Some of the top Democratic candidates among the crowded presidential field have embraced the idea of dumping the Electoral College. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren advocated for the move during a CNN town hall in Mississippi this week, she drew loud applause. The next day Beto O’Rourke seemed to endorse the concept. And Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the Electoral College a vestige “of a bygone era.” The proposal is seen as a play to win support from younger voters, but it is panned by Republicans, who see it as sour grapes after popular vote winners Al Gore and Hillary Clinton lost the presidency because of the constitutional provision. [Bloomberg]

Happy Thursday.

Topping the news: A new ruling by a federal judge is aimed at halting recent oil and gas leases in Wyoming because of the failure to take climate change into account. Environmentalists see it as an opening to challenge leases in Utah. [Trib]

-> Utah Republican Party Chairman Rob Anderson will not seek re-election, saying he can not mend the widening rifts in the ruling party. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Utah Sen. Luz Escamilla D-Salt Lake City, said she will join the city’s 2019 mayoral race. After an unexpected withdrawal from incumbent Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Escamilla will join a crowded, otherwise all-male field. [Trib]

Tweets of the day:

-> From @jessesplin “And since I'm sure you'll get into state politics in your speech, I hope you know about the changes to the ballot initiative process that were made in the #utleg session. Mostly bad, but one good thing for our democracy is that the legislature funded a state primary for 2020!”

-> From @aedwardslevy “I can't be the only person who mentally pictures "small donors" as little elves that sneak into your campaign headquarters at night and leave you money.”

-> From @pulmyears “Imagine being Kellyanne Conway and still working for the manchild who publicly calls your beloved husband “a total loser.” Of course, she has every right to her career at TrumpCo, but I guess it’s clear where her priorities are.”

Happy Birthday: to former Rep. Jim Matheson and freshman state Rep. Jeff Stenquist.

In other news: Two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are returning to the United States after being released from a detention center in Russia where they’ve spent nearly three weeks for teaching English without a license. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]

-> Salt Lake City’s former downtown Community Council leader, Christian Harrison, formally announced his candidacy on Wednesday. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A West Valley City resident determined to adopt a third cat successfully petitioned his City Council to pass an ordinance increasing the maximum amount of felines per household from two to four. [Trib]

-> Lyft announced initiatives aimed at increasing the company’s diver base in Utah, including facilitating rental vehicles for drivers who do not own cars and opening a charging station for electric vehicles. [Trib]

-> Utah Transit Authority said it saw a 16 percent ridership increase during two free-fare days it held on Feb 28 and March 1. The agency estimated that this experiment removed 10,500 vehicles from the road and prevented 2.5 tons of pollutants and 80 tons of greenhouse gases. [Trib] [DNews]

-> A longtime ban on big trucks will be lifted from Legacy Parkway next year after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to extend it, prompting some 100 residents in the area to gather and discuss ways to extend the ban, including possible lawsuits. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> Pat Bagley illustrates safeguarding the public trust. [Trib]

-> Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke backs up Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s claims of a family crisis as the reason she bowed out of a campaign for re-election and gives his perspective on where that decision leaves mayoral hopefuls. [Trib]

-> Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced a reorganization of her administration, which included two new executive staff members. [DNews]

On this week’s Mormon Land podcast, psychologist Lee Beckstead, a gay former Mormon who testified against conversion therapy in a prominent court case, and therapist Ty Mansfield, an active Latter-day Saint who has written about his same-sex attractions and his marriage to a woman, discuss efforts to find common ground between the LGBTQ community and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [Trib]

The Logan Municipal Council has tabled for six months a proposed ban on plastic bags. [Herald Journal]

A Southern Utah charged with accidentally setting off the massive Brian Head fire of 2017 is expected to get a trial date later this year. [KUTV]

Nationally: Just days after a gunman slaughtered 50 people in attacks on mosques, New Zealand has imposed an immediate ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons. [AP] [WaPost] [NYTimes]

->Despite pleas from Republicans to desist, President Donald Trump continued his attacks on the late Arizona senator and veteran of war John McCain. While speaking at a General Dynamics tank factory in Lima, Ohio, Trump lamented that he had not received gratitude for McCain’s funeral and accused the late prisoner of war of not doing enough for veterans. [WaPost][NYTimes][Politico]

-> After Trump attacked the husband of one of his top aides, Kellyanne Conway, via a series of twitter posts, Conway defended the president’s right to fire back at her husband’s criticism of him. [Politico]

-> Trump said he would not be opposed to making the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation public. The probe is trained on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign. [WaPost]

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Dan Harrie and Christina Giardinelli