This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Koch brothers to spend $889 million in 2016. Utah Legislature opens with Lockhart tribute, pledge to tackle big problems. Chief Justice Durrant: Focus on drug, alcohol treatment.
Happy Tuesday. The Koch brothers, already a large voice in conservative politics, plan to spend some $889 million in the 2016 elections, a sum more than twice the amount spent by the Republican National Committee during the last presidential cycle. While the right may celebrate the windfall for their cause, the spending may also show how limitless contributions lessen party influence. [http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/koch-2016-spending-goal-114604.html?hp=c1_3" target="_blank">Politico]
Topping the news: The 61st session of the Utah Legislature opened yesterday with the swearing in of new House Speaker Greg Hughes, a tribute to former Speaker Becky Lockhart and a resolve to get to work and tackle the weighty issues lawmakers are facing. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2103021-155/utah-legislature-opens-with-familiar-issues" target="_blank">Trib] [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620404/New-House-Speaker-Greg-Hughes-urges-legislators-to-engage-in-big-hard-fights.html" target="_blank">DNews] [http://fox13now.com/2015/01/26/is-the-utah-state-legislature-too-much-like-groundhog-day/" target="_blank">FOX13] [http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/legislature/legislature-begins-by-honoring-becky-lockhart/article_0b268c58-1662-5ebe-aacc-ea7955f52c45.html" target="_blank">Herald] [http://kuer.org/post/state-lawmakers-tackle-medicaid-expansion-prison-relocation-other-big-issues-2015" target="_blank">KUER] [http://upr.org/post/new-house-speaker-sworn-61st-utah-legislature-gets-work" target="_blank">UPR] [http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/4623-lockhart-s-lasting-legacy-on-the-hill" target="_blank">UtahPolicy]
-> Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant told Utah state lawmakers yesterday during his State of the Judiciary speech that the best way to cut crime is to focus on drug and alcohol treatment. He also suggested pay raises for the state's judges. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2102836-155/utah-chief-justice-drugs-alcohol-underlie?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed" target="_blank">Trib] [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620456/Utah-Supreme-Court-justice-calls-for-criminal-justice-reform-in-State-of-Judiciary-address.html" target="_blank">DNews] [http://www.standard.net/Government/2015/01/26/Utah-s-Chief-Justice-urges-lawmakers-to-fund-more-drug-and-alcohol-treatment.html" target="_blank">StandardExaminer] [http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/state/article_a9b820f6-f513-5023-a45a-667e477b3cbe.html" target="_blank">AP]
-> A new poll shows nearly 70 percent of Utahns want campaign finance limits for state candidates. [http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/4627-poll-utahns-want-campaign-finance-limits" target="_blank">UtahPolicy]
Tweets of the day: From @https://twitter.com/utpolcapitol" target="_blank">utpolcapitol "Already the House is messing with people. A wave of no votes, followed by a turn around. When did the House become reddit?"
From @https://twitter.com/BjaminWood" target="_blank">BjaminWood "Getting a press cred at #utleg is like 12 labors of Hercules. Wish me luck against the 3-headed dog."
Happy Birthday: To State Rep. Dan McCay, lobbyist Spencer Stokes and former West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder.
Tune in: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss how he became part of the undercover sting operations that freed 127 girls from a sex-trafficking ring. Watch Trib Talk live at 12:15 p.m. MT on http://sltrib.com/" target="_blank">sltrib.com.
From Capitol Hill: The Utah Legislature is currently looking at two non-discrimination bills, one against housing employment discrimination for gays and lesbians and another on an individual's right to deny services based on religious beliefs. But these bills may not be discussed until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on gay marriage in April. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2104378-155/utah-legislature-will-competing-bills-on" target="_blank">Trib]
-> Another lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would add pregnancy, child-rearing and breastfeeding to the list of religious protections. [http://fox13now.com/2015/01/12/breastfeeding-sexual-orientation-bills-target-utah-anti-discrimination-laws/" target="_blank">FOX13]
-> Air quality is an issue that promises to take up a significant amount of time and money from Utah lawmakers this session. [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620436/Air-pollution-looms-as-pressing-issue-for-families-and-lawmakers.html" target="_blank">DNews] A new survey by Envision Utah says poor air quality is the number one issue that Utahns believe is negatively affecting their quality of life. [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620440/Utah-residents-rank-air-pollution-as-No-1-threat-to-quality-of-life.html" target="_blank">DNews] [http://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/local/2015/01/25/air-quality-key-concern/22330991/" target="_blank">Spectrum]
-> Some experts say the cars we drive are a big part of the poor air. [http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/envision-utah-the-bigger-picture-on-air-quality/35888/7ZmvEkeIrUSrkE_0JKHTNw" target="_blank">ABC4] One new piece of legislation would give air quality watchdogs more power to crack down on emissions cheaters by suspending their vehicle registration if the vehicle can't pass and emissions test. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2094091-155/legislative-fixes-for-utahs-air-quality" target="_blank">Trib]
-> Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield, says state judges should have more leeway in sentences. [http://utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/today-at-utah-policy/4616-bill-would-give-judges-discretion-in-deciding-criminal-sentences" target="_blank">UtahPolicy]
-> Utah will be one of the last states to make the decision to either expand Medicaid or use Gov. Gary Herbert's alternative Healthy Utah plan. [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620449/Lawmakers-consider-Medicaid-expansion-health-care-options-for-Utahs-uninsured.html?pg=2" target="_blank">DNews]
-> Despite a budget surplus, state legislators are looking at budget cuts to ensure money is being spent efficiently. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2103441-155/even-with-a-surplus-utah-lawmakers" target="_blank">Trib]
-> Utah has some unique liquor laws, and balancing the availability of liquor for those who want it and minimizing negative effects for those who don't is no easy task. These issues will be looked over this legislative session. [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865620444/Utah-lawmakers-to-weigh-alcohol-laws-public-health-issues.html" target="_blank">DNews]
-> And here's today's legislative schedule: [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2104359-155/legislative-schedule-jan-27" target="_blank">Trib]
In other news: Paul Rolly offers his take on Jason Chaffetz's "power play," which he says he has already exhibited in his new position as House Oversight Committee chair. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2092809-155/rolly-jason-chaffetzs-power-play-has" target="_blank">Trib]
-> Parents are voicing their opposition to an 8-foot-tall rooftop antenna that is supposed to be built over SLC's Glendale Middle School, saying they fear it may put the children in danger of radiation. [http://www.sltrib.com/news/2104443-155/glendale-middle-school-parents-worried-about" target="_blank">Trib]
Nationally: The budget deficit this year wis expected to be the lowest in President Barack Obama's presidency. [http://www.sltrib.com/home/2104873-155/deficit-to-shrink-to-lowest-level" target="_blank">AP] [http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/26/381639118/2015-will-continue-streak-of-shrinking-u-s-budget-deficit" target="_blank">NPR] [http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/26/us-usa-budget-idUSKBN0KZ26X20150126" target="_blank">Reuters] [http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/us/politics/budget-forecast-sees-end-to-steep-declines-in-federal-deficit.html?_r=0" target="_blank">NYTimes] [http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/01/26/cbo-report-budget/22353147/" target="_blank">USAToday] [http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-01-26/deficit-in-u-s-to-narrow-to-468-billion-this-year-cbo-says" target="_blank">Bloomberg]
-> The first successful filibuster of 2015 took place yesterday as Senate Democrats stopped the bid to end debate on the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, temporarily halting its progress. [http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/keystone-xl-bill-senate-114609.html?hp=l1_3" target="_blank">Politico] [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/key-issues-updates-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline-28496871" target="_blank">AP] [http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/26/politics/keystone-xl-bill-blocked/" target="_blank">CNN] [http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-na-keystone-filibuster-20150126-story.html" target="_blank">LATimes] [http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/27/us-usa-keystone-congress-idUSKBN0KZ2MO20150127" target="_blank">Reuters]
-> The blizzard in the Northeast, which may be one of the largest in history in that area, is causing a number of inconveniences, including banned highway travel, states of emergencies, and at least 6,500 cancelled flights. [http://www.sltrib.com/home/2104986-155/6500-flights-canceled-as-storm-set" target="_blank">AP] [http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/nyregion/new-york-blizzard.html" target="_blank">NYTimes] [http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/26/381703450/crippling-snowfall-predicted-as-storm-hits-northeast" target="_blank">NPR] [http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blizzard-2015-heavy-snow-winds-begin-to-hammer-northeast/" target="_blank">CBS] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/01/26/updates-up-to-3-feet-of-snow-expected-in-paralyzing-northeast-blizzard/" target="_blank">WaPost] [http://abcnews.go.com/US/thousands-flights-canceled-ahead-major-winter-storm/story?id=28481024" target="_blank">ABC]
Where are they?
Thomas Burr and Erica Palmer