Heidi Hatch, Greg Hughes, and Maura Carabello are back this week to review the political news you might’ve missed — and they’ve got a few things on their minds.
Utah’s two senators cast opposing votes on Friday regarding a proposed commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The first Republican challenger, Becky Edwards, has announced a run to unseat Sen. Mike Lee. And President Joe Biden wants to know whether COVID-19 could have started in a lab in Wuhan.
Heidi Hatch is joined by Greg Hughes and Maura Carabello to discuss these developments and other Utah political news you might have missed this week.
Heidi Hatch, Greg Hughes and Maura Carabello are ready to de-brief after another week of news.
Gov. Spencer Cox: Masks can be ditched the last week of school: He said schools will still have the option to require masks during the last week, but the state will no longer mandate the rule.
Cox wants to give away millions to encourage more Utahns to get vaccinated: Is this legal and is it a good idea? The announcement comes a day after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine established a lottery system to give five people $1 million each as a vaccination incentive.
“There is no amount of money that is too much to help us get an extra 5% or 10% of people vaccinated,” Cox said.
CDC says vaccinated can toss the mask: Why Now? In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
Liz Cheney voted out of House leadership: Rep. Blake Moore voted to keep her, Owens did not vote, Curtis and Stewart voted for change.
Sen. Mitt Romney backed Cheney, Lee would not weigh in on the issue because it was in the House.
Plus, Heidi’s whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. for an exclusive sit down with Utah’s Senators, in the same room at the same time. Watch 2 News at 10 on Thursday, May 20.
Take 2 host Heidi Hatch is joined by former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and Maura Carabello, founder of the Exoro Group, for this week’s Take 2 podcast.
Hughes joins remotely as he is in quarantine with COVID-19.
This week in the Utah Legislature:
- The Utah pioneer license plate: It’s been panned on social media. Do the people of Utah need it or want it?
- Budget: Lawmakers unveil $2.26 billion transportation and construction package with $1.4 billion in bonds for transit and construction projects. Senate Republicans are not convinced borrowing such a large amount of money is prudent.
“In a year when we’re flush with cash, you have to ask whether it makes sense to bond right now,” said Assistant Senate Majority Whip Kirk Cullimore (R-Sandy).
- Senate Bill 205: Is Dan McCay trying to gut “count my vote?”
- House Bill 388: Should 16-year-olds be able to vote in school board elections?
- The death of the transgender athlete bill
- Changing the name of Dixie State University: Will it happen?
- Where are we on police reform?
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is praising a bill moving through the legislature that would define when police should not use deadly force. House Bill 237, sponsored by Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost (D-Salt Lake City), would specify that officers should not use deadly force on an individual who is suicidal and does not pose a threat to anyone else.
- Women’s Bills: Maura has a whole list of what we didn’t accomplish.
- House Bill 143 passes, meaning Utah will no longer suspend driver’s licenses for unpaid court debt
- Minimum wage: A bill that would incrementally increase Utah’s minimum wage to a peak of $15 an hour by July 2026 stalled in a House committee on Thursday. Republicans worried it would kill jobs and hurt the economy prevailed over Democrats who said it would help lift people out of poverty. Is this the right place for the conversation or should this be a national issue?
Take 2 host Heidi Hatch is joined by former Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and political consultant Scott Howell in a new episode.
The big topic of discussion is President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. Early Friday, the Senate approved a measure that would let Democrats muscle Biden’s coronavirus relief plan through the chamber without Republican support. Vice President Kamala Harris was in the chair to cast the tie-breaking vote — her first.
Other topics discussed include:
- Sen. Mitt Romney’s Family Security ACT proposal to be added on to stimulus package: Romney released the Family Security Act on Thursday — which the senator plans to propose as an amendment included with the Democrats’ stimulus package. It would provide families up to $3,000 a year in financial support per child ages 6 to 17 and up to $4,200 a year for infants to age 6. Americans expecting a child would be able to start applying for the monthly benefit four months prior to their due date.
- Student loan crisis: Proposed relief with $50K student loan forgiveness.
- Catfishing Bill: The House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to move forward with a bill intended to protect people who are impersonated online. House Bill 239, sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield), would criminalize the impersonation of someone else on the internet to harm, intimidate, or threaten.
- After a record number of police shootings in 2020, police reform bills face the first test in Utah Legislature. House Bill 84, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City), would require law enforcement agencies to report data regarding use-of-force incidents to the Bureau of Criminal Identification.
- House Bill 162, sponsored by Rep Romero would require officers’ annual training to include a substantial focus on “mental health and other crisis intervention responses, arrest control, and de-escalation training.”
- Senate Bill 38, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-West Valley), would tighten the certification and training requirements for police dogs and their handlers. That bill passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House of Representatives.
- Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Sen. Jani Iwamoto (D-Salt Lake City), would require providing information about officers under certain investigations to POST. It would also require providing information about officers to prospective employers if asked. That bill passed a Senate committee last week.
Take 2 is back after months away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A lot has changed and at the same time a lot has remained the same. It’s a new year but the same or similar problems remain.
We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the way forward is different depending on who you talk to.
Social unrest has bubbled up again the people demonstrating, and rioting have changed and the ones sitting home in disgust have swapped places.
We have a new governor, but a familiar face. A smooth transition of power.
On the flip side President Donald Trump today said he will not attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration, the first time a sitting president has forgone the tradition since 1869.
People still only like to hear people who agree with them and believe the same way. With that, a conversation we hope will help you see the other side and find some middle ground.
- Greg Hughes (R)
- Jim Dabakis (D)
Host: Heidi Hatch
Congressman Chris Stewart sits down with 2News Anchor Heidi Hatch in a special edition of Take 2.
They talk about the federal government’s response to coronavirus, economic fears and a possible stimulus package giving each American adult $1,000.
Stewart has an alternate plan that may help those hardest hit. Click here to listen.
The main topic of discussion in the podcast is the proposed bills in the 63rd general session of the Utah State Legislature, including House Bill 34 – Abortion Revisions – heard before a packed house. The Senate panel approved elective abortion ban in a party-line vote.
Sen. Dan McCay’s bill that would prevent abortions in Utah if Roe v. Wade is ever repealed was up in committee Thursday. It was a full house!
McCay said he understands the feeling and sentiment around a women’s right to choose but a baby’s ability to choose is robbed through abortion. He was quoted as saying:
That baby deserves a choice for life as we all do,” he said. “If a woman wanted to still receive an abortion she could go to another state and still receive what she wanted. The agency of one is robbed from the agency of another.
Meanwhile, Lehi votes to be an abortion-free city – a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” Additional topics discussed include:
- Utah Bigamy Law change: Unanimous in the Senate. And the polygamy decriminalization bill just passed the House with only three no votes. Libertas Institute Founder Conner Boyack said about the legislation, “Several years of work and here we are. It’s a great day.” Is it?
- Daylight Saving Bill heads to the Governors Desk: It still needs an act of congress and a few neighboring states to join the effort.
- Good News: Rep. Steve Eliason wore his dinosaur tie for the passage of the “Utahraptor State Park” bill on Thursday.
- Coronavirus: State health department conducts a press conference briefing. Should we all build bunkers or just wash our hands?
- Olympia Hills passes first vote 6-3: Is this responsible growth?
- Super Tuesday just days away: Super Tuesday is the closest thing we have to a National Primary. Salt Lake County voter turnout was 29% one week out from the election with 95,811 ballots returned out of 331,170 mailed out. In-person early voting has been 679 people. There are 3,979 delegates total, 1,357 up for grabs on Tuesday. Who will be left standing? Did you watch the last debate? South Carolina Bernie Sanders makes stop in Utah on Eve of Super Tuesday.