Pluribus AM: California, first among equals

Pluribus AM is taking next week off so we can catch up on our reporting and recharge for end-of-year legislative sessions. We’ll see you back here Monday, August 28.

Good morning, it’s Friday, August 18, 2023. In today’s edition, California drives electric vehicle policy; record number of states pass gun safety laws; Texas hopes SCOTUS will change immigration precedent:

Top Stories

This week’s newsletters look a little different: Instead of our regular scan, we’re spotlighting the top legislative trends of the year.

ENVIRONMENT: Blue states are taking a cue from California’s clean car and truck rules as they seek to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce vehicle pollution and hasten the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

California received federal permission in March to enact an Advanced Clean Trucks rule that requires an increasing percentage of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and other large vehicles to be sold beginning in 2024. Its Advanced Clean Cars II rule, adopted in 2022, will require all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Eight states, through rulemaking or legislation, took actions this year to follow in California’s footsteps. Colorado and Maryland adopted the truck rule in April. Massachusetts finalized the clean car rule in March. New MexicoNew JerseyConnecticutMaine and Rhode Island all recently announced the states would take action to adopt one or both of the rules. Four more — Washington, Oregon, Vermont and New York — adopted the car rule last year.

When it comes to energy and climate issues, California is first among 50 equals. Expect more blue states to follow its lead next year.

Read the full story here.

GUN POLITICS: At least 11 states adopted a total of 80 gun control measures this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety’s count. Those states allocated a combined $530 million for gun violence prevention programs. Ten states have now passed assault weapons bans, and 21 states have red flag laws on the books. (Pluribus News)

IMMIGRATION: A federal judge on Tuesday will hear arguments in the Justice Department’s efforts to force Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to remove a floating barrier in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. Abbott hopes the case makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he wants justices to overturn a 2012 ruling that struck down Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 to give states more say in immigration policy. (Dallas Morning News)

EDUCATION: North Carolina lawmakers approved legislation that will allow counties to pay for charter school construction projects, and another bill that will transfer authority for approving and renewing charter schools to a board whose members are selected by the General Assembly. Lawmakers voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) veto of both bills. (Raleigh News & Observer)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will keep Idaho’s ban on transgender women and girls in school sports on hold while a lawsuit plays out. The court cited equal protection requirements in blocking the law. (Idaho Capital Sun)

HAWAII: Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya resigned Thursday, effective immediately. Andaya said Wednesday he did not regret not activating warning sirens as flames began to threaten Lahaina. The death toll from last week’s fires stands at 111. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

In Politics & Business

INDIANA: Former Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers (R) said he will run for governor, 12 days after leaving Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) administration. He will face U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R), Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R), former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) and businessman Eric Doden (R) in the GOP primary. (Chicago Tribune)

KENTUCKY: A political action committee tied to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) is running ads linking Gov. Andy Beshear (D) to a transportation crisis in Jefferson County Public Schools, where classes were canceled this week amid a massive bus driver shortage. Paul’s PAC said it and a school choice group would spend $5 million on ads on behalf of Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R). (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Students return to class today after school officials drew up new bus routes and staggered school start times to alleviate the shortage.

NEBRASKA: Abortion rights proponents are preparing a constitutional amendment to protect reproductive rights for the 2024 ballot. A group of supporters has filed organizational papers with a state agency, though they have not finalized language for the proposed amendment. They will have to collect about 123,000 valid signatures by next year to make the ballot. (Nebraska Examiner)

FLORIDA: County officials are racing to tell residents that they must request new mail-in ballots if they wish to vote by mail in future elections. A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) requires voters to sign up for mail-in ballots every two years, instead of every four. (Orlando Sentinel)

By The Numbers

$850,000: The amount Clark County, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas will spend on events aimed at big business leaders during the Super Bowl next year. The money, which will fund VIP events and a suite at the game, is meant to woo business leaders into relocating to Nevada. (Nevada Current)

5: The number of Vermont lawmakers whose homes, farms or businesses were damaged by July’s record flooding. State Reps. Peter Anthony (D) and Kelly Pajala (I) were both displaced from their homes. (VT Digger)

$254.1 billion: The estimated value of the New York State pension fund at the end of the first quarter of the year, up 3% over the end of the previous fiscal year. (State of Politics)

Off The Wall

An elected Justice of the Peace in Garland County, Ark., has turned himself in after being charged with purchasing and possessing alcohol as a minor and possession of a fake ID. Garland County Justice of the Peace Dayton Myers (R), 20, allegedly used a Mississippi driver’s license to enter a local casino. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

South Dakota Sen. Jessica Castleberry (R) has resigned and agreed to repay $499,129, plus interest, in Covid relief funding she accepted for a daycare business she runs. The money Castleberry received was spent appropriately on state-approved expenditures, Attorney General Marty Jackley (R) said, but the South Dakota Constitution bans lawmakers from accepting money from the state. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

Quote of the Day

“I saw Lahaina light up before my eyes.”

Hawaii state Rep. Elle Cochran (D), whose home overlooked the burned town. (Honolulu Civil Beat)