Pluribus AM: Florida’s shot across the social media bow

Good morning, it’s Friday, January 12, 2024. In today’s edition, Florida seeks to ban minors from social media; Wisconsin pot bill going up in smoke; Ramaswamy sees dead people in Rhode Island:

Top Stories

SOCIAL MEDIA: A Florida House subcommittee on Thursday advanced legislation that would bar minors under 16 years old from having a social media account. Social media companies would be required to verify the age of anyone creating an account, and to retroactively confirm the age of existing account holders. (Pluribus News)

The Florida bill, a top priority of Speaker Paul Renner (R), is the most aggressive measure we’ve seen.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A panel of federal judges allowed Alabama’s 2022 law barring gender-affirming care for transgender minors to take immediate effect while the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case. The lawsuit is set to go to trial in August. (Associated Press) Utah lawmakers will debate legislation to bar transgender individuals from restrooms and locker rooms that conform to their gender identities. The bill requires taxpayer-funded buildings provide unisex or single-occupant restrooms. (KSL)

ABORTION: Kansas House Republicans have introduced a near-total abortion ban similar to Texas law. The bill would bar abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, and authorizes residents to sue doctors and others who help someone obtain an abortion. (KSNT, KCUR) A bipartisan group of Missouri legislators has introduced legislation to allow pharmacies and clinics to dispense a year’s worth of contraception, up from current law that allows only a three-month supply. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

HEALTH CARE: Bills to expand the health care workforce and access to mental health services have cleared Florida Senate committees and now head to the floor. The bills are top priorities of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R), who has proposed spending $797 million to fund programs incentivizing doctors and medical workers to serve rural areas. (Florida Politics)

MARIJUANA: Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) said an Assembly bill legalizing medical marijuana through state-run dispensaries is a non-starter. LeMahieu said his members object to the state-run dispensaries part of the bill. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) opposes opening a retail marijuana market, two years after the legislature voted to legalize cannabis products. (WRIC)

WORKFORCE: The Indiana Senate Local Government Committee unanimously endorsed legislation that would require a municipality to pay a portion of training costs if it poaches a new police officer from another jurisdiction. The measure is meant to cut down on counties, cities and towns poaching new officers soon after they graduate from training courses. (Northwest Indiana Times)

TECHNOLOGY: A Florida House subcommittee unanimously advanced a bill to require adult entertainment websites to use new age verification technology. The bill requires any company that publishes material deemed harmful to minors to employ age verification methods used by government agencies. (Florida Politics)

In Politics & Business

WISCONSIN: The state Supreme Court refused to place its own ruling ordering new legislative district maps on hold. Parties must submit proposed new maps by today, and consultants hired by the courts will submit a report to the court on Feb. 1. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: Republicans who voted to oust state GOP chair Kristina Karamo plan to file a lawsuit asking the courts to force her from office. Karamo’s backers say their opponents failed to comply with party bylaws; they plan to hold their own meeting this weekend. (Detroit News)

MORE: Federal judges have given Michigan’s redistricting committee until March 29 to redraw Detroit-area legislative district lines. The judges ruled the commission unconstitutionally diluted the political power of Black voters. (Bridge MI)

MARYLAND: Carlos Ayala has resigned from the Maryland Board of of Elections after he was arrested on multiple charges related to his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Ayala is accused of scaling a police barricade. (Washington Post)

NO LABELS: Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stepped down from the board of No Labels, the group planning a bipartisan presidential ticket in 2024, last month. Hogan said he was stepping down to allow for new leaders who “can devote themselves full-time to the effort.” He did not address whether he himself would become a candidate. (Associated Press) No Labels has collected enough signatures to qualify for Maryland’s ballot in 2024. (Baltimore Sun)

By The Numbers

5.6%: The growth in college enrollment in Kentucky over the last year, the largest in the nation. (Associated Press)

$1.6 billion: The amount of adult use marijuana sold in Illinois in 2023, the third straight year the state has set an annual record. (WCIA)

$3 million: The fine eBay will pay to resolve criminal charges after employees sent live spiders and cockroaches to a Massachusetts couple. The couple, which publishes an online newsletter, upset eBay executives with its coverage. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (R) has fans among the dead. Ramaswamy’s campaign risks missing the presidential primary ballot in Rhode Island because of an unusually large number of invalid signatures submitted on nominating petitions — including a number of deceased voters. Petitions filed for the No Labels group also included a bunch of dead voters, the state board of elections said. (Providence Journal)

Researchers have published a new paper on Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis, a relative that predates Tyrannosaurus rex by about five million years. The new species, discovered in a rock formation in New Mexico, shows its more famous descendant probably evolved in the American Southwest. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

Earlier this week, we told you about the Portland man who found an iPhone that survived a three-mile fall from the blown-out side of an Alaska Airlines jet. On Wednesday, Cuong Tran, the iPhone’s owner, got his property back. Tran said the phone is “100% fine.” So is he, though he said he lost a shoe and sock in the mishap. (Oregonian)

Quote of the Day

“I wouldn’t bet on it, no pun intended.”

Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher (R), asked whether a proposed ballot measure to legalize sports gambling would force legislators to act first. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CORRECTION: Yesterday, we incorrectly identified Virginia House Speaker Don Scott’s party affiliation. Scott is a Democrat. We’re sorry for the typo.