Pluribus AM: Caitlin Clark is ratings magic

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, April 3, 2024. In today’s edition, lawmakers consider expanding ed savings accounts; abortion likely to make ballot in Arizona, Nevada; Wisconsin voters back banning Zuck Bucks:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: State lawmakers are considering 78 bills across 27 states that would expand, create or make amendments to school choice programs this year. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed legislation last month creating education savings accounts, and lawmakers in South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana are considering similar bills. (Pluribus News)

These education savings accounts were a huge deal last year. Click the link above for our free, outside-the-paywall look at this year’s state of play.

ABORTION: Supporters of a proposed Nevada constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights said it had collected more than 110,000 signatures to gain ballot access. They must collect 102,362 valid signatures by June 26 to qualify. (Las Vegas Review-Journal) Supporters of an Arizona version of the law have collected 500,000 signatures ahead of their July deadline, more than the 383,923 valid signatures they need. (AZ Mirror)

Along with Florida, that’s three big swing states where abortion rights will appear alongside the presidential contest.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has vetoed legislation that would have banned transgender youth from participating on school athletic teams that conform to their gender identity. Evers had been promising the veto since the beginning of the year. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Iowa legislature gave final approval to a measure that would restrict the potency of hemp-derived THC products. Products would be limited to less than 4 mgs per serving and 10 mgs per package. The bill also bans sales to minors and creates penalties for businesses that sell those products without registering with the state. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

WORKFORCE: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) plans to announce a hiring freeze for state government jobs beginning Wednesday and lasting through June. The freeze comes hours before the Healey administration releases new revenue projections, a bad sign that those numbers will be down. (Boston Globe)

ALCOHOL: The Mississippi House has approved legislation to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays. The bill would allow retailers in wet counties to be open from 1-6 p.m. (Supertalk)

Utah, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina require liquor stores to be closed on Sundays. Some counties in Idaho, Nebraska, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida do the same.

TAXES: The Nebraska legislature approved a 1 cent sales tax increase by a single vote, to 6.5% — a mark that would put it among the highest in the country. The bill also raises taxes on candy and soda, and imposes a new 100% tax on hemp and CBD products. The bill must survive two more rounds of debate by the end of session on April 18. (Associated Press)

ETHICS: The Alabama House approved a measure repealing and replacing state ethics law. State courts have asked the legislature to clarify the law, which applies to about 300,000 civil servants and elected officials. The bill raises the amount lobbyists can give to public officials from $100 to $500 per year. (

In Politics & Business

WISCONSIN: Voters approved two Republican-backed measures that will regulate election administration. Proposition 1, banning private funding of election administration, passed with 54% of the vote. Proposition 2, limiting election conduct to elected officials, passed with 59% of the vote. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Republicans in several states have moved to ban private funding of election administration after Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg funded a nonprofit that helped election offices pay for things like office supplies and security cameras during the 2020 elections.

MAINE: Supporters of a national popular vote are close to winning passage of a bill adding Maine to the roster of states that have joined the compact. The state House approved the bill by a single vote. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence. Gov. Janet Mills (D) has not indicated whether she will sign it. (Maine Public Radio)

MICHIGAN: The Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee has until July 26 to approve new Detroit-area state Senate maps, after those maps were challenged under the Voting Rights Act for allegedly diluting Black political power. (Michigan Advance)

OKLAHOMA: Voters in Enid have recalled city council member Judd Blevins from office, over his ties to white supremacist groups. Blevins allegedly marched alongside neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville rally in 2017 and led the Oklahoma chapter of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. He will be replaced by a longtime Republican who pledged a return to normalcy. (NBC News)

By The Numbers

813: The number of billionaires, out of 2,781 worldwide, who live in the United States. New additions to Forbes’s annual list include Taylor Swift, Magic Johnson and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Elon Musk remains America’s richest man, while luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault is the world’s richest man. (Forbes)

12.3 million: The number of viewers who tuned into the University of Iowa’s victory over Louisiana State University in the Eight Eight on Monday, the highest-rated women’s basketball game ever. Caitlin Clark scored 41 points as Iowa advanced. (ESPN)

Iowa’s last five televised games have surpassed 3 million viewers. By contrast, the average NBA game this season has drawn 1.62 million viewers.

$44,186: The average retail sales price of a new car sold in the U.S. in March, down 3.6% from the year before and the largest-ever decline for the month of March. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday unveiled a new plan to capture rain- and snowfall while scoping out the snowpack at Phillips Station, near Echo Summit. We’re mostly impressed with Newsom’s snowshoeing ability — he conducted his press conference on snowshoes. (Sacramento Bee)

NASA said Tuesday it was analyzing an object that crashed into a Florida man’s home, and that the item could be a piece of debris jettisoned from the International Space Station. The homeowner, Alejandro Otero, believes the object is a piece of a cargo pallet released from the ISS in 2021. (AFP)

Mississippi man Leonard Bentz Jr. has been cited for illegally hunting on baited land. Let’s say that a different way: Leonard Bentz Jr., the commissioner of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, has been cited for illegally hunting on baited land. (Supertalk)

Quote of the Day

“Toma and I are not dictators. We’re mediators.”

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R), referring to House Speaker Ben Toma (R), as they begin budget negotiations with Gov. Katie Hobbs (D). (Arizona Republic)