Pluribus AM: California floats AI guardrails

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, November 28, 2023. In today’s edition, Ohio’s gender-affirming care ban has a twist; California floats AI rules; redistricting roundup in Georgia, Ohio, New Mexico:

Top Stories

LGBTQ RIGHTS: An Ohio Senate committee will take up legislation barring physicians and mental health professionals from providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors. The bill, which has passed the House, specifically prohibits mental health professionals from diagnosing or treating a minor with a gender-related condition without the consent of both the child’s parents. (Pluribus News)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The California Privacy Protection Agency has issued draft rules for businesses that use artificial intelligence to make decisions about consumers. The rules would require companies using AI technology to notify consumers, provide a “plain language” explanation of its use and offer an opt-out option. (Pluribus News)

Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D) plans to revive her bill on “algorithmic discrimination” in next year’s session. Expect similar bills in other states, too.

MARIJUANA: New York’s Cannabis Control Board approved a deal to settle lawsuits that have blocked recreational marijuana dispensaries from opening. Only about two dozen legal pot shops have opened almost a year after New York legalized recreational marijuana, after bureaucratic problems and lawsuits slowed down permits. (Associated Press)

For context, Albuquerque alone has more than 200 legal pot shops.

MORE: A New Hampshire commission studying pot legalization failed to reach agreement on proposed legislative language in their final meeting Monday. Sen. Daryl Abbas (R), the commission’s chair, said he expected legalization to come back in next year’s session. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH CARE: Officials in Utah and Arizona and municipalities in New York, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio are suing insulin makers and pharmacy benefit managers, alleging the companies conspired to drive up prices. The suits allege the companies have cost state governments millions in overpayments. (Stat News)

ALCOHOL: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) push to overhaul state liquor laws appears dead in the legislature, after he vetoed a measure loosening food and event rules at breweries and wineries. Murphy said he wants broader reform to allow towns to issue more liquor licenses. The state restaurant lobby has opposed the reforms, which they say would harm existing liquor license holders. (NJ Advance Media)

EDUCATION: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) is expected to announce a proposal to expand private school vouchers at an event in Nashville today. The current voucher system applies only to the state’s three largest counties; Lee’s proposal would expand it to every school district in the state. (Nashville Post)

ABORTION: An Arkansas group is aiming to qualify a ballot initiative creating a constitutional right to an abortion up to 18 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, a fatal fetal anomaly or to protect the life or health of the mother. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) The Texas Supreme Court hears arguments today over the state’s near-total abortion ban. (Austin American-Statesman) An Indiana judge has scheduled a May trial over the state’s abortion ban, in a lawsuit that claims a life-and-health exemption is too narrow. (Northwest Indiana Times)

In Politics & Business

GEORGIA: Senate Republicans have unveiled their new district map that would create two new majority-Black districts in the Atlanta area. The map would likely maintain the GOP’s 33-23 advantage in the Senate by eliminating two white-majority districts currently held by Democrats. (Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

OHIO: The state Supreme Court has dismissed challenges to legislative district lines, allowing the lines to remain in effect through the end of the decade. The four Republican justices overruled the three Democratic justices. A group advocating for redistricting reform hopes to qualify an initiative for the 2024 ballot. (Columbus Dispatch)

NEW MEXICO: The state Supreme Court upheld existing congressional district lines, rejecting a challenge from Republicans who said the maps represented a partisan gerrymander. Democrats hold all three of the state’s congressional seats, though the Republican who challenged Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in 2022 narrowly carried one of the three districts. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

MISSOURI: The House Ethics Committee will meet for a third time next week to hear allegations of misconduct by Speaker Dean Plocher (R). Plocher said allegations that he improperly requested reimbursements for airfare, hotels and travel costs paid for by his campaign were little more than an accounting error. He has paid back those reimbursements. (Missouri Independent)

TRUMP: A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging former President Donald Trump’s right to be on the presidential ballot in Rhode Island. The judge ruled the plaintiff who brought the suit, Texas-based Republican write-in candidate John Anthony Castro, lacked standing to bring the suit. (Providence Journal)

By The Numbers

$3.25: The average cost of a gallon of gas, more than 60 cents down from this year’s peak in mid-September and 30 cents cheaper than this time last year. The cost of a gallon of gas has fallen for 60 consecutive days. (Bloomberg)

2.9 million: The number of travelers screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Sunday, making it the busiest travel day since the agency was created 22 years ago. The number of travelers screened was up 10.1% over last year. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

$11 billion: The decline in value of private timberland in California, Oregon and Washington since 2004, a drop caused by the rising threats of climate change and wildfire, according to a report from Oregon State University. The researchers looked at data from 9,000 private forestland sales to estimate the drop in value. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Off The Wall

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) went skydiving for the first time on Monday, alongside Al Blaschke, a 106-year old World War II veteran who holds the record as the world’s oldest skydiver — a record he broke three years ago. (Texas Tribune)

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has been using an alias for email communications with staff and state officials, a common practice for governors. The alias Evers chose: Warren Spahn, the pitching phenom who spent 11 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. (Lake Geneva Regional News)

Former Gov. Scott Walker (R) used the alias Kevin Scott in his email communications while in office, his former chief counsel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Quote of the Day

“Each of them has something to gain from it. It really is not a losing situation for each of them.”

University of South Florida Professor emerita Susan McManus, on the showdown between California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), happening Thursday on Fox News. (Sacramento Bee)