Pluribus AM: California opens AI debates

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Good morning, it’s Wednesday, April 17, 2024. In today’s edition, California considers AI measures; Arizona lawmakers to consider abortion ban repeal; Maine, Minnesota move online privacy bills:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: California lawmakers held public hearings on AI bills Tuesday. The Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee approved legislation prohibiting AI systems from algorithmic discrimination, while other bills covering AI in schools, watermarking, AI transparency, accountability and pricing are still pending. (Pluribus News)

California is home to 70% of the world’s leading AI companies.

MORE: Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell (D) issued guidance Tuesday clarifying AI companies’ obligations under state law. Campbell’s office said deepfakes and voice cloning are among the acts that could be considered unfair and deceptive under the state’s Consumer Protection Act. (Boston Globe)

ABORTION: Arizona lawmakers reconvene today, when they are expected to consider whether to repeal an 1864 law that bans virtually all abortions. Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D) introduced a “clean repeal” bill earlier this year, which could be brought up for final passage. (Arizona Republic)

PRIVACY: The Maine House approved data privacy legislation that would limit the type of digital information companies can collect and maintain. The bill would limit collection and processing of personal data to “reasonably necessary” information, and limit sensitive data to a “strictly necessary” standard. (Portland Press Herald)

MORE: The Minnesota House has approved legislation requiring social media platforms to set strict default privacy settings for new users, and to require platforms to limit new account interactions in hopes of combatting “burner” accounts. A provision in the bill would require platforms to post information about how their algorithms operate. (Center Square)

LABOR: Six Southern Republican governors are warning workers that voting to join the United Auto Workers will put their jobs in jeopardy. Workers at a VW plant in Chattanooga begin voting today on representation by the UAW, while the union is trying to organize plants in other Southern states. (Associated Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Louisiana House has approved legislation barring the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. The House also approved a bill that would require parental permission before a teacher could use a student’s preferred name or pronoun. (Louisiana Illuminator)

CRYPTO: The Arkansas House Rules Committee voted to allow the state House to consider measures regulating the cryptocurrency mining industry this year. One measure would bar foreign nationals from owning or investing in crypto mines, while other measures would allow local governments to regulate those facilities. (Arkansas Advocate)

HOUSING: The Pennsylvania House has approved legislation allowing developers to transform abandoned malls into affordable housing and green energy hubs. The bill would exempt the cost of improvements from taxes for a decade or more. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

In Politics & Business

MICHIGAN: Democrats won two special elections in the Metro Detroit area on Tuesday, giving them the votes to reclaim a majority in the state House. Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong (D) and Westland City Councilman Peter Herzberg (D) easily won their respective races, giving Democrats a 56-54 majority. (Detroit News)

CALIFORNIA: The state Treasurer’s Office is involved in a federal investigation. The FBI contacted the office requesting information on a case that has not yet been made public. Treasurer Fiona Ma (D) is running for governor in 2026. (KCRA)

CRIME BLOTTER: Philadelphia police have issued an arrest warrant for Pennsylvania state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D) for allegedly violating a restraining order. Boyle is expected to turn himself in. (Associated Press) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has charged former House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) with 13 counts related to misspent campaign funds. (Detroit News)

PEOPLE: Former Florida Gov. Bob Graham (D), later a U.S. Senator and a candidate for president, has died at 87. Graham was known for his “workdays,” during which he would take a shift in a blue collar job. (New York Times)

By The Numbers

$89,427: The amount former U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) campaign account has in the bank, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. Lautenberg has been dead for more than a decade. (New Jersey Globe)

12.8%: The increase in traffic volumes in Ohio on Sunday, April 7, the day before the solar eclipse. Traffic on Monday, April 8, was down 4.4%, which officials said was a sign that eclipse-hunters stayed put to avoid big jams. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Off The Wall

Heavy thunderstorms flooded the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, temporarily halting takeoffs and landings at the world’s busiest commercial airport. A total of about 5.6 inches of rain fell over a 24-hour period, in a nation that receives about 3.7 inches of rain annually. (Associated Press)

Tola the elephant escaped from the Butte, Mont., Civic Center on Tuesday, wandering through traffic on Harrison Avenue. The elephant, part of Jordan World Circus, took a sharp left into a casino parking lot before circus workers took her back into custody. (Missoulian)

An elephant in Butte. The jokes write themselves.

Quote of the Day

“You cannot correct a mistake until you admit you made one.”

Arkansas Sen. John Payton (R), during a hearing on the purchase of a $19,000 lectern for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s (R) office using taxpayer money. (Arkansas Advocate)