Pluribus AM: CA out of Colorado River deal; bail reform angst in Albany; Bigfoot mystery solved(?)
Good morning, does it ever feel like January never ends? We’ve got good news for you, it’s Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. In today’s edition, Calif. stays out of river deal; bail reform angst in Albany; and a disappointing explanation for Bigfoot:
COLORADO RIVER: Six of the seven states that depend on Colorado River water reached an agreement to drastically cut back water use, a day before a federal deadline to strike a deal. The agreement would cut 2 million acre-feet of water. The lone holdout is California, the river’s biggest consumer. (Associated Press)
GUN CONTROL: A federal judge has blocked New Jersey from enforcing new restrictions on concealed carry permits, though the judge allowed provisions banning firearms at playgrounds and youth sporting events to stand. (NJ.com) Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) has introduced permitless-carry legislation. The bill would maintain a ban on guns in schools and at athletic events. (City & State) A New Mexico Senate committee has approved a bill raising the minimum age to buy some high-powered firearms. (Albuquerque Journal)
NEW YORK: Legislative Democrats are questioning Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) push to change new bail reform laws. Hochul pivoted to combatting crime late in her 2022 campaign, while Democratic lawmakers say they want to understand crime statistics before they make any new changes to the law. (State of Politics)
CALIFORNIA: State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) has introduced legislation to require companies that generate more than $1 billion in sales in California to disclose carbon emissions data. The requirement would apply to about 5,500 companies in the state. (Sacramento Bee) A similar bill died in the Assembly last year.
KANSAS: Legislators have introduced a measure to allow parents to pay for private school tuition or homeschooling costs if they object to public school curriculum on gender and sexuality. Iowa passed a similar bill last week, and at least a dozen other states are considering like ideas. Senate President Ty Masterson (R) had been considering a bill modeled on Florida’s so-called don’t say gay law. (Associated Press)
MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) used his State of the State address Monday to call for a Parents’ Bill of Rights, aiding rural hospitals without expanding Medicaid and increasing funding for pregnancy resource centers and updating adoption and child support laws. Reeves wants to create a new childcare tax credit. (Supertalk, Magnolia Tribune)
OHIO: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is expected to call for new funding for mental health care, new tax credits for low-income housing and new education and training programs in his State of the State speech today. Legislative leaders say they want a flat tax on incomes over $25,000 a year. (Columbus Dispatch)
IOWA: House Republicans filed legislation Monday to make the manufacture, prescription and distribution of abortion pills a felony. The vast majority of abortions in the U.S. are medical, rather than surgical. (Iowa Starting Line)
MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Maura Healey (D) is asking legislators to approve a $282 million supplemental spending plan to house migrants. Healey’s plan would spend $85 million on an emergency assistance program, $65 million to expand shelter capacity and $22 million in additional school funding. (MassLive) Lawmakers rejected a $139 million plan offered by Healey’s predecessor, Charlie Baker (R).
CONNECTICUT: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is proposing a tax cut for low income families that could save them an average of $211 over the next year by bolstering the Earned Income Tax Credit. The cut would target families that earn between $46,500 and $64,000 a year. (CT Mirror)
IDAHO: The state House approved a measure withholding state sales and use tax revenues from local governments that decline to enforce state felony laws. The measure is aimed at punishing cities that refuse to enforce laws criminalizing abortions; Boise’s city council passed a resolution in July deprioritizing abortion investigations. (Idaho Capital Sun)
In Politics & Business
MISSISSIPPI: Ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller (R) will not challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) in the GOP primary this year. (Associated Press) Former state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) will challenge Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) in this year’s primary election. (Mississippi Free Press, Associated Press)
ARIZONA: Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) has asked Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) to investigate former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) after Lake appeared to post signatures of 16 registered voters online. State law bars disclosure of a voter’s signature or email address by anyone other than the voter in question. (Arizona Republic)
KANSAS: State Democratic Party chair Vicki Hiatt will not seek another term. Party treasurer Lynn Rogers and activist Jeanna Repass are running for the job; in an email to state Democrats, Hiatt offered high praise for Repass. (Sunflower State Journal)
MONTANA: Lawmakers approved a resolution providing feedback to the independent redistricting committee on newly drawn state legislative district lines. Republicans are unhappy with the lines, though the districts are likely to cement GOP control for the decade ahead. (Montana Free Press)
NEVADA: The Office of Economic Development will consider a new round of tax abatements for Tesla after the electric vehicle manufacturer announced a $3.6 billion expansion of its Gigafactory in northern Nevada. The new money would be triggered under a 2014 deal to woo the company’s mega-plant. (Nevada Current, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
By The Numbers
4.3% and 3.9%: The unemployment rates in Alaska and Pennsylvania, respectively, in December 2022 — the lowest unemployment rates measured in those states since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track of state-level figures in 1976. (BLS)
$12 million: The amount appropriated by Maryland’s state Senate to fund a 988 suicide and crisis prevention hotline, the first bill to pass the Senate this year. The bill passed in a unanimous vote. (Baltimore Banner)
10%: The share of Kentucky voters who are registered independents, the first time that figure has crossed into double digits. (Kentucky Fried Politics) Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by about 35,000 voters — though lots of ancestral Democrats are now firmly in the GOP camp.
Off The Wall
What’s the most boring possible explanation for Bigfoot sightings? That people actually mistook a bear for the legendary ape. A new scientific study shows an average of one Bigfoot “sighting” for every 900 bears present in a forest area. There have been more than 10,000 Bigfoot sightings in the U.S. in the last 50 years. (Sacramento Bee)
X-Files writers, where are you when we need you?
Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) won’t make his first scheduled meeting with Gov. Tina Kotek (D) and Multnomah County Commission chair Jessica Vega Pederson — because he’s been summoned to jury duty. Wheeler was selected to sit on a two-day trial despite what his chief of staff called his best efforts to be excused. (Oregonian)
Yesterday, we asked for examples of legislators who have served in more than one state — and you delivered! Washington State Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) served in Oregon before moving across the Columbia River. Nevada Assemblyman David Orentlicher (D) previously served in the Indiana House.
Peggy Wilson (R) served in state Houses in Alaska and North Carolina before retiring, and Steve Vick (R) served in the Montana House and the Idaho Senate before leaving office last year. And here’s an oddity one: Edward Meyer served for a decade as a Democratic member of the Connecticut Senate, after serving in New York’s Assembly first as a Republican and then as a Democrat.
Quote of the Day
“Most of my work is done at night or on weekends, but you’re talking about a few hours a week. Even then, it’s not a huge time commitment on my part.”
— Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams (R), who continues to practice election law for out-of-state clients while serving in office. Adams helped Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach’s (R) campaigns in 2020 and 2022. He served as general counsel to the RGA for 12 years before taking office. (Lexington Herald Leader)