Pluribus AM: Dems lean on abortion rights ahead of 2024 elections

Good morning, it’s Monday, January 22, 2024. In today’s edition, Vermont, Virginia propose AI restrictions; Wisconsin GOP introduces abortion ban; housing sales hit record low:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Lawmakers in Vermont and Virginia have introduced bills to require AI developers to ensure their systems do not discriminate. The bills would mandate that developers conduct impact assessments to identify potential risks of harm from high-risk and generative AI systems. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: Wisconsin Republicans introduced a bill to ban abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions to protect the life or health of the mother. Gov. Tony Evers (D) pledged to veto the measure. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Vice President Harris will be in Waukesha on Monday to recognize the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Mississippi lawmakers have introduced legislation to require educators to inform parents if their child identifies with pronouns or a gender that is not listed on their birth certificate. The bill also requires school employees to alert parents if a child identifies as an animal, an extraterrestrial being or an inanimate object. (Mississippi Free Press)

GIG ECONOMY: Uber and Lyft drivers in New York will receive a $328 million payout from a wage-theft settlement secured by Attorney General Letitia James (D). Drivers must apply for compensation through James’s office. Uber will pay $290 million into the fund, while Lyft will fork over $38 million. (State of Politics)

PUBLIC SAFETY: Washington lawmakers will debate legislation today to prohibit police from hog-tying suspects, about four years after a Tacoma man died facedown in police custody. The federal Justice Department has recommended against hog-tying suspects since at least 1995. (Associated Press)

ENVIRONMENT: The New Mexico House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee advanced legislation that would require fuel producers to reduce carbon intensity levels of transportation fuel to 20% below 2018 levels by 2030 and 30% below those levels by 2040. The bill advanced along party lines. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

FOREIGN POLICY: Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek (R) has proposed legislation to prohibit local and state governments from investing in governments or businesses of foreign adversaries, including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Kansas Republicans hope to block a $95 million manufacturing facility proposed by Cnano Technology, a company with ties to the Chinese government. Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) wrote to Johnson County Commissioners urging them to rescind subsidies that will help with construction. (Kansas City Star)

COLLEGE SPORTS: Ten states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice are suing the NCAA over transfer and eligibility rules they allege illegally restrain an athlete’s ability to make money. The lawsuit seeks to force the NCAA to allow college athletes to play sports immediately after transferring schools. (Minnesota Reformer)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) told reporters on a call Friday that Democrats will lean heavily on abortion rights ahead of November’s elections. Walz, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, said recent polls commissioned in North Carolina and New Hampshire show abortion is a winning issue for Democrats. (Pluribus News)

MISSOURI: Supporters of a ballot initiative to protect abortion rights raised $1.1 million on the first day the campaign launched. The biggest check, for $500,000, came from The Fairness Project, a Democratic dark money group that does not disclose its donors. (KCUR)

MICHIGAN: Republicans who say they voted to oust party chair Kristina Karamo are now suing to force her out of office. Those Republicans voted Saturday to install former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) as the new party chair. Karamo said she remains the party chair, while Hoekstra promised to take the case to the Republican National Committee. (Bridge MI)

MORE: Michigan’s State Board of Canvassers has approved ballot language for a citizen’s initiative that would restore local control over large-scale solar and wind projects. The legislature voted last year to preempt local authority over those big projects, in an effort to speed construction. (Detroit News)

CRIME BLOTTER: California Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D) pleaded no contest to driving under the influence, after she was arrested Nov. 3 in Northeast Los Angeles. Carrillo agreed to a plea deal that will restrict her driving privileges. (Los Angeles Times)

By The Numbers

4.09 million: The number of existing homes sold in the United States in 2023, the lowest number since 1995 and the biggest annual decline — of 18.7% — since 2007. The median home sold for $389,800, a record high, according to the National Association of Realtors. (Los Angeles Times)

No more than 20: The number of bills Nebraska senators may introduce in legislative sessions, beginning in 2025. State Sen. Ben Hansen, who led the campaign for the rules change, said 1,400 bills were introduced in the last two sessions, or about 28 per legislator. (Nebraska Examiner)

Nearly $9 billion: The annual economic output of Oregon’s craft brewing economy. The industry provides 50,000 jobs, though the brewer’s association says the rise of canned cocktails and nonalcoholic options are threatening its future. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Off The Wall

Colorado’s Division of Motor Vehicles rejected more than 1,000 applications for vanity license plates last year, including plates that would have read “VEGANAF” and “FARTS.” Also on the reject list: “METHLAB,” “5TUDMFN” and four different variations of the word “badass.” (Denver Post)

We love a good rejected license plate story.

The Digital Democracy Project, a Florida nonprofit group, wants your input on legislation. The group is asking voters to download a mobile app that will allow residents to weigh in on pending bills through instant polls, in an effort to restore a sense of connection to state government. (Florida Politics)

Quote of the Day

“Defeat is never fatal. Victory is never final: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), ending his presidential campaign with a quote he attributed to Winston Churchill. The International Churchill Society said the late British prime minister never said those words. (Daily Beast)