By Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz
Close ties with Romney and the pro-Romney Super PAC. Hatch's scramble to the right. Matheson on watch list.
Happy Monday. Legally, there can be no coordination between the so-called Super PACs and a candidate's official campaign. But that doesn't mean such groups aren't close. The New York Times finds some tight connections between Mitt Romney's campaign and the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future. In fact, some of the vendors for the PAC and the campaign have the same office suite. [NYTimes]
-> A few weathly Utahns are boosting a pro-Romney super PAC, giving a collective $3.4 million -- $1 million more than individual donors have given to Romney's official campaign. [Trib]
Topping the news: For the first time in 11 days, Romney takes back his No. 1 slot in a national Gallup poll. [Gallup] [CNN]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch is among the politicians seeking re-election who have made a scramble to the right. [NYTimes]
-> The Washington Post lists Rep. Jim Matheson's race for the 4th congressional seat one of the Top 10 campaigns to watch. [WaPost]
Today's news: With only nine days left, the Utah Legislature looks like it won't take up any immigration legislation. [UtahPolicy]
-> Environmentalists have big questions about the financing behind the proposed nuclear power plant in Utah. [Trib]
-> North Ogden is slated to form a new public works committee in the next few weeks as the city council decides Tuesday whether to put the issue of bonding for a facility before voters. [StandEx]
-> The Park City Council plans to wait until the Legislature adjourns to discuss whether Mayor Dana Williams should join the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly offers some stories of recent altruistic behavior among Utahns. [Trib]
Opinion section: Pat Bagley offers his take on how federal lands might be run if Utah legislators got their way. [Trib]
-> Michael Nielsen weighs in on LDS baptisms for the dead, saying energy should be focused on more tangible things in the here and now. [Trib]
-> Rolly contrasts Utah's contraception laws with its laws for online "lifestyle" drugs for men. [Trib]
-> George Pyle likens the Legislature's many "message" bills to patients suffering from depression. [Trib]
-> The Tribune weighs in on GRAMA, the Great Salt Lake and eminent domain. [Trib]
-> Weston Clark says Utah's efforts to institute a non-discrimination bill have been the same for a few years -- heard but rejected -- and that the LGBT community deserves an equal "seat at the table." [Trib]
-> Gail Collins gives her take on the 20th Republican presidential debate. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert's senior environmental adviser says that just as Utahns have stepped up to volunteerism, they must step up to a commitment to cleaner air. [Trib]
-> UEA head Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh says the state needs to pay attention to the wisdom of working teachers when passing education laws. [Trib]
-> Calvin R. Petersen warns against the dangers of "fundamentalism" in any religion. [Trib]
-> Jay Evenson offers some thoughts on civility in politics. [DNews]
-> Peg McEntee unpacks the proposed open-carry gun law, saying it could cause fear for the unarmed. [Trib]
-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb suggest why this legislative session has been so, well, boring. [DNews]
-> Former Sen. Bob Bennett says he hasn't seen a presidential race like this since Taft and Eisenhower. [DNews]
Tweet of the day: From @HotlineReid: "[Campaign Finance] Institute: Obama raising 47% of all donations from small donors, Santorum 48%, Gingrich 46%, Paul 39% and Romney 9%."
Happy birthday: To state Rep. Wayne Harper and Rob Miller.
The Session: Lawmakers take their first steps to pass a law that would triple the wait time for abortions from 24 hours to 72 hours. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
-> A House committee narrowly passed a bill that would require minors to be accompanied by an adult when taking trips to tanning salons. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> A panel passed an amended bill requiring at least two drinkers serve on the state's liquor commission. [DNews] [Fox13] [ABC4]
-> A bill that would require insurance companies to cover treatment for children with autism is one of a multiplying number of insurance mandates at the Utah Legislature, with patient advocacy groups banking on those mandates being folded into Obamacare. [Trib]
-> A controversial bill that would rewrite the online education law to allow students to take online classes only within their own districts passed through a House committee. [Trib] [DNews]
-> In a continued debate over the recent GRAMA bill, the Utah Court of Appeals rejects a bid to provide copies of a database as long as the information is available online. [Trib]
-> A House committee cleared a resolution to put more emphasis on Utah's "obesity epidemic" by making access to physical activity and healthy eating options a staple in every community. [DNews] [ABC4]
-> Lawmakers weren't ready to give school funds directly to students, but an amended bill passed through a committee that would create an education savings fund of $6,400 per year for participating 11th- and 12th- graders. [Trib]
-> Adults over 19 will soon not have to take driver education courses before hopping behind the wheel after the House gave final passage to the bill Friday. [Trib]
-> After court cases forced the removal of white crosses to remember fallen officers, the House cleared a bill to instate a new memorial for them -- warning signs accompanied by a placard for each trooper. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Jack Abramoff stops over at the Legislature, using his own story as a lobbyist to warn lawmakers to be wary of special interests that win through bribery and corruption. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Taking footage of farms without permission could become a punishable offense under a bill passed by the House, a move aimed at stopping animals rights groups from creating distorted images and alleging abuse. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Military veterans won't have extended tuition benefits for now, after the Senate killed a bill that would have allowed the state to fund a gap between federal funding while veterans work toward a bachelor's degree. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaABC4]
-> Despite worries of infringing on cities' power, the House advances a bill that would shut down SLC Mayor Ralph Becker's initiative to ban idling. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Instead of getting raises based on seniority and degree status, Utah teachers could soon increase their salaries based 60 percent on student gains and 40 percent on meeting specific standards of effectiveness, under a bill cleared by a Senate committee. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> A House committee endorses a bill that would change liability laws for children sustaining head injuries during sporting events, switching the liability from falling on the city to the organization. [Trib]
-> A bill that gained committee approval would penalize Utah schools for not giving all teacher groups equal access to teacher associations. [Trib]
-> If a payday lender is not properly registered with the state, a bill approved by the House would void its loans - and ban collecting any principal or interest. [Trib]
2012 watch: Rick Santorum presses on culture wars attack, saying President Barack Obama is a "snob" that wants everyone to go to college to be remade into his "image." [WaPost]
-> Just days before a critical primary, Romney makes a pit stop at the Daytona 500 [FoxNews], but didn't leave before making a comment the DNC pointed out as "out of touch." [ABCNews]
-> Ron Paul calls Santorum "desperate," laughing off comments Santorum made that Paul and Romney have an under-the-table running mate deal going. [CBS]
-> Newt Gingrich focuses his attack on Obama at a GOP convention in California, calling the president "fundamentally dishonest" and that he lives in a "fantasy world." [BostonHerald]
-> Paul's eldest son, Ronnie, hits the campaign trail for his dad in Hawaii for five days leading up to the Aloha State's March 13 caucuses. [WaPost]
-> Gingrich says his aide was "kidding" when he said the former Speaker's campaign needed Romney out of the race for it to go to Tampa. [Politico]
Weekend in review: SLC Mayor Ralph Becker seeks to change the "SkiLink" bill, urging a measure that only calls for a "transportation connection" and requires a full environmental review. [Trib]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert tells National Journal's Hotline that Utah is a national champion -- referring to the state's improved economy -- and that voters shouldn't change the coach. [Hotline]
-> A retired military vet who is tired of "petty politics" plans to join the race for Utah governor. [Fox13]
-> Cedar Hills Mayor Eric Richardson hopes to return to civility in city politics after a probe ruffled feathers among members. [Trib]
-> Former Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, "excommunicated" by the GOP, predicts no Republican nominee could beat Obama. [DNews]
-> A Riverton man is suing his city over political sign ordinances he claims inhibit his right to free speech. [DNews]
-> Hatch told the Legislature on Friday that he is "going to win," but mainly so he can continue his leadership over the Senate Finance Committee to help control spending and shrink the federal deficit. [Trib] [DNews]
Where are they?
- Gov. Gary Herbert is in Washington, D.C., and plans to hit the NGA closing session, then the NGA governors-only meeting with Obama, and later sits down with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Indian Affairs chief Larry Echohawk.
- Lt. Gov. Greg Bell speaks to insurance agents from across Utah at the Capitol then conducts the board meeting for the newly-created Commission on Civic and Character Education.
- SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon goes to a cabinet meeting and later meets with Gary Edwards of SLVHD and Jean Nielsen, the human services director. Corroon later sits down with Mayor Becker.
- SLC Mayor Ralph Becker participates in an Emergency Operations Center activation exercise then chats with Corroon.
- WVC Mayor Mike Winder goes to a League of Cities Legislative meeting at the Capitol then attends a ULCT executive committee meeting.
- President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room then meets with Secretary Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.