Pluribus AM: GOP sweeps Louisiana runoffs

Good morning, it’s Monday, November 20, 2023. In today’s edition, Texas voucher bill gets the axe; Maine commission to investigate Lewiston shootings; GOP sweeps Louisiana runoffs:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: The Texas House voted to strip education savings accounts from a major education funding bill on Friday, the latest defeat for voucher advocates led by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Twenty one rural Republicans joined with Democrats to kill voucher funding. Abbott hasn’t said whether he would call a fifth special session to try again. (Pluribus News)

This logjam isn’t going to break any time soon.

GUN POLITICS: An independent commission investigating the Oct. 25 mass shootings that killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, will meet Monday for the first time. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed seven commissioners, including lawyers, psychiatrists and former Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Dan Wathen to consider what went wrong and how to address it. (Boston Globe)

MORE: Ohio Speaker Jason Stephens (R) will bring legislation to the floor by the end of this year that places new limits on local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal officials on firearms investigations. The bill is meant to stop local law enforcement from enforcing federal firearms laws. (Ohio Capital Journal)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The South Carolina General Assembly is forming a standing committee on cybercrime and artificial intelligence, to facilitate the emergence of new technologies. Other states have similar committees, but South Carolina’s will be the first to have the authority to propose legislation. (Charleston Post & Courier)

TECHNOLOGY: Indiana Sen. Mike Bohacek (R) has introduced legislation requiring adult entertainment websites to verify a user’s age before granting access to graphic material. Websites that fail to use age verification would face Class A misdemeanor charges. Parents or guardians of minors would be allowed to file civil suits against the sites. (Center Square)

Bohacek said he modeled his legislation on similar bills that passed in Arkansas, Montana, Virginia and Texas.

TOBACCO: Ohio Republicans are considering whether to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of a measure barring cities from banning flavored tobacco sales. Speaker Stephens says he wants a vote on the preemption legislation, which came up after Columbus voted to ban the products. (Columbus Dispatch)

TAXES: Colorado’s state House has approved measures redirecting $185 million in tax refunds to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit aimed at low-income taxpayers. It’s their latest attempt at property tax relief, after Proposition HH — backed by Gov. Jared Polis (D) — lost at the ballot box this month. (Colorado Sun)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: Republicans won runoff elections on Saturday to claim control of the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General’s office and the state Treasurer’s office, giving Republicans control of every statewide office. Attorney General-elect Liz Murrill (R) will be the first woman to hold the job. All three Republicans won with more than 65% of the vote. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

CALIFORNIA: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association will oppose two proposed ballot measures that would legalize sports betting. The initiatives would make sports betting legal in California, but only under the purview of tribal casinos. (Sacramento Bee)

MASSACHUSETTS: Auditor Diana DiZoglio (D) is funding a ballot measure campaign that would give her office the authority to audit the state legislature. Legislative leaders have refused to open their books to DiZoglio. (CommonWealth Beacon)

MARYLAND: State Democrats have elected former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as their next party chair. Ulman had the backing of Gov. Wes Moore (D), who showed up to campaign for his pick at Saturday’s meeting in Lanham. (Maryland Matters)

CRIME BLOTTER: Connecticut state Rep. Geoff Luxenberg (D) has been charged with driving under the influence. Luxenberg said he would seek treatment. (CT Insider) Former Massachusetts Sen. Dean Tran (R) has been charged with fraudulently collecting jobless benefits during the pandemic. It’s the third time Tran has been indicted since leaving office in 2021. (Boston Globe)

By The Numbers

2: The number of states that saw their total number of employees grow by more than 3% over the last year. Idaho added 28,900 new jobs between October 2022 and October 2023, up 3.5%, while Nevada added 52,200 jobs — a 3.4% increase. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

34%: The share of University of Delaware students who use artificial intelligence technology for class assignments. Business and engineering students were most likely to use AI for help on their homework, while health and sciences students are least likely to do so. (Delaware Public Media)

Off The Wall

Maine and Massachusetts are the last two states with laws on the books that ban hunting on Sundays — and both states are considering changes. Maine’s Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit challenging the 19th Century ban. South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia recently ended most of their prohibitions on Sunday hunting. (Associated Press)

President Biden will pardon Liberty and Bell, two Minnesota turkeys that spent the weekend in the lap of luxury at the Willard InterContinental Hotel across from the White House. The turkeys got an overview of the tourist attractions in D.C. before taking a bubble bath, the Willard’s general manager said. (Fargo Forum)

Don’t miss the photo of Liberty and Bell hanging out in the back of an SUV — and then spare a thought for the poor guy who had to drive two full-size turkeys all the way from Minnesota.

Quote of the Day

“Freezer capacity.”

Amy Trotter, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, explaining why most hunters don’t shoot the 12 deer they are allowed under state law. (Bridge MI)