Pluribus AM: Grocery tax cuts ahead; Miss. Gov backs Medicaid for new moms; Va. lawmakers in budget stalemate
Good morning, it’s Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. In today’s edition, lawmakers slash grocery taxes; Miss. Gov backs Medicaid coverage for new moms; Va. lawmakers adjourn without getting much done:
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed legislation limiting adult-oriented performances. The bill was initially meant to include drag shows in the definition of adult performances, but amendments reduced its reach. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill to allow transgender people to seal court records if they choose to change their name, modeled on laws in New York and Oregon. (Associated Press)
TAXES: The Kansas Senate passed a bill to remove all state and local sales taxes on food, reversing an earlier vote that would have cut taxes on all but unhealthy food. (Kansas Reflector) Alabama lawmakers will hear a bill to repeal taxes on groceries when they meet in session next month. (Yellowhammer News)
VIRGINIA: Lawmakers on Saturday agreed to a “skinny” budget to allow for continued negotiations between the Democratic-controlled Senate, the Republican-controlled House and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) as the legislative session came to a close. Lawmakers could not agree on big parts of the budget, including Youngkin’s proposed $1 billion in tax cuts. (Virginian-Pilot, Associated Press)
PENNSYLVANIA: The state House approved a measure extending the deadline for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bring civil suits against their alleged abusers. The bill now heads to the state Senate, where Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R) has shown no interest in revisiting an earlier bill that couples the extended deadline with a measure creating voter ID requirements. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)
MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) now says he backs a measure extending Medicaid coverage to women up to a year after they give birth. The state Senate has passed the measure, though House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) hasn’t said whether he will bring it up for a vote this session. (Associated Press)
ALABAMA: Lawmakers will consider a bill to allow parents to use $6,000 a year in state tax dollars to send children to private schools, religious schools or home schooling through education savings accounts. The bill would allow public schools to accept students form outside their districts for a fee. (AL.com)
Education savings accounts are a huge trend in red state legislatures this year.
NEW JERSEY: Legislators plan to act as soon as this week on a major elections overhaul package that would double contribution limits; require outside groups to disclose spending and contributions; standardize pay-to-play laws across the state; and allow the governor to appoint a director of the Election Law Enforcement Commission. (New Jersey Globe) Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will roll out his budget proposal on Tuesday. (NJ Advance Media)
ARIZONA: Eight complaints have been filed with the State Bar of Arizona over former Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s (R) handling of the investigation into the 2020 election. Records released by Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) show Brnovich’s office refuted allegations of fraud even as he continued to claim the evidence existed. (Arizona Republic)
In Politics & Business
WYOMING: The state Senate has approved a measure restricting when people can change their party affiliation in a bid to end crossover voting. The bill prevents party affiliation changes after the first day of a candidate filing period, and for 14 days before a general election. (Casper Star Tribune)
Crossover voting has been a target of some Republican lawmakers since 2018, when then-Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) beat out conservative mega-donor Foster Friess in the Republican primary by eight points. Some Friess fans accused Gordon of winning with Democratic votes.
MISSISSIPPI: The state Democratic Party has barred Bob Hickingbottom and Gregory Walsh from running for governor over paperwork errors. Both Hickingbottom and Walsh are Black. Hickingbottom accused Democratic leaders of excluding the two to give Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), who is white, a clean shot at the nomination. (Mississippi Free Press)
FLORIDA: Former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will lead the state Democratic Party after she beat out former state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D) in a Saturday vote. Fried lost a gubernatorial primary campaign last year. (Orlando Sentinel)
KANSAS: Former Secretary of State candidate Jeanna Repass has won election to head the state Democratic Party, with the support of Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and Rep. Sharice Davids (D). Repass beat out former state Treasurer Lynn Rogers (D) on Saturday. (Kansas Reflector)
SOUTH DAKOTA: State Democrats picked Jennifer Slaight-Hansen as their new chair. The former Aberdeen city council member and aide to ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) takes office May 1. (Dakota News Now)
By The Numbers
$32 billion: The collective loss suffered by Ohio’s five public pension systems in the stock market last year. The systems, which cover retirements for public workers, teachers, police and fire fighters and Highway Patrol officers, lost between 5% and 12% of their value. (Columbus Dispatch)
35: The number of slides in our buddy Bruce Mehlman’s latest deck explaining what’s happening in the world of politics. Check it out here — and pay special attention to slide 15, which focuses on state policy and politics.
3: The number of bills New Hampshire House Democrats managed to pass when they briefly seized control of the chamber late Thursday, after a bunch of Republicans didn’t show up for session. Republicans hold a 201-198 majority, narrow enough that attendance can be a problem. (New Hampshire Bulletin)
36 years: The amount of time since Maine’s governor last got a raise. Gov. Janet Mills (D) makes $70,000 a year, lower than any other governor in America. (Portland Press Herald)
Off The Wall
A driver carrying a liver for transplant got stuck in the midst of a half marathon in Philadelphia over the weekend — but Adam Bodzin, the transplant surgeon performing the procedure, was on the case. Bodzin ran half a mile to and from the van to retrieve the healthy liver. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Get well soon: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will be in a boot for the next two or three weeks to recover from a displaced distal fibular fracture just above his ankle. (Columbus Dispatch)
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) bought his kids a dog — a mixed-breed rescue he named Tucker Balti Moore. (Baltimore Fishbowl)
Gov. Dad Joke, over here.
Quote of the Day
“This isn’t good.”
— What North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) says he thought after a car hit the vehicle in which he was traveling three times. The General Assembly police officer driving the car Moore was in eventually pulled over the culprit, who was charged with driving under the influence. (Raleigh News & Observer)