Pluribus AM: Georgia’s busy sine die

Good morning, it’s Friday, March 29, 2024. In today’s edition, Washington adopts carbon market plan; Georgia to require parental consent for minors on social media; GOP AGs sue Biden over student loan forgiveness:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has signed legislation that will allow the state to link its carbon market with those of California and Quebec, in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way. Climate change advocates hope the combined markets will attract new participants, including other states and other countries. (Pluribus News)

RIGHT TO REPAIR: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) signed legislation granting consumers and independent shops a right to repair electronic gear, making it the fourth state — after Minnesota, New York and California — to adopt such a bill. Apple lobbied against the legislation in Salem. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

INFRASTRUCTURE: The Biden administration has approved an initial $60 million request from Maryland to begin debris recovery after this week’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. Officials estimated that cleaning up and rebuilding the bridge could take a decade or more. (Baltimore Sun)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Georgia lawmakers voted early Friday to require children younger than 16 to get parental permission to create social media accounts. The bill also bans social media use on school devices, and requires porn websites to verify users are over 18. The measure would take effect July 1, 2025. (Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Georgia Senate approved legislation barring medical professionals from prescribing puberty blockers to transgender minors. The measure adds to a ban on other gender-affirming care the legislature approved in 2023. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

IMMIGRATION: The Georgia House gave final approval to legislation that will require sheriffs to enforce federal immigration laws and punish them if they don’t. Republicans who advocated for the bill hope it will prohibit local governments from enacting “sanctuary” policies. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Georgia lawmakers kept up their sine die tradition of throwing all their papers in the air as session comes to a close. Photo here.

MEDIA: The Vermont Senate has approved legislation that would levy a tax on streaming services to help support local television stations. The 5% tax on annual gross receipts from streaming services would be added to revenue direct to public access stations. (VT Digger)

HEALTH CARE: The Mississippi Senate approved legislation to expand Medicaid to those who make up to 100% of the federal poverty limit. The Senate will now negotiate with the House, which passed a very different version earlier this year. Both versions have work requirements, though Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is skeptical that those requirements will pass muster with the Biden administration. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) is leading 10 other states in a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s decision to forgive $156 billion in federal student debt from the Saving on a Valuable Education Plan. The suit alleges the administration violated separation of powers rules and administrative procedure law. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

In Politics & Business

NEW JERSEY: Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health Shereef Elnahal, a former member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) cabinet, has held discussions about seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Murphy in 2025. The Democratic field already includes Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D), former Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D). (New Jersey Globe)

GEORGIA: Lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation granting ballot access to any presidential candidate who qualifies in at least 20 states and territories, a move likely to give Robert F. Kennedy Jr. access to the state’s ballot. The bill also details “probable cause” for challenging a voter’s eligibility, which could lead to more voters being removed from the rolls. (Associated Press)

KENTUCKY: The legislature gave final approval to a bill stripping the governor of any role in filling an open U.S. Senate seat. The legislation requires a special election to fill a vacancy. Lawmakers voted in 2021 to require the governor to fill a vacancy with one of three names submitted by the party with which a former senator affiliated. (Associated Press)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) is 82, and has gone through some health scares lately.

MARIJUANA: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed legislation that would have allowed the sale of recreational marijuana. Recreational pot is legal in Virginia, but the state never passed retail sales rules. (Associated Press) The Kansas Senate tabled medical marijuana legislation until next year. (Kansas Reflector)

By The Numbers

46%: The share of water from the Colorado River used to grow alfalfa and other cattle-feed crops, about two-thirds of the river water used for agricultural purposes. Agricultural use accounts for three times more river water than city use. (Los Angeles Times)

More than 700: The number of gray whales that have washed ashore in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. West Coast since 2018. Scientists blame a drop in food available in the Arctic and sub-Arctic for the die-off. (Oregonian)

$240,000: The amount Pennsylvania’s Office of State Inspector General is spending on a new billboard campaign to raise awareness of its mission. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Off The Wall

Fairbanks International Airport has a new employee: A robotic dog the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is testing to harass wildlife that might stray onto airport grounds. The robot, named Aurora, is designed to imitate predator-like movements to scare off birds. (Anchorage Daily News)

Punxsutawney Phyllis, the “wife” of the famous groundhog, has given birth to two healthy pups, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club said this week. The club now plans to move the new family to a larger home. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“You have to work extra hard when you have two jobs.”

Utah Rep. Tyler Clancy (R), who works as a police officer in Provo when the legislature isn’t in session. (Utah News Dispatch)