Pluribus AM: Florida moves to regulate social media

Good morning, it’s Thursday, November 16, 2023. In today’s edition, Ohio considers abortion restrictions after voter-approved amendment; Massachusetts moves to cap drug costs; California Senate president eyes governor’s race:

Top Stories

SOCIAL MEDIA: Florida Sen. Ileana Garcia (R) has filed legislation that would require social media companies to shield minors from harmful content, and to use age verification software to allow parents to exercise control over their children’s social media accounts. (Floridian Press)

ABORTION: Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R) is considering a measure to ban abortion after 15 weeks, despite voters approving a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights last week. (Ohio Capital Journal) A St. Louis judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s ban on abortion. The suit alleges the ban unconstitutionally imposes religious beliefs on state residents. (Associated Press)

MARIJUANA: Ohio Senate President Huffman said his chamber would try to pass legislation early next month making changes to a legalized recreational marijuana measure voters approved last week. It’s not clear what the Senate will address before the measure takes effect on Dec. 7, but Huffman hinted that tax rates and revenue distribution are up for debate. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

HEALTH CARE: The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill limiting out-of-pocket costs of drugs used to treat diabetes, asthma and heart conditions. The bill requires insurers to eliminate deductibles and cost-sharing requirements, and to cap co-pays on a brand-name drug at $25 for a 30-day supply. (Boston Herald)

Massachusetts lawmakers failed to reach a deal on a $2.8 billion spending bill that included money for migrant shelter funding before adjourning for the winter break.

EDUCATION: Florida’s Senate Education Committee has approved bills that will end a requirement that students pass two exams to earn a high school diploma, allow teachers to sign multi-year contracts and end a mandatory 20-minute recess period for elementary school students. (Orlando Sentinel) Texas’s State Board of Education voted Tuesday to reject several science textbooks that recognize fossil fuels as a cause of man-made climate change. (KXAN)

AGRICULTURE: Florida Rep. Tyler Sirois (R) has introduced legislation to ban “cultivated” meat that is grown in a laboratory. Agriculture Secretary Wilton Simpson (R) says he backs the bill, too. The USDA has authorized two companies to sell lab-grown meat, though those products are not yet commercially available. (Politico)

REVENUE: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has refused to approve revenue projections adopted by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that came in under expectations. Reeves worried that lower revenue projections would endanger future income tax cuts he wants to make. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

CALIFORNIA: Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D) is considering running for governor in 2026, when Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is term-limited. Atkins would face Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D), Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (D) and former Comptroller Betty Yee (D) in the all-party primary. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is also considering a bid. (Associated Press)

Atkins is only the third person in California history to serve as both House speaker and Senate president. Neither of the other two became governor.

NEBRASKA: Supporters of abortion rights have launched a campaign to qualify an initiative protecting the right to abortion before fetal viability for the 2024 ballot. Nebraska is the fifth state where activists are aiming to qualify a measure before next year’s elections, along with Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Nevada. (Nebraska Examiner)

VIRGINIA: Sen. Scott Surovell (D) will serve as majority leader in next year’s session, while Republicans picked Sen. Ryan McDougle (R) to serve as minority leader. Surovell beat out longtime Sen. Mamie Locke (D) for the top job; Locke will serve as caucus chair. (Associated Press)

NEVADA: Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) has opened an investigation into fake electors who attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. Several of the fake electors, including state Republican Party chairman Michael McDonald, have appeared before a criminal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. (NBC News)

RHODE ISLAND: Democrats have picked Elizabeth Beretta-Perik to head the state party, the first woman to hold the job. Beretta-Perik is a longtime party fundraiser and donor. (Providence Journal)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Save the date! Secretary of State David Scanlan has set his state’s first-in-the-nation primary for Jan. 23, 2024. Twenty-one Democrats and 24 Republicans filed to make the ballot. President Biden did not file, after the Democratic National Committee gave South Carolina the right to go first in their nominating contest. (WMUR)

By The Numbers

58%: The share of Americans who prefer to get their news from digital devices, more than twice as many who prefer to watch television for news, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Among Americans who get news from social media, Meta remains tops — 30% say they turn to Facebook for news, 26% go to YouTube, 16% turn to Instagram, 14% go to TikTok and 12% go to X, formerly known as Twitter. (Pluribus News)

More than $1 billion: The value of counterfeit goods, including handbags, shoes and luxury merchandise, seized by federal authorities in New York City. It’s the largest-ever seizure of fake merchandise in U.S. history, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. (Associated Press)

3.440 billion: The amount of natural gas, in cubic feet, that North Dakota produced per day in September, an all-time high. North Dakota has more wells producing oil and gas, 18,538, than ever. (Fargo Forum)

Off The Wall

Panda fans, rejoice. Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled Wednesday that his country will send pandas back to the United States as “envoys of friendship.” Pandas are likely headed to the San Diego Zoo. Only four pandas remain in the U.S., all in Atlanta’s zoo. (Los Angeles Times)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is taking heat for a video address he recorded for the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission, a group that supports reducing penalties for cockfighting. Oklahoma overwhelmingly voted to outlaw cockfighting in 2002. Former Gov. Frank Keating (R) called the recording “an embarrassment.” (Tulsa World)

St. Paul, Minn., will have its first all-woman city council when new members are sworn in early next year. A majority of the council’s seven members are women of color. (KARE)

We can’t swear to it, but we’re pretty sure St. Paul is now the largest city in America to elect an all-woman council.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t know what in the world’s wrong with being nice sometimes. I mean, I kind of grew up in that era.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R), who filmed a “disagree better” ad with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D). State Sen. Bill Eigel (R), running to replace Parson, criticized the ad. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)