Pluribus AM: DeSantis signs school choice bill; NC Gov signs Medicaid expansion; OH AG sues pharmacy benefit managers

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 28, 2023. In today’s edition, DeSantis signs major education overhaul; N.C. Gov signs Medicaid expansion; Ohio AG sues pharmacy benefit managers:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation removing income restrictions from school choice programs, expanding education savings accounts of up to $8,000 to all eligible students. (Pluribus NewsOrlando Sentinel) The North Dakota House approved a bill prohibiting colleges from teaching racial concepts like white privilege and requiring school diversity officers to emphasize ideas on diversity in thought and speech. (KXNET)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Indiana House has given final approval to a gender-affirming care ban, sending the measure to Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). (Indianapolis StarIndiana Capital ChronicleAssociated Press) The Idaho Senate passed its own version of the legislation banning gender-affirming care. The House must approve minor changes before it goes to Gov. Brad Little (R). (Idaho ReportsAssociated Press

MORE: The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee approved two measures restricting drag shows. (Texas Tribune) The Arkansas House has backed a bill to require a parent to give written permission before a public school employee can address a student by a preferred pronoun or name. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

ABORTION: The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee approved a bill that would create felony charges for those who help minors get abortions in states where the procedure is legal. The bill allows family members of a minor to sue medical professionals who help provide an abortion. (Boise State Public Radio) The Kansas Supreme Court appeared likely to uphold abortion rights in lawsuits over how far the legislature can go to block the procedure. (Associated Press)

NORTH CAROLINA: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has signed Medicaid expansion into law after bipartisan votes in the House and Senate that will make his the 40th state to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Cooper has said the measure will cover about 600,000 state residents. (Pluribus News)

CALIFORNIA: State lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that would give a new regulatory body the power to punish oil companies for making windfall profits. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign the measure today. (Los Angeles TimesAssociated Press)

OHIO: Attorney General Dave Yost (R) has sued two pharmacy benefit management companies he alleges have illegally driven up the cost of prescription drugs. The suit alleges the companies shared price information that helped drive the cost of insulin up from $20 in the late 1990s to $700 today. (Statehouse News Bureau)

GEORGIA: The Georgia House and Senate finalized work on a bill creating a new commission to discipline and remove local prosecutors. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is considering charges against former President Donald Trump, was a vocal opponent of the bill. (Atlanta Journal ConstitutionAssociated Press)

Republican-led legislatures in Florida, Missouri, Indiana and Pennsylvania had previously pursued ousting local district attorneys over approaches to prosecutions.

ARKANSAS: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has introduced a legislative package that would add 3,000 prison beds and require violent offenders to serve their full prison sentences. (Talk Business & Politics)

NORTH DAKOTA: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed legislation exempting military pay from state income tax. North Dakota has about 5,500 members of Guard and Reserve units and about 7,300 active duty service members. (Fargo Forum)

In Politics & Business

GEORGIA: The Senate gave final approval to a bill that would ensure workers can take time off on Election Day or during early voting to cast a ballot. Both chambers passed it by overwhelming margins. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

DESANTIS: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will serve as the keynote speaker at the Utah Republican Party’s organizing convention April 22 at Utah Valley University. (KSL)

VIRGINIA: A Republican Party official filed a lawsuit arguing that the state elections commissioner was pressured by members of the Youngkin administration to change a state Senate race GOP nominating method from a primary to a convention. (Washington Post)

PEOPLE: Montana’s House Legislative Administration Committee has given unanimous approval to a measure that would honor the late reporter Chuck Johnson with a memorial at the state capitol. Johnson died March 4 at the age of 74. (Missoulian)

By The Numbers

$15.7 million: The amount Iowa spent on a financial management system before the state scrapped the project, Gov. Kim Reynolds’s office said Monday. Reynolds officially ended a contract with the software company Workday last week. A Reynolds spokesman said a new deal with a different company will save the state $8.6 million over the next decade. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

9,104: The number of civil cases filed or awaiting processing in Orange County, Fla., in March alone, a rush of legal action taken before Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed tort reform legislation over the weekend. That compares to just 1,670 civil suits filed in Orange County in the first two months of the year. (Orlando Sentinel)

Off The Wall

It’s a historical oddity that the highest court in New York is the Court of Appeals, rather than what other states call the Supreme Court. Well, New York Sen. James Skoufis (D) is sick of the confusion. Skoufis, chair of the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, has introduced legislation to dub the state’s highest court the Supreme Court, just like every other state in the nation. (New York Assembly

Scientists hadn’t seen a rare species of beetle native to California since 1966, until they found one near a creek on former Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) Colusa County ranch. So they named the bug for him — the species will now be called bembidion brownorum, scientists at UC Berkeley announced Monday. (Los Angeles Times)

California’s Tulare Lake, known as a phantom lake that was drained more than 100 years ago, was resuscitated again after a winter of heavy rains and snow. It previously happened in 1997 and 1983. (Los Angeles Times)  

Quote of the Day

“He was not only an exceptionally kind, thoughtful, honest journalist, with integrity, unimpeachable character. He was an extraordinarily humble and decent man.”

– Former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot (R), testifying about Chuck Johnson.