Pluribus AM: Arizona nixes 1864 abortion ban

Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 2, 2024. In today’s edition, Arizona Senate nixes abortion ban; Arkansas approves crypto mine regulations; Ohio Republicans at war with each other:

Top Stories

ABORTION: The Arizona Senate voted Wednesday to repeal an 1864 near-total abortion ban when two Republicans joined Democrats. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) is expected to sign the bill, which passed the House last week; her signature will leave in effect a 15-week abortion ban approved by then-Gov. Doug Ducey (R) in 2022. (Pluribus News)

CRYPTO: The Arkansas House gave final approval to a pair of bills giving state and local government more control over crypto mining operations. The bills require noise mitigation strategies and allow local governments to adopt crypto-specific noise ordinances. (Pluribus News)

IMMIGRATION: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has signed legislation requiring jailers to check the immigration status of inmates. The law would deny state funding to local governments that do not comply. (Associated Press)

ECONOMY: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has signed legislation banning local governments from adopting guaranteed income programs. The measure is aimed at a program called UpLift, which has provided $500 a month to 110 families in Polk, Dallas and Warren counties. (Des Moines Register)

DEI: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has allowed a bill banning public universities from requiring diversity, equity and inclusion statements in admissions or hiring to become law without her signature. Republicans had threatened to withhold 5% of state university budgets unless Kelly allowed it to become law. (Kansas City Star)

Kelly plans to veto a tax package that includes a two-rate income tax. She’ll call lawmakers back into special session in the coming weeks. (KSNT)

EDUCATION: The North Carolina Senate Appropriations Committee has endorsed legislation to add $248 million to clear a backlog of 54,900 students who are waiting for Opportunity Scholarships that pay for private or religious K-12 schools. That’s close to double the $293 million the state has already allocated for the program. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Twenty-six Republican attorneys general have sued the Biden administration to block a rule requiring firearms dealers to conduct background checks at gun shows and during private sales. The suit was filed in federal courts in Florida, Texas and Arkansas. (Associated Press)

ENVIRONMENT: The Connecticut House approved legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by 2050. Democrats stripped out provisions to allow citizens to bring lawsuits to force compliance, and to set a goal of installing 310,000 heat pumps in the coming years. (CT Mirror)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation banning the cultivation, marketing or sales of meat grown from animal cells. No Florida companies currently grow, research or sell lab-grown meat in the state. (Orlando Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

SOUTH DAKOTA: Supporters of abortion rights have submitted 55,000 signatures, well more than the 35,017 they need to qualify their ballot measure for November. The ballot measure would amend the state constitution to legalize all abortions during the first trimester. (South Dakota Searchlight)

MISSOURI: Supporters of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 have submitted more than 210,000 signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot. They need 115,000 of those signatures to be valid to qualify. (Kansas City Star)

Your occasional reminder that no minimum wage ballot measure has failed, in any state, since the late 1990s.

ILLINOIS: The state House has approved three non-binding measures for November’s ballot, asking voters to secure IVF rights, protect election workers and raise taxes on those who earn more than $1 million a year. The measures are meant to boost Democratic turnout. (Chicago Tribune)

OHIO: House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) has removed six committee chairs from their positions for aiding opponents to his supporters during the Republican primary. The chairs backed three outsiders who beat out pro-Stephens incumbents. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Ohio is rivaling Texas for the title of Most Riveting Intra-Party Fight of 2024.

RHODE ISLAND: Gov. Dan McKee (D) is likely to face another primary challenge in 2026. Former CVS executive Helena Foulkes (D) raised $203,000 in the first quarter of the year, about $80,000 more than McKee hauled in. (Providence Journal)

By The Numbers

About 5%: The share of Hawaii housing units that operate as short-term rentals. The rate can be three times as high in vacation hotspots like Maui County. (Pluribus News)

$400 million: The cost to construct a new Alabama Statehouse and related buildings like a parking garage, already underway in Montgomery. Budget officials say they are on track to keep costs in line with initial projections. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) will not create an Office of the First Spouse for her wife, Aimee Kotek Wilson, after a public backlash. Several of Kotek’s top staffers have quit in recent months, apparently over disagreements about Kotek Wilson’s role in the administration. (Oregonian)

Whale watchers in Laguna Beach, Calif., have spotted the first blue whale of the year, a 60-foot male. Blue whales eat 20 million to 50 million calories per day, or the equivalent of 80,000 Big Macs. (Sacramento Bee)

Prompt for your AI image generator: A blue whale with 80,000 Big Macs.

Thieves who broke into a store in Seattle’s Central District this week made off with at least 100 pounds of smoked salmon. “They need to keep it refrigerated or they’re going to have to eat a lot of it,” the business’s owner said. (KIRO)

Quote of the Day

“I hope that people understand from this that what the point of the story is, is that most politicians will run away from the truth. They will shy away and hide from making tough decisions. I don’t do either of those.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), defending her decision to shoot and kill her dog and a goat — that she wrote about in her own book — by blaming the “fake news.” (South Dakota Searchlight)