Pluribus AM, 12/30/22: NY gets right-to-repair law; OH gov to sign criminal justice reform; Biden signs a bill aimed at just one person

Good morning, it’s Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. In today’s edition, N.Y. gov signs right-to-repair law; Ohio gov to sign criminal justice overhaul; and why President Biden signed a law aimed at just one person:

Top Stories

NEW YORK: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed the nation’s first comprehensive “right to repair” law, giving consumers more flexibility when they need electronic products and devices fixed. The bill requires equipment manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to owners and independent repair shops. (Pluribus News)

We’ve heard buzz from lawmakers in other states that right to repair bills are going to become a hot topic next year.

OHIO: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) intends to sign a major overhaul of state criminal justice laws, a spokesman said. The reform package would allow cities to expunge minor marijuana possession offenses, reduce sentences and penalties and address sealing criminal records. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MINNESOTA: Democrats who won control of the legislature this year say they have a mandate to reform voting laws after midterm elections that were fought over democracy issues. Legislators plan to restore the right to vote for former felons who have completed their sentences, expand mail-in voting and implement automatic voter registration. Sen. Jim Carlson (D), who will head the Senate Elections Committee, says he wants to stick to historical precedent of getting support from the minority party for election law changes. (MPR News)

MAINE: Legislators are likely to consider a bill to ban flavored tobacco and vaping products, after the cities of South Portland, Portland, Brunswick and Bangor voted to bar those products. (Portland Press Herald) Similar bills introduced in the state House in 2021 and 2022 didn’t go anywhere, but California’s new ban may provide momentum.

WASHINGTON: Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) is backing legislation to tighten state rules barring illegal robocalls. The measure would make robocalls to numbers on the federal do not call list a violation of state law, giving Ferguson’s office the authority to go after spam callers. Florida and Oklahoma both passed similar legislation in recent years. (Seattle Times)

CALIFORNIA: Save Local Restaurants, a coalition of restaurants and business groups, is suing the Department of Industrial Relations in an attempt to block a new California law creating a statewide labor council to set pay and working conditions for the fast-food industry. The coalition has already collected the signatures to force the FAST Act onto the ballot in 2024, but the Department has said it will implement the law beginning Jan. 1, which the coalition says is a violation of the state constitution. (Sacramento Bee)

MORE: The final round of inflation relief payments will be sent out on debit cards by Jan. 14, the state Franchise Tax Board said. California has already issued more than 7 million direct deposits and 8 million debit cards totaling $8.4 billion. The legislature set aside $9.5 billion for the tax refund program. (Los Angeles Times)

In Politics and Business

ARIZONA: A statewide recount of votes cast in the race for Attorney General shows Democrat Kris Mayes beating Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 280 votes, down from the 511-vote lead before the recount. Hamadeh called for a hand count of ballots, and he said he is considering new legal avenues. (Arizona Republic)

NEW YORK: Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris (D) became the most high-profile Democrat to oppose confirmation of Judge Hector LaSalle to become chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, putting his nomination in doubt. Twelve Democrats oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) nominee; progressives have rallied opposition over LaSalle’s past rulings on reproductive rights and labor issues. (State of Politics)

LOUISIANA: Longtime state librarian Rebecca Hamilton claims Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) fired her and had her marched out of her office after she reported what she called “questionable contracts” to the Louisiana Legislative Authority, the state Inspector General and the FBI. Nungesser, a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2023, has acknowledged his office is being probed by the FBI. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

PEOPLE: Michigan House Clerk Gary Randall is set to retire shortly after the new year after 40 years working in the state House — first as a legislator, and then for 26 years as clerk and assistant clerk. (Detroit News) Randall blamed a slow erosion of civility, collegiality and bipartisanship on term limits passed in the 1990s.

By The Numbers

7.9 billion: The number of people in the world on New Year’s Day, according to yearly projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. The world added a net of 73.7 million people over the last year. (Associated Press)

4:20 p.m.: The time when Housing Works Cannabis Co., New York’s first legal recreational marijuana dispensary, opened on Thursday. New York only barely met its goal of opening its first dispensary in 2022, more than a year and a half after legislators and then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) legalized recreational pot. (NY1)

$13.5 billion: The amount of money Nevada casinos collected from gamblers through November, already $100 million more than the previous yearly record set in 2021. Nevada casinos have collected more than $1 billion in gaming revenue in each of the last 21 months. Las Vegas has attracted 35.5 million visitors this year, which is still below the peak hit in 2019. (Nevada Independent)

Off The Wall

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that Circuit Court Judge Scott Myren erred when he did not award attorney fees in a trust dispute in 2020. Which is a little awkward because since that ruling, Myren was appointed to a seat on the South Dakota Supreme Court. (Keloland)

Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo (R) will be sworn in next week … twice. State law requires a new governor be sworn in on the first Monday in January by the Chief Justice or an associate justice on the state Supreme Court, even though this particular first Monday is a holiday. Lombardo will hold a larger ceremony at the Carson City Community Center on Tuesday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

If you’re planning a new year’s party in Texas this weekend, plan ahead. State liquor stores will be closed for 61 straight hours, beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Texas law requires liquor stores to be closed on a Monday following a Sunday holiday. (KFDA)

President Biden this week signed a bill that will impact exactly one person. The so-called “private legislation” applies to Rebecca Trimble, who was born in Mexico and adopted by American parents. Her adoption paperwork wasn’t properly completed by Mexican authorities, which means that since 2012 she hasn’t been a legal U.S. citizen. The bill Biden signed, backed by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), gives Trimble permanent resident status and a path to citizenship. (Alaska Beacon)

Quote of the Day

“It is not a science, it’s an art.”

Michigan Republican strategist John Seller, on the challenge Democrats will face in marshaling narrow majorities in the legislature. (Associated Press)