Pluribus AM: Arkansas takes aim at crypto mines

Good morning, it’s Friday, April 19, 2024. In today’s edition, lawmakers consider cutting diabetes costs; Arkansas advances crypto mine regulations; abortion rights measure headed for Colorado ballot:

Top Stories

HEALTH CARE: Lawmakers in Rhode Island, Oregon, New York and elsewhere are debating new cost caps for insulin and diabetes management products, like continuous glucose monitors and needles. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has proposed eliminating cost-sharing for patients who require insulin. (Pluribus News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: New York Gov. Hochul and legislative leaders will include new penalties for organized retail theft in the state budget. The plan calls for new penalties that treat assaulting a retail worker the same as assaulting a first responder, and for allowing prosecutors to charge thieves with grand larceny for multiple thefts. (Albany Times-Union)

CRYPTO: The Arkansas Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee approved bills regulating crypto mining operations. One bill would set noise limits on crypto mines and bar foreign ownership, and another would require mines to be licensed by the Department of Energy and Environment. (Arkansas Advocate)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Ohio House is set to take up legislation requiring students to use bathrooms that conform to their sex assigned at birth. The bill would prohibit schools from allowing biological females and males to share overnight accommodations. (Center Square)

LABOR: Louisiana’s House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee has approved legislation that would repeal an existing law requiring minor employees to take lunch breaks. The panel approved another bill cutting unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

MORE: California’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee has advanced legislation that would require employers to implement policies allowing workers to disconnect after hours. The bill would restrict communications from employers after hours, with potential fines for patterns of violations. (Sacramento Bee)

EDUCATION: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation allowing volunteer chaplains to provide support for students in schools. The law requires any student seeking support from a chaplain to have written consent from their parent. (Florida Politics)

In Politics & Business

COLORADO: Abortion rights backers have submitted 232,000 signatures to qualify a proposed constitutional amendment for November’s ballot. They need 120,000 valid signatures to earn a spot on the ballot, and proposed constitutional amendments need to win 55% of the vote to pass. (Colorado Public Radio)

MINNESOTA: The state Senate has approved a state-level voting rights act, allowing voters to sue over voter suppression or vote dilution. The bill requires the state to count inmates at their address prior to incarceration for redistricting purposes. (MPR News)

Read more about “prison gerrymandering” here.

OHIO: Senate President Matt Huffman (R) said the state will allow President Biden to appear on the ballot, even though the Democratic National Convention will happen two weeks after the state’s official filing deadline. Huffman cited the Supreme Court’s ruling that former President Donald Trump could appear on Colorado’s ballot. (Statehouse News Bureau)

ARIZONA: State Rep. Austin Smith (R), who denied the results of the 2020 elections, has dropped his bid for re-election after he allegedly turned in forged signatures on nominating petitions. Smith also quit his job at Turning Point USA, the conservative group that has made inaccurate claims of voter fraud. (Arizona Republic)

PEOPLE: Idaho Rep. Sue Chew (D), the longest-serving Democrat in the state House, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. Chew, 66, represented Southwest Boise. (Idaho Statesman) Our condolences to the Idaho political family.

By The Numbers

$932 million: The amount Massachusetts will spend this year on emergency shelters for homeless migrant families. Massachusetts is housing, feeding and caring for 7,499 families. (Boston Globe)

$27,188: The auction price of the handwritten letter signed by President Grover Cleveland that made Utah a state. Utah applied for statehood six times before winning admission to the union. (Deseret News)

Off The Wall

The Connecticut House has approved legislation naming the Siberian Husky the official state dog. They approved the bill the day the national champion UConn men’s basketball team toured the state Capitol. Jonathan XV, UConn’s official mascot, “testified” in favor of the bill. (Stamford Advocate)

The Illinois House has approved legislation banning residents from keeping servals, caracals, wallabies or kangaroos as pets. Lawmakers argued that servals, an African cat, are too dangerous to keep in homes. (WAND)

Who’s keeping pet kangaroos?!?

San Francisco has followed through on its threats to sue Oakland to prevent its neighbor from changing the name of its airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport. San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu says the airport’s new name is too similar to SFO. (Los Angeles Times)

We cannot get enough of this story.

Quote of the Day

“We have our vendor constantly trying to keep up with repairs but as you have noticed, not very successfully.”

James Tamburro, executive director of Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Management, on the $10 million his office needs to repair and maintain elevators and escalators at the state Capitol. (CT Insider)