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This week’s winners and losers in Utah politics
👍🏻 Winner. Rep. John Curtis. Conservative voices have been shut out of the climate change debate mostly because they haven’t offered any policy proposals. Instead of climate change denialism, Curtis is the leader of the newly formed Conservative Climate Caucus, which focuses on private sector solutions to climate change. You may disagree with their belief that the solution does not lie in eliminating fossil fuels, but at least they’re coming to the table to look for policy proposals.
👍🏻 Winner. Sen. Mitt Romney. Romney helped craft a bipartisan infrastructure proposal that President Joe Biden gave his blessing to. You have to believe this is the kind of work Romney was hoping to do when he was elected to the Senate. Cross-aisle dealmaking was mostly absent during the Trump administration. There are still many hurdles before the proposal crosses the finish line, but Romney seems well suited to be a major player if bipartisanship breaks out in Washington.
👎 Loser. Utah’s confusing fireworks laws. Salt Lake City has slapped a citywide ban on personal fireworks, but there’s a lot of confusion about whether Utah law allows an outright ban. Gov. Spencer Cox says he’d like to enact a statewide ban, but he needs the legislature to change the code. Lawmakers say the code gives local leaders the tools they need to enact restrictions. You have to hope the state doesn’t burn down while everyone is pointing fingers at each other.
Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning
Sen. Mitt Romney joined with other senators and President Joe Biden to announce a bipartisan deal on infrastructure funding. [Tribune]
Renters in Utah County are paying higher rents than those in Salt Lake County. [Tribune]
It’s more difficult to buy a bike in Utah as demand is shooting up. [Tribune]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would create a committee to investigate the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. [Politico]
Make sure you read this great behind-the-scenes look at how the bipartisan infrastructure proposal got done. [Politico]
Attorney General Merrick Garland said 500 people had been arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot. [WaPo]
A New York court suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani, a former top federal prosecutor, for repeatedly lying about the 2020 election being stolen. [NYT]
A new book says military leaders rejected multiple demands for military intervention in response to last year’s George Floyd protests in multiple cities. [CNN]
Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the U.S.-Mexico border today. The Biden administration insists the trip is not about politics. [Politico]
Former President Donald Trump hits the campaign trail this weekend with a rally in Ohio. He’s going to support Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, who is challenging Rep. Anthony Gonzales, who voted for the second impeachment of Trump following the January 6 riot. [Politico]
Former Vice President Mike Pence breaks with former President Trump and says he was “proud” to certify the 2020 election. [NYT]
The CDC extended the nationwide moratorium on evictions for another month. Officials said the extension would be the final one. [AP]
Uh oh! There’s a new COVID-19 variant dubbed “Delta Plus” spreading in several countries. Experts say the new variant is even more contagious than previously identified variants. [CNN]
159 people are unaccounted for following the collapse of a condo building near Miami Beach. Four people have died. [Miami Herald]
Microsoft unveiled its Windows 11 operating system. [The Verge]
Friday’s Utah news roundup
Pets adopted during the pandemic find forever homes — even as restrictions lift. [Tribune]
Body camera footage shows man with knife ran at SLCPD officers before they shot him. [Tribune]
Utah’s first proton therapy center could be a game changer for hundreds of cancer patients. [Tribune]
David Archuleta tells ‘Nightline’ he questioned whether he wanted to keep on living. [Tribune]
It’s getting ridiculous, UHP says of excessive speeders in Utah. [KSL]
Utah gets a C-minus on women’s wages and employment compared to other states. [KSL]
Thursday’s new COVID-19 case number remains high at 462. [Tribune]
Can Utah — and some of its residents — survive cut in federal COVID-19 jobless aid? [DNews]
Ogden becomes the latest Utah city to ban fireworks. [Tribune]
Parched Dinosaur National Monument imposes new fire restrictions. [Tribune]
West Jordan bans fireworks, lighters, matches in certain areas of city. [FOX13]
Fireworks industry threatens lawsuits over cities’ bans. [FOX13]
Rainwater harvesting won’t solve Utah’s drought problems, could help with lawns, gardens. [KUTV]
Provo mayor asks residents to celebrate in designated parks, no fireworks ban. [Daily Herald]
U.S. Forest Service looking to move wildland firefighting team to spot near Pineview Reservoir. [Standard Examiner]
The Road Home opens new 65-unit apartment complex to get the chronically homeless off the streets. [Tribune]
Can’t pay your rent? Utah has $180 million available in rental assistance. [DNews]
Utah County adopts social media policy for officials, employees following records appeal. [Daily Herald]
Utah ag officials target Japanese beetle in Weber, Davis counties and elsewhere. [Standard Examiner]
Orem offers small businesses struggling due to COVID, low or no interest loans. [Daily Herald]
On the Opinion Pages
Robert Gehrke: The Utah Legislature blocked vaccine incentives. How business can help us close the gap. [Tribune]
Terry Haven and Martín C. Muñoz: The 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows some decline in Utah child well-being. [Tribune]
Kurt Bradburn: Utah cities will grow stronger, smarter with bipartisan infrastructure package from Congress. [Tribune]
Brian Moench: Utah does the dirty work for industrial polluters. [Tribune]
Nick Eason: Drilling near Dinosaur National Monument is a mistake. [Tribune]
John Zaccheo and Kael Weston: What a difference an election makes. [Tribune]
🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!
Happy birthday to former Research Director for the Democratic National Committee, Mike Gehrke, and USU’s Ted Pease.
Sheryl Worsley, director of audience development at KSL NewsRadio, and David Shephardson, a correspondent at Thomson Reuters, celebrate on Sunday.
Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.
— Tribune reporter Connor Sanders contributed to this report.