Good morning, it’s Friday, June 30, 2023. A programming note: We’re taking Monday and Tuesday off to celebrate Independence Day. We’ll see you back here Wednesday. In today’s edition, tech groups sue over Ark. parental notification; judges block gender-affirming care bans; Neb. Gov pledges total abortion ban:
TECHNOLOGY: NetChoice, a tech industry trade group that represents Meta, Snap, Twitter and TikTok, has sued to block an Arkansas law requiring minors to receive parental notification to have a social media account. The suit argues that the state law violates the First Amendment, is too vague and is preempted by federal law. (Pluribus News)
The first of many, many lawsuits to come as legislators wade gingerly into the social media space.
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Federal judges in four states have blocked bills banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors in recent weeks, setting up a pattern plaintiffs in other states can follow. Experts told us the successful suits have challenged bans on care on Equal Protection, Due Process and First Amendment grounds. (Pluribus News)
The follow-up story we’re working on: The lawsuits are a setback for supporters of transgender care bans, but those supporters are already charting a new course we’ll see in legislatures next year.
MORE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) administration said it would defy part of a legal analysis by Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) by continuing to allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates and driver’s licenses. Lawsuits are likely. (Topeka Capital-Journal) North Carolina lawmakers gave final approval to a bill banning gender identity and sexual orientation from school curriculum through fourth grade. (Carolina Journal)
ABORTION: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pollen (R) pledged at a town hall event Thursday to push legislation banning abortion at conception. A bill to ban abortion at six weeks failed by one vote this year. (Nebraska Examiner) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed legislation making clear that medication abortions are permitted through 12 weeks, after the legislature overrode Cooper’s veto to stiffen restrictions on abortion earlier this year. That initial ban is the subject of a lawsuit. (Associated Press)
EDUCATION: Wisconsin Republicans are advancing legislation to automatically admit the top 5% of state high school graduates into the University of Wisconsin system. The bill’s chief backer says it’s a way to keep students in Wisconsin to avoid “an institutional brain drain.” (Wisconsin Examiner)
ENVIRONMENT: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a memorandum of understanding to create an interstate effort to develop direct air capture technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wyoming companies broke ground in May on the state’s first carbon capture projects. (Casper Star Tribune)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will double the number of state police officers deployed to San Francisco to help combat the fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl deaths in the first five months of the year rose 64% over the same period last year. (Los Angeles Times) New Hampshire lawmakers have given final approval to a bill banning so-called “gay panic” defenses in criminal cases. The bill would prevent defendants from trying to reduce murder charges if the victim is gay, lesbian or transgender. (WMUR)
MORE: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation aimed at stopping sexual abuse in medical settings after the prosecution of former sports doctor Larry Nassar. The bills will require increased penalties for medical professionals who commit sexual abuse, and increased reporting of potential abuse. (Detroit Free Press)
MARIJUANA: Recreational marijuana sales will become legal this weekend in Maryland after voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot last year. About 100 stores that are already selling medical marijuana will be allowed to sell it for recreational purposes too. (Associated Press)
Recreational pot is legal in Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C., but none of those have set up the legal markets necessary to begin sales.
In Politics & Business
CALIFORNIA: It’s the end of an era in the state Assembly, where Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) will surrender the gavel to Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D). Rendon is one of three men to serve seven years as speaker. He’s considering a run for state Treasurer in 2024, when incumbent Fiona Ma (D) is seeking the lieutenant governor’s office. (Los Angeles Times)
Don’t miss our interview with Rivas earlier this month, when he talked extensively about healing the wounds the internecine battle for the speakership opened.
TEXAS: The Texas House has widened its investigation into impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to include property purchases he made in 2021 and 2022 in Oklahoma, Florida, Utah and Hawaii. Paxton’s Senate trial is set for Sept. 5. (Texas Tribune)
MICHIGAN: State Republican Party chair Kristina Karamo and co-chair Malinda Pego are feuding over Karamo’s decision to oust the head of the party’s budget committee, a Pego ally. Pego alleged the budget committee hadn’t been given a full account of the party’s finances. A longtime GOP operative claimed party members are planning a no-confidence vote in Karamo’s leadership. (Bridge MI)
NEVADA: The Nevada State Education Association is moving to block public funding for construction of a new baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics. The union is considering a ballot measure or a legal challenge to the measure approved this month by Nevada lawmakers. (Las Vegas Sun)
By The Numbers
$2 billion: For the first time, Illinois has socked more than $2 billion away in its rainy day fund. The fund never exceeded $276 million in its first two decades in existence. (Quad City Times)
$8 billion: The amount of Missouri’s budget surplus, after interest earned on invested state funds increased 927% during the year. Gov. Mike Parson (R) on Friday plans to sign 17 bills that make up the state’s $50.7 billion budget next year. (Missouri Independent)
13,000: The number of people who visited Sitka, Alaska, on a single day last week as three cruise ships docked simultaneously. Sitka’s population is just 8,300. (Alaska Public Media)
Off The Wall
Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the largest corruption scandal in Ohio history. Jurors found Householder orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme that led to a $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants owned by an Ohio utility. (Associated Press)
We would listen to a true crime podcast on this case. It hasn’t gotten the national attention it deserves.
PornHub has blocked access to its site for residents of Virginia, in protest of a state law taking effect tomorrow that will require the site to verify the ages of its users. The company previously blocked users in Utah after it passed a similar law in March. (Daily Press)
Quote of the Day
“It’s gonna be all-out war now that it’s over in the Assembly.”
— California Sen. Scott Wilk (R), on the lobbying battle ahead over legislation that would ban a primary ticket seller like Ticketmaster from including exclusivity clauses in contracts with entertainment venues. California lawmakers are working on several bills to address the ticket fiasco surrounding Taylor Swift’s latest tour. (Los Angeles Times)