Good Thursday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.
🌦 Expect partly to mostly cloudy skies across the state today with some showers mixed in. Highs will range from the mid-60s to upper 70s.
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Cox’s fundraising gala raises eyebrows
Tongues were wagging this week in Republican circles when Gov. Spencer Cox sent out the invitation for his annual fundraising gala, but not because of the price tag.
The person handling the arrangements for the fundraiser is Jon Cox, former Utah state Representative, who also happens to be Cox’s fourth cousin. Cox (Jon, not Spencer) is also the Vice President for Governmental Affairs for Rocky Mountain Power.
Cox says his involvement in the governor’s big fundraiser is nothing out of the ordinary, and it’s separate from his duties as a lobbyist for RMP.
“I don’t think it’s unusual for that kind of engagement on the political side. During the last election, lobbyists participated in each of the different campaigns,” Cox said.
That’s true. Lobbyists were involved in several gubernatorial campaigns. But, lobbyists did not run the fundraising events during Gov. Gary Herbert’s administration.
Attendees at the gala will also be required to show proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID test. No word whether Utah lawmakers are considering a special session to override the vaccine mandate for the event.
Here’s what you need to know for Thursday morning
🚨 A federal judge temporarily blocked a Texas abortion law that banned most abortions after six weeks. The ruling is in response to a suit brought by the U.S. Justice Department. [WSJ]
👀 A Senate report gave more details about former President Donald Trump’s extraordinary efforts to stay in power after his 2020 election loss. Trump wanted to install a loyalist as acting attorney general who would more aggressively aid his efforts to contest the election. [NYT]
🤝 Senate Democrats appear ready to take a deal on the debt limit offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The agreement would temporarily suspend the debt ceiling until December. [Politico]
McConnell told his Republican colleagues he was concerned about pressure to gut the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling. [Twitter]
💉 Pfizer asked the FDA to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11. [NYT]
🦠 The COVID-19 delta surge appears to be finally on the wane. [Axios]
🦠 The number of COVID-19 cases in Utah schools last month was far below what experts had forecast, and they’re not sure why. [Tribune]
💉 Los Angeles approved one of the strictest COVID vaccine mandates in the country. Patrons at bars, restaurants, nail salons, sporting events, and many other indoor venues will have to show proof of vaccination. [AP]
➡️ U.S. officials were aware in July thousands of Haitian refugees were headed to the Texas border, but a failure to share intelligence and debates over whether to increase deportations left immigration officials flat-footed when they arrived. [NBC News]
📖 The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah. [NYT]
Thursday morning’s Utah news roundup
Suspect apprehended after ‘active shooter’ situation near Zion National Park. [Tribune]
Utah man who appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ charged with defrauding woman out of almost $200K. [Tribune]
A growing Hispanic community calls Ogden home. [Tribune]
Fall colors lead to record traffic in Cottonwood canyon. [Fox 13]
Rocky Mountain Power says it won’t be on 100% renewable energy by 2030. [Fox 13]
52% of Utahns are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. [Tribune]
It’s not just about Wasatch Front housing costs. Even rural Utah is seeing ‘unprecedented’ spikes. [Deseret News]
Takeaways from the 2020 reports on sexual assaults at Utah colleges. [Tribune]
Kelvyn Cullimore: Brushing aside patent protections will not improve availability of vaccines. [Tribune]
Opinion: Gondola? Bus? Bigger highway? Just make sure the answer isn’t ‘nothing at all.’ [Deseret News]
— The Tribune’s Jordan Miller contributed to this report.