Good morning, it’s Wednesday, August 30, 2023. In today’s edition, Virginia set to ratify budget deal; Tennessee special session ends in shoving match; more than 100 witnesses called in Paxton trial:
TAXES: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has called lawmakers back to Richmond on Sept. 6 for a special session to amend the budget, after months of negotiations between Senate Democrats and House Republicans. Out of the final deal: Youngkin’s proposed corporate and high-earner tax cuts. In: One-time rebates and an increased standard deduction. (Pluribus News)
MORE: Wisconsin Republicans are proposing $2.9 billion in tax cuts targeted at retirees and couples who earn less than $36,840. The proposal would also cut taxes for individuals who make between $27,630 and $304,170 a year. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said he hoped Republicans could agree on a plan that Gov. Tony Evers (D) would sign. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
EVEN MORE: Arkansas lawmakers are preparing a special session to lower corporate and personal income tax rates. Legislative leaders have signaled they want to cut the top income tax rate from 4.5% to 4.3%. Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) cut the top rate from 6.9% in 2019 to 4.9% by the time he left office. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
GUN POLITICS: Tennessee’s special session to address a mass shooting at a Nashville elementary school ended abruptly Tuesday as majority Republicans refused to take up gun control measures. House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) and state Rep. Justin Pearson (D) appeared to shove each other, kicking off a shouting match as members left the floor. (Associated Press)
ABORTION: New Mexico’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case seeking to strike down abortion bans adopted in several cities and counties. Attorney General Raul Torrez (D) says the local laws violate the state constitution. (Associated Press) South Carolina’s Supreme Court will not reconsider a recent ruling upholding a state ban on abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, or about six weeks. (Reuters) The Nevada ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on Medicaid coverage for abortion. (Nevada Independent)
HEALTH CARE: Eleven Republican governors, led by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), have written to Congress urging passage of legislation to increase diversity in the prescription drug supply chain to improve the supply of generic medications that are mostly made in India and China. (Center Square)
Noem last month moved to stockpile five common drugs to hedge against shortages during fall and winter months, when infections typically spike.
MENTAL HEALTH: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has announced a new initiative to improve access to mental health services in rural and agricultural communities. The state will set up a special helpline for farmers and spend $20,000 on grants raising awareness for rural mental health services. (Fox32)
ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Colorado is relaunching a cash-for-clunkers program to offer $6,000 in extra rebates for a few hundred people who turn in fossil-fueled cars for an electric vehicle. The state has set aside $1.8 million for the rebate program. The program applies to low-income residents who purchase an EV that costs less than $50,000. (Colorado Sun)
In Politics & Business
TEXAS: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) has ordered more than 100 witnesses scheduled to testify in the impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) to appear in person when the Senate convenes its trial next week. House impeachment managers plan to call Paxton himself to the stand, though Paxton’s lawyers say he will not testify. (KXAN)
MICHIGAN: A three-judge panel will allow a challenge to Michigan’s state legislative district lines to move to trial. The case alleges the state redistricting commission drew lines that disadvantage Black voters in and around Detroit, citing five state House and four state Senate districts. (Detroit Free Press)
WISCONSIN: Assembly Speaker Vos is leaving the door open to impeaching new state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz if she does not recuse herself from a coming hearing on redistricting. Protasiewicz called the state’s legislative maps “rigged” during her campaign. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
This feels like a moment the national media will seize on, similar to North Carolina’s debate over the bathroom bill or this year’s expulsions in Tennessee.
MISSISSIPPI: State Rep. Nick Bain (R) is on the brink of losing his seat, as he trails primary challenger Brad Mattox (R) by 23 votes after Tuesday’s runoff election. Mattox made an issue of Bain’s vote to change the state’s old flag. State Rep. Dale Goodin (R) lost his runoff election to challenger Elliot Burch (R) by a 51-point margin. (Supertalk)
ARIZONA: Former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) will get another day in court as she seeks to review the signatures of 1.3 million Maricopa County residents who voted early in the 2022 midterm elections. The trial, set for the week of Sept. 21, will determine whether signatures on a green affidavit envelope that voters use to return their ballots are public records. (Arizona Republic)
By The Numbers
353: The number of large U.S. counties, out of 360, where average weekly wages increased in the United States between March 2022 and March 2023. Clayton County, Ga., sported the largest wage increase in the last year, of 24.3%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Georgia readers, enlighten us: What happened in Clayton County in the last year that spurred so much wage growth?!?
32%: The decline in Colorado teens who died by suicide from 2020 to 2023. The suicide rate among older teens is at its lowest level since 2014. (Denver Post)
3: The number of ZIP codes in Lahaina and Kula, Hawaii, where unsolicited offers to purchase property is considered a crime under a new emergency proclamation relating to wildfires that swept through the area last month. Attorney General Anne Lopez said the ban on unsolicited offers in the 96761, 96767 and 96790 ZIP codes is meant to protect residents who are already suffering. (Hawaii News Now)
Off The Wall
Headline of the day: “Chicago news team robbed at gunpoint during report on armed robberies in the city.” (Fox32) No one was injured in the incident.
Alabama state Rep. David Cole (R) was charged Tuesday with voting at multiple or unauthorized locations. Cole allegedly lives outside the district he represents, though the legislature failed to investigate during this year’s session. Cole would lose his seat if convicted. (AL.com)
Ohio state Rep. Bob Young (R) was jailed again on Monday on charges that he “recklessly” violated a protection order, after he allegedly called a family member three times in the space of half an hour late Saturday night. A local judge issued a restraining order in July, after Young was arrested for alleged assault. (Columbus Dispatch)
Do we need a new crime blotter section?
Quote of the Day
“We realized that we probably could have done a better job entering the unwinding.”
— Kansas Department of Health and Environment Director of Medicaid Eligibility LaTonya Palmer, on the post-Covid Medicaid renewal system that has left residents frustrated by long wait times and high call volumes. (Kansas Reflector)