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Good morning, it’s Thursday, January 25, 2024. In today’s edition, Florida moves to bar minors from social media; Texas faces off with feds over immigration; Arizona GOP chairman out in bizarre feud:
SOCIAL MEDIA: The Florida House advanced legislation barring those under 16 from having a social media account in a bipartisan vote that one lawmaker described as a “shot across the bow” of tech companies. Social media companies could be fined up to $10,000 for each violation. (Pluribus News)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Ohio Senate voted Wednesday to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of legislation barring gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The measure also bars mental health professionals from diagnosing or treating gender disorders without parental consent, and it bans transgender girls from women’s sports. (Pluribus News)
MORE: The West Virginia House Education Committee advanced legislation Wednesday that would bar transgender minors from bathroom and changing room facilities that conform to their gender identity. The measure must win approval in one more committee before heading to the House floor. (Associated Press)
IMMIGRATION: Texas National Guard members and state troopers are still blocking Border Patrol agents from Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, along the Rio Grande River, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering state officers to give the feds access. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a statement late Wednesday asserting the state had the authority to take action to secure the border. (Texas Tribune)
For all the attention the presidential campaign is receiving, this schism between state and federal officials is the more important story right now.
PRIVACY: Maryland lawmakers introduced an Online Data Privacy Act on Wednesday that would require large tech companies to limit the consumer data they collect to those data points necessary for legitimate business needs. The bill would establish a list of consumer rights to view, correct, delete or opt out of data collection. (Washington Post)
HEALTH CARE: The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced legislation limiting pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. The bill would cap “non-economic damages” at $500,000 from doctors and practitioners, and $750,000 from hospitals. (WUSF)
EDUCATION: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) used her State of the State address Wednesday to call for free universal pre-K for 4-year olds and a free community college plan. She urged lawmakers to pass a tax credit of up to $5,000 for caregiving expenses including counseling, transportation and nursing. (Detroit News, Associated Press)
Whitmer sported a Detroit Lions pin on her lapel, and lawmakers showed up adorned in Lions gear ahead of the NFC Championship game this weekend. (Detroit Free Press)
ESG: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has introduced legislation to ban the state from investing with firms that use environmental, social and governance measures when considering investments. Similar legislation passed the House last year, but died in the Senate. Reynolds didn’t give details about her plan. (Center Square)
In Politics & Business
NORTH DAKOTA: U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R) will run for governor, after Gov. Doug Burgum (R) said he would not seek a new term. Former state Sen. Tom Campbell (R) is expected to announce his campaign soon, and Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller (R) is considering her own plans. (Fargo Forum)
North Dakota hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since George Sinner won re-election in 1988.
ARIZONA: State Republican Party chairman Jeff DeWit resigned abruptly Wednesday after audio showed him apparently offering U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake (R) a lucrative job if she ended her bid to challenge Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I). DeWit said he resigned after Lake’s team threatened him with the release of a “new, more damaging recording.” (Arizona Republic)
What a bizarre story.
MICHIGAN: Lawyers for the Republican National Committee said Wednesday it appeared Michigan GOP chair Kristina Karamo had been properly removed from her post in accordance with party bylaws. The RNC Counsel’s office said it was unable to conclusively determine who the proper party chair is, a decision the full RNC will have to make when it meets Jan. 30 in Nevada. (Detroit News)
WISCONSIN: The state Assembly approved new legislative maps that would protect some Republican incumbents, days after the Senate advanced maps in a last-ditch effort to avoid throwing their fate to the state Supreme Court. Gov. Tony Evers (D) said he would veto those new maps. (Wisconsin Examiner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
HAWAII: House Speaker Scott Saiki (D) backs legislation to create a full public financing system for political candidates, beginning in 2028. The program is designed similarly to ones in Arizona, Connecticut, Maine and New Mexico. Candidates for governor would get up to $2.5 million to run their campaigns. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
By The Numbers
$149.5 million: The amount Johnson & Johnson will pay Washington State to settle claims over its role in the opioid epidemic. Washington reported 2,048 opioid overdose deaths in 2022, more than twice the number reported in 2019. (Seattle Times)
10%, 4%: The share of New Jersey state contracts awarded to women-owned and minority-owned businesses, respectively. Women own nearly 38% of businesses in New Jersey, and minorities own 28% of construction businesses there. (NJ Advance Media)
69.2 inches: The amount of snow that has fallen at Juneau’s airport this month, close to the all-time record of 75.2 inches set in 2009. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s this weekend, with rain in the forecast. (Associated Press)
Off The Wall
The Florida Senate has advanced legislation to designate State Road A1A as the “Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway,” after the late singer’s fifth studio album. The same committee passed legislation that would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to create a “Margaritaville” license plate design. (Florida Politics)
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) introduced legislation Wednesday to rename Fairbanks International Airport after the late U.S. Rep. Don Young (R). Since he died in 2022, Alaska has named the Port of Alaska and a volcano in the Aleutian Islands after the long-serving Republican. The legislature established June 9 as Don Young Day in 2023. (Anchorage Daily News)
Anyone who visited Young’s office in the Rayburn Building will remember the giant bear pelt that hung behind the receptionist’s desk.
Rendon Dietzmann, a YouTuber and motorcycle enthusiast, posted video of his ride between Colorado Springs and Denver, which he covered in just 20 minutes at top speeds of more than 150 miles per hour. Now the Colorado State Patrol would like a word — they’ve issued an arrest warrant for reckless endangerment and reckless driving. (Denver Post)
Quote of the Day
“I appreciate you singing along.”
— Iowa Rep. Sue Cahill (D), who used a hearing on legislation to require students to sing the national anthem every day to belt out her own rendition, joined by her Republican colleagues. Cahill voted against the bill. (Des Moines Register)