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Representative Steve Christiansen resigns
Just days after speaking at a conspiracy-fueled conference in Salt Lake City, Representative Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan, suddenly resigned from the Utah Legislature. He announced the decision in a letter to his colleagues Thursday evening.
Christiansen said his resignation was prompted by increasing attacks on his wife and family from critics.
“I did not expect to see individuals attacking my wife the way they did, nor to see the impact of these attacks on her and our family. Mainly for this reason, it became necessary to “take a break,” Christiansen wrote.
Christiansen lobbied for an audit of the 2020 Utah election results as he became convinced of “anomalies” in the results that he said could point to fraud, although there is no evidence . He also planned to legislate in the 2021 session to ban the teaching of “controversial topics” in schools, which is part of the fight against critical race theory.
Christiansen also said he was “retiring” from his work with the LDS church to avoid conflict.
“The decision to leave the Church is up to me. I appreciate the support I felt for my desire to serve as an elected official. I was never pressured to vote one way or the other, ”Christiansen wrote.
Christiansen says he will continue his podcast and “remain engaged in the battle to ensure the integrity of the elections.”
He is the third Republican in the Utah Legislature to resign in recent months. Representative Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, has resigned after being appointed a judge by Gov. Spencer Cox. Earlier this week House Majority Leader Francis Gibson R-Mapleton unexpectedly retired earlier this week.
Republican delegates from House District 47 will choose Christiansen’s replacement.
Special redistribution session coming on November 9
Legislative sources confirmed to “The Rundown” that the special redistribution session will begin on November 9.
Other topics may be included on the agenda, including vaccine mandates.
The session is slated to last two weeks, but a legislator told me they hoped it would end in a few days.
A curve in the House GOP leadership race
After House Majority Leader Francis Gibson announced he was stepping down from the Utah legislature, conventional wisdom was that the rest of the leadership team would all move up one step.
As expected, House Majority Whip Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, is running to become the new Majority Leader. But, Val Peterson Deputy Majority Whip R-Orem is staying put according to an email from Peterson to the rest of the House GOP caucus obtained by The Tribune.
“Thanks for all the calls and emails over the past few days – I really appreciate that many of you have contacted me. After careful consideration, I have decided to remain in my current position as Deputy House Majority Whip. I really enjoy this position and representing our caucus on the leadership team. We have achieved an incredible number of incredible things in the past three years, and I intend to continue on this path, ”wrote Peterson.
This leaves the House Major Whip position open. Rep. Jefferson Moss, R-Saratoga Springs, has confirmed he is running for the job. A few lawmakers might challenge Moss for the leadership position, including Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Joel Ferry, R-Brigham City.
The leadership elections will take place on November 9, just before the special session on redistribution.
Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning
🐘 Salt Lake City is offering to host the 2024 Republican National Convention. There are at least seven other cities vying for it. SLC was a finalist to host the 2012 convention, losing to Tampa. [Tribune]
🏛 Democratic strategist Donna Brazile discusses infrastructure spending, climate change and the January 6 inquiry. She will speak in Salt Lake City next week. [Tribune]
🦠 After a lull, the number of COVID-19 cases in Utah begins to rise again. [Tribune]
😷 Governor Spencer Cox has pledged a million masks for schools to fight the spread of COVID-19. Many of these masks are still in storage. [KUTV]
🎃 Senator Mitt Romney and Senator Kyrsten Sinema unveiled their “Ted Lasso” themed Halloween costumes. [Tribune]
🚨 Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina had “important, non-public information” about the government’s response to COVID. He and his brother both gave up their stocks before the market fell in 2020. [Pro Publica]
🌎 The new budget deal announced by President Joe Biden is the largest climate spending plan in US history. [WaPo]
🏛 The Congressional committee investigating the Jan.6 attack grows impatient with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as they continue to testify. [CNN]
🗳 At least 8 Republicans who took part in the January 6 insurgency attempt are standing for election next week. [BuzzFeed]
⚖️ Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was accused in a criminal complaint of forcibly touching a woman last year. [WaPo]
🦠 The number of new COVID-19 cases is down 60% from the peak of the delta variant wave in September. [CNN]
💉 Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel face dismissal for refusing to comply with the COVID vaccine mandate by next week’s deadline. [WaPo]
➡️ The US government plans to make cash payments to hundreds of millions of families separated at the border under the Trump administration. [WSJ]
➡️ President Joe Biden discussed climate and poverty with Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican. [AP]
💻 Facebook is renamed “Meta”. [NYT]
Friday Morning Utah News Summary
Salt lake city
Salt Lake City renames the street in honor of Pastor France Davis. [Tribune]
UTA will provide on-demand rides in the western portion of Salt Lake City. [Tribune]
Inside the council’s two races to represent the west side of Salt Lake City. [Tribune]
Salt Lake City is getting closer to a small homeless hometown. [Tribune]
Obstacles to voting remain for Utahns who do not speak much English. [Tribune]
Herriman’s mayoral race is all about growth, with echoes of Olympia everywhere. [Tribune]
Utahns are responding to President Biden’s climate change plan. [Fox 13]
Cox will form a cybersecurity task force to protect Utah’s infrastructure. [Fox 13]
Feindre l’urgence ne justifie pas le contrat sans appel d’offres de l’Utah avec Nomi, écrit le comité de rédaction. [Tribune]
Gay Lynn Bennion and Elizabeth Weight: The Independent Constituency Commission cards would give all Utahns a voice. [Tribune]
Robert C. Wadman: The countries with the death penalty are not the ones we would like to live in. [Tribune]