Catch up quick: 8 things you missed in the states this week

We’re headed to the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Indianapolis next week, the largest annual gathering of state lawmakers and the place where we get a lot of our story ideas for the year. It’s a fascinating cross-section of legislators that creates an atmosphere unique in American politics.

Over the years, we’ve watched conservative Republicans nod along with liberal Democrats, and vice versa, as they discuss education policy, criminal justice reform, even election reform. There’s something about the fact that legislators from one state don’t have to campaign against those in another — say, a Utah Republican has no natural reason to compete with a Maryland Democrat — that fosters a better conversation.

This year, we expect lots of conversation around artificial intelligence and the role of government in regulating something that, to be frank, they don’t entirely understand (Do any of us?). There’s a sense of urgency among lawmakers to do something, but there’s no real certainty about what it is that needs to be done.

We sat down with Tim Storey, NCSL’s chief executive, to talk through what to expect at this year’s conference. You can watch that conversation here. And keep an eye on this space next week, when two of us will be reporting live from Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, states are still busy during the August doldrums. Here are eight things you might have missed this week:

IMMIGRATION: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) has declared a state of emergency over the influx of migrant families threatening to overwhelm the state’s shelter system. Healey has asked Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to speed work authorizations for migrants to alleviate the pressure on state resources. (Pluribus News)

Healey is at least the third Democratic governor to declare a state of emergency over migration, after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

SOCIAL MEDIA: Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R) and Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R) will propose legislation requiring minors to have a parent’s explicit permission to create a social media account. They said Georgia’s law would be modeled on Louisiana’s version, which passed in June. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: North Dakota lawmakers are considering a response to Minnesota’s new plan to offer income-based free tuition to students. Lawmakers worry the plan will deprive them of students who might otherwise leave Minnesota to attend a North Dakota school. Sen. Tim Mathern (D) has drafted a bill to create a forgivable student loan program to keep enrollment up. (Fargo Forum)

A new Indiana law taking effect this week will require school districts to provide written notice to parents within five days if their students ask to be called by anything other than their official name. The law, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), does not require parents to consent to the name change request. (Northwest Indiana Times)

ENERGY: Attorneys general in Iowa and Nebraska are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to try to force it to issue final rules allowing the year-round sale of gasoline blended with ethanol. The EPA has proposed allowing year-round sales in eight states beginning in 2024. (Des Moines Register)

AGRICULTURE: Sixteen states, led by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird (R), are urging Congress to pass legislation prohibiting states from banning animal products that don’t meet certain confinement standards, a response to a measure that regulates living conditions for livestock whose products are sold in California. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California’s Proposition 12 earlier this year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

MARIJUANA: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has signed legislation creating a commission to study state-controlled recreational marijuana sales. Sununu favors a state-control model that faced skepticism among lawmakers this year. (WMUR)

GAS: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) on Friday signed legislation allowing drivers to pump their own gas across the state, ending a 70-year old law that required full service at stations. The new law still requires stations to have full-service attendants on hand. (Pluribus News)

We know we keep harping on this one. But one of us grew up vacationing in Oregon as a kid, and we never thought we’d see the day when Oregonians could pump their own gas.

POLITICS: Ohio voters delivered a blow to abortion opponents Tuesday by voting down Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment to raise the threshold for future constitutional amendments to 60%. With 95% of the vote counted as of this morning, Issue 1 is losing 43% to 57%.(Pluribus News)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) cruised to victory in their respective primaries Tuesday, setting up a contentious fall matchup. (Pluribus News) Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) survived a challenge from conservative former state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), 52%-43%. (Pluribus News)

Ohio supporters of legal recreational marijuana say they have submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in an extra 6,545 signatures on Friday, after they initially fell 679 signatures short of qualifying. (Columbus Dispatch)

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R) will run for Attorney General in North Carolina, he said last week. The Club for Growth and the Republican Attorneys General Association said they would support his campaign. Incumbent Josh Stein (D) is running for governor. (Carolina Journal)

The last time a Republican won election to become North Carolina’s Attorney General: 1896.

Ten Republican and independent Oregon senators who participated in a six-week walkout bringing the chamber to a halt this year are ineligible to run for re-election, Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade (D) said Tuesday, under a voter-approved measure disqualifying lawmakers who receive more than 10 unexcused absences. Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R), who is among the disqualified members, said he and other Republican senators would challenge the ruling in court. (Oregonian)

No Labels has qualified as a recognized political party in South Dakota, Secretary of State Monae Johnson (R) said Friday. (South Dakota Searchlight) The group also qualified for minor party status in Nevada, the first time a minor party has qualified there since the 1970s. (Nevada Current)