Axios Salt Lake City

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Say it all together now: FRIDAY!

Situational awareness: It's National Goof Off Day.

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1 big thing: Polyamory rising

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Utah may be famous for its history of polygamy — but now another kind of "plural" love is gaining acceptance.

The big picture: Dating websites report a sharp rise in Salt Lake users who are seeking open relationships.

By the numbers: The dating app Feeld saw the number of Salt Lake profiles with the terms "ethically nonmonogamous" or "polyamorous" double in the past three years, according to data the company shared with Axios.

  • In the past two years, 36% of OKCupid users here said they would consider an open relationship, the company told Axios. That exceeds the national rate of 33%.

Zoom out: Media coverage, a buzzy new memoir and shows like "Couple to Throuple" are bringing polyamory into mainstream conversations, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum and Mimi Montgomery report.

Reality check: Polyamory and polygamy are not the same thing.

  • Polygamy is a fixed family structure in which more than two people are married.
  • In Utah, it's overwhelmingly linked to Mormon sects that still practice plural marriage, which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has disavowed.

Polyamory is more of an umbrella term for sex or relationships in which there's consent with multiple partners.

Between the lines: Utah's history of polygamy could affect how the culture reacts to polyamory — both positively and negatively.

Flashback: After the LDS church began excommunicating members who entered plural marriages in the early 1900s, the practice was increasingly seen as immoral and embarrassing in mainstream Mormonism.

The other side: Despite that, polygamy has remained prevalent enough in Utah that the state has learned to live with it. In 2020, the legislature decriminalized it.

What we're watching

2. Cox signs final bills of the session, vetoes 7

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Office of Governor Spencer J. Cox

Gov. Spencer Cox (R) yesterday signed controversial bills requiring the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to track time spent on criminal cases and another to keep a coal plant running.

State of play: Thursday was the deadline for the governor to sign or veto measures from a record-breaking 2024 session that sent 591 bills to his desk.

  • Overall, he signed 555 of the bills into law and vetoed seven largely non-controversial measures.

Friction point: Democrats decried the time-tracking bill for solely targeting Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, a Democrat, accusing Republicans of "playing politics."

  • The measure's co-sponsor House Majority Whip Karianne Lisonbee (R-Syracuse) said it was a response to crimes not being prosecuted in Salt Lake County.

Zoom out: At a news conference on Thursday, Cox said his greatest concern this session was the "sheer number of bills" passed by lawmakers.

  • "Just like there are meetings that could be emails, sometimes there are bills that could be phone calls," Cox wrote in his veto letter to legislative leaders.

Some pieces of legislation that he vetoed could be accomplished without enacting a new law, he added.

  • One measure, for example, sought to create a cybersecurity training program for executive branch staffers that already exists.

Keep reading

3. David Archuleta's post-Mormon family love song

David Archuleta performs on March 12 at The Queerties 2024 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images

David Archuleta's new single is a thank-you to his mom for supporting him when the pop star left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after coming out as gay.

The latest: Archuleta on Wednesday released a preview of his pointed ballad, "Hell Together," which drops March 28.

Catch up quick: Archuleta's mother Lupe resigned from the church last year after deciding, "I did not teach my children their whole lives to serve and love a God who is not accepting of them," she wrote in an essay for Q Salt Lake.

What they're saying: "You said, 'If I have to live without you, I don't want to live forever in someone else's heaven. So let 'em close the gates,'" Archuleta sings in the video clip showing photos of him and his mother together.

  • "'If they don't like the way you're made, then they're not any better,'" the lyrics continue. "'If paradise is pressure, oh we'll go to hell together.'"
  • The stanza refers to Mormon teachings that families must remain in the faith to reunite in the afterlife.

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4. Snack on these headlines

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

⚖️ Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is among the Republicans reportedly being considered for U.S. Attorney General if former President Donald Trump wins re-election in November. (BNN Bloomberg)

✈️ A man was arrested for allegedly boarding a flight departing from the Salt Lake City International Airport to Texas without a ticket. (FOX 13)

  • Police say the man was able to enter the aircraft after he took photos of other passengers' tickets. He hid in the bathroom before the flight crew noticed and alerted authorities.

🚗 A wrong-way driver died Thursday morning after colliding with a bus carrying ROTC cadets on I-15 near 400 North. No cadets were injured. (KUTV)

  • The freeway shut down for hours, prompting traffic jams.

5. Chart du jour: How far we travel

Share of flights departing on time from U.S. airports
Data: Bureau of Transportation Statistics; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Salt Lake County residents travel 35.5 miles on average every day, compared to the national average of 42.

  • That's per data from mobility analytics platform Replica including all forms of transportation.

By the numbers: Overall, Utahns travel about 41 miles on average per day.

Zoom out: Monroe County, Pennsylvania (70 miles) residents travel the most average daily miles among U.S. counties with 100,000 people or more.

The other side: New York City accounts for all three 100,000-plus person counties with the lowest number of daily miles traveled — no surprise there, given the area's density.

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📺 Erin is finally watching "Mare of Easttown."

😞 Kim attempted to play pickleball yesterday, but the courts were full.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Hurt and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Yasmeen Altaji.