Good morning, it’s Friday, June 9, 2023. In today’s edition, SCOTUS sets off redistricting bomb; Mich. advances right-to-repair; Hawaii Gov saves another accident victim:
REDISTRICTING: The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a challenge to Alabama’s congressional district lines, ordering the state to create a second district with a substantial Black population. The 5-4 decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the three liberal justices, found the state likely violated the Voting Rights Act by drawing only one Black-majority seat and six white-majority seats. (AL.com)
Hard to overstate the political earthquake on this one: The decision could lead to redrawn U.S. House maps in Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and potentially other Southern states. Read smart takes on the decision from David Wasserman, SCOTUSblog and Rick Hasen.
ABORTION: Lawmakers in five blue states have enacted “shield” laws this year, protecting both patients and providers from litigation initiated by states where abortion rights or gender-affirming care is restricted. It’s a new strategy Democrats are pursuing in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade. (The 19th)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Thursday he will veto a package of bills banning gender-affirming care and school discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity. Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the legislature. (Baton Rouge Advocate, Associated Press) Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) vetoed legislation barring transgender people from bathrooms that match their gender identities. Republicans likely don’t have the votes to override that veto. (AZ Mirror)
LABOR: The Michigan Senate voted along party lines to require public employers like state agencies and schools to provide personal contact information of workers to labor unions who represent them in negotiations. Republicans called the bill a “handout” to unions who back Democrats. (Detroit News)
RIGHT TO REPAIR: Michigan’s House Agriculture Committee heard testimony over legislation that would require agricultural equipment makers to provide diagnostics, maintenance documents, tools and parts available to owners and independent repair shops. The right-to-repair legislation has bipartisan sponsors in the House and Senate. (Bridge MI) At least 16 states have introduced right-to-repair legislation this year.
HOUSING: The Massachusetts Senate has unveiled a nearly $600 million package raising the cap on a tax exemption designed to boost housing construction. The bill also includes a $310 child care and dependent tax credit. The overall package is about half the size of what Gov. Maura Healey (D) rolled out in February. (Boston Globe)
SOCIAL MEDIA: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has signed an executive order requiring state agencies to develop curriculum explaining the negative effects of social media on kids. The new lesson plans would be included in health education classes. (Boston Globe) Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed legislation allowing elected officials to ban people from their private social media pages, a first-of-its-kind law certain to be challenged in court. (Denver Post)
CRIME: The Maine Senate has approved legislation eliminating the crime of engaging in prostitution, while maintaining the crime of soliciting. Gov. Janet Mills (D) has not yet taken a position on the bill. (Portland Press Herald)
REPARATIONS: The New York legislature gave final approval to legislation creating a commission to consider reparations for the descendants of slaves. A similar commission in California estimated that the state would be responsible for more than $500 billion in reparations; California’s budget last year was $308 billion. (Associated Press)
In Politics & Business
MISSISSIPPI: The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Mississippi Democratic Party’s decision to boot gubernatorial candidate Bob Hickingbottom (D) off the primary ballot. The decision means Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) won’t face a primary ahead of his matchup with Gov. Tate Reeves (R). (Magnolia Tribune, Supertalk)
OREGON: Negotiations between majority Democrats and Senate Republicans who walked out six weeks ago are heating up as Democrats consider scrapping a reproductive rights bill. The Senate has been unable to achieve a quorum since Republican senators started their boycott. The session is scheduled to end June 25. (Oregonian)
TEXAS: Nate Paul, the Austin developer central to allegations of illegal conduct by impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), has been arrested by the FBI. Charges against Paul have not been disclosed. (Texas Tribune)
NEVADA: Legislators have adjourned for the week without agreeing to a deal to offer up to $380 million in public money for a new stadium for the Oakland Athletics near the Las Vegas Strip. Legislators want to see amendments to a bill that largely resembles the measure that failed in the final days of the regular session. (Nevada Independent)
Meanwhile, the A’s are 14-50, and we’re pretty sure they’re already mathematically eliminated from next year’s playoffs.
By The Numbers
96.8%: The occupancy rates of Chicago hotel rooms last weekend, during three nights of Taylor Swift concerts. The average of 44,383 hotel rooms occupied each night set an all-time record in Chicago. (Crain’s Chicago Business) Credit, too, to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which was also in town for its annual meeting.
23,000: The number of marijuana possession charges expunged by Rhode Island officials on Thursday, months after the legislature made possession of small amounts of pot legal. (Providence Journal)
Off The Wall
No, this is not a repeat: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) has come to the aid of another traffic accident victim, this time a man on Kauai who was ejected from the bed of a pickup truck. Green assessed the man for a concussion before paramedics arrived. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
Green helped a victim of a rollover accident on Hawaii Island in May, and on Memorial Day he came to the aid of a woman suffering an apparent seizure. Basically, if you’re in medical trouble in Hawaii, the governor is going to save you.
A fight over whether to change Maine’s state flag is so contentious that legislators may kick the question to voters. The Senate approved a ballot referendum by an 18-16 margin, and if the House concurs, it would appear on the ballot. The new proposed flag would be a reversion to Maine’s first flag, which shows a lone pine tree and a blue star on a white background. (Boston Globe)
We’ve seen this in Utah, Maine and Minnesota this year: People get really worked up about state flags.
Satiate your donut craving this weekend, and check out whether any of Yelp’s 100 best donut shops in America are in your backyard. Rocklin Donuts & Cinnamon in Rocklin, Calif., takes the top spot.
Quote of the Day
“I’m glad I made it that far and still like it.”
— Louisiana state Rep. Francis Thompson (R), 81, the longest-serving legislator in state history. First elected in 1974, he’s served 37 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate. (Baton Rouge Advocate)