Political Cornflakes

News roundup: Obama urges Congress to have ‘courage’ to protect Obamacare

First Published      Last Updated May 08 2017 11:07 am

Obama urges Congress to have ‘courage’ to protect Obamacare. Zinke arrives in Utah for monument tour. Hatch, Lee to help pen Senate version of GOP health care law.

Happy Monday. Former President Barack Obama urged members of Congress to have the "political courage" to save his signature domestic achievement, Obamacare, as he accepted an award for courage in honor of John F. Kennedy. "I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what’s politically expedient, but doing what, deep in our hearts, we know is right," Obama said. [Politico]

Topping the news: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke arrived in Utah for a four-day visit to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, kicking of the Trump administration’s four-month review of large national monuments designated since 1996 under the Antiquities Act. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KUTV]

-> As he began his visit, Zinke said he arrived in Utah "without any predisposition of outcome" toward the monuments and called them "an effective tool," to preserve land, though he noted Bears Ears has not been widely accepted among those in the state. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Sen. Mike Lee said he wants to see changes to federal law that would allow local interests to have more say in decision-making processes for land-use provisions. "The people of San Juan County want [the land at Bears Ears] protected, but they want to have input," he said. [DNews]

-> The day before Zinke’s arrival, hundreds of supporters of the national monument designations rallied at the state Capitol. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]

Tweets of the weekend: From: @Matty_WagzRewatching Parks and Rec and I love the scene with @CoryBooker and @OrrinHatch one of my favorite scenes in the series #AcrosstheAisle

-> From @Patbagley"From the moment we are born we begin to die "

-> From @kumailn: "This is the first time the French version of anything has had a happier ending."

Happy Birthday: Former state Reps. Sophia DiCaro, Phil Riesen,  Kenneth Sumsion, former state Sen. Mark Madsen, Spencer Jenkins with the Utah System of Higher Education and former Hinckley Institute Director Kirk Jowers.

Opinion section: Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, and Kay Welkie, CEO of Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Hospital, urge Congress to take advantage of the opportunity the debate over the American Health Care Act provides to prioritize the health of children by preserving their access to medical care. [Trib]

-> Tom Day, a recent retiree who lives in Cottonwood Heights, urges President Donald Trump to "grow into someone who provides the leadership and presidential qualities of presidents who preceded him in office" — and to start by educating himself on issues before he speaks. [Trib]

-> As Sen. Orrin Hatch plays with the idea of seeking an eighth term in office, Keaton Quinn, a political science and international studies undergraduate student at the University of Utah, argues the senator does not represent the millennial generation’s priorities and says Utah’s largest age demographic needs new leadership. [Trib]

-> Holly Richardson, a former state lawmaker, considers the case of a West Valley woman who was detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and asks whether arresting a mother of three children is really "preventative policing." [Trib]

-> Robert O. Rice, president of the Utah State Bar, argues that proposals that would subject judges to recall elections undermines the independence of the state’s judiciary system. [Trib]

-> Matthew Weinstein, a state priorities partnership director at Voices for Utah Children, outlines the consequences that come with Utah’s status as one of the lowest-ranking states in the country for per pupil K-12 education spending. [Trib]

-> Neylan McBaine, the CEO of a gender workplace consultancy called the Seneca Council, examines statistics that show Utah’s female graduates have the largest pay gap in the country — a disparity she argues offers the chance to reevaluate the state’s culture. [Trib]

-> Rich West, the CEO of the YMCA of Northern Utah, commends Sen. Orrin Hatch for sponsoring the bipartisan Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017, which helps provides the YMCA with access to FBI background checks and to control costs associated with such efforts. [Trib]

-> Ron Gibson, president of the Utah Farm Bureau Foundation, applauds Trump’s review of national monument designations, which he says have hit cattle ranching and its economic contribution in southern Utah counties hard. [Trib]

-> Amy Roberts, the executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association, pushes against the notion that monuments are harmful to their surrounding communities and argues instead they are a positive economic force for rural communities. [Trib]

-> Robert Redford — an actor, director, producer and a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council — urges Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to meet with and listen to the Native Americans who were a uniting force behind the designation of Bears Ears National Monument. [Trib]

-> Joseph Bennion, a fifth-generation Utahn, points to the historical significance of Bears Ears not only for indigenous populations but also for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and urges all people of faith to protect such "sacred places." [Trib]

-> Bill Hedden, a former Grand County councilman and the executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust, offers his view on Bears Ears, which he calls one of the "finest and most just designations" ever made under the Antiquities Act. [Trib]

-> Brian K. Jones, a field geologist, describes a day in Bears Ears, noting that few people have a concept of what it means to spend time in the area. [Trib]

-> Tribune editorial page editor George Pyle looks at the arguments around the rescission of Bears Ears National Monument and finds they fall short, arguing that the monument is an emotional point of controversy because a nonwhite president made a deal with nonwhite original inhabitants of the region to put the land to its "highest and best use." [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley imagines who Zinke’s ears will hear during his visit to Bears Ears. [Trib]

-> Robert Gehrke outlines the problems he sees with the House Republicans’ health care bill, which he calls "an absolute unworkable mess." [Trib]

-> Frank Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb entertain political gossip and speculation around Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Attorney General Sean Reyes, internal conflicts at the University of Utah and more. [DNews]

In other news: The Republican health care bill the House passed last week is expected to undergo extensive changes when it reaches the Senate, where Hatch and Lee will be deeply involved as part of the 13-member health care ad-hoc committee that is drafting and pushing the legislation. [Trib]

-> Congress will consider a bipartisan bill from Hatch and three others senators that would speed up clinical trials for experimental medical treatments by expanding eligibility to high-risk patients. [DNews]

-> The West Davis Corridor, a roughly 20-mile stretch of planned new freeway in northern Utah, may financially benefit two developers who have championed the development and who also happen to be state legislators. [Trib]

-> Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes says he will not run for Chaffetz’s congressional seat — removing himself from the equation so the process for lawmakers to set a special election standard can happen as fast as possible, if needed. [Trib] [APviaDNews] [KUTV]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert has declined to call a special election to create such a process, leading legislators to consider proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow them to call themselves into special session. Herbert has been wary to call such a session over concern that some current lawmakers may have a vested interest in boosting their own chances to win the seat. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A monthslong investigation into abuse of prisoners at the Daggett County Jail culminated with charges against five former employees, including the former sheriff, for "unbelievably inhumane conduct and a reprehensible miscarriage of justice." [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]

-> Utah has consistently ranked as one of the highest in the country for rates of suicide. Now, the Utah Department of Corrections says it is moving into a new era where solitary confinement — which research shows is mentally and emotionally harmful and sometimes deadly — will not be as common. [Trib]

-> Nikki Haley, an ambassador to the United Nations, took to Twitter to call for the release of a Utah man who has been held for months in a Venezuelan prison. [KUTV]

-> In 2014, a 19-year-old student at Brigham Young University worried that the man who sexually assaulted her would do the same to other women after Orem police told her no charges would be filed against him. Since then, three other women have accused him of sexual assault — allegations investigators only recently connected. [Trib] [ABC4]

-> Though the former senior vice president of health services at the University of Utah resigned late last month amid controversy, she will reportedly continue to collect her $1 million salary for another year during the transitional period to new leadership. [DNews]

-> Utah lawmakers have appropriated nearly $70 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute over the past five years, which some believe means they deserve a clearer understanding about recent conflicts between the University of Utah and the institute. [DNews]

-> Amid funding agreement negotiations between the University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a spokesman for the U. pushed back against statements that it has withheld money from the institute. [Trib]

-> Utah State University’s business school will expand its faculty and scholarship offerings under a combined $50 million donation from the Huntsman Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation. [Trib] [ABC4] [KUTV]

-> The Utah State Board of Education voted unanimously to repeal a policy that prohibited the advocacy of homosexuality in classrooms. The policy had been the subject of a lawsuit from Equality Utah, which said it now looks to settle. [Fox13]

-> The Utah Transit Authority says a 45 percent sales tax hike is necessary to fund long-term regional transportation plans, such as rail and bus expansion. [Trib]

-> Citing safety, the Utah Supreme Court ruled police can ask for identification and run a background check on anyone in a car during a traffic stop. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> Though Utah now has the lowest blood-alcohol content limit in the country, a new state report shows last year’s drunken driving deaths trailed behind deaths from speeding, unbuckled seat belts, speed, unrestrained drivers, teenage drivers, drivers over 65, drivers who failed to yield, motorcycles and pedestrians. [Trib] [APviaDNews]

-> By bringing together the minds of lawmakers, representatives of the medical community and law enforcement, a new task force hopes to find solutions the "complicated" and "complex" problem of opioid addiction in Utah, which has the seventh highest rate of overdose in the nation. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13]

-> Preliminary estimates of the amount of taxable sales revenue between Jan. 1 — when the online retailer Amazon began collecting Utah sales tax — and the end of February indicate a 122 percent increase. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Two Salt Lake City employees were charged with alleged misuse of public funds, including various nonwork-related purchases that added up to more than $5,000 each and were charged to their city accounts. [Trib]

-> A report from Utah’s Natural Resources Conservation Service anticipates the Bear, Weber, Provo and Duchesne rivers will overflow their banks within a month based on the amount of snow remaining in mountains above them. [Trib]

-> A West Valley mother of three who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents last week says she is enjoying her time with her family before the 90-day window before she is likely deported to Mexico closes. [KUTV]

-> The trial of two of the first members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be taken to court for polygamy in Canada wrapped up Friday. The judge charged each of them with one count of polygamy. [Trib]

Nationally: As congressional probes into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election continue, the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked some high-profile Trump campaign associates to hand over their communications with Russia and indicated they will subpoena individuals who don’t??cooperate. Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama, will testify before the Senate today. [NBCNews] [ABCNews] [NYTimes] [CBSNews]

-> Trump congratulated Emmanuel Macron on Twitter for his "big win" in France’s presidential election and said he looks forward to working with the president-elect— though many believed Trump had previously offered implicit support for Macron’s far-right opponent. [WaPost] [TheGuardian] [TheHill] [ABCNews]

-> April job numbers from the US Labor Department show the country added 211,000 jobs last month and unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent — the lowest in more than 10 years. [PBSNews] [WaPost] [Politico] [NYTimes]

-> Mark Green, the Trump administration’s second nominee for Army secretary, withdrew from consideration amid opposition over his remarks about Muslims and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. [NPR] [WaPost] [CNN] [PBSNews]

Where are they?

  • Gov. Gary Herbert visits San Juan County and attends a press event with Zinke.
  • State Auditor John Dougall attends a management meeting and listens to a continuing education webinar.

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

-- Thomas Burr and Taylor Stevens

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/tstevens95