Catch up quick: 9 things you missed this week

Democratic governors are pushing the Biden administration to relax migrant work authorizations.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

We make our living comparing the inaction in Washington, D.C., with the frenetic action taking place in states across the country. And what a perfect month to crystalize that contrast: While D.C. snoozed August away, state lawmakers were busy finalizing budgets, advancing new bills and meeting to plot next year’s sessions.

Who said anything about vacation? And the year isn’t over yet.

California lawmakers are still wading through bills on tech policy, social issues and housing. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) just laid out an ambitious end-of-year agenda. Wisconsin legislators are (still) fighting with Gov. Tony Evers (D) over child care and tax cuts. North Carolina is working on finalizing a budget that will expand Medicaid to thousands of residents. Ohio has to redraw its state legislative district lines. Pennsylvania still needs a budget.

Oh, and suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) goes on trial next week.

Never a dull moment in state legislatures. We’ll be here to cover all of it for you.

In the meantime, if you did get a few days away this week — and we hope you did — here’s what you might have missed in the states:

SOCIAL MEDIA: A federal district court judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction blocking a new Arkansas law that would have required kids to obtain parental permission to open a social media account. The law was set to take effect today, but Judge Timothy Brooks said social media companies that sued over First Amendment issues were likely to prevail at trial. (Pluribus News)

IMMIGRATION: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging the Biden administration to streamline work authorization rules that would allow the state to sponsor noncitizens to work in industries facing labor shortages. Pritzker and Johnson said more than 13,000 asylum-seekers have come to Chicago from the border this year. (Chicago Tribune)

ENERGY: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) asked legislators to approve a 100% clean energy standard goal by the end of the year. In a sweeping address laying out her priorities for the final months of the year, Whitmer said energy measures she would seek would save $5.5 billion in household energy costs and create 160,000 jobs. (Pluribus News)

GUN POLITICS: Tennessee’s special session to address a mass shooting at a Nashville elementary school ended abruptly Tuesday as majority Republicans refused to take up gun control measures. House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) and state Rep. Justin Pearson (D) appeared to shove each other, kicking off a shouting match as members left the floor. (Associated Press)

ABORTION: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will place a priority on passing a ban on abortion after 15 weeks if Republicans reclaim control of the General Assembly in November’s elections, sources with knowledge of his agenda say. Youngkin’s political team believes a 15 week ban can represent a “consensus” limit that a majority of voters can support. (NBC News)

WORKFORCE: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said Monday the State Police have removed college credit requirements for cadets in an effort to fill vacant jobs. Until now, those applying to become state troopers needed 60 college credits to enter the academy. Applicants will still need a high school diploma to apply. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Just days later, the State Police reported a surge in new applicants.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Colorado is relaunching a cash-for-clunkers program to offer $6,000 in extra rebates for a few hundred people who turn in fossil-fueled cars for an electric vehicle. The state has set aside $1.8 million for the rebate program. The program applies to low-income residents who purchase an EV that costs less than $50,000. (Colorado Sun)

CALIFORNIA: Senate Democrats on Monday voted to name Sen. Mike McGuire (D) their next president pro tem, to succeed term-limited Sen. Toni Atkins (D) at some point next year. McGuire, who represents Sonoma in the legislature, wrapped up the necessary support with Atkins’s help. (Los Angeles TimesSacramento Bee)

For the first time in living memory, the leaders of both chambers of the legislature hail from rural areas, not big urban cores. McGuire joins Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D), who represents San Benito County, south of the Bay Area.

POLITICS: Democrats backing Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) are poised to outspend Republicans who support Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) by a more than three-to-one margin on television ads between Aug. 1 and Election Day, according to ad data obtained by Pluribus News. Beshear and Democratic groups have booked $17.3 million in ads through the end of the contest, while Cameron and his GOP allies have booked just $5 million. (Pluribus News)

The Ohio Redistricting Commission will meet Sept. 13 to begin considering new maps for state legislative districts. The state Supreme Court ruled the existing maps unconstitutional five times — but a new conservative majority on the high court could prove a friendlier venue for Republican lawmakers. (Ohio Capital Journal)

Five Oregon Republican state senators have sued Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade after her office ruled they are ineligible to seek re-election in 2024, after racking up more than the 10 unexcused absences allowed under a state law approved by voters in 2022. The senators, led by Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R), say the law’s language is vague. (Associated Press)

Former New Hampshire state Sen. Andy Sanborn (R) has been accused of using a Covid relief loan to purchase luxury cars. The state lottery commission is now moving to ban him from operating his Concord casino. (Associated Press) Alabama state Rep. David Cole (R) has resigned his seat after being charged with voting in a place where he was not authorized earlier this week. Cole allegedly lives in a different district than the one he represented. (AL.com) Ohio state Rep. Bob Young (R) has been stripped of his committee chairmanship after his second arrest in less than two months in an ongoing domestic violence case. (Associated Press)