Pluribus AM: Arizona’s emotional abortion debate

Good morning, it’s Thursday, April 25, 2024. In today’s edition, Arizona House votes to repeal 1864 abortion law; California aims to cap health care price hikes; U.S. births drop to lowest rate since 1979:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Three Arizona House Republicans joined Democrats to pass legislation repealing the state’s 1864 near-total abortion ban. The vote must advance through the Republican-held Senate, though an earlier vote appeared to show two Republican senators are willing to join Democrats. If the old law is repealed, a 15-week abortion ban will remain in effect. (Pluribus News)

Wednesday’s debate was unusually heated, and at times deeply personal. Republican leaders stripped one of the three legislators who voted in favor of the bill, Rep. Matt Gress (R), of his seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

MORE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and legislative leaders rolled out a bill Wednesday to allow Arizona health care providers to cross the border to perform abortions. Arizona doctors would be required to provide registration information to the California Medical Board and Osteopathic Medical Board. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation defining a person’s sex as their biological sex assigned at birth. (Tulsa World) The Alabama House approved legislation that would extend the ban on teaching gender-related lessons to 6th through 8th grade students. Current law applies only to K-5 students. (Yellowhammer News)

GUN POLITICS: The Alabama Senate unanimously approved legislation prohibiting financial institutions from declining a credit card transaction for a firearm purchase. The bill also prohibits government agencies from creating or maintaining lists of firearm owners. (Yellowhammer News) The Alabama House Judiciary Committee approved legislation creating criminal penalties for parents if their children bring a firearm to school. (

MORE: The Vermont House has approved legislation requiring firearms that are privately made from kits or by 3D printers to carry serial numbers in an effort to crack down on so-called ghost guns. Those who use a gun without a serial number in the commission of a violent crime would face up to five years in prison and a fine. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: California’s Health Care Affordability Board voted to cap annual price increases from doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies at 3% beginning in 2029. Health care industry officials have supported a cap, but they say 3% is too low. (Associated Press)

LABOR: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has signed legislation preventing companies that voluntarily recognize unions from accessing state tax credits for mega-projects like new auto plants. Businesses would only be eligible for incentives if they require secret-ballot union elections. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Georgia Gov. Kemp has signed legislation to combat human trafficking. One bill requires businesses to post human trafficking notices. Another makes “grooming” a minor a felony offense. A third authorizes vacating sentences of some victims of sex trafficking who are convicted of crimes. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MORE: The Ohio Senate unanimously approved legislation to allow spouses to be prosecuted for rape and other sexual offenses, closing a loophole that existed in state law. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike DeWine (R). Ohio was one of 11 states that exempted spouses from prosecution. (Ohio Capital Journal)

In Politics & Business

ARIZONA: A grand jury has charged 11 state Republicans and seven top aides to former President Donald Trump over an alleged conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. Among those charged were former Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward and her husband, state Sens. Jake Hoffman (R) and Anthony Kern (R) and former U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lemon. (Arizona Republic)

Among the Trump aides charged: Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn, Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb, who now oversees election integrity lawsuits at the Republican National Committee.

NEW JERSEY: Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) will recruit candidates to run for state Assembly and down-ballot offices next year, pledging $10 million to back his candidates. Fulop, running for governor, aims to disrupt the state’s party boss system. Fulop didn’t specify which incumbents he would target. (New Jersey Globe)

MISSOURI: The Missouri House has approved legislation that would shield Bayer, the maker of the weedkiller Roundup, from lawsuits alleging it failed to warn consumers that the product causes cancer. Bayer pursued similar legislation in Idaho and Iowa, though it failed this year in both states. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

By The Numbers

Fewer than 3.6 million: The number of babies born in the United States in 2023, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down 4% from the prior year and the lowest one-year total since 1979. (Associated Press)

America’s population in 1980: 226 million. America’s population today: 331 million.

$2,113,198: The amount Arkansans spent to purchase 630 pounds of marijuana products on April 20, the unofficial pot holiday. That’s almost triple the daily average of $780,000 for dispensary sales. (Arkansas Times)

6: The number of sitting Minnesota lawmakers who have been arrested while in office. Five were arrested on driving while intoxicated charges, and a sixth — Sen. Nicole Mitchell (D) — was arrested this week on a first degree burglary charge. None have resigned. (Minnesota Reformer)

Off The Wall

Hawaii is declaring war on invasive parakeets. Legislators are debating a $300,000 pilot program that would use thermal imaging and mapping strategies to target the birds, which gobble up mango, lychee, papaya and passion fruit crops on Kauai. (Hawaii News Now)

A federal appeals court has upheld a decision to revoke an Alaska man’s pilot certificate after he delivered marijuana by plane to retail stores around the state. The man said Congress couldn’t regulate commerce happening within the state, where pot is legal; the Federal Aviation Administration disagreed. (Oregonian)

A Belgian man charged with drunk driving has had the charges dismissed after he proved he has auto-brewery syndrome, a rare condition that causes carbohydrates in his stomach to ferment into alcohol, resulting in signs of intoxication. Only about 20 people have ever been diagnosed with ABS. (AFP)

Quote of the Day

“Hopefully they’ll have a garden at the Statehouse and the White House by the end of the year.”

Chris Goldstein, an organizer with the legal marijuana group NORML, who helped plant marijuana plants at the New Jersey capitol on Monday. The group is protesting New Jersey’s prohibition on home-grown pot. (NJ Advance Media)