Pluribus AM: Fla. prepares special session on Disney; Mich. lawmakers plan tax rebates; N.C. court to rehear redistricting, voter ID cases

Good morning, it’s Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Happy Waitangi Day to our New Zealand friends. In today’s edition, Fla. prepares special session on Disney; Mich. lawmakers plan tax rebates; N.C. court will rehear redistricting, voter ID cases:

Top Stories

FLORIDA: The legislature convenes today for a special session to consider a state takeover of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, among other issues. Details are scant, but Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has said he wants to end Disney’s “self-governing status” while protecting taxpayers from the $1 billion in debt the district carries. (Orlando Sentinel)

LOUISIANA: The state Senate on Friday gave final approval to the $45 million package aimed at fixing the property insurance crisis. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is expected to sign the measure, which incentivizes insurance companies to return to the marketplace. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and legislative leaders have reached agreement on a tax cut package that includes inflation relief checks to taxpayers. Direct payments were added to negotiations on Friday to create an agreement between House and Senate Democrats. (MLive)

MINNESOTA: The House Public Safety Committee is considering a package of gun control bills this year. The proposals include a “red flag” measure, background checks for private sales, a safe storage requirement and a bill to require prompt reporting of missing or stolen firearms. The bills are likely to pass the House; rural Democrats in the Senate will be the swing votes. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

MARYLAND: Lawmakers have filed a bill to tax and regulate marijuana products ahead of the July 1 deadline for sales to begin. Cannabis products would be taxed at 6%, increasing by 1 percentage point a year until 2028. The bill would earmark 30% of revenue to a Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund. Pot products would be regulated by the newly renamed Maryland Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Commission. (Baltimore Sun)

CALIFORNIA: State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D) has introduced a measure barring social media platforms from using algorithms to drive minor users toward ghost guns, fentanyl, harmful diet products and any content related to suicide, eating disorders or social media addiction. (Sacramento Bee)

NORTH DAKOTA: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed a measure allocating $68 million to 13 career technical education centers across the state. Anticipated federal funding has been delayed, but the line of credit from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota will allow construction to begin. (Grand Forks Herald)

WYOMING: Medicaid expansion is likely to die, yet again, when a key deadline passes in the state House today. Majority Floor Leader Chip Neiman (R) said he would not allow the bill to come to a vote today. (Casper Star Tribune)

WORKFORCE: Seventeen states have agreed to create reciprocal licenses for clinical mental health counselors in an effort to solve severe shortages across the country. Vermont lawmakers are considering joining the compact, which the Department of Defense backs as a way to make it easier for servicemembers and military spouses to continue their careers. (VTDigger)

In Politics & Business

PRIMARIES: The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee formally ratified a new calendar that will set South Carolina as the first-in-the-nation primary state. New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan will follow South Carolina in the early voting window. (The State, Associated Press, Nevada Independent, Detroit News, New Hampshire Union Leader)

NORTH CAROLINA: The state Supreme Court will rehear arguments in cases challenging the constitutionality of political boundaries drawn by Republican lawmakers and the state’s voter ID law. The decision to hear the cases again comes after Republican-aligned justices won elections giving them a 5-2 majority, after years in which Democrats held a one-seat edge. (Raleigh News & Observer)

PENNSYLVANIA: Elections to fill three vacant seats in the state House will take place tomorrow, likely giving Democrats the 102-101 majority they won in the 2022 midterms. All three seats in Allegheny County are dominated by Democratic voters. (Spotlight PA)

OHIO: House Republicans who back state Rep. Derek Merrin (R) over Speaker Jason Stephens (R) are prepared to sue to regain control of the GOP’s chief campaign account. State law gives control of party accounts to the Speaker and the House minority leader, but the feud between Merrin and Stephens has put the Republican account in question. (Columbus Dispatch)

CALIFORNIA: Voters will decide in 2024 whether to approve a law passed last year that would ban new oil drilling near homes, schools and hospitals after the California Independent Petroleum Association collected more than 978,000 signatures to force it onto the ballot. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, is put on hold in the meantime. (Sacramento Bee)

ARIZONA: Republican lawmakers are backing an effort to increase the burdens on passing ballot initiatives. The new rules, which would have to be approved by voters in 2024, would require initiative supporters to collect the valid signatures of 10% of voters in every legislative district, or about 416,000 total signatures. Current law requires signatures equivalent to 10% of those who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election. (AZ Mirror)

By The Numbers

1,457: The number of bills introduced in the first 28 days of Washington State’s legislative session. One bill would make the Evergreen State Washington’s official nickname, a moniker that, while widely used, has never been formally adopted. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)

$3.834 billion: The amount of tax revenue Massachusetts collected in January, about 4.6% short of expectations. It’s the first time in 30 months revenue collections have fallen short. (State House News Service)

1652: The year the White Horse Tavern in Newport, R.I., was founded. The oldest operating restaurant in the United States celebrates its 350th anniversary this year; 95% of the floorboards are original, believed to be made from wood from colonial-era ships. (Boston Globe)

65 minutes: The length of this year’s sturgeon fishing season on Black Lake in Cheboygan County, Mich. Fishermen caught all six fish allowed by the Department of Natural Resources in that span — which was almost twice as long as last year’s season, which lasted 36 minutes. (Detroit Free Press)

Off The Wall

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) will take a week off work to recover from surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus, injuries she suffered on the basketball court. (Willamette Week) Best wishes for a quick recovery, that sounds painful.

Congratulations to North Dakota state Rep. Matthew Ruby (R), winner of last year’s legislative fantasy football league. “Ruby made a point of saying that the fantasy football season is over before the legislative session begins, so legislators are not focused on football as the session progresses.” (Fargo Forum)

Chicago has seven new snowplows, named by residents. Our favorites: Mrs. O’Leary’s Plow, Salter Payton, Sears Plower and Jean Baptiste Point du Shovel. (Block Club Chicago)

Quote of the Day

“To think that these things would ever refill requires some kind of leap of faith that I, for one, don’t have.”

Colorado State University climate scientist Brad Udall, warning that Lake Mead and Lake Powell will not refill in our lifetimes. (Los Angeles Times)