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Good morning, it’s Thursday, September 21, 2023. In today’s edition, states create climate volunteer corps; DHS will speed migrant work authorizations; Minnesota court to hear 14th Amendment case against Trump:
ENVIRONMENT: Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah will launch climate corps programs to train young workers as they move toward low-carbon transitions, governors said Wednesday. The programs, modeled on California’s first-in-the-nation version, will provide fellows up to $30,000 for serving their communities. (Pluribus News)
MORE: Half the nation’s governors and the Biden administration will announce a plan today to quadruple the number of heat pumps in U.S. homes by 2030, from 4.7 million to 20 million. The plan is an effort to combat climate change; heat pumps that replace oil and gas furnaces use far less electricity. (Associated Press)
INSURANCE: A new report from the First Street Foundation finds states like California, Florida and Louisiana are likely to see dramatic increases in insurance premiums caused by the threat of climate change. The report estimates that 39 million properties, about a quarter of all properties in the country, are underpriced for climate risks. (Associated Press)
IMMIGRATION: The Department of Homeland Security says it will expedite work authorizations for Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States, after pressure from Democratic governors to help migrants get to work. The move will affect about 472,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the United States before July 31. (Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times)
MORE: California lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to provide monthly cash assistance of $1,100 to $1,900 to undocumented senior citizens. The measure passed by wide bipartisan majorities. (Sacramento Bee)
EDUCATION: A North Carolina budget proposal to be voted on today would expand school voucher programs to cover thousands more students, to the tune of $520 million by the 2032-2033 fiscal year. The budget expands eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships to all families, prioritized based on income. Families earning $55,500 a year or less would get first priority. (Carolina Journal)
VOTING RIGHTS: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Wednesday signed bills creating same-day voter registration and allowing voters to cast a ballot by mail for any reason. Another bill creates a penalty for so-called faithless electors, who vote against the candidate who won the state’s electoral votes in a presidential election. State Republicans sued to block the absentee voter law. (Albany Times Union)
ABORTION: An 11-bill package of measures to repeal restrictions on abortion in Michigan hit a snag Wednesday when state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D) voted against the proposals in committee. The bills advanced to the state House floor, but Democrats hold only a two-vote majority there; Whitsett’s opposition would mean a tie vote, which would kill the bills. (MLive)
CHILD CARE: Wisconsin Republicans gaveled in and out of special session on Wednesday without adopting a $1 billion plan to pay for child care, paid family leave and workforce training. Gov. Tony Evers (D) called the special session six weeks ago, without a bipartisan agreement. (Wisconsin Examiner)
In Politics & Business
LOUISIANA: State Rep. Richard Nelson (R) has ended his gubernatorial campaign and will endorse Attorney General Jeff Landry (R). Landry is the front-runner in a field that includes Treasurer John Schroder (R), business lobbyist Stephen Waguespack (R), state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R) and former Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). (Baton Rouge Advocate)
ARIZONA: More than 15,000 Arizona residents have registered to join the No Labels Party. President Biden carried Arizona by just over 10,000 votes. Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) has suggested he may take action against the group for failing to register as a political party under state campaign finance laws. (Associated Press)
MINNESOTA: The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments Nov. 2 on a constitutional challenge to former President Donald Trump’s presence on the 2024 ballot. A group led by former Secretary of State Joan Growe (D) argues Trump should be banned from the ballot over the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Advocates in dozens of states have raised the 14th Amendment as a way to bar Trump from the ballot, but this is the first time the legal theory has gotten a day in an actual court.
OHIO: Ohio’s redistricting commission opted to adopt Republican-drawn legislative district maps on Wednesday over objections from Democratic members of the panel. The new maps would create 62 Republican-leaning seats and 37 Democratic-leaning seats in the House, and a 23-10 Republican majority in the Senate. The commission will hold public hearings before formally adopting the maps. (Ohio Capital Journal)
Republicans currently hold 67 of 99 seats in the House and 26 of 33 seats in the Senate.
WISCONSIN: A bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill to implement ranked-choice voting and to create nonpartisan primaries in U.S. House and Senate contests. The top five finishers in primaries would advance to the general election. A previous version of the bill stalled in the state Senate in 2021. (Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Former state Rep. Troy Merner (R) is under investigation for allegedly living outside the district he represented until his resignation on Tuesday. Merner, who won election to four terms representing Lancaster, allegedly lives about 15 miles away from his district, according to the state Attorney General’s office. (Boston Globe)
PEOPLE: Colorado Sen. Faith Winter (D), the third-ranking leader in the Senate, is recovering after a bike crash on Tuesday that required surgery to relieve pressure on her brain. Friends and family said she had a good prognosis. (Denver Post) Our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
By The Numbers
$759 million: The amount visitors to Grand Canyon National Park spent at so-called “gateway” communities around the park’s entrance in northern Arizona in 2022, up $49 million from 2021, according to the National Park Service. Spending is still $200 million below the record set in 2018. (Arizona Republic) Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) said the state will fund continued operations at the park in the event of a federal government shutdown. (Arizona Republic)
$3.5 billion: The amount Colorado will refund taxpayers through its TABOR rebate program, one of the largest returns ever because of bumper revenues. Colorado voters approved the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in 1992, requiring the state to refund surpluses over a certain revenue threshold. (Colorado Public Radio)
$19,029.25: The amount the Arkansas Republican Party reimbursed the state governor’s office for a new podium, according to campaign filings. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) uses the podium for official events. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) Sanders’s office said the reimbursement saved taxpayers money.
Off The Wall
Iowa Treasurer Roby Smith (R) auctioned off an unclaimed Michael Jordan rookie card that sat in a safe deposit box for years. The card, rated in near mint condition by a sports collectible authenticator company, earned the state $5,400. (Center Square)
Headline/nightmare of the day: “Woman rescued from muck inside Otsego County outhouse after trying to find her Apple Watch.” (Detroit Free Press)
Quote of the Day
“I feel there were six senators who were ready to be the 21st vote. But they didn’t want to be the 20th vote.”
— Texas Sen. Nathan Johnson (D), on Republicans who might have been the deciding vote in the impeachment trial against Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). Paxton was acquitted on all charges; just two Republicans voted to convict on any of the charges against Paxton. Don’t miss the Texas Tribune’s deep dive into how the vote went down.