Poll: Herbert soaring, Lee still in trouble. A drinking game for Lee's State of the Union response. Romney slow jams the news.
Happy Monday and welcome to the 2014 General Session of the Utah Legislature. As usual, we'll bring you all the news you need to know every weekday morning.
-> First up, a new poll shows that Gov. Gary Herbert is sitting pretty, with 73 percent of Utahns having a favorable or very favorable opinion of the governor. Sen. Mike Lee, however, hasn't recovered much from when his ratings took a hit during the government shutdown. Some 49 percent of Utahns have a favorable opinion of Lee while 37 percent do not. Interesting number: 40 percent of those polled didn't know who Rep. Chris Stewart was. [UtahPolicy]
Topping the news: More than 4,000 protesters headed to Utah's Capitol over the weekend to push for lawmakers to do more to help clean the air. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [KUER] [Fox13] [KUTV] [ABC4] Gallery: [Trib]
-> Our D.C. Notebook suggests a fun drinking game for Sen. Mike Lee's tea party response to the State of the Union. [Trib]
-> And some more fun links for you this morning: Mitt Romney slow jams the news with Jimmy Fallon. [LateNight] Romney talks about making "Mitt." [LateNight] [Trib] [DNews] Romney on Obama's second term. [LateNight]
-> Two same-sex couples from Utah were married on stage at the Grammys last night. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @zachbraff: "Mitt Romney walked by me at JFK after I randomly tweeted him. Let's try this again: @PaulMcCartney"
From @a_howard93: "Tomorrow starts #utleg session. The race to see how much damage can be done in 45 days begins now."
Happy Birthday: To State Rep. Dan McCay who turns 40, lobbyist Spencer Stokes, former WVC mayor Mike Winder and U. student Arielle Spanvill (who is turning the big 3-0).
And it begins: Get your handy guide to the Utah Legislature that includes contact information for lawmakers, party breakdowns and how a bill becomes law. [Trib]
Opinion section: State Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, argues that Congress should allow Utah and other states to control healthcare funding and regulations. [Trib]
-> State Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, argues that more than just candidates and PACs should be required to disclose their donors. [Trib]
-> Stephen Trimble, a writer, photographer, and conservationist, who teaches in the U., says regular citizens need to voice their concerns to their legislators because lawmakers are more likely to listen to them than activist groups. [Trib]
-> Attorneys Mark Alvarez and Tiani Xochitl Coleman argue the nation needs a compromise on immigration reform between mass deportation and mass amnesty. [Trib]
-> USTAR Governing Authority Chairman Greg Bell outlines USTAR's successes and urges lawmakers to adopt Gov. Herbert's proposed USTAR budget. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on how lawmakers see the government. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly asks why the LDS Church made a public statement supporting Utah's current liquor laws. [Trib]
-> Trib Editor Terry Orme looks at issues important to the public and asks if lawmakers will correct problems important to their constituents. [Trib]
-> George Pyle discusses the LDS Church's role in Utah politics. [Trib]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb translate chatter about the legislative session to what it really means. [DNews]
-> Democratic Party and state Sen. Jim Dabakis and state Rep. Daniel McCay talk Medicaid expansion and air quality. [ABC4]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says Obamacare is like a 1955 Pontiac, it's large, expensive and burdened with features customers didn't want. [DNews]
Weekend in review: Pollution can aggravate existing health conditions, but can it also cause them? [Trib]
-> Doug Owens, the son of former Rep. Wayne Owens, plans to run for the seat Rep. Jim Matheson is vacating at the end of his term. [UtahPolicy]
-> Medical waste handler Stericycle wants to move its incinerator to remote Tooele County. [Trib] [DNews] [KUER] [ABC4]
-> Stericycle will upgrade emission controls and replace the electrical generator at its current facility whether it moves or not. [Trib]
-> Cleaning up the air is a top priority on both parties' lists. [KUTV] It's on many Utahn's lists as well. [ABC4]
-> The Salt Lake City Council finds that regulating smoke from wood burning will not be easy. [Trib]
-> The Utah State Prison will likely be leaving Draper. A consultant hired to help he Prison Relocation Authority and Development Committee said by 2018 the state would likely need to build a new facility anyway due to population increase. [Trib] [DNews] [Herald] [KUTV]
-> Not all the solutions to cleaning the air can come from the government and residents may need to change their habits. [DNews]
-> Numerous bills are cropping up in the Legislature to prevent future scandals like the the one that forced former AG John Swallow to resign from office. [Trib]
-> Senate President Wayne Niederhauser lays out what he thinks the session's agenda will this year. [UtahPolicy] And plays Bryan Schott's lightning round. [UtahPolicy]
-> Lawmakers get in a little more fundraising before the 45 day-ban during the legislative session. [Trib]
-> The Legislature may consider changes to the gas tax this session. [DNews]
-> Two bills aim to change the Utah tax code in order to raise more money for education. [DNews]
-> The goal to have 66 percent of Utahns with a post-secondary degree by 2020 is going to get harder as 2020 approaches. [DNews]
-> The Provo Daily Herald runs down some of the hot topics coming before the Legislature this session. [Herald]
-> Some 58% percent of Utahns would support more regulation of payday lenders who charge an average of 474 percent annual interest according to a new poll. [Trib]
-> The Legislature is unlikely to raise taxes this session despite pressure to raise revenue for education and transportation. [DNews]
-> Julie Blaney of the Utah County Republican Party is suing the party's vice chairman over statements he allegedly made accusing her of depositing party money in her personal account. [Herald]
-> UTA may open a new TRAX line from the U. to the Airport without the need for transfers. [Trib]
->UTA is trying to reduce the noise from TRAX trains in Draper because while the trains are just as noisy everywhere else, they are noisier than promised in environmental studies. [Trib]
Nationally: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is set to release an outline of immigration principles to his caucus that include increased boarder security, new visas for foreign workers and a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants already in the country. [WaPost]
-> Congress has passed a budget to keep the government running but a battle over raising the debt ceiling still looms. [CNN]
-> The Supreme Court ordered that a group of nuns, who employ around 75 in their ministry to care for the elderly, do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act's requirement to offer insurance that cover contraceptives. [WaPost]
Where are they?
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz returns to Washington and votes in the evening.
- Rep. Chris Stewart flies to Washington, celebrates at a birthday reception for House Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and has dinner with Turkish Ambassador Namık Tan.
- Gov. Gary Herbert calls Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, has an interview on Utah Public Radio, meets Workforce Services Executive Director Kris Cox, the Capitol Hill Working Group and prepares for the State of the State.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the Road Home Legislative Lunch and speaks to Leadership Park City at the State Capitol.
- SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams hold staff meetings.
- President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors and VP Joe Biden.
Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at email@example.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]
-- Thomas Burr and Topher Webb
Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb