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Situational awareness - May 29, 2020

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City


32 days to the 2020 Utah primary elections (6/30/2020)

158 Days to the 2020 election (11/3/2020)

236 days to inauguration day (01/20/2021)

241 days to the start of the 2021 Utah Legislature (1/25/2021)

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Gov. Herbert confirms he asked Thomas Wright to drop out of the race for governor, but denies he offered him a deal to do so.
  • Protesters in Minneapolis overrun and set fire to a police station.
  • President Trump signs an executive order targeting perceived bias in social media, but experts say it's likely unenforceable.


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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Mugs/Bernick_Mug_01.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Plot thickens on Herbert/Wright chat
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Well, as you can say about so many political problems, the plot now thickens.
images/1000px_Mugs/Thomas_Wright_02.jpgWright says it's 'unfortunate' his private conversations with Gov. Herbert were leaked to the public
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Thomas Wright says he's disappointed in the story that Gov. Gary Herbert asked him to drop out of the GOP race for governor was made public, but he adds he thinks his campaign has been energized by the drama.
images/1000px_Mugs/Herbert_Wright_01.jpgHerbert confirms he asked Wright to drop out, but denies any deal
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Gov. Gary Herbert confirmed the story, first reported by UtahPolicy.com, that he asked former Utah GOP chairman Thomas Wright to drop out of the Republican race for governor and endorse Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Herbert's chosen successor. But Herbert denied he offered financial or political support for a future campaign.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Social_distancing_01.jpgPoll: Most Utahns say they would continue to stay at home to contain coronavirus spread
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
A large majority Utahns say they would be likely to stay home for another month if public health officials recommended that course of action to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200527_UUP_GOP.jpgQuestions arise about moderator choice for televised gubernatorial debate
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Monday's debate featuring the Republican candidates for governor will be one of the highest-profile political events in Utah this year as the four candidates will face off ahead of the June primary vote. However, some questions about the impartiality of the event's moderator are starting to bubble to the surface. 
images/1000px_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_11.jpgLawmakers considering big cuts to Utah's public education budget due to COVID-19 pandemic
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utah's public schools could see up to a 10 percent cut in proposed funding this summer under a plan considered Wednesday by a legislative budget subcommittee -- cuts of $385 million.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Coronavirus_08.jpgUtahns worried the state will lift COVID-19 restrictions too quickly according to new poll
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utahns are more worried about opening the state up too quickly from the coronavirus outbreak than they are that GOP Gov. Gary Herbert is moving too quickly, a new UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2News shows.

sl chamber task force 10


Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


Minneapolis burns

Protesters in Minneapolis overran and set fire to a police precinct overnight [Reuters].

  • President Trump called the protesters in Minnesota "thugs" and offered military assistance to help quell the violence. Trump also tweeted "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," but Twitter concealed his social media post because it violated the platform's rules against "glorifying violence" [Twitter].

Trump targets Twitter

President Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies. The order could allow the government to oversee political speech on the Internet. Critics say the order is likely a violation of the First Amendment and unenforceable [WaPo].

  • President Trump signed his executive order claiming right-wing voices are being stifled on social media. Data shows that's not true as conservative publishers dominate on Facebook [CNN].
  • Trump singled out a Twitter employee for fact-checking his posts claiming that mail-in balloting will result in voter fraud [Bloomberg].

Coronavirus response

The White House fumbled the initial distribution of the anti-viral drug remdesivir, sending the medication to hospitals that didn't need it [WaPo].

The Trump administration hid warnings from the CDC that singing in church choirs can spread the novel coronavirus [WaPo].

The White House is scaling back its task force on the coronavirus. The group meets only about once a week even though the number of deaths from the virus has passed 100,000 nationwide [CNN]. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will sign an executive order allowing businesses to refuse service to customers who don't wear masks [Business Insider].

Sam Francisco will require people to wear a mask any time they come within 30 feet of another person [CBS].

Republican National Convention organizers outline the health and safety guidelines they plan to implement for attendees at the August event [Politico]. 


Another 2.1 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, but continuing claims dropped nearly 4 million [CNBC].

The U.S. economy shrank by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2020 [Politico].

The White House will not release formal economic projections this summer [WaPo].

Delta and American Airlines are prepping for massive layoffs. American says it needs to eliminate about 30 percent of its workforce [CNN].

New Jersey may have to lay off 200,000 public employees because of a $10 billion revenue shortage [Bloomberg].


Hmmm...How did owners of private jets get government subsidies from coronavirus relief funds? [NBC News].

Millions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds went to big firms that avoided paying federal taxes [Reuters].


Washington news 

The Trump administration is considering defying Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia [NYT].


Sen. Lindsey Graham is urging federal judges who are nearing retirement age to step aside before the November elections so Republicans in the Senate can replace them with younger judges [WaPo].

The NSA is warning of an active Russian hacking operation that is targeting computer infrastructure [NBC News].

Let the games resume

The Premier League will return to play on June 17 [ESPN].


Policy News

Preservation Fund saves 46 units of affordable housing
The Utah Housing Preservation Fund announced its first preservation of deeply affordable housing with the acquisition of 46 units of from Housing Connect, Salt Lake County's housing authority. The units otherwise would have been sold on the market necessitating the relocation of residents.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report 5-29-20
Outdoors Report-- Salt Lake Tribune: 'I've never seen this many fish wasted': DWR seeks public help in case of 260 illegally dumped bass-- Salt Lake Tribune: BLM hands over property to Utah for local, state control-- Salt Lake Tribune: 'Trib Talk': What you should know about visiting national parks during a pandemic-- KSL.com: 'I've never seen this many fish wasted': DWR seeks public help in case of 260 illegally dumped bass-- KSL.com: Hikers uncover graffiti in Little Cottonwood Canyon, videotape vandals-- KSL.com: 54 boaters cited in Utah for quagga mussel violations over Memorial Day weekend-- KSL.com: Utah officials urge caution for those heading outside after flood of holiday weekend rescuesVenues and Organizations Re-Opening-- Alf Engen Ski Museum -- Artworks Gallery-- BallroomUtah Dance Studio-- Bipolar Art & Jewelry -- Easely Art Studio -- Eccles Community Art Center-- Garage on Beck-- Gardner Village-- Gilgal Sculpture Garden -- Flamenco del Lago -- Heber Valley Railroad -- Historic Wendover Airfield Museum -- ImprovBroadway -- Legacy School of Dance -- Make Salt Lake -- Lyrical Opera Theatre -- Parker Theatre -- Redwood Drive-In Theatre -- Salt Lake Bicycle Tours -- Salt Lake Running Company -- SCERA Center-- St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm -- St. George Musical Theater 
images/1000px_Article_Photos/20200527_Zions_Release.jpgZions Bancorporation to build technology campus in Midvale, Utah with a focus on sustainability and cost efficiency
Zions Bancorporation, N.A. announced that it will build a 400,000-square-foot technology campus in Midvale, Utah, on the former Sharon Steel Mill Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.
Governor issues executive order releasing updated guidelines for low-risk phase in the Utah leads together plan
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has issued an Executive Order updating guidelines for areas in low health risk designation under Utah's phased health guidance plan.
images/1000px_Logos/WTC_Utah_Logo.pngOffset your company's international business costs with STEP Grant funding
Funding is available for small Utah companies to offset international business costs! There is no need to travel internationally to take advantage of this opportunity. 
Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission recommends additional COVID-19 data be posted online
On May 21, the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission unanimously voted to recommend that new additional COVID-19 data be publicly posted on coronavirus.utah.gov. The data provides a nation-leading public look at how underlying conditions, demographics and other key factors interplay to create higher risks for certain individuals regarding COVID-19.

More National Headlines


1790 - Rhode Island becomes the last of the original U.S. colonies to ratify the Constitution and is admitted as the 13th state.

1848 - Wisconsin is admitted as the 30th state.

1886 - Pharmacist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, which appeared in the Atlanta Journal.

1953 - Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

1973 - Tom Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1988 - President Ronald Reagan begins his first visit to the Soviet Union when he arrives in Moscow for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

2004 - The National World War II memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington.

Wise Words

Still True Today

"Unless we place our religion and our treasure in the same thing, religion will always be sacrificed." Epictetus

Lighter Side

Man of the Year

"According to former Congressman Dave Trott, the man who presented Trump with the thing he remembers so well, there was no 'Michigan Man of the Year' award. What he gave Trump was a framed copy of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. [as Trump] 'I want to thank President Lincoln for naming me Michigan's man of the year. This reminds of the time the D.M.V. gave me a beautiful plastic card naming me People's "Sexiest Man Alive." I keep it in my wallet with the Applebee's coupon naming me the pope of chicken wings.'" - STEPHEN COLBERT

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