Pluribus AM: Abortion case before Florida high court

Good morning, it’s Friday, September 8, 2023. In today’s edition, California lawmakers race through final week; Florida Supreme Court hears abortion arguments; Youngkin rolls out new education plan:

Top Stories

ABORTION: The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Friday over a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. Plaintiffs including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU say the ban violates the state constitution’s privacy clause. If the court upholds the 15-week ban, a stricter 6-week ban would take effect 30 days later. (Associated Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) has asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a district court judge’s ruling striking down the state ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Griffin cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade last year. (Arkansas Times) California lawmakers approved a bill that would allow fines against school boards that ban textbooks based on inclusion of LGBTQ and race lessons. (Los Angeles Times)

GUN POLITICS: California lawmakers gave final approval to a new excise tax on guns and ammunition Thursday, requiring manufacturers, vendors and dealers to fork over an extra 11% tax. The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) for a signature or a veto. (Sacramento Bee)

IMMIGRATION: California Gov. Newsom will send additional National Guard troops to the Southern border to bolster efforts to combat fentanyl and drug smuggling. Officials estimate 65% of the narcotics that enter the United States come over the California border. (Los Angeles Times) New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) won’t rule out a special session to address the migrant surge impacting the state. (State of Politics)

HOUSING: California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation allowing religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to turn their parking lots and other property into low-income housing. Projects would be allowed to circumvent local permitting and environmental review rules. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) launched a new education plan including intensive tutoring programs, new literacy specialists and a task force to reduce chronic absenteeism as students struggle to recover pandemic-era learning loss. The $418 million plan will recommend school districts allocate 70% of new funding for tutoring and 20% for the literacy program. (Washington Post)

FOIA: Arkansas lawmakers will consider new restrictions on the state’s Freedom of Information Act law to make it more difficult for an individual to recover attorney fees in FOIA cases. A draft of the law would also shield information about security provided to state elected officials. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) is expected to call a special session to consider the measure Friday. (Talk Business & Politics)

WILDFIRES: Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources will partner with T-Mobile and a company called Pano AI to install 21 fire detection cameras across the state meant to use artificial intelligence to spot conflagrations before they grow out of control. The cameras, which have 360-degree views, will alert firefighters the same way a 911 call would. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)

In Politics & Business

NEW JERSEY: Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is expected to choose Secretary of State Tahesha Way as his new lieutenant governor, after the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D) passed away in August. Way, 51, has served in Murphy’s cabinet since he took office in 2018. (NJ Advance Media)

INDIANA: Yesterday, we told you former Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers (R) was loaning his campaign $5 million. Now, Chambers’s campaign is rolling out a $1 million ad campaign to introduce himself to voters across the state. (Northwest Indiana Times) Sen. Mike Braun (R), Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) and former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) have yet to run ads. Businessman Eric Doden (R) has been up with ads for a few weeks.

MISSOURI: State Sen. Bill Eigel (R) will formally enter the race to replace term-limited Gov. Mike Parson (R) on Friday. Eigel, who has been critical of Republican leadership in the legislature, will face Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (R) and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) in the GOP primary. (St. Louis Public Radio)

MISSISSIPPI: State Democrats have tapped attorney Ty Pinkins (D) as their nominee for Secretary of State, after the previous nominee withdrew for health reasons. Pinkins, who is already challenging Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in next year’s election, will face incumbent Michael Watson (R) in November. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

FLORIDA: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to safeguard abortion access have collected enough signatures to require the state Supreme Court to review its ballot language. Supporters have to collect 891,523 valid signatures by February to qualify the measure. They’re at about 300,000 so far. (Axios Tampa Bay)

OHIO: U.S. House district maps that were ruled unconstitutional will be used again in next year’s midterm elections after groups opposed to the new maps opted to drop a legal challenge. The maps must be redrawn after the 2024 elections under state law. (Statehouse News Bureau)

By The Numbers

$46.6 million: The amount spent on television advertisements in the race for Kentucky governor so far this year. Democrats and Gov. Andy Beshear (D) are outspending Republicans and Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) $32 million to $14 million. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

The total is already close to twice as much as Beshear and former Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and their allies spent in the 2019 race.

$4.3 billion: The estimated amount poor roads cost Michigan drivers in auto repair bills each year. A state law that allows drivers to be reimbursed for damages caused by neglected roads has paid out less than $150,000 in repair bills since 2018. (Bridge MI)

$21.6 million: The amount Mainers spent on recreational cannabis products in August, the third straight month of record sales. The industry is on pace to easily surpass the record $140 million in total sales last year. (Portland Press Herald)

Off The Wall

Americans are, um, moving to secure laxatives at an unprecedented rate, creating shortages of the chemical used in brands like Miralax and Glycolax. Searches for laxative pills on Amazon have more than tripled in the last year, while fiber supplement manufactures are reporting double-digit sales growth. Dow Chemical is building new factories to meet demand. (Wall Street Journal)

Residents in D.C.’s Chevy Chase area have an odd new neighbor: A pay phone. The phone allows free nationwide calls, but it’s meant to spread mirth: Dialing *1 will give callers a knock-knock joke. Dialing *7 will give callers a positive thought for kids, while *9 gives a positive thought for “parents on the edge.” (Washingtonian)

Quote of the Day

“We have poked the bear of Big Tech.”

Arkansas Sen. Tyler Dees (R), author of legislation that would require parental consent for kids to open social media accounts, speaking Thursday at a Pluribus News event. A federal judge issued a temporary injunction halting the Arkansas law last week.