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News dump Friday
Buckle up, everybody. There are a couple of big political stories that could pop sometime today.
This afternoon we’re expecting the Legislative Redistricting Commission to unveil their map proposals ahead of Monday’s public hearing. That will be the only chance for the public to weigh in ahead of Tuesday’s special session.
Speaking of next week’s special session, Gov. Spencer Cox is expected to send out the call later today, detailing what topics legislators will tackle along with redistricting.
Didn’t read the fine print
Conservative Utah social media sites were cheering a billboard photo in Ogden claiming “Mandates are Unconstitutional.”
Evidently, they did not visit the website of Friends of the Original Constitution, the group responsible for the billboard.
If they had, they would realize that organization is a fringe group that adheres to the conspiracy theory that the 1871 Act of Congress creating Washington, D.C., turned the United States into a foreign-owned corporation. It’s the same conspiracy theory QAnon followers used to claim former President Donald Trump would be sworn in as the 19th president of the original United States in March of 2021.
It’s also an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement. whose members claim the United States government is illegitimate.
Friends of the Original Constitution urges visitors to the site to join its $500 trillion lawsuit against the federal government. When that’s successful, the group plans to wave billions of dollars at scientists worldwide to incentivize them to create a “reversing agent for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
They promise every adult American who signs on to the lawsuit will receive $100,000. Sixty million small businesses will each get $200,000. You can see the complete list of payouts here.
Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning
💉 Utah lawmakers want to push back against the testing or vaccination mandate for larger businesses, but they don’t have a lot of good options available. [Tribune]
🗳 Election 2021
Election update: Zoltanski to become Sandy’s first female mayor; results flip in Midvale. [Tribune]
In Cedar City mayoral race count, Garth Green passes incumbent Maile Wilson Edwards. [Tribune]
Robert Gehrke says Utahns elected a large number of women mayors this year, which is a good development for the state. [Tribune]
➡️ Advocates are racing to open enough emergency shelters for Salt Lake County’s homeless population before the temperature drops. [Tribune]
🦠 Primary Children’s Hospital is delaying surgeries because of a high volume of patients. [Tribune]
🏛 Lawmakers are exploring ways to help parents with the rising costs of child care. [Tribune]
🏛 House Democrats are moving toward a vote on a spending bill for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda as well as a bipartisan infrastructure bill. [Politico]
🏛 The House committee chair investigating the January 6 attempted insurrection says they’re ready to issue as many as 20 new subpoenas. [CNN]
The judge hearing former President Donald Trump’s arguments over whether he can avoid turning over documents related to their investigation seemed skeptical of his claims of executive privilege. [NBC News]
The committee has interviewed a person who took part in the January 6 riot at the Capitol who claims to know of contacts between Trump allies and state GOP officials. [Politico]
A Texas real estate agent who bragged she would not go to jail for participating in the January 6 riot because she had blonde hair and white skin has been sentenced to prison for 60 days. [Daily Beast]
💉 The U.S. mandates big companies must have all employees vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID testing by Jan. 4. [AP]
💉 Thousands of intelligence officers are refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and are at the risk of dismissal from their jobs. [AP]
⚖️ The Justice Department files a lawsuit against Texas’ new voting restrictions. The suit alleges the legislation harms some Texans who want to vote, including those with limited English speaking skills and older voters. [WaPo]
⚖️ The Manhattan DA convened a new grand jury in the criminal case involving the Trump Organization to weigh potential charges. [WaPo]
⚖️ The Russian analyst who contributed to a dossier of Democratic-funded research into alleged ties between Russia and Donald Trump was arrested Thursday on charges of lying to the FBI. [AP]
🦠 Pfizer says its antiviral pill reduces the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID by 89 percent. [NYT]
✈️ The FBI is considering prosecuting some passengers involved in disruptions on commercial airlines. [WaPo]
🌎 Global greenhouse gas emissions are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels. A new report says the world can only burn carbon at the current rate for 11 more years before passing a threshold that will result in catastrophic global warming. [WaPo]
Friday morning’s Utah news roundup
Here’s how Utah’s leading workplaces have stayed connected even while working from home. [Tribune]
Kane County votes down plan to create shuttle from Kanab to Zion. [Tribune]
Judge won’t dismiss lawsuit over West Valley City smell. [FOX13]
Boy recalls encounter with shooting suspect during Taylorsville shelter-in-place. [KUTV]
First responders train for mass casualty incidents at St. George Regional Airport. [ABC4]
Xlear CEO responds to Justice Department lawsuit. [Daily Herald]
Utah reports more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for 2nd day in row. [Tribune]
Utah company accused of ‘deceptively’ advertising its nasal spray as COVID-19 treatment. [Tribune]
Utah’s coal miners are becoming extinct. Is there a greener future for them? [Tribune]
Don’t steal tortoises from Utah deserts, officials warn. [FOX13]
Utah’s traditional fire season has ended. Here’s how it went this year. [KSL]
Weber State students decry racist signage, criticize university response. [Standard Examiner]
Lawmakers likely to vote on Dixie State name change next week. [FOX13]
Former student found with gun outside Granger High School. [FOX13]
On the Opinion Pages
Tell your legislators you want the people’s maps, Tribune Editorial Board writes. [Tribune]
Opinion: Port Authority should be more like Point of the Mountain. [Deseret News]
🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!
Happy birthday on Saturday to former state Representative Richard Greenwood.
Many happy returns on Sunday to West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow, former state Sen. Howard Stephenson, Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute, and Riverton City Council member Tawnee McCay.
Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.
— Connor Sanders contributed to this report.