Pluribus AM: GOP AGs sue over gun rule; S.C. Senate advances 6-week abortion ban; Govs make Super Bowl bets

Good morning, it’s Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. Are you attending NGA this weekend in DC? Stop us in the halls, we’ll be there. In today’s edition, Republican AGs sue over pistol brace rule; S.C. passes 6-week abortion ban; and this year in gubernatorial Super Bowl bets:

Top Stories

GUN CONTROL: Republican attorneys general in 25 states are backing a lawsuit filed in federal court in North Dakota challenging an ATF rule that classifies guns with pistol braces as short-barrel rifles, subject to extra registration and longer waiting periods. (Reuters) The New Mexico House has approved a measure requiring safe gun storage. (Santa Fe New Mexican) Oregon’s Supreme Court has refused to allow a voter-approved gun control law, Measure 114, to take effect. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

CHINA: South Dakota lawmakers are considering investigations into partnerships between landowners and foreign entities. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) backs the bill (Associated Press) Missouri Senate President Caleb Rowden (R) said the chamber would form a new committee to consider legislation relating to foreign ownership of U.S. farmland, among other matters related to China. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) A bipartisan pair of California assemblymembers have introduced legislation prohibiting foreign governments from owning land within 50 miles of military bases. (Sacramento Bee)

ENERGY: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) said his state has stocked $4 million into a legal fund aimed at taking Minnesota to court over its new law requiring 100% carbon-free energy production by 2040. Burgum and North Dakota’s lawyers will argue the Minnesota law seeks to regulate producers in North Dakota, a violation of the Commerce Clause. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: The South Carolina Senate approved a ban on abortion after cardiac activity is detected, with exceptions for rape, incest, health of the mother and fatal fetal anomalies. (Associated Press) The West Virginia House passed a bill allowing taxpayer funding for anti-abortion pregnancy crisis centers. (Associated Press) The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill clarifying exceptions for a statewide ban on abortion, to include rape, incest and medical emergencies. (Tulsa World)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Utah’s state House has approved a social media regulation bill that would make it easier for private individuals to sue companies for knowingly causing harm. (KSL) Connecticut’s General Law Committee will consider legislation requiring social media platforms to receive parental consent before allowing those under 16 to sign up. A similar bill passed a different committee last year. (CT Mirror)

SCHOOL LUNCHES: Connecticut’s General Assembly unanimously approved a bill to extend free school meals to students, at a cost of $60 million. (New Haven Register) The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill guaranteeing free daily breakfast and lunch. (MPR News)

MICHIGAN: The state House of Representatives approved a tax package ending taxes on retirement income, dramatically increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and sending $180 rebate checks to state taxpayers. The Senate is likely to approve the measure next week. (MLive)

MINNESOTA: The Senate Environment, Climate and Legacy Committee on Thursday became the fifth Senate panel to approve legalized recreational marijuana. Seven state House committees have approved the bill, with several more still to come. (Marijuana Moment)

ARKANSAS: The state Senate unanimously approved legislation to boost federal funding for rural hospitals, through a Rural Emergency Hospital designation. The bill now goes to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) for her expected signature. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

FLORIDA: The state House will vote today on a measure referring election-related crimes to a statewide prosecutor, after the Senate passed the bill this week. (Florida Politics) The House will also consider a bill allowing the state to pay for migrant flights even if those migrants never set foot in Florida. That bill would shift $10 million in funding from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Emergency Management to operate the flights. (Florida Politics)

In Politics & Business

GAMBLING: The Super Bowl is expected to draw $1 billion in legal bets as sports betting spreads across the country, according to the American Gaming Association. Since last year’s game, Kansas, Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland have joined most other states where sports betting of some kind is legal. (Pluribus News)

We once asked a Midwestern governor about sports betting’s revenue potential. He sighed and said, “I’m old enough to remember when the lottery was supposed to solve all our problems.”

NEW YORK: Senate Republicans have sued the Senate and majority Democrats in an effort to force a full vote on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) nominee to head the state judiciary. A Senate committee had rejected Judge Hector LaSalle’s nomination last month; Hochul says the full Senate should vote on the nomination. (State of Politics, Associated Press)

IDAHO: The state House voted Thursday to eliminate the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, a panel with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans tasked with overseeing the nonpartisan Office of Performance Evaluation. The OPE acts as the legislature’s independent watchdog; it would fall under Republican control if the bill wins approval. (Boise Public Radio)

CONVENTIONS: Chicago and Atlanta appear to be the two finalists to host the 2024 Democratic convention. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he would pitch President Biden on Chicago this week; Chicago backers are pointing out that they have more union hotels, because Georgia is a right-to-work state. (Chicago Sun-Times)

By The Numbers

$3.5 billion: The amount of money South Carolina improperly counted in reporting state finances, an accounting error that has prompted calls from the Senate Finance Committee for an investigation. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom has apologies for the mistake, though he says it won’t impact state operations. (Charleston Post & Courier)

19.35%: The share of Alabama residents who stayed home from work at least once last year because of child care issues, the highest share in the nation. Rhode Island workers were least likely to miss work because of child care, at just 7.7%. (

$6.7 billion: The estimated losses Indiana public pensions could suffer over the next decade if the state adopts a proposal to bar investments in firms that use ESG strategies, according to the legislature’s fiscal analysis. Bills to ban ESG investing are still working through the House and Senate. (Indianapolis Star)

Off The Wall

Your annual look at ridiculous Super Bowl bets: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) has wagered soft pretzels, cheesesteaks from Tony Luke’s and mini-donuts against Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) Angus beef and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. Shapiro and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) traded Eagles and Chiefs flags; the loser will have to hang the winner’s flag outside their office next week. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Former NFL star Brett Favre has sued Mississippi Auditor Shad White and two national sports commentators alleging defamation over ongoing investigations into misspent TANF funds. (Magnolia Tribune) 

Good news: There’s a lot more water in California after winter storms! Bad news: That means a lot more disease-carrying ticks this summer. (Los Angeles Times) Make sure to check yourself thoroughly after hikes.

Quote of the Day

“Humans make mistakes. I’m very worried about the accuracy of our elections if we have to rely on a hand tally of votes.”

Chambers County, Texas, Clerk Heather Hawthorne, on provisions of a 2021 election law could force counties to buy entirely new voting machines every election cycle.(Texas Tribune)