Pluribus AM: Colorado takes the lead on AI

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Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 9, 2024. In today’s edition, Colorado leads way on AI regulations; Ohio to ban cellphones in schools; New Hampshire tries again on legal pot:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Colorado lawmakers gave final approval to the most sweeping AI regulation bill any state has passed to date. The legislation seeks to protect consumers from algorithmic discrimination and guarantees their right to know when AI is used to make big decisions. The bill now heads to Gov. Jared Polis (D). (Pluribus News)

EDUCATION: Colorado lawmakers approved a bill granting income tax credits to cover tuition and fees at in-state colleges for families with household incomes under $90,000. Eligible students would have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average to qualify. (Denver Post) The Ohio House gave final approval to a bill requiring school districts to create policies to limit cellphone use during school hours. (Columbus Dispatch)

PUBLIC SAFETY: Colorado lawmakers approved a compromise bill that will ban the use of hand-held cellphones behind the wheel. (Denver Post) The Pennsylvania House gave final approval to a measure allowing law enforcement to cite a driver for using a handheld device. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) sponsored a bill banning cellphones when he was in the state House in 2006, back when BlackBerries were a thing.

SOCIAL MEDIA: The Pennsylvania House voted to require social media platforms to allow users to report “hateful conduct.” The bill would require users under 18 to obtain parental permission to open an account, and bar companies from data-mining child users. (Associated Press)

MARIJUANA: The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee has revived a marijuana legalization bill that meets Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) demands. The bill creates a franchise model and caps the number of stores at 15 statewide. Municipalities will be able to vote on whether to allow retail sales. (WMUR)

The House passed its own version of the bill earlier this year, but Sununu made it clear he wasn’t happy with its provisions.

HEALTH CARE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has signed legislation extending Medicaid coverage to low-income mothers for up to a year after birth. The bill sets strict income thresholds that will boot some women and babies — who currently qualify for two months of coverage — off the rolls altogether. (Des Moines Register)

LABOR: The Alabama House gave final approval to legislation withholding state subsidies from firms that voluntarily recognize labor unions without a secret ballot vote. Companies would be barred from disclosing an employee’s contact information to a labor union without written consent. (

Workers at a Mercedes Benz plant in Vance, Ala., are set to vote next week on whether to join a union.

IMMIGRATION: Arizona Senate Republicans want to put a measure on November’s ballot that would give state law enforcement the authority to arrest those who enter the country illegally, without a federal judge. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) vetoed the Republican-passed legislation, but placing the measure on the ballot wouldn’t require her approval. (Arizona Republic)

In Politics & Business

INDIANA: The day after becoming the Republican nominee for governor, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R) introduced state Rep. Julie McGuire (R) as his chosen running mate. McGuire will have to win a vote of Republican convention delegates on June 15 to formally join the ticket. (Indianapolis Star)

NEW YORK: Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D) is considering running against New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) in 2025. Myrie is the second major Democrat to announce a run against Adams; he joins former Comptroller Scott Stringer (D), who lost to Adams in the 2021 primary. (State of Politics)

Also considering a run: Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who wants a shot at a comeback after quitting the governorship.

WISCONSIN: The Senate Democratic Committee said Wednesday it will purchase $7 million in television advertising targeting just five state Senate seats they see as key to winning the majority. Sixteen seats are up this year, including eight Republican-held seats and four open seats. (Associated Press)

We’re old enough to remember when $1 million was a lot to spend on a U.S. House race, much less a state Senate contest.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Supporters of legal marijuana have submitted 29,030 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in hopes of qualifying their measure for November’s ballot. Voters rejected a legal marijuana initiative in 2022. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

OHIO: The state House declined to take up legislation to ensure President Biden will appear on the November ballot ahead of a Thursday deadline to get the fix passed, after senators included unrelated amendments in a version they passed. Neither the House nor Senate version includes an emergency clause that would allow a fix to take effect immediately. (Ohio Capital Journal)

By The Numbers

$9.7 million: The amount groups spent lobbying the Kentucky legislature in the first three months of the year, the highest first-quarter figure ever reported. Much of the lobbying was driven by a controversial bill over fossil fuel power plants. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

321,500: The number of American children who lost a parent to a drug overdose between 2011 and 2021, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Almost 650,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64 died of drug overdoses over that span. (Washington Post)

Off The Wall

The owners of Utah’s new NHL team will put the team’s name up for a fan vote. Among the options: Frost, Ice, Powder, Mountaineers, Blizzard, Canyons, Venom and Outlaws. (Associated Press)

Good thing there’s not a write-in option, otherwise it would be the Utah Hockey McHockeyfaces or something.

The town of Sea Girt, N.J., has banned visitors and residents from digging large holes and burying people in the sand. “Hole digging is a universal beach problem,” town manager Jim Freda said. A 2007 study found 52 documented sand collapses over the previous decade, half of which resulted in fatalities. (NJ Advance Media)

Quote of the Day

“We’re all going to suffer together guys.”

South Carolina House Speaker Murrell Smith (R), as Republicans bickered over rules and procedure. Rep. Micah Caskey (R) at one point donned a tin-foil hat to mock the House Freedom Caucus. (Associated Press)

Bonus quote: “The governor is writing a book, and he looks forward to sharing it whenever it is completed.”

Nathan Click, a spokesman for California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who’s working on a memoir. Click sounds like someone who’s used to authors dragging their feet on finishing a project. (Los Angeles Times)