Pluribus AM: California’s busy final week

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, September 12, 2023. In today’s edition, California lawmakers clear the decks, reach major labor deal; Alabama, Florida redistricting cases advance; Arkansas moves to ban Covid-19 vaccine mandates:

Top Stories

LABOR: California labor groups and the fast food industry reached a deal Monday that will raise wages to $20 an hour and establish a Fast Food Council to oversee wages and working conditions. Under the deal, business groups will end a referendum campaign against a 2022 law raising wages, while labor will drop demands to hold parent companies accountable for labor violations at franchisee-owned stores. (Pluribus News)

Both sides just saved themselves a lot of money: A referendum pitting major food companies against some of the best-funded unions in America was going to be one of next year’s most expensive political contests.

MORE: California’s Assembly approved a measure that will give employees on strike access to unemployment insurance benefits. The measure must pass the Senate once more before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk. (Sacramento Bee)

PRIVACY: Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) has signed a data privacy protection bill sponsors say is the strongest in the nation. The law applies to entities that control or process personal data of more than 35,000 consumers, or 10,000 consumers if they make much of their money from data sales. Delaware will be the first state to restrict selling data on those under the age of 18, rather than 16. (Delaware Public Media)

ENVIRONMENT: California’s Assembly passed a bill requiring companies with annual revenues over $1 billion to report their greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, which must pass the Senate once more, requires companies to report direct emissions, indirect emissions from sources like electricity needed to operate, and supply chain emissions. (Pluribus News)

HOUSING: California lawmakers gave final approval to legislation extending a deadline that allows developers to skip bureaucratic steps that block construction of multifamily projects in cities that have fallen behind state-mandated housing goals. The measure won final approval with bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate. (Los Angeles Times)

TRANSPORTATION: The California Senate gave final approval Monday to mandate human drivers behind the wheel of autonomous trucks. Gov. Newsom’s office of business development opposed the measure, hinting at a potential veto. (Los Angeles Times)

TORT REFORM: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is signaling that tort reform will be key to his agenda next year. Supporters of tort reform have pointed to a new Florida law that expands immunity for property owners against lawsuits from criminals injured on their properties and reduces the statute of limitations for general negligence cases. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Arkansas Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on Monday approved legislation to prohibit Covid-19 vaccine mandates across government entities. Arkansas passed a similar law in 2021 that has since expired. (Arkansas Times)

FOIA: A proposed measure backed by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) to shield some government information from Freedom of Information Act laws stalled in a special session Monday amid objections from Republican lawmakers. Those lawmakers are negotiating with Sanders’s office to remove language that would shield information related to deliberations between state agencies. (Talk Business & Politics)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Voters in Allegheny County will decide Tuesday which party controls the state House in a special election to replace former state Rep. Sara Innamorato (D), who quit to run for county executive. The House is divided 101-101; Democrats are favored to hold the seat, which Innamorato won with 64% in 2022. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

ALABAMA: Secretary of State Wes Allen (R) has filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to stay a federal court’s plan to allow a special master to redraw state congressional district lines. The lower court rejected Allen’s motion for a stay on Monday. The special master has until Sept. 25 to submit three draft maps. (

FLORIDA: State attorneys and voting rights groups have both asked an appeals court to fast-track a lawsuit challenging U.S. House district lines to the state Supreme Court. The request is aimed at resolving the suit before legislators begin their 2024 session on Jan. 9. (Orlando Sentinel)

OHIO: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights have launched their first ad ahead of November’s election. The yes campaign will spend $687,000 on ads in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Opponents of the measure have not yet gone up on TV. (Columbus Dispatch)

MISSOURI: Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights are in court challenging Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s (R) proposed ballot language. A separate lawsuit is challenging a fiscal note attached to the provision. Proponents worry the lawsuits will cost them months of valuable signature-gathering time. (St. Louis Public Radio)

WISCONSIN: The Senate Committee on Shared Revenue, Elections and Consumer Protection voted against recommending Elections Commissioner Meagan Wolfe’s confirmation to the full Senate. Wolfe has come under fire from elections conspiracists. A court case is likely after the Senate acts. (Wisconsin Examiner)

By The Numbers

$57 billion: The amount of damage caused by 23 natural disasters in the United States so far this year, including wildfires on Maui and a hurricane in Florida. Those disasters have killed at least 253 people, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (CNBC)

$20,000: The proposed fee Massachusetts Republicans want to charge presidential candidates to get on the state’s ballot next year. The ballot access fee would help the party’s finances, after it found itself deep in debt last year. (Eagle-Tribune)

3.5 million: The official population of the San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area, up from 3.2 million initially counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. The Census Bureau adjusted the region’s population after mistakenly assigning about 250,000 people to the nearby San Rafael-Novato area, part of a decennial corrections process the Census makes after every count. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Rhode Island residents spotted an unusual visitor in Quonochontaug Pond over the weekend: A manatee, which probably made a trek of more than 1,000 miles to get so far north. State officials say they hope the manatee starts heading south again before the weather changes. (Boston Globe)

Dancers at the Magic Tavern, a strip club in Portland, have voted to form a union, only the second exotic workers’ union in the nation. The 16 performers voted unanimously to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association. (Oregonian)

The newly discovered Comet Nishimura is speeding by Earth for the first time in more than 400 years. It’s an unusual green color, and it’s visible in the northern hemisphere for the next few days just before sunrise, near the constellation Leo. (Maine Public Radio)

Quote of the Day

“Well, we’ve been number one in that category for a few years unfortunately.”

Iowa Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Neubauer, on a new report showing Iowa has more bridges in need of replacement than any other state in the nation. (KCRG)