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Good morning, it’s Wednesday, September 27, 2023. In today’s edition, Newsom signs new gun taxes; judge strikes down Texas drag ban; redistricting news out of Alabama, New Mexico, Florida, Ohio:

Top Stories

GUN POLITICS: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday signed legislation limiting where concealed weapons may be carried, requiring semi-automatic pistols to use micro stamping technology to aid in solving gun crimes and imposing an 11% excise tax on gan and ammunition sales. The excise tax is the first of its kind in any state. (Pluribus News)

MORE: Ohio House Republicans are advancing legislation that would offer $10 million a year in refundable tax credits for firearm and ammunition manufacturers who expand operations. The bill would also eliminate sales and use taxes on guns and ammunition. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Kentucky Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to impose a three-strikes penalty for those convicted of a third felony offense. Other legislators have proposed new penalties for fentanyl-related deaths and to allow business owners to use a “reasonable amount” of force to protect themselves from shoplifters. (Associated Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a Texas law restricting some public drag shows violates First Amendment rights. Judge David Hittner ruled the law, approved earlier this year, discriminates based on viewpoints, and that it is overly broad and vague. (Texas Tribune)

AGRICULTURE: Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) will introduce legislation that would ban foreign individuals and corporate interests from purchasing parcels of land larger than 10 acres and to limit land leases by foreign entities to just two years. Four bills to limit foreign land purchases stalled in the legislature this year. (Kansas Reflector)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) has ordered state police to launch new efforts to combat the fentanyl supply chain. State police will reallocate staff to local drug enforcement teams and to lead interagency patrols emphasizing intercepting fentanyl using drug dogs. (Associated Press)

TAXES: Massachusetts lawmakers laid out details of a $1 billion tax cut they plan to adopt this week expanding the universal child and dependent care tax credit, lowering taxes on short-term capital gains and inheritances and simplifying corporate income tax liability. Senate President Karen Spilka (D) called it the “largest bipartisan legislative tax relief proposal in over a generation.” (Pluribus News)

In Politics & Business

We should just rename this section “Today in Redistricting Litigation”

ALABAMA: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Alabama’s bid to keep a U.S. House district map that had only one Black-majority district. A special master has submitted three proposed maps to a three-judge panel in district court, all of which include a second Black-majority district that will favor Democrats. ( The Alabama Democratic Party’s Black caucus intends to file an objection to those three maps, and to submit a proposal of their own. (

FLORIDA: A federal trial over U.S. House district maps in Florida opened Tuesday as lawyers representing Black voters allege Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) intentionally dismantled a Black-majority district that stretched from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. DeSantis vetoed the legislature’s map that would have preserved the district. (Associated Press)

NEW MEXICO: Trial begins today in state court as a judge considers whether Democrats improperly divided communities of interest in redrawing the southern 2nd U.S. House district ahead of the 2022 elections. After Democrats redrew the map, Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D) ousted ex-Rep. Yvette Herrell (R). (Associated Press)

OHIO: The state Redistricting Commission unanimously approved new House and Senate district maps that will be used through the 2030 elections. The maps will give Republicans an advantage in about 62% of state House districts and 70% of state Senate districts. Democrats said the maps are fairer than previous iterations, despite their baked-in disadvantage. (Columbus Dispatch)

CALIFORNIA: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (D) said he will run for governor in 2026, joining Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Former Comptroller Betty Yee (D) also intends to get in the race, and Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is considering a bid too. (Los Angeles Times)

UTAH: State House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) will formally launch his long-awaited campaign to replace U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R) at a rally Wednesday. Wilson has raised about $1 million so far, and contributed another $1.2 million of his own money. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

12: The number of states that could face budget gaps when federal Covid-19 relief funding ends, according to the Volcker Alliance. The states — Alaska, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming — used federal aid to cover at least 2.5% of their spending in FY 2022. (Pluribus News)

$218 million: The amount Ohio could earn in tax revenue on recreational marijuana in the first year of legalization, according to a study from Ohio State University. The study found the proposed 10% excise tax would raise up to $404 million by the fifth year of legalization. (Statehouse News Bureau)

371: The number of days NASA astronaut Frank Rubio spent in space, a new record for an American. Rubio was supposed to return to Earth six months ago, but the Soyuz spacecraft that was meant to bring him home suffered damage from a micrometeorite strike. He landed safely this morning in Kazakhstan. The record for the longest time spent in space is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days in orbit in the 1990s. (Orlando Sentinel)

Off The Wall

Alabama is getting a new Statehouse to replace their current building that is plagued with mold. The Alabama Legislative Council approved an agreement with the Retirement Systems of Alabama to build a new Statehouse on what is now a parking lot behind the existing building. (Associated Press)

Michigan state Rep. Angela Witwer (D) has apologized for allowing a House employee to use the Appropriations Committee meeting room for a baby shower. House rules do not allow members to use space in the capitol building for personal matters. (Detroit News)

Quote of the Day

“I still am confident that come hell or high water, we are going to figure out how to put on a good election in November.”

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D), on a new report showing substantial turnover among elections officials ahead of the 2024 presidential election. (Arizona Republic)