Pluribus AM: Back to Work Edition

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 5, 2023. In today’s edition, gender-affirming care bans hit court blockades; states fund 988 suicide prevention lines; deadline day for Ohio abortion amendment:

Top Stories

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Four courts in recent weeks have struck down gender-affirming care bans passed in red states. Supporters of care bans say they will try a new tactic in next year’s legislative sessions: Increasing liability requirements for doctors who provide such care. The new proposals are meant to price providers out of the market. (Pluribus News)

HEALTH CARE: Maternal deaths in the United States have more than doubled over the last two decades. Black mothers died at the highest rates, while the largest increases came among American Indian and Native Alaskan mothers. Among wealthy nations, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality. (Associated Press)

MORE: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) and Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) are expected to sign bills assessing monthly telecom surcharges to fund 988 suicide prevention hotlines. About half the states have passed appropriations supporting 988 call centers. (Pluribus News) Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has signed legislation requiring health insurance providers to provide up to six months of smoking cessation treatment for patients who want to quit. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

ABORTION: The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a near-total ban on abortions, reversing an injunction that has been in place since September. A lower court judge had ruled that the ban likely violates the state constitution. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

EDUCATION: Ohio lawmakers have reached a $190 billion budget deal that includes universal vouchers for K-12 students and a provision requiring parental consent for minors to create social media accounts. Ohio students whose families make less than 450% of the federal poverty limit would be eligible for full EdChoice scholarships. (Columbus Dispatch)

MORE: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) has signed legislation requiring the state Board of Education to consider whether to make computer science classes a graduation requirement for high school students. Green also signed a bill allocating $200 million to expand access to pre-K programs. (Maui Now)

ENVIRONMENT: A coalition of ten attorneys general will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to review and ensure emissions standards for wood-burning stoves. The coalition includes mostly Democratic attorneys general, as well as Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor (R). (Associated Press)

MORE: A new rule proposed by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) would require 43% of model year 2027 cars and trucks sent to the state meet zero-emission standards. The rule would increase the share of zero-emission cars for sale to 82% by 2032. (Albuquerque Journal)

BIOMETRICS: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering a proposed rule that would allow the use of biometric data — like a handprint — instead of a physical ID when purchasing alcohol. A similar system, using an Amazon product, is already in place at Denver’s Coors Field. (Washington State Standard)

In Politics & Business

WASHINGTON: Former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R) has filed papers to run for governor in 2024. He has not formally announced, but he’s hired a campaign manager. (Seattle Times) Reichert would become the most prominent Republican in the race, but he’s flirted with — and passed on — gubernatorial campaigns before.

OHIO: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights are expected to file more than the 413,446 required signatures to make November’s ballot. Today marks the deadline for signatures to be filed. (Columbus Dispatch)

FLORIDA: A federal judge on Monday blocked a new Florida law that places restrictions on outside groups that register voters. Walker blocked elements of the law that prevent non-citizens from handling voter registration forms and bar groups from keeping personal data of the voters they register. The judge ruled the new law violates equal protection rights. (Orlando Sentinel)

TEXAS: Impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) will not testify in his upcoming trial, his attorney said Monday. The Senate gave Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) the authority to compel witness testimony, but Paxton’s lawyers signaled they would fight any attempt to force him onto the witness stand. (Texas Tribune)

MISSISSIPPI: State Democratic Party chair Tyree Irving has resigned under pressure from fellow party members after a dispute over a $250,000 donation from the Democratic National Committee. (Mississippi Free Press)

ARKANSAS: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has appointed Cody Hiland, a former U.S. Attorney and current chair of the state Republican Party, to a vacant seat on the state Supreme Court. Hiland will be ineligible to run for the seat when it comes up for election in 2024. (Talk Business & Politics)

By The Numbers

$44.9 billion: The amount in tax revenue Pennsylvania collected during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, 3.1% ahead of estimates. Corporate taxes came in nearly 20% above estimates. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

$21.4 million: The amount special interest groups spent lobbying Nebraskas’s legislature in 2022, a new spending record. The total spent on lobbyists is up 5.5% from 2021. (Omaha World-Herald)

$19.08: The hourly minimum wage in West Hollywood, Calif., the highest in the nation. (Los Angeles Times)

77.5%: The share of Americans who showed evidence of a prior Covid-19 infection by the end of December 2022, according to a new study from the CDC. A whopping 96.7% of Americans had some form of Covid-19 antibodies in their systems, either from infection or vaccination. (The Hill)

Off The Wall

A monument to George Washington outside Virginia’s state capitol building in Richmond is all the buzz these days — literally. Capitol police summoned a beekeeper to investigate and remove a large beehive discovered inside the crypt. A Capitol police officer said the honey dripping off the hive was delicious. (WAVY)

Congratulations to Aaron Bartholmey of Colfax, Iowa, whose pencil collection — 70,000 and counting — is apparently the largest in the world. Examiners from the American Pencil Collectors Society (which is apparently a thing) spent the weekend counting the collection for submission to the Guinness Book of World Records. (KCCI)

Quote of the Day

“There was no plan. And it took, I mean, frankly, it took a huge amount of time and energy just to convince people that we needed a plan.”

Iowa state Sen. Zach Wahls (D), on his party’s declining political fortunes in what used to be a swing state. Democrats hold just 16 of 50 seats in the Senate, the fewest in half a century. (Des Moines Register)