Pluribus AM: Gun safety measures in blue states; FL special session begins; and the PA House is a total mess

Good morning, it’s Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. In today’s edition, gun safety measures on tap in blue states; Fla. special session begins; and the Pa. House is a complete mess:

Top Stories

TAXES: Flush with cash, Republican lawmakers in red states are considering income tax cuts. The Republican governors of Montana, Mississippi, North Dakota and Utah have all announced plans to cut income taxes this year; Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) wants to eliminate his state’s income tax altogether. (Pluribus News)

WATER: Water managers in states within the Colorado River Basin meet this week in Las Vegas to consider new cuts to water usage, though no cohesive plan has emerged. The Bureau of Reclamation has asked states to cut usage by 30%. California has proposed conserving about 9% of its river allocation, and about 30 cities have offered plans to reduce decorative turf. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

GUN POLICY: New Mexico legislators are expected to introduce measures requiring safe storage of guns, raising the age for purchasing assault rifles and creating an office of gun violence prevention. (Albuquerque Journal) Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) says he wants to outlaw assault-style weapons, including for those who already own them. Legislative Democrats are cool to the idea. (CTMirror) 

MORE: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) says he expects lawsuits over whatever gun safety measures the legislature passes this year. (Illinois Radio Network) Iowa legislators are likely to consider pro-gun measures this year after voters added the right to bear arms to the state constitution. (Des Moines Register)

FLORIDA: Legislators meet today in Tallahassee to begin a special session to overhaul the state’s property insurance system. Proposals released Friday aim to use taxpayer dollars for reinsurance, reduce litigation costs and move policyholders out of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. House Speaker Paul Renner (R) acknowledged the proposals will not reduce rates immediately. (Orlando Sentinel)

OHIO: State senators this week are set to take up election reform measures, including bills to require absentee ballots to arrive by Election Day, mandatory photo identification, eliminating a day of early voting and limiting counties to a single drop box. It’s unclear if the measure will survive the state House. (Columbus Dispatch)

OREGON: Lawmakers are likely to begin work this year on a first-in-the-nation universal health care plan. A joint task force set up in 2019 to develop recommendations issued a report in September, which include a plan that the task force’s chairman said would cost less than the current system. The state’s major health care providers opposed the recommendations. (KATU)

MARYLAND: Democrats are likely to consider an amendment enshrining a right to an abortion in the state constitution. The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D), died in the state Senate last year. Maryland state law already allows abortions. (Maryland Daily Record)

MONTANA: A federal judge has struck down parts of a Montana law that blocks employers from requiring workers to have been vaccinated against anything from Covid to polio and measles. Judge Donald Molloy said the law was both unconstitutional and conflicted with federal law. (Daily Montanan)

CONNECTICUT: Legal sales of recreational marijuana are scheduled to begin Jan. 10, the state Department of Consumer Protection said Friday. The state’s nine existing medical marijuana producers have all met requirements to expand into recreational sales. (Hartford Business Journal)

MICHIGAN: A Genesee County judge dismissed criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in connection to the Flint water crisis, months after the state Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors improperly relied on a one-person grand jury. Attorney General Dana Nessel’s (D) office said it would appeal. (BridgeMI)

In Politics

PENNSYLVANIA: House Republican leader Bryan Cutler (R) has asked the Commonwealth Court to postpone special elections in three open seats set for Feb. 7. The seats are all likely to elect new Democratic members; without those members, Republicans would hold more seats than would Democrats. (Associated Press)

ARIZONA: Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh have both filed suit to challenge the results of last month’s midterm elections. Lake’s suit offers no evidence. Hamadeh, who lost by 511 votes, did not allege fraud, but his suit accuses Maricopa County of preventing some people from casting votes. (Arizona Republic, Arizona Republic)

INDIANA: Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) will run for governor, she said Monday morning. (Indianapolis Star) Crouch, appointed to the position in 2019, joins Sen. Mike Braun (R) and businessman Eric Doden (R) in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). 

CALIFORNIA: Senate Republicans want majority Democrats to hold off seating state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D), who appeared to win re-election over Republican David Shepard by just 20 votes. Sens. Scott Wilk (R) and Brian Jones (R) cited reports of uncounted and missing ballots in Kings and Tulare counties. (Sacramento Bee)

WISCONSIN: State Republicans have chosen longtime activist Brian Schimming as their next chairman. Scheming replaces Paul Farrow, who is running for Waukesha County executive. (WisPolitics)

By The Numbers

56%: The increase in costs of a new bridge spanning the Columbia River to connect Portland, Ore., with Vancouver, Wash. The new bridge is expected to cost up to $7.5 billion, a rise officials attributed to inflation, supply chain problems and added elements of the project. (Willamette Week)

$3,719: The amount, per capita, that Tennesseans pay in state taxes, according to the Public Affairs Research Council. That’s the lowest average in the nation. Residents in Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut pay the highest taxes per capita. (, full report here)

20 million: The number of boxes of oranges expected to be produced in Florida this year, the lowest figure since the Great Depression. Estimates are down 29% after Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole slammed the industry. (WUSF)

Off The Wall

Washington State lawmakers will consider whether to name the Suciasaurus rex the official state dinosaur. The species was discovered in 2012 in the San Juan islands, the only dinosaur fossil ever found in the state. A bill to name Suciasaurus as the official state dinosaur passed the House in 2020, but it hasn’t made it through the Senate yet. (Everett Herald) Twelve states and Washington, D.C., already have official state dinosaurs.

Quote of the Day

“We don’t even like ourselves right now.”

Washington State House Republican strategist Kevin Carns, dissecting disappointing election results from this year’s midterms. (Seattle Times)