Morning Buzz

It may be Ground Hog Day across the rest of the country, but here, it’s Feral Cat Day, and may heaven have mercy on @UTFeralCat if it comes out from under the porch to predict anything…

* There is much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the base budgets that were passed on Tuesday. Perhaps now is an excellent time to remember that the Legislature is starting in a $313 million hole, and that being responsible means finding a starting point and moving forward. The Speaker says this is a starting point and a lot can change by the end of the 45th day. (Fox 13) (Except for maybe her staff. Those guys totally have cuts coming.)

* There’s a pretty strong sentiment around here that if the federal government is going to keep acting like an 11-year-old with a credit card, then someone had better be the adult in the room. Might as well be us. (AP)

* Banning smoking in cars while kids are strapped in the back is back for its fourth year. This time around, it’s Rep. Patrice Arent doing the heavy lifting. (Trib)

* Several things to be watching today:

12:00 PM – Capitol Board Room, Patrick Henry Caucus Press Conference.

Here’s a peek at what will be discussed:

During the 2010 General Legislative Session, Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Co-Founder of the Patrick Henry Caucus, introduced House Bill 67 Health System Amendments*, warning the federal government that the regulation of health care delivery and systems is a state authority. This bill, along with a dozen others focusing on state’s rights, were criticized last session and branded as “message bills,” and a waste of Utah’s legislative resources. The passage of House Bill 67, however, provided standing for Utah in the federal courts. With Governor Gary Herbert signing HB67 into law on the eve of the signature of the president, Utah was one of a handful of states capable of mitigating the effects of this onerous federal mandate.

2:00 PM – Capitol Board Room, Sen. Luz Robles and Rep. Jeremy Peterson will introduce a long-awaited immigration bill. Here’s the Trib’s preview.