Tuesday, April 20
Good morning Utah and thanks for reading “The Rundown”.
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Utah gets a little less red
The Cook Political Report’s latest Partisan Voter Index is out, and Utah’s four solidly red congressional districts faded a little in the latest rankings. The PVI rankings, which are essential to political obsessives like me, measure every congressional district’s performance over the last two presidential elections compared to the nation as a whole. For example, if a district is rated R+4, then the district was four points more Republican than the national average.
The “most Democratic” district in the country is Pennsylvania’s 3rd with a D+41 ranking. The “most Republican” seat belongs to Alabama’s 4th district at R+34.
Utah’s most Republican district is UT01, the seat held by freshman Rep. Blake Moore. It scored R+20 in the latest rankings, down from R+26 in 2017. It’s the 51′s “most Republican” district in the country.
Utah’s 3rd District is the right behind at R+17, which is down 8 points from four years ago. It’s the 75th most Republican.
Rep. Chris Stewart’s 2nd District is R+10, down from R+16. That’s good for the 132nd reddest seat in the nation.
The competitive 4th District is only R+6, which is a drop of 7 points from the last round of rankings. Rep. Burgess Owens’ seat is only the 172nd most Republican in terms of partisan advantage.
Now, take these ratings with a grain of salt. The previous round of ratings was artificially inflated because of Mitt Romney’s presence on the presidential ballot in 2012. This round is likely a little low given Donald Trump’s underperformance in 2016 and 2020.
These rankings also won’t reflect the new political lines that lawmakers will draw later this year during redistricting. Still, they can be used as a baseline comparison after the 2022 midterm elections.
The complete list is here.
What you need to know for Tuesday morning
Utah lawmakers will study whether the state can refuse to enforce or ignore new federal gun laws or regulations. The Utah House passed a bill to do just that in 2021, but the Senate feared the issue would spark a backlash at the ballot box [Tribune].
Sen. Mitt Romney was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss infrastructure [Tribune].
The plan to reinstate earmarks in Congress is dividing Utah’s congressional delegation. Sens. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney are opposed to bringing back the budgetary practice, but House members disagree [Tribune].
Students at a Provo middle school were randomly assigned to be either slaves or slave masters during a lesson about the Civil War. The Provo City School District says they will review and revise the project following pushback from some parents [Tribune].
A Latter-day Saint sex therapist facing expulsion from her church was asked to leave a disciplinary hearing before it began because she would not turn off her cellphone. Lay leaders were worried she would record the meeting despite her promise not to [Tribune].
Apple says it will reinstate right-wing social media app Parler to its App Store. The tech giant removed the app after its platform was used for calls for violence following the 2020 election [WSJ].
A new report says China and Russia “weaponized” the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory to sow discord among the American electorate leading up to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol [CNN].
Former Vice President Walter Mondale died Monday night at the age of 93 [Politico].
Read Mondale’s last message to his staff before he died [Axios].
The jury in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has begun deliberations. The federal government is weighing how to respond if there are demonstrations following the verdict [AP].
The judge in the trial warned inflammatory comments from Rep. Maxine Waters may be grounds for an appeal if Chauvin is found guilty. Waters called for protesters to “get more confrontational” if Chauvin is acquitted in the killing of George Floyd [CNN].
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to introduce a resolution censuring Waters remarks [Politico].
Facebook plans to limit or remove content that could lead to civil unrest or violence [Facebook].
The White House is prepping a package of spending focused on child care and other domestic programs. The details are still in flux, but the plan could cost $1 trillion and would be paid for through tax hikes on upper-income Americans [WaPo].
President Biden is reportedly weighing an executive order mandating cigarette makers reduce the nicotine level in their products to the point they are no longer addictive [CNN].
The Capitol Police officer who died following the attempted insurrection on January 6 suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, according to Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner [WaPo].
Tuesday’s Utah news roundup
Data shows strong teacher retention in Utah despite pandemic - Tribune
Dino-mite Utah discovery bolsters theory that T. rexes, like lions, hunted in packs - Tribune
How Mitt Romney, Kyrsten Sinema propose to reduce student debt, make college more affordable - Deseret News
More than a third of eligible Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 - Tribune
Utah kids experiencing abuse still need help from trusted adults as COVID-19 continues, doctor says - Tribune
Map: See where Utahns are most hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 - Tribune
Environment & development
Seven-story apartment complex could go up on former Road Home shelter site - Tribune
Navajo Nation solar project will cement San Juan County’s position as exporter of renewable energy - Tribune
Developer cancels contracts for 15 homebuyers in Sandy, cites rising costs - KUTV
Mendenhall plants first of 1,000 trees for Salt Lake City’s west side - Tribune
Orem’s Neighborhood Preservation Unit goes civilian - Daily Herald
Davis County gets curbside glass recycling, service may come to Weber County - Standard-Examiner
UTA board approves purchase of Ogden BRT electric buses, but not without questions - Standard-Examiner
On the opinion pages
Robert Gehrke: Roughly a dozen Utah cities and towns will be trying ranked-choice elections this year — with good reason - Tribune
Gary Leimback: Republican libertarians care only about themselves - Tribune
Tom Elder: Let us now praise the Antiquities Act - Tribune
John D. Leshy: The facts about the Antiquities Act and the courts - Tribune
You say it’s your birthday?!!
Happy birthday, former State Rep. Bill Wright and journalist Suzanne Struglinski Broadfield.
If you have a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space, drop us an email.