Catch up quick: 9 things you missed in the states this week

America’s population would have declined last year, if not for immigrants.
Migrants wait in line adjacent to the border fence under the watch of the Texas National Guard to enter into El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

For what appears to be the first time in American history, the number of immigrants coming into the United States has surpassed the natural increase of the country’s population, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Over the last year, America netted more than 1.1 million migrants, compared with a natural increase — that is, births minus deaths — of just 504,000. It’s the third year in a row that migration drove America’s population growth more than natural increase, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey.

Rates of immigration haven’t changed much over time, ranging from about flat, in the years surrounding the Great Depression, to about 9.8 residents per 1,000 people in the country, during the decade before the Civil War, write Francine Blau and Christopher Mackie, in a 2017 paper on the economic and fiscal consequences of immigration.

But the birth rate has plummeted over our history, from about 41 per 1,000 residents in the 1870s to just 12.5 per capita in 2013.

We’ve written plenty about what demographers call the baby bust — a rapidly slowing birth rate that’s caused by women having children later in life, and therefore fewer overall. Other nations, like Japan and most of Western Europe, are facing serious population challenges that strain social safety nets and hurt economies that can’t sustain workforces.

It’s a scary prospect for the future — and one of the big reasons why states are now fighting over workers, rather than businesses.

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

HEALTH CARE: The Food and Drug Administration said it would authorize Florida’s first-in-the-nation plan to import pharmaceutical drugs from Canada. Florida must submit additional information to the feds about what drugs it plans to import, but the plan could save the state up to $180 million in the first year alone. (Pluribus News)

Colorado’s application to import drugs from Canada is working its way through the system. Similar plans are in earlier stages in Vermont, Maine and New Mexico.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A Florida House subcommittee on Thursday advanced legislation that would bar minors under 16 years old from having a social media account. Social media companies would be required to verify the age of anyone creating an account, and to retroactively confirm the age of existing account holders. (Pluribus News)

The Florida bill, a top priority of Speaker Paul Renner (R), is the most aggressive measure we’ve seen.

NetChoice, an industry trade group, has sued to block an Ohio law requiring social media companies to obtain a parent’s consent before allowing minors under 16 to sign up for social media accounts. (Center Square)

MEDICAID: Federal officials have given New York the go-ahead to spend more than $6 billion in Medicaid money to provide housing, nutrition, substance use disorder treatment and behavioral health services to vulnerable populations. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been pushing states to experiment with programs that go beyond basic medical needs. (Pluribus News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) outlined plans to crack down on retail and property crimes by increasing penalties for those who commit retail theft or resell stolen property. Newsom also asked legislators to make it easier to charge someone with grand theft, after a voter-approved measure in 2014 reduced theft sentences from a felony to a misdemeanor. (Pluribus News)

BUDGETS: Newsom on Wednesday proposed pulling $13.1 billion out of the state’s rainy day fund, cutting $8.5 billion in spending and deferring billions more to address what he said was a $37.9 billion budget hole. Newsom said the state did not face a budget crisis. The biggest proposed cuts will come from programs dedicated to fighting climate change. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Ohio House voted Wednesday to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of legislation banning gender-affirming medical and mental health care for transgender minors. The state Senate is expected to vote to override the veto on Jan. 24. (Columbus Dispatch) An Ohio House committee voted to advance legislation barring transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

A South Carolina House committee gave final approval to a measure barring gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The bill, which also bars Medicaid from covering treatment for those under 26, now heads to the House floor. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: California lawmakers will debate legislation today that would ban tackle football for children under 12. California would be the first state to ban full-contact football for minors; other proposals have died in New York and Illinois. California already bans full-contact practices for youth teams and limits practices to two per week. (Associated Press)

WORKFORCE: The Indiana Senate Local Government Committee unanimously endorsed legislation that would require a municipality to pay a portion of training costs if it poaches a new police officer from another jurisdiction. The measure is meant to cut down on counties, cities and towns poaching new officers soon after they graduate from training courses. (Northwest Indiana Times)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed $1.25 billion to raise teacher pay in his State of the State address Tuesday, on top of $3 billion in teacher pay raises he has signed in recent years. DeSantis also called for $1.1 billion in tax cuts, and $20 million to entice law enforcement officials to move to Florida. (Pluribus News)

POLITICS: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee plans to spend at least $60 million to protect thin majorities in Michigan, Minnesota and the Pennsylvania House, and to target Republican majorities in Arizona, New Hampshire and the Pennsylvania Senate. (New York Times)

Read the full memo here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) intends to spend $19 million he raised over the last six months of 2023 to target state House Republicans who opposed his push for expanded school voucher programs. Twenty-one House Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the voucher program this year; Abbott has endorsed challengers to seven of those Republicans. (Texas Tribune)

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R) wants state lawmakers to end Louisiana’s “jungle” primary system, in which the top two vote-getters advance to a general election regardless of party. Both Democratic and Republican parties favor changing a system that’s been in place since the 1970s. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) will launch a new political action committee to back candidates at home and across the country. (Lexington Herald LeaderWashington Post) The PAC will help Beshear raise his national profile, in case he decides on a future national campaign.

Michigan Republicans who voted to oust state GOP chair Kristina Karamo plan to file a lawsuit asking the courts to force her from office. Karamo’s backers say their opponents failed to comply with party bylaws; they plan to hold their own meeting this weekend. (Detroit News)

The Florida Republican Party removed chairman Christian Ziegler during an emergency meeting in Tallahassee Monday, elevating former party vice chairman Evan Power to the top spot. Ziegler faces allegations of rape and video voyeurism; he had resisted calls to resign since the allegations came to light. (NBC News)