News roundup: GOP: Don't buy the hype, Pope Francis is on our side
GOP: Pope Francis is on our side. The House passes Bishop's Antiquities Act change, first tweak in decades. Oil spill may have hurt Grand Staircase.
Happy Thursday. Democrats have seen new hope in Pope Francis, believing His Holiness has come down on their side of the political sphere with his stance on gay rights, abortion and trickle-down economics. But the GOP says that's all a liberal conspiracy:
-> "What I've learned to do is ignore what the newspapers write and go to what [Francis] said," says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Catholic convert. "The New York Times has been relentlessly anti-Catholic for most of the modern era, so the fact that they distort the pope is nothing new. It's the American media." [Politico]
Topping the news: The House passed Rep. Rob Bishop's bill that adds an environmental review to designating any new national monuments. [Trib] [Hill]
-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee are in a group of lawmakers aiming to make most online gambling illegal. [Trib]
-> Hikers have found what appears to be an unreported oil spill that has contaminated a wash flowing into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @SenLyleHillyard: "Snow in Logan on March 26th. Blame it on Daylight Savings Time"
Happy Birthday: To friend of Cornflakes, Donald Dunn.
In other news: Utah is the state 14th least dependent on the federal government. [Trib]
-> It's official, the Quaking Aspen is the new state tree. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> UTA's accident rate dropped last year. [Trib]
-> An oil boom has made Duchesne County the second fastest growing in the country. [Trib]
-> Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is giving the commencement address at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [Wisc]
-> Sen. Jim Dabakis says the Democratic Party is better now even as he leaves as state chairman. [UtahPolicy]
-> Meanwhile, Bryan Schott says Utah Democrats aren't trying hard enough to field candidates, noting one in 10 legislative seats don't have a Democrat running. [UtahPolicy]
-> The Jordan School District board voted to buy $7 million of land for two possible schools in Daybreak while some South Jordan leaders are still considering splitting from the district. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on labor negotiations at Sea World. [Trib]
Nationally: While speaking to European leaders in Brussels, President Barack Obama dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin's arguments for annexing Crimea. [NYTimes]
-> Even though Obama is only in the second year of his second term, the chances of getting some of his appointments filled are not looking very good. [WaPost]
-> A TSA report recommended armed guards at airport checkpoints during peak hours and more security at ticket counters and other areas. [NYTimes]
-> The National Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University football players are school employees and therefore can unionize. [ChiTrib]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends an innovation symposium and votes.
Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Marty Carpenter, hold a news conference on KUED, visits the Department of Workforce Services, meets with Derek Miller, has a bill review with Jacey Skinner and hits the Utah Broadcasters Let Me Speak to the Governor.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox attends a bill review.
SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams hits a ribbon-cutting for the Mid-Valley Health Clinic, attends the Conference of Mayors, the Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Committee meeting, meets with Deputy Mayor Nichole Dunn and speaks at the One World Utah event.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker hits an EPA meeting in Washington.
President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis, visits with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and has bilateral meetings with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Later he tours the Colosseum and lastly meets with employees from the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy, the Holy See and the UN agencies in Rome.
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Thomas Burr and Topher Webb Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/topherjwebb