Pluribus AM: Gavin Newsom’s busy weekend

Good morning, it’s Monday, October 9, 2023. We hope you’re in the midst of a three-day weekend. In today’s edition, rounding up a big weekend in California; Texas legislators meet for special session; Dems dump millions on Virginia elections:

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ENVIRONMENT: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed a measure requiring large businesses to report their annual greenhouse gas emissions. He signed another bill that will require companies that generate more than $500 million in revenue to prepare climate-related financial risk reports. (Pluribus News)

ECONOMY: Newsom signed legislation banning hidden or “junk” fees on products and services like concert tickets, hotel rooms and food delivery. The new law, introduced after the ticket snafu surrounding Taylor Swift’s latest tour, will require vendors to disclose mandatory fees and charges up front. (Pluribus News)

CIVIL RIGHTS: Newsom vetoed legislation that would have extended protections against discrimination on the basis of caste. In a veto message, Newsom told legislators that such discrimination was already illegal under state law. Some Southeast Asian community groups raised concerns that the bill deliberately targeted them. (Pluribus News)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Newsom signed legislation to hold Instagram, TikTok and social media platforms liable for failing to combat the spread of child sexual abuse materials. Courts would be required to award damages of between $1 million and $4 million for each act of exploitation that social media companies allow to spread. Social media companies would have to give users a way to report abuse material. (Los Angeles Times)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Newsom signed legislation banning four chemicals used in candies and sodas over concerns about their health impacts. The law bans red dye No. 3, used in foods like Peeps, which is already banned in makeups. The law also bans brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate and propylparaben, chemicals used in sodas and baked goods. (Los Angeles Times, Associated Press) Newsom vetoed legislation to decriminalize possession of psychedelic mushrooms and other drugs. (Sacramento Bee)

HEALTH CARE: Newsom vetoed a bill that would have capped the cost of insulin at $35. The bill would have banned health plans and disability insurance policies from imposing out-of-pocket expenses above that price for a 30-day supply. Newsom said copay caps still allow companies to pass costs to consumers through higher premiums. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Texas lawmakers meet for a special session today to consider school choice legislation. Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who supports using state funds to pay for private school options, has threatened primary challenges against Republican incumbents who don’t go along. (Texas Tribune)

LABOR: Newsom signed legislation that will allow California legislative staffers to unionize. This year’s bill was the fifth time legislators have tried to allow staff to unionize since 2000 — and the first time such a bill even reached the floor. (Sacramento Bee)

In Politics & Business

VIRGINIA: The States Project, a Democratic outside group, will spend $4.5 million on Virginia legislative races ahead of next month’s election. (Politico) They’re the latest mega-donor to dump cash on the Old Dominion; Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has raised unprecedented sums, and the Democratic National Committee is pouring its own money into the state.

WISCONSIN: State Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz on Friday denied Republican requests to recuse herself from a case challenging state legislative district lines. The high court voted 4-3 to accept the legal challenge to district lines. Republicans have threatened to impeach Protasiewicz over comments she made about redistricting during her campaign. (Wisconsin Examiner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

PENNSYLVANIA: A high-stakes battle for an open seat on the state Supreme Court has attracted more than $4.5 million in spending. Democrats hold five of seven seats on the court; if Republican Carolyn Carluccio wins, the Democratic majority will be shaved to a 4-3 margin. (Associated Press)

PEOPLE: Former Montana Gov. Ted Schwinden (D) has died at 98. He left his home phone number in the Helena phone book while he served two terms as governor in the 1980s. (Missoulian)

By The Numbers

$1.8 billion: The amount of revenue state and local governments raised from taxes on sports betting in FY 2023, up from $794 million the year prior. (Pluribus News)

106,114: The number of New Jersey voters who have cast vote-by-mail ballots ahead of November’s elections, about 11.6% of all mail-in ballots sent out. About two thirds of mail-in votes have come from Democrats, while 23% have come from Republicans. (New Jersey Globe)

8: The number of lottery jackpots that have topped $1 billion since 2016, including five in the last two years. Monday’s Powerball drawing has grown to $1.55 billion. (New York Times)

Off The Wall

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) is asking state residents to turn off their lights at night, as 600 million birds pass through the Midwest on their annual migrations. Officials at McCormick Place in Chicago say thousands of birds have died in collisions with windows in the last few days. (NBC Chicago)

Michigan Republican Party officials have been asking members to sign nondisclosure agreements prohibiting leaks of internal party financial documents, after those documents showed the state GOP had just $35,000 in the bank in early August. Of course, the nondisclosure agreements leaked. (Detroit News)

Alaska fishermen will be allowed to harvest red king crab for the first time in two years, but snow crab remains off-limits for the second straight year over low population figures. Fishermen will be allowed to catch 2.1 million pounds of red crab beginning Oct. 15. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“We underestimate the power of the place, and the ability for these connections to transform the next route.”

Indiana Rep. Wendy McNamara (R), on the benefits of internships at the Statehouse. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)