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‘The Rundown’: Sen. Mike Lee chats with an Avenger

Your Thursday morning political cheat sheet

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Good Thursday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown.”

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Sen. Mike Lee and Captain America?

Sen. Mike Lee spent some time talking about anti-trust law with “Captain America” actor Chris Evans and Mark Kassen on their “A Starting Point” interview series this week.

(Screengrab: A Starting Point) Utah Sen. Mike Lee appears on "A Starting Point" with Chris Evans and Mark Kassen.

Lee spent a good portion of the interview talking about how big tech companies are stifling competition instead of innovating. He also discussed how they are so big now, they can buy competitors before they start to take market share.

“Big doesn’t always mean bad,” said Lee. “The question is not whether the company is big, but whether the company acted in an anti-competitive manner.”

No word whether Lee prefers the Steve Rogers or the John Walker Captain America.

You can watch the full interview here.


What you need to know for Thursday morning

  • Breaking overnight: Russia announced the massive troop buildup near the border with Ukraine has ended, and units will return to their home bases by May 1. The military exercises sparked fears of a looming Russian invasion [Axios].

  • Utah Senate President Stuart Adams wants to bring together a coalition of states to find ways for the government to regulate online speech. Critics say any such move would likely be unconstitutional [Tribune].

  • Rep. Chris Stewart encourages everyone to get the COVID vaccination, but we shouldn’t shame people who refuse to do so [Tribune].

  • A new audit of the Salt Lake City Police Department recommended several changes to improve performance, including upgrading body cam practices [Tribune].

  • Sen. Mitt Romney said President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan an “error” [Tribune].

  • The Utah Supreme Court is wading into the battle between the state of Utah and Salt Lake City over control of the inland port [Tribune].

  • A former Arizona politician has been sentenced for his role in a case of adoption fraud [Tribune].

  • Sex therapist Natasha Helfer was ousted from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after repeatedly opposing the church’s stance on sexuality issues [Tribune].

  • Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Department of Justice will investigate policing practices in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin [Reuters].

  • President Joe Biden is set to announce the U.S. will set an ambitious goal of cutting carbon emissions by more than half by 2030 [CNN].

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to an even partisan split on a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on Congress to jump-start talks with Republicans [CNN].

  • A member of the Capitol Police is under investigation for allegedly radioing fellow officers to direct them only to target “anti-Trump” rioters as a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 [Politico].

  • Senate Republicans voted to keep their ban on earmarks in place. They’ve also committed to opposing raising the debt ceiling without budget cuts, which could lead to a budget standoff this summer [Politico].

  • Senate Democrats are saying a stripped-down infrastructure counterproposal from their Republican counterparts is too small [Politico].

  • President Joe Biden is preparing to recognize the Armenian genocide formally. He would be the first sitting president to label the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide, which will likely spark a backlash from Turkey [Reuters].

  • The National Rifle Association is launching a $2 million campaign to oppose President Biden’s efforts to enact gun control measures [WaPo].

  • India’s latest COVID outbreak hits a horrific level as the country reported 314,835 cases in a single day and more than 2,000 deaths [AP].

  • A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says we’re just a few weeks away from reaching a “tipping point” on COVID vaccine enthusiasm where supply will outstrip the number of people who want to get vaccinated. One county health department in Wyoming asked the state to stop sending doses [NYT].

  • Citing burnout from the pandemic, 3 in 10 health care professionals say they are considering leaving the profession [WaPo].

  • The Pentagon is investigating suspected directed-energy attacks on U.S. troops. Defense Department officials say the attacks were likely perpetrated by Russia [Politico].

  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance says his department will no longer prosecute prostitution cases [NYT].


Thursday’s Utah news roundup

Utah

  • “It is done” — Latter-day Saint sex therapist Natasha Helfer is ousted from the church - Tribune

  • Former Arizona politician sentenced for human smuggling in Utah - Tribune

Washington

  • In 2020, religious freedom faced a new foe: COVID-19 - Deseret News

  • Park City’s congressman sees little bipartisanship, questions Afghanistan withdrawal, Supreme Court-packing - Park Record

COVID

  • Utah reports almost 600 new cases of COVID-19 - Tribune

  • Navajo Nation: No COVID-related deaths for 10th day in a row - AP via Tribune

  • Utah in jeopardy of not reaching COVID-19 herd immunity - KUTV

Local government

  • Salt Lake City Council seeks replacement to take over west-side seat - Tribune

  • Utah County Commission approves budget changes, clearing way for property tax rollback - Daily Herald

  • Provo Municipal Council asked if diversity in Provo matters - Daily Herald

  • Despite chorus of objection from hangar owners, Ogden City adopts new airport policy - Standard-Examiner

  • Dixie State University to choose from six ‘name themes’ for name change - St. George Spectrum

On the opinion pages

  • Tribune Editorial: Some of Utah’s oldest inhabitants show new ways to generate power - Tribune

  • Astrid S. Tuminez: Making Utah Valley University a ‘green’ campus in more ways than one - Tribune

  • Andie Madsen: You can’t vaccinate yourself against the effects of global warming - Tribune

— Tribune reporter Karina Andrew contributed to this story.

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