Pluribus AM: Alabama’s redistricting conundrum

Good morning, it’s Thursday, July 20, 2023. In today’s edition, Ala. redistricting likely headed back to court; Conn. Gov signs abortion protections; Sununu won’t seek re-election:

Top Stories

REDISTRICTING: The Alabama House and Senate approved new U.S. House district maps that do not add a second Black-majority district. The two versions are slightly different, meaning they will have to agree on a compromise. The National Redistricting Foundation, an arm of the Democratic redistricting committee, promised to challenge the maps in court. (

ABORTION: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signed four bills relating to reproductive rights. The measures expand access to contraceptives, protect abortion providers against legal action from other states and safeguard online health data. One of the measures allows pharmacists to prescribe emergency or hormonal contraception. (CTMirror)

DIVERSITY: A group of Democratic attorneys general signed a letter to Fortune 100 companies urging them to “double down” on diversity programs and to ignore legal threats from Republican attorneys general. The Republican AGs warned last week that companies using racial hiring quotas or preferences would be subject to legal action in the wake of a Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action in school admissions. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has signed a law creating new phonics-based reading requirements for elementary school students. The bill calls for “intensive” personal literacy plans, including summer school, for incoming fourth graders who fail to meet third-grade reading requirements. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A federal judge has issued an order blocking a Florida law targeting drag shows, ruling that the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is likely unconstitutional. An Orlando burger bar challenged the law on First Amendment grounds. (WLRN)

IMMIGRATION: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) is sending $41 million in funding to Cochise County law enforcement agencies to pursue border-related crimes. The funding will pay for incarceration, equipment and personnel costs. It comes from a $544 million Border Security Fund signed into law by Hobbs’s predecessor, former Gov. Doug Ducey (R), in 2022. (Arizona Republic)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Attorneys general in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama have formed the Organized Retail Crime Alliance to battle retail theft. Retail theft cost stores almost $70 billion in 2019, according to a 2021 report. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

ALCOHOL: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed legislation allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages at college stadiums and arenas. (Detroit News) Whitmer also signed legislation allowing bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages to go and for delivery, making permanent the pandemic-era change. (Detroit Free Press)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Whitmer also signed legislation allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines. She signed another bill that will make Michigan the first state in the country to allow individuals to opt into organ donation programs on their tax forms. (Michigan Advance)

In Politics & Business

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) won’t seek a record fifth term in office, he said Wednesday. Former Senate President Chuck Morse (R) immediately jumped in the race, as Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut (R) and former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) consider campaigns. The winner of the GOP primary will face either Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D) or Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D), both of whom have already announced their campaigns. (Pluribus News, WMUR)

KENTUCKY: Attorney General and gubernatorial nominee Daniel Cameron (R) has chosen state Sen. Robby Mills (R) as his running mate. Mills represents a Western Kentucky district. Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) campaign sought to tie Mills to former Gov. Matt Bevin (R). (Pluribus News)

Former Kentucky Wildcat star Cameron Mills took to Twitter to clarify that, no, he’s not running for governor.

OHIO: A Suffolk University poll conducted for USA Today found 57% of likely voters oppose Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the threshold for approving future constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%. Just 26% said they support the measure, which Republicans have said is intended to preempt a proposed amendment guarding abortion rights that will appear on November’s ballot. (Columbus Dispatch)

PENNSYLVANIA: The state House is headed back to a 101-101 tie, after state Rep. Sara Innamorato (D) resigned to focus on running for Allegheny County Executive. Speaker Joanna McClinton (D) said a special election to replace Innamorato will be held Sept. 19. (PoliticsPA)

By The Numbers

$56 million: The amount Democrats and Republicans spent on a Wisconsin Supreme Court race this spring that flipped control of the court to the new liberal majority. Democrats spent more than $32 million backing Justice-elect Janet Protasiewicz, while Republicans spent $22.5 million on former Justice Daniel Kelly. Two other candidates spent the rest on failed primary campaigns. (WisPolitics)

The previous record in a state Supreme Court race: $15 million, spent on a 2004 contest in Illinois.

$2 million: The amount raised by Tennessee state Reps. Justin Pearson (D) and Justin Jones (D) in the fundraising periods after they were expelled from the state House for leading a gun control protest on the floor. (Nashville Post)

Suffice to say, that’s a lot more than most Tennessee state legislators raise.

2: The number of billion-dollar lottery jackpots sold in Los Angeles County in the last eight months. Someone purchased the winning $1 billion Powerball ticket at a mini market in Los Angeles’s Fashion District on Wednesday. (Los Angeles Times)

Off The Wall

Andrew Gray, one of thirteen candidates seeking an open seat in the British House of Commons, has used artificial intelligence to come up with campaign promises. Gray says he has no policies of his own. The AI program he used calls for higher taxes, an overhaul of the National Health Services and closer ties with the European Union. (Associated Press)

Old and busted: Fingers in the wind. New hotness: Fingers on a keyboard.

Anchorage paddle boarder Kevin Williams always hoped for a close encounter with a humpback whale — just not one in which a whale swam directly underneath his board in the Passage Canal near Whittier. Williams’s son snapped a photo of the scary moment that’s worth a click. (Anchorage Daily News)

Quote of the Day

“I am continually optimistic that common sense will invade the room and we’ll stop bickering.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), on budget negotiations that have dragged on for months. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)