Pluribus AM: Criminal justice reforms take shape; Fla. targets drag venues; Dem convention in Chicago

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, April 12, 2023. In today’s edition, criminal justice reform an emerging trend; Fla. targets drag show venues; Dem convention in Chicago:

Top Stories

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has signed bills increasing sentences for violent criminals and creating a new crime for knowingly delivering fentanyl that causes death. (Talk Business & Politics) Alabama lawmakers have given final approval to a measure cutting back on the amount of time prison inmates can shave off their sentences for good behavior. ( The Texas House has approved a bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips. (Dallas Morning News)

ABORTION: Democratic attorneys general from 23 states and the District of Columbia asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate access to the abortion drug mifepristone, after a Texas judge overturned the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug. (Oregon Capital Chronicle) The Florida House is poised to take up a bill preventing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. A final vote could come as early as Friday. (WUSF)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Missouri House has approved a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. The Senate has passed its own version that is substantially different. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed bills banning transgender athletes from K-12 and collegiate sports leagues that conform to their gender identity. (Fargo Forum)

MORE: The Florida Senate has approved legislation allowing the state to revoke a liquor license of a restaurant or entertainment venue that lets children into drag shows. (Orlando Sentinel)

WATER: The Bureau of Reclamation has presented two options for preventing the Colorado River’s depleted reservoirs from falling to critically low levels. One option would allow reductions in water rights based on existing priority systems, which would benefit California most. The other plan would include equal reductions for users in California, Arizona and Nevada. (Los Angeles Times)

SOCIAL MEDIA: A new Wisconsin bill would require minors to get parental consent when accessing social media platforms, and ban minors from those platforms between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Rep. David Steffen (R), the bill’s chief sponsor, said the measure is modeled on the Utah legislation signed into law last month. (Wisconsin State Journal) Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will ask the legislature to approve a measure requiring parental consent for minors to sign up for social media accounts. (VPM)

TENNESSEE: The state Senate has approved a bill requiring teenagers to get parental permission to receive any vaccine. (Nashville Post) The legislature is considering a bill to dissolve community-led police oversight boards in Nashville and Memphis. (Tennessee Lookout)

MARYLAND: Gov. Wes Moore (D) signed bills raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding tax credits for low-income families and allowing survivors of child sexual abuse to sue those who abused them. (Baltimore Sun) At a signing ceremony, Moore used both his left and right hands to write his signature. (Maryland Matters)

MASSACHUSETTS: State House leaders unveiled a $1.1 billion tax cut package, including a capital gains tax cut, a $600 dependent tax credit and a corporate tax cut. The bill also changes a 40-year old law requiring the state to return excess revenue to taxpayers when revenues exceed a cap. The House is likely to vote on the measure today. (Boston Globe)

KANSAS: Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed a bill raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21, joining more than 30 other states that have raised the minimum age in recent years. (Kansas Reflector)

IOWA: The state House has approved a bill restricting drone surveillance of livestock facilities without permission of the property owner. The bill would ban drones from flying within 400 feet of homesteads or areas where livestock are kept. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: The Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago next year. President Biden called Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to tell him of the decision Tuesday. Chicago put together a bid package of $80 million to win the event, the city’s first convention since Bill Clinton was renominated in 1996. (Chicago Sun-Times)

NEW JERSEY: Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) is the first major candidate to announce a run for governor in 2025, when Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces term limits. Former Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), U.S. Reps. Mike Sherrill (D) and Josh Gottheimer (D), Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D) are all considering their own campaigns. (NJ Advance Media)

INDIANA: Voters applying for absentee ballots will have to submit either a photocopy of a government-issued identification or a driver’s license number, an identification number, a voter registration record number or the last four digits of their Social Security number to qualify, under a bill that has won final approval in the legislature. (WFYI)

MICHIGAN: The state Republican Party is considering replacing its presidential primary with a closed caucus or convention. The move is meant to comply with Republican National Committee rules that prevent the state from holding its nominating contest in February, after Democrats moved Michigan close to the head of the pack. (Bridge MI)

By The Numbers

25: The number of major party political conventions Chicago has hosted, more than any other city in America. The first time Chicago hosted was 1860, when the Republican Party nominated some guy named Abraham Lincoln. (Chicago Tribune)

3: The number of states — Alabama, Mississippi and South Dakota — that tax groceries at the full sales tax rate. Lawmakers in Alabama are working on proposals to cut those tax rates. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

North Dakota oil and natural gas companies are turning to Ukraine to recruit workers to fill vacant jobs. The North Dakota Petroleum Council plans to bring workers to the state under a program led by former Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford (R). (Fargo Forum)

Jill Mayer won unanimous confirmation to a seat on the New Jersey Superior Court 15 months ago, but she still hasn’t taken office. She’s still looking for a way to collect her $127,000 annual pension after 27 years working for the state Attorney General while also collecting a $175,000 per year judicial salary. (New Jersey Globe)

Quote of the Day

“For me, it’s about fighting for the little guy.”

Florida Rep. Susan Plasencia (R), on her bill to shift liability burdens to skaters rather than the management or owners of the state’s 41 remaining skating rinks. (Florida Politics)

Correction: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s name was initially misspelled.