Good morning, it’s Friday, May 26, 2023. In today’s edition, Conn., Calif. move gun bills; Texas House to vote on impeaching AG; N.D. Gov to launch White House bid:
DEBT CEILING: Sixteen Republican attorneys general, led by Tennessee’s Jonathan Skrmetti (R), issued a letter to President Biden threatening a lawsuit if Biden invokes the 14th Amendment to ignore the federal debt ceiling. Biden has said he is considering using the 14th Amendment, though he acknowledged it would lead to litigation. (Kansas City Star)
GUN POLITICS: The Connecticut House has approved bills banning the open carry of firearms, tightening restrictions on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines and setting higher thresholds for bail and tougher penalties on repeat gun offenders. The measure is virtually certain to pass the state Senate. (CT Mirror) The California Assembly approved a measure to add an 11% tax on firearms and ammunition to fund school safety measures. (California Globe)
ENVIRONMENT: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is calling on legislators to cut permitting process barriers to hit a goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2045. Newsom said faster permitting will allow the state to add 148,000 megawatts of capacity to the grid. (Pluribus News) A Senate Budget subcommittee delayed action on Newsom’s plans to restructure the California Environmental Quality Act to speed infrastructure projects. (CalMatters)
MORE: Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha (D) has filed suit against 3M, Dupont and other major chemical companies over PFAS, the “forever chemicals.” (Providence Journal)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Texas House has given final approval to legislation restricting children from seeing sexually explicit performances. The bill no longer explicitly restricts drag shows. (Texas Tribune) Ohio Republicans have introduced legislation to require K-12 students and college students to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their sex at birth. (Ohio Capital Journal)
CHILD SAFETY: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed bipartisan legislation eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a minor. The bill also gives victims 13 years after their 18th birthday to bring a civil action against their alleged abusers. (Kansas Reflector) Six bills meant to encourage reporting of child abuse and sex abuse passed the Michigan House this week. The bills come after Larry Nassar’s years of abuse of gymnasts. (WKAR)
HEALTH CARE: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has signed legislation creating certified community behavioral clinics around the state to bolster mental health services. Health care officials say the clinics will be particularly useful in rural areas. (KMTV) The Nevada legislature has approved a bill legalizing medical aid-in-dying. (Nevada Current)
No Republican backed the measure, an indication of where Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) is probably headed.
DISRUPTION: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) has vetoed legislation that would have given pay raises and job protections to rideshare drivers working for Uber and Lyft. Walz said he would create a commission to study wages and working conditions ahead of the 2024 session. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
DRUGS: The California Senate approved legislation decriminalizing plant-based psychedelic drugs. The bill pares back an earlier measure that would have legalized psychedelics and synthetic hallucinogens including LSD, ketamine and MDMA. (California Globe) New York will begin providing free xylazine test strips to combat the spread of the potentially lethal sedative. (State of Politics)
TAXES: Alabama lawmakers gave final approval to legislation issuing tax rebates of $150 to individuals and $300 to couples filing jointly. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) had wanted rebates of $400 and $800. The funds will come from a $2.8 billion surplus in the Education Trust Fund. (AL.com)
In Politics & Business
TEXAS: The House General Investigating Committee on Thursday issued 20 articles of impeachment against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), including bribery, obstruction of justice and retaliating against whistleblowers. No Texas attorney general has ever been impeached. (Texas Tribune)
ARKANSAS: A panel of three federal judges has dismissed a challenge to Arkansas’s new congressional district lines. The panel said plaintiffs failed to show that race was a “predominant factor” in drawing the maps. Another challenge to the maps was filed earlier this week. (Arkansas Times, Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
FLORIDA: Election reform legislation that targets third-party voter registration groups drew three legal challenges the day after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill. The League of Women Voters of Florida, the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation said restrictions on voter registration groups violate the First Amendment. (Orlando Sentinel)
ARIZONA: Gov. Katie Hobbs’s (D) chief of staff Allie Bones has resigned, just five months into the job. Bones is the fourth senior staffer to quit Hobbs’s administration. (Arizona Republic)
OREGON: The ten Senate Republicans who would be barred from seeking re-election under a voter-passed constitutional amendment last year are considering a federal lawsuit to overturn the amendment. (Oregon Capital Chronicle) The absentee Republicans say they won’t return to session until the final day in late June.
WHITE HOUSE: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) will formally enter the race for the White House at a June 7 event in Fargo. (Wall Street Journal)
By The Numbers
55.8 million: The number of Americans over the age of 65, an increase of 15.5 million, or 3.8 percentage points, since last Census. Older Americans are the nation’s fastest-growing demographic group. At the same time, there are 1.8 million fewer children under the age of 5 than there were in 2010. (Pluribus News)
$849 million: The amount Washington State’s new capital gains tax delivered in state revenue, triple the amount lawmakers expected when they approved a new budget last month. (Washington State Standard)
1.7 billion pounds: The annual potato harvest in Michigan, the nation’s leading producer of spuds used to make potato chips. Michigan State University researchers are developing a new blend of compost to limit the spread of a worm-and-fungus disease that kills up to half the state’s annual harvest. (BridgeMI)
174 million acres: The size of Alaska’s wetlands, accounting for more than half of all wetlands in the nation. (Alaska Beacon)
Off The Wall
Maine’s Department of Transportation has asked a group of children what they should put on highway signs to get drivers to slow down — and the kids delivered. Among the suggestions: “Pay attention or get detention.” “Don’t be a Paine, stay in your lane.” “Look out for moose — they’re on the loose.” (WMTW) The very cute video is worth a watch.
Speaking of videos, don’t miss this clip of Alabama lawmakers dancing on the House floor while waiting for budget votes last night.
Quote of the Day
“We didn’t get a whole loaf. We didn’t even get half a loaf. But we did get something. We got a slice. And I would just say, we’re appreciative of that.”
— Alabama Sen. Will Barfoot (R), on budget negotiations that allocated $5 million for an economic development project in his district. (AL.com)