There’s a concept in evolution science called punctuated equilibrium that we see as an apt metaphor for legislative politics. The idea is that species don’t change much over long stretches of time — until they change very rapidly all at once, because of some external pressure.
We see this all the time in state legislatures: Bills don’t move for long stretches of time, until the pressure of a looming sine die forces lawmakers to rush everything through all at once.
It’s happening in Florida right now, where lawmakers raced the clock Friday to finish up their legislative work for the year. Lawmakers passed bills relating to Disney, and education, and transgender rights, and immigration, and just about everything else under the sun.
The external pressure behind a lot of those bills is Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who’s gotten just about everything he wants out of this legislative session as he prepares a likely presidential campaign. Expect him to tout all the bills he signs in the coming weeks once he hits the campaign trail.
Here are six things state legislatures did that you might have missed this week:
FLORIDA: Lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, requiring hospitals to collect data on their patients’ immigration status and criminalizing the transport of more than five undocumented people. (Pluribus News)
DeSantis signed legislation banning state and local pension fund managers from considering ESG factors when making investments. Florida joins Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Utah and West Virginia in banning ESG practices. (Pluribus News)
The legislature also approved bills banning TikTok from state devices, banning social media apps from school devices and moving the start time of high schools back to 8:30 a.m. (Florida Politics, Florida Politics, Florida Politics)
Spare a thought for the Florida Politics team, who have been working around the clock all week.
OREGON: Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) will resign effective Monday over a side consulting gig she had with an embattled marijuana company. (Pluribus News)
This is Oregon’s second big scandal of the year, after an earlier spat over liquor commission executives reserving pricey bottles of rare spirits for themselves.
Oregon Republicans are boycotting the state Senate, denying Democrats a quorum over bills to allow gender-affirming care, abortion and gun control. (Oregonian)
ABORTION: The North Carolina legislature approved a bill barring abortions after 12 weeks. Republicans have the votes to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) expected veto. (Associated Press)
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) approved legislation banning abortions after 24 weeks, and exempting the right to an abortion from the state’s constitutional right to privacy. (Missoulian)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Gianforte also signed legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors. (Daily Montanan) So did Oklahoma Gov. Kevin State. (Associated Press) DeSantis is set to sign Florida’s gender-affirming care ban after his legislature approved the bill on Friday. (Associated Press)
AID IN DYING: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed legislation removing residency requirements from the state’s aid-in-dying law, making it the first state to allow non-residents to obtain help in ending their lives. (WPRI)
Fourteen states have considered or are considering aid-in-dying measures this year. Supporters expect bills to pass in New York and Massachusetts later this year. (Pluribus News)
POLITICS: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) won’t run for a fourth term. (Pluribus News) Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) jumped in the race to replace Inslee, and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) teased her own expected bid. (Seattle Times)
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D) filed papers to run for New Hampshire governor next year. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has not said whether he’ll run for president or seek re-election, but former state Senate President Chuck Morse (R) is planning to run for governor if Sununu doesn’t. (New Hampshire Union Leader)
Former Indiana schools superintendent Jennifer McCormick (D) has entered the race to replace outgoing Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). McCormick will face the winner of a competitive GOP primary featuring U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R), Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) and businessman Eric Doden (R). (Indianapolis Star)