Pluribus AM: Fla., Texas move immigration bills; Ill., Minn. advance gun safety measures; Vt. Gov signs abortion protection bill

Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 11, 2023. In today’s edition, legacy media lobbies against privacy bills; Fla., Texas move immigration measures; Ill., Minn. advance gun safety bills:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: Campaigns to approve youth digital privacy legislation in several states are running into stiff opposition from legacy media outlets, concerned that such laws could significantly impact their business models. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has lobbied against Minnesota’s version of the legislation, while the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association helped kill a bill in Maryland. (Pluribus News)

IMMIGRATION: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation making it a felony to transport more than five undocumented people and requiring hospitals to report data on the immigration status of their patients. (Pluribus News, Orlando Sentinel) The Texas House has approved a bill creating a new border policing unit and sending $100 million to border communities for detention centers, courts and security. (Texas Tribune)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Missouri legislature gave final approval Wednesday to measures banning gender-affirming care for minors and blocking transgender girls and women from female sports teams. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ABC News) The Ohio House will vote on legislation that would ban transgender girls or women from participating in female sports. (Columbus Dispatch)

GUN POLITICS: The Illinois House Judiciary Committee has approved a firearm omnibus bill that would allow local governments to prohibit the use of guns near homes, review current and potential insurance policies related to firearm ownership and implement emergency protection orders. (WAND) Minnesota Democrats have announced an agreement on a red flag bill and a bill extending background checks to private firearms transfers. (MinnPost)

ABORTION: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has signed legislation expanding protections and access to reproductive care. One bill protects health care providers from being forced to cooperate with out-of-state investigators, and another restricts crisis pregnancy centers that seek to dissuade patients from receiving abortions. (VT Digger, Burlington Free Press) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Saturday will veto an abortion ban the legislature passed last week. He is targeting four Republican legislators, only one of whom would be needed to uphold his veto. (Carolina Journal)

EDUCATION: The Alabama Senate Education Committee has approved bills to create universal education savings accounts and to allow more students to use tax credit scholarships. ( The Minnesota Senate gave final approval to an education budget that will make public college free for students whose families make less than $80,000 annually. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ESG: The Ohio Senate approved a bill prohibiting managers of the state’s five pension systems from considering environmental, social and governance criteria in investing decisions. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CHINA: The Alabama House has approved a measure banning Chinese citizens and entities from purchasing property in the state. (Yellowhammer News) At least 18 states have laws restricting foreign ownership of agricultural lands.

ENVIRONMENT: Rhode Island will adopt standards requiring all new cars to be zero-emission by 2035, joining six other states following California’s lead. Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey are also moving toward adopting Advanced Clean Cars II standards. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Connecticut Senate has approved a bill blocking police from stopping drivers for low-level equipment violations. (CT Examiner) The Alabama House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to allow some people serving life without parole to receive reduced sentences if their crimes did not cause serious physical injury. (

In Politics & Business

WASHINGTON: Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) will run for governor next year, she said Wednesday. She joins Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) in the race to replace retiring Gov. Jay Inslee (D). (Seattle Times)

OHIO: The state House voted to send a proposed constitutional amendment to voters in August that would raise the threshold for passage of future amendments to 60%. (Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Capital Journal)

The measure is meant to get ahead of a potential vote in November on an amendment that would codify abortion rights. We wrote about the broader trend of restricting citizen initiatives here.

CONNECTICUT: The House of Representatives has voted to amend the state constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting. Voters will get to decide whether to adopt the amendment on the 2024 ballot. (Hartford Courant) Voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing early voting last year. 

OREGON: Supporters of ranked-choice voting have unveiled a ballot measure to implement the system statewide, following Portland and Multnomah County. (Willamette Week) Maine and Alaska conduct their elections by ranked-choice voting, too.

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) will report $9 million cash on hand through the end of April, after raising $1.7 million in the first four months of the year. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) reported last week he had $723,000 in the bank. (Magnolia Tribune)

By The Numbers

350: The number of bills Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed this year, out of about 1,200 introduced in the legislature. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

30: The number of Connecticut representatives who voted against a measure absolving those convicted of witchcraft during the 17th century. Republicans who voted against the bill said the state had no power to exonerate people convicted under the laws of a different government. (CTMirror)

Off The Wall

An experimental device deployed along the outlet of Ballona Creek in Los Angeles intercepted about 155,000 pounds of garbage before it reached the Pacific Ocean, far more than anticipated, according to the Dutch nonprofit that introduced the system. Trash found on nearby beaches was down 75% since the system was deployed. (Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of pounds of Fruit Roll-Ups have been confiscated from luggage at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv as people bring the sugary snack from the United States. A single Fruit Roll-Up can fetch as much as $6 on the black market in Israel. (UPI)

Quote of the Day

“Being on time is important but being earlier is even more important.”

Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D), who hasn’t missed a vote since she joined the chamber in 1987. Zaffirini on Wednesday cast her 70,000th consecutive vote. (KXAN, KXAN)