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Woodward versus the White House. Sequester scare goes too far. Veterans question governor's changes to state department.

Happy Thursday. The spat between the White House and legendary reporter Bob Woodward escalated Wednesday after Woodward said a top administration official said he would "regret" criticizing the president's involvement in creating the automatic budget cuts likely to go into effect Friday. [Politico]

Topping the news: The state Senate unanimously passed a bill that creates an online sex ed course for parents sponsored by the state's school board website. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Stuart Reid, says he hopes the information will help give parents talking points to use with their kids. [Trib] [Herald] [DNews]

-> The hype about the sequester might be getting ahead of itself, as federal officials claim dire consequences of the impending cuts that don't match reality — and no one really knows how bad it will be. [WaPost]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch wants to replace the cuts prescribed under sequestration with big dips in funding for arts, federal travel expenses and weather research. [Trib]

Tweet of the day: From @wnatcw: (state Senate President Wayne Niederhauser) "Day 30 of the Session. Not that I'm counting or anything."

From @hcraighall: "Things I learned in the legislature this week: There are such things as eyelash curling and eyelash extensions."

Happy birthday: to Pat Shea and Justin Miller, a senior adviser to SL County Mayor Ben McAdams. Also, apologies to state Sen. Wayne Harper, who in a birthday shout out Wednesday was incorrectly identified as a House member.

In other news: Veterans raised concerns that Gov. Gary Herbert's plans to reshuffle the state's Department of Veterans Affairs could spread the department too thin, hurting its ability to provide services. [Trib]

-> Sen. Mike Lee argued against banning high-capacity magazines, saying such a ban is a risk to self-defenders. [Trib]

-> Meet Box Elder County's two-man newsroom, asking the tough questions and ruffling feathers in Brigham City. [Trib]

-> The Orem City Council is steaming ahead with UTOPIA, agreeing to bond $24 million more in funding — without a public hearing. [Trib] [Herald]

-> Salt Lake County Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw proposed firing up the county's hiring process by allowing offices to process job applications before receiving approval from the council. [Trib]

-> The U.'s Hinckley Institute of Politics director Kirk Jowers previews next month's Siciliano Forum, which will focus on the future of higher education. [KSL]

Heard on the Hill: "Thank you Representative [Curt] Oda for waiting. We wanted armed protection through the first few items, so that's why we had you sit there." – Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville

"I might not even have a founder's quote today." – Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who constantly quotes Founding Fathers in speeches.

From the Hill: Here's your daily legislative schedule. [Trib]

-> A House committee gave a nod to a bill that would take down the "Zion Curtain" — the 7-foot barriers that liquor-serving establishments are required to build to shield youngsters from the mixing of alcoholic drinks. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A ban on smoking in a car with a child under 15-years-old is one step closer to becoming law, after a Senate committee approved of the measure and sent it to the Senate floor. The House previously passed the bill by a vote of 41-30. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]

-> Lawmakers were in a deadlock over whether or not the state should accept $71 million in federal funds that would go towards environmental programs. [Trib]

-> Cigarettes that are rolled by a machine that can process 150 cigarettes in less than 30 minutes would now be taxed, thanks to a new bill that's on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert's desk. [Trib]

-> Three bills that would reform legislative procedures are hitting some snags in the insular state Legislature. [UtahPolicy]

-> A Senate committee voted to delay the start of Utah's guest worker program until 2015, with hopes that Congress will pass its own immigration bill by then. [Trib] [Herald]

-> The House voted unanimously to make it easier for hair braiders to work without an official cosmetology license, while nixing 4,000 required training hours for beauticians. [Trib]

-> Ambulance drivers and other emergency vehicle operators would need to be formally trained under a new bill sponsored by Rep. Gage Froer. The bill unanimously passed through the House and now heads to the Senate. [Trib]

-> Fear not, drivers: state agencies could only hold information picked up by a license plate scanner for nine months, and private agencies could only hold it for a week, thanks to a new bill that passed the Senate unanimously. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald]

-> The Senate will vote today to confirm two new members to the state's radiation board. [Trib]

-> Rep. Roger Barrus wants the state to conduct a $450,000 analysis of the details of the federal government turning over millions of acres of public land to the state's control. [Trib] [DNews]

-> An anti-adoption fraud bill finally passed through a Senate committee, after undergoing changes. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Potential plans to relocate the Utah State Prison took a step forward in the Senate. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A Senate committee signs off on a bill that would attempt to equalize property tax collections among the school districts, a move that could result in tax increases. [Trib]

-> An expansion of the University of Utah's medical school gets a high ranking in the Legislature's higher education funding list. [Trib]

Nationally: President Barack Obama is set to meet with top congressional leaders at the White House on Friday to discuss the sequester — and to attempt to figure out a deal to mitigate its impacts. [Politico] [WaPost]

-> House Republicans will push their own version of the Violence Against Women Act, with provisions that weaken components of the Senate bill — mainly, a clause that would give tribal courts more power over non-Native Americans who commit crimes on reservations. [NYTimes] [Politico]

-> The Senate confirms Jack Lew to be the next Treasury Secretary, with Sen. Orrin Hatch supporting his confirmation and Sen. Mike Lee among the 26 senators who voted against it. [WaPost]

Where are they?

Rep. Rob Bishop has two House Armed Services Committee subcommittee hearings, meets with representatives from the Civil Air Patrol and the Utah Geographic Alliance and votes.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz hits an Aspen Institute breakfast on Egypt and meets with the Utah wing of the U.S. Air Force auxiliary.

Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Republican legislative leaders, Portugese Ambassador Nuno Filipe Alves Salvador e Brito and has an interview with Business in Utah Magazine.

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

WVC Mayor Mike Winder hits the Salt Lake Valley Conference of Mayors and then hits a retirement party for State Historian Kent Powell.

President Barack Obama lunches with Vice President Joe Biden.

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

— Matt Canham and Emily Andrews and