Pluribus AM: Florida passes social media, health bills

Good morning, it’s Friday, February 23, 2024. In today’s edition, Florida passes youth social media ban; Tennessee advances ‘abortion trafficking’ ban; Colorado Dems lay out ozone-fighting package:

Top Stories

SOCIAL MEDIA: The Florida House gave final approval to a bill banning youth under 16 from having social media accounts on Thursday, hours after the Senate approved the same legislation. The bill requires social media platforms to verify user ages, and allows a parent to request their child’s account be deleted. (Pluribus News)

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has voiced skepticism that this bill would withstand legal scrutiny.

HEALTH CARE: Florida lawmakers gave final approval to a $700 million health care workforce package in a nearly unanimous vote. The package, a top priority of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R), will fund training and residency programs, remove barriers for foreign-born physicians and establish a new limited licensure program for recent medical school graduates. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: The Tennessee House Health Committee voted to approve legislation that would charge adults with a felony for helping minors who are not their children obtain an abortion. The only exemption is for medical providers who provide emergency care for minors. (Nashville Post)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Wyoming Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee has approved legislation banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The bill would allow revocation or suspension of medical licenses for providers who provide such care. (Casper Star-Tribune)

ENVIRONMENT: Colorado Democrats have unveiled a package of bills to fight ozone emissions, including measures to require a pause on oil and gas drilling in the summer months and capping miles driven in gasoline-powered cars. The bills would require “indirect sources” of pollution, like shipping warehouses and office buildings, to reduce their emissions. (Colorado Sun)

EDUCATION: The Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee has voted to advance school choice legislation creating education savings accounts for students. The bill allocates $100 million for those accounts, and it requires participating private and Christian schools to be accredited. (Yellowhammer News) The Alabama Senate backed a bill barring schools and colleges from sponsoring diversity, equity and inclusion offices. (

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Alabama House unanimously approved legislation to impose mandatory life sentences for those convicted of trafficking minors. ( The Louisiana House voted to lengthen prison sentences for crimes involving weapons, carjacking and fentanyl. (Louisiana Illuminator) The Nebraska Senate gave first-round approval to legislation enhancing penalties for drug dealers tied to overdoses. (Omaha World-Herald)

HOMELESSNESS: The Florida legislature will consider a bill outlawing homeless people from camping on streets, in parks or other public places, after DeSantis endorsed the bill. Cities and counties would be allowed to establish legal encampments. (Orlando Sentinel)

MARIJUANA: The New Hampshire House has once again approved legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The bill would allow 15 state-licensed cannabis storefronts. It faces a tough road in the Senate, which has killed previous legal pot measures. (WMUR)

In Politics & Business

GEORGIA: The state House voted Thursday to make it a felony to broadcast or publish deceptive information within 90 days of an election with the intent to sway the vote. The bill is meant to crack down on deepfake AI videos. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MISSOURI: Sen. Lincoln Hough (R) will run for lieutenant governor, he said Thursday. Hough will face Sen. Holly Thompson Reader (R), House Speaker Dean Plocher (R), Franklin County Clerk Tim Baker (R) and businessman Paul Berry III in the GOP primary. (KCUR)

OREGON: Sen. Jeff Golden (D) will run for state Treasurer this year. He joins Sen. Elizabeth Steiner (D) and former Lake Oswego council member Jeff Gudman (D) in the race. (Oregonian)

UTAH: The state House voted Thursday to bar cities from using ranked-choice voting, six years after the state authorized a trial run in 2018. (Deseret News)

Twelve Utah cities, including Salt Lake City, use ranked-choice voting for their local elections, more than any other state.

By The Numbers

22.4 million: The number of American households considered to be rent-burdened — meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. It’s a new record high, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. (New York Times)

3,194: The number of migrants who have received financial support from the state of Illinois to reunite with friends and families in other states. The state has spent about $62,000 on travel tickets to move migrants to other places. (Chicago Tribune)

Off The Wall

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R) has sued Auditor Shad White (R) seeking to block White’s efforts to recover misspent welfare money from NFL great Brett Favre. Fitch says recovering the money is her office’s job, not White’s. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

Last year, we brought you the harrowing story of Alabama Sen. Tim Melson (R), who suffered a cardiac arrest while on a trip to South Korea. Now Melson and Sen. Arthur Orr (R), who helped save Melson’s life by performing CPR, have introduced a bill to expand CPR training in public schools. (

Happy Caitlin Clark Day to all who celebrate the University of Iowa icon. The Iowa House approved a resolution honoring Clark on Feb. 22, to mark her number 22 jersey after Clark broke the NCAA women’s basketball scoring record last week. (Des Moines Register)

Quote of the Day

“I ask you once again stand up and free the grapes.”

Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca (R), on his bill to allow restaurants and retailers to sell larger formats of wine. Rep. Hillary Cassel (D) responded: “I’m happy to support this bill today and drink some wine with you later.” (Florida Politics)