A" ratings from the group. [NYTimes]

-> Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will stay in her post during the president's second term. [WaPost]

-> Fear not, inaugural gurus: the official inaugural ball will be just as glamorous as the one four years ago. [Politico]

Where are they?

Rep. Jason Chaffetz hits the GOP's Congress of Tomorrow event in Williamsburg, Va.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert tapes a segment for CNBC and prepares for his State of the State speech.

SLC Mayor Ralph Becker is in Washington for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting.

President Barack Obama presents his proposals for reducing gun violence.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

— Thomas Burr and Emily AndrewsTwitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/emilytandrews