Good Thursday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.
Got a news tip? Some interesting political gossip? Just want to chat about politics? Send me an email or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.
Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Sign up for free here.
Despite rude reception from delegates, Romney reaches out to new GOP chair
After Republican delegates booed Sen. Mitt Romney at the party’s state convention in May, you wouldn’t blame him if he decided to keep his distance from the party.
Instead, Romney took the high road.
Utah GOP Chairman Carson Jorgensen says Romney recently sent him a handwritten letter welcoming him to the job.
“It said, ‘You and the party have my support,’” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen says he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to speak with Romney directly, but he was impressed by the gesture.
“That was very big of him after what happened at the convention,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen added he has a good relationship with the rest of Utah’s members of Congress, especially 4th District Rep. Burgess Owens, with whom he speaks quite frequently.
Jorgensen has been on the job for a little more than 3 months. He’s in Nashville this week for his first Republican National Committee meeting. On Wednesday, he was scheduled to have lunch with Party Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, Mitt’s niece.
Earlier this week, McDaniel said during an interview that former President Donald Trump “still leads the party.”
Does Jorgensen share that point of view? Well, kinda.
“He is a leader, for sure. He’s an extremely important figure in the party. I don’t like having any one person as the whole focus,” Jorgensen said.
Here’s what you need to know for Thursday morning
😷 The Salt Lake County Council meets Thursday to decide whether to block a mask mandate for K-6 students. [Tribune]
📍 The once-a-decade redistricting process kicks off today as the Census Bureau will release the data lawmakers will use to redraw political maps. [Tribune]
💵 Prices jumped 5.4% in July, but that’s about what economists expected. When you remove the cost of energy and food, the Consumer Price Index rose just 0.3%, which is well below June’s increase. [WSJ]
⚖️ A federal judge ruled former President Donald Trump’s accountant must turn over two years of his tax returns to a Congressional committee. [Politico]
🦠 More than 98% of Americans live in an area with a “high” or “substantial” risk of COVID-19 transmission. [CNN]
🦠 Nearly 1,600 kids were hospitalized last week because of the coronavirus, and experts are worried it’s going to get worse as schools reopen. [Politico]
💉 The FDA is moving quickly to approve a COVID-19 booster shot for people who are immunocompromised. [NYT]
💉 The CDC is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19. [AP]
💉 California will mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or regular testing for teachers. [USA Today]
👀 Sen. Rand Paul disclosed that his wife bought stock in a company that makes an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19 in February 2020 before the virus was classified as a pandemic. The disclosure comes 16 months after Paul was required to do so. [WaPo]
👀 Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson pushed through an even larger tax break that primarily benefited some of his megawealthy donors. [ProPublica]
💰 The U.S. budget deficit shrank to $2.5 trillion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. The gap was $2.8 trillion during the same period last year. [WSJ]
🚨 The Biden administration is attempting to rally an international response to stop the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan. [WaPo]
⚖️ A new Utah law makes sure juveniles who get in trouble are getting better access to legal representation. Data shows the change is making a difference. [Tribune]
Thursday morning’s Utah news roundup
Number of new COVID-19 cases surges back above 1,100. [Tribune]
Experts reveal why you’re still getting COVID-19 even if you’re vaccinated. [Deseret News]
Ride UTA for free Thursday and Friday as part of ‘Free Fares for Clean Air.’ [Tribune]
To stand without government funding, a St. George homeless shelter runs a dog daycare and other side businesses. [Tribune]
Thinking of going water-wise with your landscape? In parts of Utah, it pays. [Tribune]
Across Utah, dozens of cities consider property tax hikes. [Fox 13]
Report details how Utah can better serve homeless population. [Fox 13]
Why Rep. Burgess Owens wants feds to investigate OnlyFans — the ‘paywall of porn’ social media platform. [Deseret News]
Air quality is improving in northern Utah. [Tribune]
Another reservoir goes dry as Utah’s drought emergency continues. [Fox 13]
In the opinion pages
Salt Lake County Council has a unique opportunity to find middle ground on masks, Robert Gehrke says. [Tribune]
School mask mandate must be allowed to stand, The Tribune Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]
— The Tribune’s Jordan Miller contributed to this report.