Pluribus AM: Abortion fight turns to cities

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Good morning, it’s Monday, October 23, 2023. In today’s edition, abortion foes turn to local governments; Texas special session enters crunch time; Dems, GOP statistically tied in Virginia:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Sixty-seven cities and five counties have approved new ordinances banning abortion in the year-and-a-half since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. A Texas-based advocacy group, Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, has worked with local lawmakers to restrict abortion access. (Pluribus News)

MORE: A federal judge has blocked Colorado’s first-in-the-nation law banning abortion pill “reversal.” The judge sided with a Catholic health clinic that argued the law violates its religious freedom and First Amendment rights. The judge blocked a part of the law that would have subjected anti-abortion clinics to consumer-protection sanctions. (Colorado Sun)

EDUCATION: It’s crunch time in Texas, where lawmakers meeting in special session are debating whether to establish education savings accounts and increase education spending. The House version of a voucher bill provides $4,600 to students in their first year. A Senate version provides $8,000 per year. We broke down the differences between the two bills here.

MORE: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond (R) has filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking to block what would be the nation’s first publicly-funded religious charter school. Drummond argues the contract between the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City violates both state and federal constitutions. (Oklahoma Watch)

TECHNOLOGY: The White House will announce 31 technology hubs, funded by $500 million from the CHIPS and Science Act passed last year to stimulate investments in new technology. The money is a bid to promote regional diversity to spread the tech sector beyond its traditional hubs like Austin, San Francisco and Seattle. The hubs will include areas in 31 states. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation codifying the Affordable Care Act into state law. The state law duplicates ACA provisions prohibiting insurers from denying health care based on preexisting conditions or kicking dependents off a parent’s coverage until age 26. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Illinois Democrats want to use a veto session to revive legislation that would bar those accused of domestic abuse from owning a firearm. The bill would allow law enforcement to seize firearms within 48 hours of a judge granting a protective order. (Capitol News Illinois)

DISASTER RELIEF: Florida lawmakers will return to Tallahassee for a special session next month to provide aid for victims of Hurricane Idalia. The legislature will also take up bills to sanction Iran and support Israel. Lawmakers will take up a bill to expand the number of industries that can be barred from doing business with the state if they also do work with sponsors of terrorism. (Orlando Sentinel)

BUDGET: North Dakota legislators return to Bismarck for a special session to fix a budget mess after the state Supreme Court said a bill they approved earlier this year violated the state constitution. The court said the legislature’s budget bill included too many different topics. Lawmakers will break the budget bill into 14 components, introduced Friday by leading legislators. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

VIRGINIA: Likely voters favor Democratic legislative candidates over Republican candidates by a statistically insignificant 47% to 45% margin, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll. The poll showed 71% of voters are certain to vote. Sixty percent of voters said abortion is very important to their vote, up 14 points from 2019. (Washington Post)

MISSOURI: State Senate President Caleb Rowden (R) will run for Secretary of State, he said Saturday. Rowden faces state Rep. Adam Schwadron (R), Sen. Denny Hoskins (R) and Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller (R) in the race to replace incumbent Jay Ashcroft (R), who is running for governor. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MICHIGAN: The state Republican Party took out a loan to cover a $110,000 speaker fee to bring actor Jim Caviezel to its annual Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. Party chair Kristina Karamo said they needed to spend the money to help cover the $150,000 it owed to Mackinac’s Grand Hotel, where the party holds its annual event. Michigan Republicans are deep in debt a year before critical presidential elections. (Bridge MI)

MIDWEST: Navigator CO2, a Nebraska-based company, has canceled plans to build a 1,300-mile carbon dioxide pipeline, citing the “unpredictable nature” of regulatory processes. South Dakota denied a permit for the pipeline, and its future in Iowa was uncertain as well. (Capitol News Illinois)

PEOPLE: Vic Fischer, the last living delegate to Alaska’s Constitutional Convention in 1955, has died at 99. Fischer escaped Stalin’s Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as a child, served in World War II and moved to Alaska to become a community planner, where he founded the first grassroots organization seeking statehood. (Anchorage Daily News)

By The Numbers

39 million: The number of Americans who moved from one residence to another between 2021 and 2022. About 8.2 million of those movers relocated to a new state. About 102,000 Californians moved to Texas, the largest single state-to-state move — though twice as many Californians moved to nearby Western states. Check out all the cool graphics we made to illustrate state-to-state moves.

31%: The share of students whose parents are in the top 1% of earners who score 1300 or better on their SATs. Just 2.4% of those whose parents are in the bottom 20% of the income scale score as high. (New York Times)

$295,000: The amount Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s (D) office agreed to pay to settle a sexual harassment complaint against former Secretary of Legislative Affairs Mike Vereb. Vereb resigned his position last month. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Off The Wall

Florida Sen. Tina Polsky (D) wants to replace the state’s official bird, the Northern Mockingbird, with the threatened Florida Scrub-Jay. Polsky noted the Scrub-Jay is the only bird species that lives exclusively in Florida, while the Northern Mockingbird can be found in every state in the continental U.S. (Orlando Sentinel)

Idaho and Oregon lawmakers met for the first time to discuss the Greater Idaho movement, in which a dozen or more rural Oregon counties want to redraw state boundaries to join their conservative neighbor. Idaho Reps. Barbara Ehardt (R) and Judy Boyle (R) met with Oregon Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson (R) to talk about the plan. (Idaho Statesman)

Headline of the Day: “New Mexico natural history museum asks you to remember the Alamosaurus.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

Quote of the Day

“The entirety of their time together was spent discussing matters above sea level.”

Manuel Bonder, a spokesman for Pennsylvania Gov. Shapiro, on Shapiro’s meeting with Anthony Pratt, the Australian billionaire who allegedly learned classified information about American submarines from former President Donald Trump. Pratt’s company paid for a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times featuring a photo of himself showing Shapiro around his firm’s Pennsylvania factory. (Philadelphia Inquirer)