Pluribus AM: California’s race to regulate AI

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, June 25, 2024. In today’s edition, AI bills pushing toward California deadline; SCOTUS takes up gender-affirming care case; Utah Gov. Cox faces tighter primary:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: At least 17 bills relating to artificial intelligence are still alive in California’s legislature, though a July 3 deadline to win approval in committee looms. The most-watched measure, backed by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), would require AI systems that cost at least $100 million to train to include a “full shutdown” switch in case they run amok. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration seeking to block bans on gender-affirming health care. The case centers on Tennessee’s law that restricts puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender minors. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Civil liberties groups have filed suit to block Louisiana’s new law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public school classrooms. The ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and other groups argue the law violates the separation of church and state. (Associated Press)

HOUSING: The Massachusetts Senate has unveiled major housing legislation that would allow cities and towns to impose fees on the sale of high-end properties. The bill would create an $800 million affordable housing trust fund, and $425 million to support housing preservation and new construction. The House and Gov. Maura Healey (D) have outlined their own proposals. (Associated Press, Boston Globe)

MARIJUANA: The North Carolina Senate has given final approval to legislation legalizing medical marijuana. The bill has not yet made progress in the state House, where previous efforts to legalize medical pot have died. (Raleigh News & Observer)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) has filed suit against pharmacy benefit manager companies Express Scripts and Optum over their role in fueling the opioid crisis. Griffin’s suit claims the companies benefitted from the crisis by negotiating favorable deals with manufacturers. (Associated Press)

ANTISEMITISM: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation defining antisemitism under state law. The measure includes 11 examples of antisemitism, but it explicitly exempts criticism of Israel from the definition. (Florida Politics)

ENVIRONMENT: Florida Gov. DeSantis also signed legislation classifying the intentional release of balloons as noncriminal littering, subject to a $150 fine. The new law, meant to combat the number of balloons found along beaches, exempts children under the age of 7. (Florida Politics)

In Politics & Business

UTAH: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) leads state Rep. Phil Lyman (R) by a 55% to 42% margin ahead of today’s primary election, a new Noble Predictive Insights poll finds. That’s much closer than the two previous public polls in the race, both of which found Cox with a wider lead. (Salt Lake Tribune)

COLORADO: The state Supreme Court has rejected a ballot measure that would have barred gender-affirming care and surgery for minors. The court found supporters of the measure hadn’t appealed a state administrative board’s rejection quickly enough. (Denver Post)

INDIANA: Former state Sen. Randy Head (R) has won unanimous election to chair the state Republican Party. Head was recommended for the post by U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R), the Indiana GOP’s gubernatorial nominee. (Indianapolis Star)

OHIO: Supporters of an equal rights amendment are beginning to put together an initiative to qualify a proposed constitutional amendment for Ohio’s ballot. The measure would protect Ohioans from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors. They will likely aim for the 2026 ballot. (Ohio Capital Journal)

By The Numbers

25: The number of states that restrict or ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. South Carolina was the latest state to join that group when its legislature approved a law last month. (Associated Press)

About $300 million: The amount of revenue Oregon is receiving from the state’s estate tax in recent years, a six-fold increase over the last two decades. Experts say people whose estates are taxed are dying wealthier than ever before. Oregon taxes estates valued at more than $1 million, relatively lower than other jurisdictions. (Oregonian)

Nearly 6%: The share of Hawaii’s housing supply that is on the short-term rental market. Gov. Josh Green (D) has pursued legislation allowing counties to crack down on many vacation rentals. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

2,996,193: The number of Americans screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Sunday, a new record for air travelers. TSA expects to screen more than three million people for the first time on Friday, when travelers try to get an early jump on the July 4 weekend. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Want to know what politicians really think? Listen to them on a hot day. A new study published in the journal iScience, examining 7.4 million speeches given by more than 28,500 legislators in eight countries, finds politicians use simpler language on hot days. Older lawmakers tend to show the effects of high heat more quickly than younger legislators, the study found. (Washington Post)

The Florida family whose home was hit by space junk earlier this year will sue NASA for damages. The family’s attorney says the suit will attempt to set a precedent for damage caused by space debris. (CBS News)

Quote of the Day

“I was just as shocked as anybody.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), reacting to a new mural in the West Virginia Capitol rotunda that appears to portray his English bulldog, Babydog. Including the bulldog in the mural was the idea of Randall Reid-Smith, the state Secretary of Arts, Culture and History. Reid-Smith told Justice the dog depicted was Babydog’s 20th grandmother. (WV Metro News)