Homelessness, inland port, air quality highlight first major Salt Lake City mayoral debate

SALT LAKE CITY — At times exchanging snarky, but good-natured jabs at one another and periodically drawing laughs or applause from the audience, the first major Salt Lake City mayoral debate Wednesday night put candidates through their paces on issues ranging from homelessness and housing to air quality and the inland port.

Seven out of eight candidates showed for Wednesday night’s debate, hosted by the Alliance for a Better Utah, a left-leaning governmental advocacy group, at the Salt Lake City Main Library, all vying to prove they’d be the best choice to replace Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski when she steps down at the end of the year.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

David Garbett, Abi Olufeko (sitting in for Rainer Huck), David Ibarra, Jim Dabakis, Richard Goldberger, Stan Penfold, Erin Mendenhall and Luz Escamilla take part in a Salt Lake City mayoral debate at the Salt Lake City Library on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

All candidates except Rainer Huck (who dropped out last minute due to an asthma attack, according to an Alliance for a Better Utah official), participated in the debate. A representative from Huck’s campaign, Abi Olufeko, took his place on the stage, where candidates spent two hours jockeying to win votes for the Aug. 13 primary.

Questions ranged on topics including how candidates will address a potential shortfall of homeless shelter beds once the Road Home’s downtown shelter shutters later this year, how they would increase the city’s affordable housing stock, where each stands on the controversial Utah Inland Port, and how each would address air quality in Utah’s capital.

A poll commissioned by Alliance for a Better Utah and released prior to the debate indicated former state Sen. Jim Dabakis is a likely frontrunner for the race, showing 27 percent of 480 likely Salt Lake …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


How the Hobby Lobby ruling helped and hurt religious freedom

SALT LAKE CITY — Just over 25 years ago, Congress nearly unanimously passed new religious freedom protections.

This week, it held a hearing on why those protections should be reined in.

The House Committee on Education and Labor met Tuesday to debate how to balance religious freedom with other values, including expanding access to health care and reducing discrimination. Some argue that religious exemptions to general laws were never meant to be as common as they are today.

“If civil liberties and legal rights exist only in the absence of a neighbor’s religious objection, then they are not rights, but empty promises,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Massachussetts, who is sponsoring legislation that would limit the instances in which religious freedom claims can be made.

The hearing focused mainly on religiously motivated discrimination, but that’s not the only factor fueling criticism of broad religious freedom protections, according to legal experts. The path from the early 1990s to today features many notable pit stops, including the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, delivered five years ago this week.

The case involved employers who were religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act and didn’t want to cover some of the forms of birth control they were required to offer to employees. The Supreme Court had to define the limits of religious freedom law, determining what to do when beliefs interfered with health-related policy goals.

Legal experts don’t agree on whether the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of religious objectors was right, but most acknowledge that it harmed religious freedom’s reputation among liberals by allowing it to overrule other important protections. The case helped turn what was once nearly universally considered a human right into something a growing group of Americans want to limit.

“Even if you agree the Hobby Lobby decision was correct, it …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


These 3 candidates got the most speaking time in the first 2020 Democratic debate

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke look on during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The first Democratic debate featured 10 candidates, but some candidates got more attention from the moderators than others
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey spoke for the longest amount of time, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made his case the fewest minutes.
Each candidate was typically given one-minute answers to direct questions with 30-second rebuttals and followups. But some managed to claim time by inserting themselves into conversations.
Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

The first Democratic primary debate is in the books, but not every candidate who participated got to speak for an equal amount of time.

In total, each candidate spoke for at least five minutes in total throughout the two-hour debate that featured several commercial breaks and an embarrassing audio snafu. But Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey spoke the most minutes during the debate, with the rest of the candidates trailing behind.

Read more: Julian Castro managed to break from the pack and dominate the stage at the first 2020 Democratic debate

The NBC News moderators stuck to strict timing restraints. Candidates were given one minute for answers to direct questions and 30 seconds for rebuttals and followups. Each candidate was also allowed a 45-second closing statement.

Here is how the timing broke down:

Cory Booker – 11 minutes
Beto O’Rourke – 10.3 minutes
Elizabeth Warren – 9.3 minutes
Julian Castro – 9 minutes
Amy Klobuchar – 8.5 minutes
Tim Ryan – 7.8 minutes
John Delaney – 6.5 minutes
Tulsi Gabbard – 6.5 minutes
Bill de Blasio 5.5 minutes
Jay Inslee – 5 minutes

In a crowded field of candidates where attention spans are short and exposure is key, the candidates were all vying for as much time as possible.

Sen. Warren benefited from having the moderators frequently point to her policy proposals and how other 2020 hopefuls responded to them. Former …read more

Source:: Business Insider


Mitch McConnell was a clear political target in the first 2020 Democratic debate, but he didn’t seem to mind

Mitch McConnell

Republican Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was a clear political target amongst the Democratic presidential candidates during their first debate in Miami on Wednesday.
Several Democrats took advantage of the national stage to speak their mind about the McConnell, who has long stymied the Democrats’ policies in Congress.
Despite mentioning McConnell by name, the Majority Leader’s camp appeared to relish the spotlight.

Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Republican Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky became a clear political target amongst the Democratic presidential candidates during their first debate in Miami on Wednesday.

Democrats took advantage of the national stage to speak their mind about the senator, who has long stymied the Democrats’ policies in Congress. MSNBC moderators posed to the 10 candidates a number of issues ranging from Senate filibusters to gun control.

“To your question about Mitch McConnell, there is a political solution that we have to come to grips with,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, referring to nominating potential Justices in the Supreme Court. “If the Democratic Party would stop acting like the party of the elites and be the party of working people again, and go into states including red states to convince people we’re on their side, we can put pressure on their senators to actually have to vote for the nominees that are put forward.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was asked if she had “a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell” if he was still the Majority Leader after the midterm election.

“I do,” Warren said to a round of applause from the audience.

“We are democracy and the way a democracy is supposed to work is the will of the people, matters,” Warren said. “We for far too long had a Congress in Washington that is just completely dismissed what people …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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