Catch up quick: 8 things you missed this week

Connecticut state Sen. James Maroney (D) (Photo courtesy of Connecticut Senate Democrats)

Long-time readers of ours know we’ve been focused on the legislative frenzy around artificial intelligence, which kicked off with the release of ChatGPT in 2022. This week, a leading legislator in the space — Connecticut Sen. James Maroney (D) — dropped the first comprehensive AI legislation we’ve seen this year.

It promises to serve as a jumping-off point for similar efforts to regulate and guide AI policy in other states. Maroney himself heads a working group of dozens of bipartisan legislators trying to get their heads around the future promise and peril of AI.

Our colleague Austin Jenkins reported on Maroney’s bill:

Under the bill, a draft of which Maroney shared with Pluribus News, AI is defined as a system that acts or thinks like a human, learns overtime when it is exposed to more data and performs tasks “without significant human oversight.”

Deployers of high-risk AI systems would be required to implement a risk management policy and conduct annual reviews to check for discrimination.

When AI is used to make consequential decisions, such as those related to a person’s employment, housing or health care, the deployer would have to notify the consumer and provide them with information about how the system works.

If an AI system was found to be discriminating, developers and deployers would have 90 days to disclose that information to the state attorney general.

Read his full story here.

Here are eight other things you might have missed in the states this week:

SOCIAL MEDIA: The Florida House gave final approval to a bill banning youth under 16 from having social media accounts on Thursday, hours after the Senate approved the same legislation. The bill requires social media platforms to verify user ages, and allows a parent to request their child’s account be deleted. (Pluribus News)

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has voiced skepticism that this bill would withstand legal scrutiny.

HEALTH CARE: Florida lawmakers gave final approval to a $700 million health care workforce package in a nearly unanimous vote. The package, a top priority of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R), will fund training and residency programs, remove barriers for foreign-born physicians and establish a new limited licensure program for recent medical school graduates. (Pluribus News)

The Iowa Senate approved legislation extending Medicaid coverage to new mothers for a full year after giving birth. The measure would also lower income thresholds required to qualify for postpartum Medicaid coverage, limiting access for about 1,700 new mothers. Iowa is one of three states, along with Arkansas and Idaho, that haven’t extended full-year coverage for new mothers. (Des Moines Register)

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) is backing legislation to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act that includes a work requirement. House Speaker Jason White (R) has been working on similar legislation — but Gov. Tate Reeves (R) remains opposed to expansion. (Supertalk)

EDUCATION: The Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee has voted to advance school choice legislation creating education savings accounts for students. The bill allocates $100 million for those accounts, and it requires participating private and Christian schools to be accredited. (Yellowhammer News) The Alabama Senate backed a bill barring schools and colleges from sponsoring diversity, equity and inclusion offices. (AL.com)

MARIJUANA: The New Hampshire House has once again approved legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill would allow 15 state-licensed cannabis storefronts. It faces a tough road in the Senate, which has killed previous legal pot measures. (WMUR)

GUN POLITICS: Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) has unveiled legislation to expand background checks for firearm purchases, increase the number of crisis receiving centers and allow law enforcement to seek protective custody warrants if they believe someone with weapons poses a risk to themselves and others. The bill has support from top Democrats in the House and Senate. (Spectrum)

The Iowa House voted Tuesday to prohibit use of merchant codes for credit card transactions at gun retailers meant to identify suspicious firearms and ammunition sales. The legislation would prohibit banks and credit card companies from declining transactions based solely on the firearms code. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ENERGY: A Washington House committee advanced legislation to authorize the state Department of Ecology to begin talks to eventually link the carbon market to those in California and Quebec. Combining markets could lower prices for carbon credits and attract new participants; state Sen. Joe Nguyễn (D) said he had already heard from representatives in New York and the United Kingdom about linking programs. (Pluribus News)

Expect more blue states to experiment with carbon markets, after rocky rollouts in California and Washington.

TECHNOLOGY: The Oregon Senate approved right-to-repair legislation that will require tech firms like Apple and Google to provide repair tools and instructions to independent repair shops. Oregon would be the fifth state — after California, New York, Minnesota and Colorado — to guarantee a right to repair. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

POLITICS: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) intends to run for governor of New Jersey in 2025. Baraka said he would run in a Monday speech marking Black History Month, and a spokeswoman said the remark was meant to launch his campaign. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) and former Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) are already in the race, and at least two members of Congress are considering a bid. (NJ Advance Media)

The Utah House voted Thursday to bar cities from using ranked-choice voting, six years after the state authorized a trial run in 2018. (Deseret News)

Twelve Utah cities, including Salt Lake City, use ranked-choice voting for their local elections, more than any other state.

The state Senate voted Tuesday to approve a plan requiring future ballot initiatives to win majorities of the vote in a majority of the state’s congressional districts. Measures that do not carry a majority of the eight congressional districts would fail, even if they win a majority of votes statewide. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The measure would apply to a proposed initiative to protect the right to abortion and reproductive services that’s currently collecting signatures to win ballot access.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has sued the IRS to block the agency’s decision to tax rebates received by nearly 750,000 families in the state. Mayes is seeking an injunction to block the IRS from taxing those rebates. (Arizona Republic)