Pluribus AM: Everyone procrastinates on Valentine’s Day

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Good morning, it’s Wednesday, February 14, 2024. Happy Valentine’s Day! We love our readers. In today’s edition, Tennessee advances abortion trafficking ban; Kentucky, Nebraska move to limit DEI; Dems win special elections in New York, Pennsylvania:

Top Stories

ABORTION: A Tennessee House subcommittee has advanced legislation that would make it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent. The bill would ban adults from providing minors with information about nearby abortion providers. (Associated Press)

Idaho is the only other state with a so-called “abortion trafficking” law on the books, though that measure is on hold after abortion rights groups sued to block it.

DEI: The Kentucky Senate approved legislation barring diversity, equity and inclusion practices at public universities. The bill would prohibit schools from providing preferential treatment based on political ideology. (Associated Press) Nebraska’s Senate Education Committee considered a bill banning DEI programs at state schools, too. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: The West Virginia House of Delegates will consider legislation opening public and school libraries to felony charges if they display or disseminate obscene material to minors. The bill would remove existing law that provides libraries exemptions from the state’s prohibition on obscene materials. (WV Metro News)

MORE: The Wisconsin Senate approved a “parental bill of rights” measure that would guarantee parents 16 specific rights. Among the guaranteed rights: The right to determine a child’s religion; the right to determine a child’s name and pronouns used at school; and the right to review instructional materials. (Wisconsin Examiner)

GUN POLITICS: The Georgia Senate has approved legislation to waive sales tax on purchases of gun safes and other firearm safety mechanisms. The Senate voted last week to create a five-day sales tax holiday on guns and ammunition to coincide with the beginning of deer hunting season. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

HEALTH CARE: An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved legislation to cap insulin costs at $75 a month. The House passed a similar measure capping costs at $100 in 2021, but that version of the bill never made it through the Senate. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ENVIRONMENT: The New Mexico Senate gave final approval to a bill requiring producers of high-polluting fuels to buy credits from producers and importers of low-carbon fuels in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The bill calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for transportation fuels by 20% by 2030 and 30% by 2040. (Associated Press)

HOUSING: The Washington House voted Tuesday to limit rent increases for current tenants to 7% a year. Opponents worried the bill would limit efforts to boost construction of new housing units. (Seattle Times) The Oregon Senate Housing and Development Committee advanced a $350 million housing package, cutting $150 million off Gov. Tina Kotek’s (D) proposal. (Oregonian)

PUBLIC SAFETY: The Florida legislature is fast-tracking a bill to ban civilian oversight boards meant to monitor law enforcement and corrections officers. Twenty-one Florida cities created civilian oversight boards in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in 2021. (WLRN)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Democrat Jim Prokopiak won a special election to claim a Bucks County seat in the state House, giving his party 102 out of 203 seats. The district leaned Democratic, but Prokopiak won with 68% of the vote, a surprisingly wide margin. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Republicans hold 100 seats, after one of their members resigned last week for health reasons. They’re likely to reclaim that seat in a coming special election.

NEW YORK: Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) won a competitive special election on Long Island to fill the seat of disgraced ex-Rep. George Santos (R), carrying 54% of the vote. Suozzi’s win further narrows the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. (New York Times)

WISCONSIN: The Republican-controlled legislature approved new legislative map lines proposed by Gov. Tony Evers (D), in a bid to head off even more Democratic-friendly maps that might be adopted by the state Supreme Court. Evers said last week he would sign the maps into law if Republicans made no changes to the lines. (Associated Press)

ALABAMA: The state Senate on Tuesday approved a measure to make it a Class C felony for someone to help a voter fill out an absentee ballot, punishable by up to a year in jail. The bill makes exceptions for voters who are blind, disabled or unable to read or write. (

By The Numbers

75%: The share of Valentine’s Day flowers, candy and cards sold in Walmart stores on Feb. 13 and 14. (Associated Press)

The lesson: Don’t feel bad about procrastinating, because everyone does it.

$27.4 billion: The amount in goods exported from Alabama in 2023, shattering previous records. Transportation equipment, including motor vehicles, auto parts and aerospace products, account for more than half of state exports. (Yellowhammer News)

51%: The share of sports bets made by the 1.8% of Connecticut residents who have gambling problems, according to a gambling impact study, the first conducted in Connecticut since the state legalized sports betting in 2021. (CT Mirror)

Off The Wall

About 90% of cut flowers imported into the United States flow through Miami International Airport, most of them coming from Colombia and Ecuador. Avianca, the Colombian airline, doubles cargo flights to Miami in the month leading up to Valentine’s Day. (New York Times)

Idaho Rep Bruce Skaug (R) has introduced legislation creating a minimum fine for the possession of less than three ounces of marijuana. The misdemeanor would carry a fine of $420. (Idaho Press)

Very clever.

Quote of the Day

“These things have huge legal hurdles. They’ve been held up in courts. I don’t want to go down the road of doing something that is not going to be, going to pass muster legally.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), throwing cold water on legislation to require social media companies to ban minors from their platforms. (Florida Politics)