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‘The Rundown’: Owens says those pushing for critical race theory in schools should be fired

Your Monday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Owens: ‘Fire’ those pushing to teach critical race theory in schools

Rep. Burgess Owens, who wants to ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools nationwide, called for the firing of local school officials or anyone who advocates for the curriculum.

“Fire them. Get rid of them,” said Owens during a Saturday appearance on Newsmax. “They have this bitterness. That ideology is against everything we believe in. We need to fire everyone we can find, and those we will fire later on, we’ll figure out a way to get rid of them, too.”

Owens is getting much praise from right-wing media for proposed legislation to ban critical race theory, but a closer look shows the bills are more bark than bite.

The first is a resolution opposing the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 classrooms. Since it’s only a resolution, it does not have any force of law. He is also behind a bill to block any federal agency from going against an executive order issued by former President Donald Trump, which prohibited using “blame-focused” training, which is considered part of critical race theory. The problem for Owens is the executive order in question was reversed by President Joe Biden.

Neither proposal has a single Democratic sponsor, so it’s a good bet they’re not going anywhere in the Democrat-controlled House.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Owens from demagoguing on the issue.

“This is a very evil process we’re going after. It’s done by bullies and cowards who hide behind labor unions, who hide behind a school board that no one knows what they’re doing. Our children are under attack, and now’s the time to stand up against it,” said Owens.

Without a hint of irony, Owens ended the interview with a call for less division and more harmony in America.


Here’s what you need to know for Monday

Local news

  • Here comes redistricting. Legislators have settled on 11 public meetings throughout the state this fall to hear public input, with a special session to approve the new political maps before Thanksgiving [Tribune].

  • Utah’s low water levels and worsening drought could lead to water restrictions this summer [Tribune].

  • A Utah polygamous sect received federal COVID-19 bailout loans through 10 Davis County companies owned by the group [Tribune].

  • Ever wonder how Salt Lake City’s budget works? Here’s an explainer [Tribune].

  • Some Utah nonprofit groups may not survive financially beyond the pandemic [Tribune].

  • The Utah Jazz drops the first playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies 112-109 [Tribune].

National headlines

  • Whoa! An intelligence report says researchers at a virology lab in Wuhan, China were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms n November 2019, shortly before the outbreak that caused the worldwide pandemic [WSJ].

  • Talks between the White House and Congress on a possible infrastructure deal have bogged down as hopes for some sort of an agreement dim [NYT].

  • Members of Congress are worried the toxic atmosphere surrounding politics will follow them to their home districts while they’re on recess [WaPo].

  • Belarus forced a RyanAir plane flying from Greece to Lithuania to land so they could seize a dissident journalist who was on board [NYT].

  • Republicans are ripping President Joe Biden’s plan to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to collect billions of dollars owed by tax cheats, painting the move as a backdoor tax hike [Politico].

  • Sen. Mitt Romney’s opposition to right-wing extremism in his own party echoes similar stances taken by his father [Salon].

  • Nobody is reading former President Trump’s blog. His website attracts fewer visitors than a popular recipe website or a pet adoption service [WaPo].

  • The crypto markets continued to be a roller coaster. Bitcoin dropped 13% on Sunday [CNN].

  • Visitors at Yellowstone National Park last month jumped 40% compared to 2019 [AP].


Monday’s Utah news roundup

Utah

  • Why a Utah developer says land he gave to the LDS Church should remain a park. [Tribune]

  • Utahn who sold footage of Jan. 6 riot has $90,000 confiscated by U.S. authorities. [Tribune]

  • Utah doctors complain of conflict of interest in Intermountain Healthcare’s sports medicine contract. [Tribune]

  • Controversial off-road rally divides Moab. [Tribune]

  • Salt Lake City firefighters go door to door to prepare homeowners for fire season. [KUTV]

  • Utah man, who grew up in Gaza, welcomes ceasefire but says permanent peace is essential. [KUTV]

  • Salt Lake City residents gather in support of Palestine and Colombia. [ABC4]

  • Government leaders from Sudan visit Salt Lake City. [ABC4]

Washington

  • Romney introduces bill to fight Utah opioid crisis. [FOX13]

  • One congressman says ‘we are a special kind of stupid’ when it comes to drought. [DNews]

COVID-19

  • Utah pharmacist is working hard to get HIV patients COVID-19 vaccines. [Tribune]

  • Utah reports 231 new COVID-19 cases but no new deaths. [Tribune]

  • Privacy review finds unusually high number of user trackers on Utah coronavirus website. [Tribune]

  • Why some say to forget the term ‘herd immunity’. [DNews]

  • COVID-19 variants from India have reached Utah. [DNews]

  • New studies show ‘Long COVID’ increasing in kids. [KUTV]

  • SLCo closes mass testing site as Utah drops COVID emergency alert level. [FOX13]

Police

  • Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal remembered on eve of the anniversary of his death. [Tribune]

  • Utah is one of several states that have limited or banned police chokeholds in wake of the death of George Floyd. [Tribune]

  • Man targets, injures UHP trooper with dirt bike at Utah Capitol. [KUTV]

Local Government

  • Review finds Cache County Clerk violated no laws, policies. [Tribune]

  • Two Tooele projects get state recreation grant money. [Transcript Bulletin]

  • Utah County Commission approves disposal of north county property. [Daily Herald]

  • Summit County reverses itself after denying tax-exempt status for property owned by nonprofits. [Park Record]

  • Summit County Democrats elect new leadership. [Park Record]

Environment

  • American Fork saves millions of gallons of water as state heads into ‘worst’ drought. [KSL]

Transportation

  • Cottonwood Heights residents march against expansion of Wasatch Boulevard. [Tribune]

  • Cost on UDOT’s Shepard Lane interchange project nearly doubles. [Standard-Examiner]

  • New Provo airport terminal expected to arrive on time despite minor bumps. [DNews]

Education

  • After a pandemic senior year, Utah students feel ‘the class of 2021 has it way worse’ than last year’s graduates. [Tribune]

  • Utah higher ed board urges public colleges, universities to commemorate end of slavery. [DNews]

  • Dixie State University name change process takes ‘ugly’ turn after Facebook threat. [DNews]

  • From Somalia to Stanford: The story of a refugee family’s commitment to learning and the community that helped them. [DNews]

  • Community members ‘outraged’ after Park City School Board removes public comment period from meeting. [ABC4]

  • ‘Test to play’ and ‘test to stay’ saved more than 100,000 in-person learning hours. [KUTV]

  • Online learning options added during the pandemic, to some extent, will stick around. [Standard-Examiner]

From the Opinion Section

  • Robert Gehrke: Utah should invest in child care so more families can afford their housing. [Tribune]

  • Robert Gehrke: What puts Utah on the verge of being a leader in mental health care? [Tribune]

  • Gabby Saunders and Cooper Wiggins: Unemployment checks are not the problem. The restaurant industry is. [Tribune]

  • There’s a reason Utah is not on Ford or Apple’s short list, The Tribune’s Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]

  • George Pyle: Here’s what you missed while the Utah Legislature was embarrassing us. [Tribune]

  • Molly Davis: Utah’s medical cannabis program is a success. [Tribune]

  • Alex Muresianu: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox moves on licensing reform. [Tribune]

  • Jonathan E. Johnson: If the Utah Legislature called them ‘extraordinary sessions’ we might have fewer of them. [Tribune]

  • Mayor Jenny Wilson: Getting vaccinated now is the path to a better summer. [DNews]

— Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this newsletter.

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