Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 3, 2023. In today’s edition, DeSantis signs ESG ban; La. House moves gender-affirming care ban; Ore. Sec/State resigns:
ESG: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation barring state and local pension fund managers from considering environmental, social and governance factors when making investments. Florida becomes the ninth state — after Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Utah and West Virginia — to ban ESG practices this year alone. (Pluribus News)
IMMIGRATION: Florida lawmakers gave final approval to a sweeping measure aimed at combatting illegal immigration. The bill would make it a felony to transport five or more undocumented people, requires hospitals to collect the immigration status of their patients and prohibits the state from recognizing out-of-state driver licenses issued to an undocumented person. (Pluribus News)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee approved a measure banning gender-affirming care for minors. Six Democrats joined Republicans in voting to back the bill. (Baton Rouge Advocate) The North Carolina House Health Committee approved a bill banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors. The bill does not cover gender-affirming care like puberty blockers. (Associated Press)
ABORTION: North Carolina Republican legislative leaders have reached agreement on an abortion ban that would block the procedure after 12 weeks, with new exceptions in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality. Final votes would take place as early as today and tomorrow. (Associated Press, Raleigh News & Observer) Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) plans to sign legislation today increasing protections and access for abortion providers and patients. (Baltimore Sun) New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed legislation guaranteeing access to medication abortion at two state hospitals. (State of Politics)
GUN POLITICS: The Montana legislature has given final approval to a bill barring credit card companies from using merchant codes to identify gun sales. California lawmakers are considering a bill to require the use of those codes, creating a mess of a patchwork of laws that vary by state. (Montana Free Press)
MORE: The Delaware Senate voted Tuesday to approve a bill requiring training and a permit to purchase handguns. (Delaware Public Media) Gun rights advocates have filed a challenge in federal court to a California law that requires a 10-day waiting period on the purchase of most firearms. (Los Angeles Times)
HEALTH CARE: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has signed legislation removing residency requirements from the state’s aid-in-dying law, making his state the first to open medically assisted suicide to non-residents. Oregon agreed to stop enforcing residency requirements last year, though those laws are still technically on the books. (WPRI) The Florida House has approved a bill allowing insurers and providers to refuse to provide treatment that is at odds with their moral, religious or ethical beliefs. (Florida Politics)
WORKFORCE: The Minnesota House has approved a bill allowing workers to take up to 18 weeks of paid family and medical leave. The state Senate will consider its version soon. (MPR News) The Iowa House has amended a bill allowing children to work longer hours to apply to those 16 and older. The earlier version would have applied to those over 14. (Des Moines Register) Hawaii lawmakers have added $30 million to a program offering debt repayment for all medical professionals. (Hawaii News Now)
PUBLIC SAFETY: The Michigan House has approved legislation requiring cellphone use while driving to be hands-free. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote. Michigan would become the 26th state to adopt hands-free driving laws. (Detroit News) The California Senate will vote on a bill to decriminalize plant-based psychedelic drugs. The bill no longer includes measures legalizing LSD, ketamine and MDMA. (California Globe)
MORE: Washington lawmakers will return to special session on May 16 to finalize new drug possession penalties and addiction treatment options. (NW News Network) Lawmakers failed to update state drug laws in the closing days of session, an embarrassing snafu that set the state on path to decriminalize all drugs — albeit unintentionally. We wrote about the mess here.
LABOR: Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D) has refused to voluntarily recognize a union formed by employees in his office. (WBEZ)
NEW YORK: Lawmakers finally approved a $229 billion state budget late Tuesday, more than a month after its April 1 due date. The budget avoids tax increases, boosts education funding and raises the minimum wage by 2026. The budget bans gas hookups in new buildings and homes and gives judges more discretion in setting bail. (State of Politics)
In Politics & Business
OREGON: Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) said she would resign effective May 8 in the midst of an uproar over her side consulting gig with an embattled marijuana company. Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers will take over the office until Gov. Tina Kotek (D) appoints a permanent replacement. (Pluribus News, Willamette Week)
Oregon scandals this year: Cannabis, check. Rare bourbons, check.
WASHINGTON: Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) filed papers to explore a run for governor next year, a day after Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said he wouldn’t seek a fourth term. (Seattle Times) Ferguson will start as the front-runner, but state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) is teasing her own potential bid. No prominent Republican has stepped forward.
MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday with an event in Gulfport. (Mississippi Today) A Reeves campaign official tells us he’ll hold a bigger kickoff event today in Richland.
ILLINOIS: A federal jury convicted four former political insiders with close ties to ex-House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) in a conspiracy trial. Those convicted include Michael McClain, a Madigan confidante; former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore; former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker; and former City Club President Jay Doherty. (Chicago Sun-Times)
MONTANA: A Helena district court judge has denied Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s (D) motion to block enforcement of a disciplinary measure banning her from the House floor. The judge, a former Democratic lawmaker, said such an order would violate the separation of powers. (Montana Free Press)
OHIO: House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) has delayed for at least a week any votes on a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the threshold that future amendments would have to meet to change the constitution. Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) has given lawmakers until May 10 to force an August vote. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
PEOPLE: Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (D) returned to work Tuesday for the first time since undergoing cancer surgery in mid-March. (Minneapolis Star Tribune) Our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
By The Numbers
52.2%: The share of eligible Americans who cast a ballot in the 2022 elections, the second straight midterm in which more than half of eligible voters voted. Nearly half of voters, 49.8%, voted early or by mail. Turnout rose among non-Hispanic whites, but turnout among Black voters was down almost six points from the last midterm election. (Pluribus News)
$430 million: The surplus Arkansas budget officials said the state had on hand at the end of April. Tax collections are up 1.2% over last year, and 5.1% over forecast. (Talk Business & Politics)
Off The Wall
Twenty years ago today, New Hampshire lost its iconic Old Man in the Mountain, the 40-foot natural rock formation that looked like an old man’s face. A research project by a Darmouth College grad student estimated the rock formation was 750 cubic meters, the volume of five school buses, weighing almost 2,000 tons. (Associated Press)
Traffic in Manassas, Va., got unusually nasty on Monday after an Eastern rat snake slithered into a traffic signal control box and cut power to lights at a busy intersection. Motorists were stranded for about 45 minutes. An animal control officer removed the snake and set it free in a safe area nearby. (Fauquier Times)
Quote of the Day
“I just felt like we no longer had anything to gain for Montanans or for our constituents by being here any longer.”
— Montana Senate Minority Leader Pat Flowers (D), who offered a motion to end this year’s legislative session. The vote passed with 10 Republican votes, over the objections of Senate Republican leaders. (Montana Free Press)