Pluribus AM: Greg Abbott’s $12 million voucher play

Good morning, it’s Thursday, May 30, 2024. In today’s edition, Tennessee approves abortion trafficking ban; Louisiana law requires buffer around cops; Alaska House majority coalition at risk:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) has signed legislation setting criminal penalties for adults who help minors obtain abortions. The law establishes a criminal offense of “abortion trafficking” if an adult transports or harbors a minor seeking an abortion, or obtains abortion-inducing medication without parental consent. (Pluribus News)

A federal judge blocked a similar bill in Idaho in November, though that version sought to block minors from traveling across state lines.

HEALTH CARE: Rhode Island’s Senate unanimously approved legislation that would allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada. Similar bills have been enacted in more than half a dozen states — none of which have imported a single pill. (Pluribus News)

You know who doesn’t like the idea of importing drugs from Canada? Canadians.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R) has signed legislation making it a crime to come within 25 feet of a police officer if the officer orders someone to maintain their distance. Civil rights groups say the law will make it harder to combat police misconduct. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

MORE: The Rhode Island House approved legislation making it a felony to threaten school superintendents, principals and other employees. The House approved a bill earlier this month adding election officials and poll workers to existing law that criminalizes threats against public officials. (Boston Globe)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Louisiana Senate approved legislation prohibiting the use of transgender or nonbinary youths’ chosen names and pronouns in public schools without parental consent. The bill gives teachers the right to refuse to use a student’s chosen name and pronoun if they have a religious objection. (Louisiana Illuminator)

MORE: California’s Senate Education Committee approved legislation banning school districts from implementing blanket parental notification policies that would out LGBTQ youth. (Sacramento Bee)

TAXES: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) will call legislators into special session June 18 to debate new income, sales and property tax cuts. Kelly vetoed Republican-backed tax cuts earlier this month. (Associated Press) Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) intends to call a special session to pursue property tax cuts. (Nebraska Examiner)

ECONOMY: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) is launching the Wisconsin Investment Fund, a $100 million effort to boost startups and entrepreneurs. Half the money comes from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative, and private investors kicked in the other half. About a quarter will be directed to biohealth companies. (Center Square)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: Democratic Attorneys General met last weekend in Austin to consider political responses to red state abortion bans. The attorneys general visited an Austin women’s health center. (Arizona Republic)

FLORIDA: Attorney and Democratic mega-donor John Morgan will appear in radio advertisements backing Florida’s legal marijuana ballot initiative. In one ad, Morgan says he would free or parole anyone jailed for marijuana possession “if I was your governor.” He suggested he might run as a third-party candidate. (Tallahassee Democrat)

UTAH: Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) has filed a lawsuit against a Salt Lake Tribune reporter in a bid to keep his official calendar from being released. In February, a district judge ruled Reyes’s calendars are public records under state law. (Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) and former Gov. Gary Herbert (R) endorsed former state GOP chairman Derek Brown (R) in the race to replace Reyes, who is retiring this year. (Deseret News)

ALASKA: State Rep. Dan Ortiz (I) won’t seek a new term this year, he said Wednesday, just days before Saturday’s filing deadline. (Anchorage Daily News) Context: Ortiz represents a heavily Republican district, but caucuses with the majority coalition that includes Democrats. His departure could lead to a Republican takeover of the state House.

By The Numbers

25: The number of states that have enacted laws paving the way for the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Kentucky and South Dakota approved new laws this year. (Pluribus News)

Just under $12 million: The amount Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s political committees spent on primary and runoff campaigns, in which Abbott backed candidates who support his school voucher proposal. Fifteen incumbent Republicans lost bids for renomination, an unprecedented turnover. (Pluribus News)

2,000: The number of sea lions crowding San Francisco’s Pier 39, a whopping 600 more than the previous record set in the early 1990s. “We have been truly overrun,” harbor master Sheila Chandor said. (New York Times)

Off The Wall

No more emotional support llamas: The Louisiana legislature has approved a bill that would make it a crime to use or sell questionable emotional support animal certifications. The bill would make it illegal for someone to falsely represent an animal as a service dog. (Louisiana Illuminator)

Old and busted: Stonehenge. New hotness: Manhattanhenge. New Yorkers got a glimpse of an occasional celestial treat this week when the sun aligned with Manhattan’s street grid. The twice-annual event happens about three weeks before and after the Summer Solstice, and it leads to some pretty cool photos. (Associated Press)

Don’t blame the kids: A bear stole your Oreos. A neighborhood camera captured evidence of a bear breaking into a home in Monrovia, Calif., and emerging a few minutes later with a package of cookies in its mouth. The bear, already dubbed Oreo, previously stole chocolate cake from another neighbor’s fridge. (UPI)

Quote of the Day

“The fact that they voted on it early in the morning was really a function of everybody wanted to go home.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), after legislators approved the state’s $53 billion spending plan at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. (Center Square)