Pluribus AM: Colorado creates a right to repair

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 29, 2024. In today’s edition, Colorado adds a right to repair; Vermont, Rhode Island move gun safety bills; Texas Speaker survives runoff:

Top Stories

CONSUMER PROTECTION: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed legislation creating a “right to repair” for electronic devices. The law will require tech firms to make software, tools and manuals available to third-party repair shops and individuals without charge. (Denver Post)

GUN POLITICS: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has allowed legislation banning the possession of unserialized firearms, dubbed “ghost guns,” to become law without his signature. The law requires a resident with an unserialized gun to take it to a firearms dealer who can etch a serial number onto the weapon. (VTDigger)

MORE: The Rhode Island House approved legislation requiring firearms to be stored in locked containers or equipped with tamper-resistant mechanical locks. Gov. Dan McKee (D) says he will sign the bills. (Boston Globe)

HOUSING: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) has signed legislation requiring counties to allow at least two additional units on residential lots, and allowing business districts to include housing units. Supporters called it the biggest housing and zoning reform in 40 years. (Associated Press)

ABORTION: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed legislation that would bar law enforcement authorities from providing aid to investigations of those who travel to the state for an abortion. The bill gives minors the right to apply for public aid to obtain an abortion without a parent’s consent. (WTVO)

WORKFORCE: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signed legislation expanding paid sick leave to companies with more than 25 employees in 2025, and to all companies by 2027. The law does not expand paid leave at firms that already offer 40 hours of time off. (Hartford Courant)

TAXES: Illinois lawmakers approved a state budget that raises $750 million in taxes on sports books, retailers and corporations. Sports books would face tax rates of 20% to 40%, depending on their annual revenue. The $53 billion budget also eliminates the state’s 1% grocery tax. (Chicago Tribune)

MARIJUANA: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) has signed legislation allowing some commercial cultivators to begin growing marijuana later this year, in advance of the introduction of a retail market. The law will allow the Office of Cannabis Management to distribute business licenses for applicants that qualify for a state lottery. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

In Politics & Business

TEXAS: House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) won his runoff campaign against former Orange County Republican Party chair David Covey (R) by just 366 votes with all precincts reporting. Phelan had been targeted by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). Covey scored more votes in the primary, but not enough to avoid a runoff. (Texas Tribune)

Six of eight Republicans who faced runoffs lost their bids for new terms on Tuesday. The results likely give Gov. Greg Abbott (R) the votes he needs to approve school voucher legislation.

OHIO: The Democratic National Committee plans to nominate President Biden for a second term through a virtual roll call ahead of Ohio’s August 7 deadline to certify its November ballot. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) had called a special session for Tuesday to make sure Biden was on the ballot. (Ohio Capital Journal)

WISCONSIN: Supporters of former President Donald Trump said they had submitted 9,022 signatures in a new bid — the third — to recall Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R). If enough signatures are valid, Vos could face a recall as early as August 6. (Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Vos angered Trump supporters by refusing to impeach Meagan Wolfe, Wisconsin’s top elections official, after President Biden carried the state in 2020. Trump backers never produced any evidence that Wolfe acted improperly.

By The Numbers

13.5, 8.2 per 100,000: The birth rates, respectively, of Utah and Vermont, the highest and lowest in the nation. The national average in 2022 was 11 births per 1,000 residents, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Oregonian)

4.2 million: The number of chickens that have to be culled at a single egg farm in Sioux County, Iowa, after bird flu was detected. More than 92 million birds have been killed since the bird flu outbreak began in 2022. (Associated Press)

$57 million: The amount Wheel of Fortune took in from political campaigns during the 2012 election cycle, making the game show one of the most popular destinations for political ads. (The Bulwark)

Off The Wall

Last year, we brought you the tail (tale?) of Otter 841, the scamp who made a habit of hijacking surf boards in Santa Cruz. Otter 841 is back for a second season of surf board snatching, local residents report. Officials say they have no plans to capture the offending otter. (Los Angeles Times)

Several Colorado law enforcement agencies are considering using drones as first responders to certain 911 calls. Officials in the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office say drones would be useful responders to calls involving broken traffic lights or suspicious vehicles, allowing deputies to prioritize other calls. (Denver Post)

Quote of the Day

“Whether we like it or not, big spending and issue campaigning in state judicial races are here to stay.”

Michael Milov-Cordoba, counsel at the nonpartisan Brennan Center, detailing a report that shows political parties and interest groups spent a whopping $100.8 million on state judicial races in the 2022 election cycle. (Los Angeles Times)