Pluribus AM: Gun bills advance in 3 states; N.H. Gov wants licensure reform; ex-Ariz. AG suppressed elections report

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. In today’s edition, gun measures advance in Vt., N.C., S.C.; N.H.’s Sununu wants to cut licensure requirements; ex-Ariz. AG suppressed elections report: 

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GUN CONTROL: The Vermont House Health Care Committee has approved a bill that would require firearms be stored in a locked container in homes where children are present and establish a 72-hour waiting period after a firearm purchase. Gov. Phil Scott (R) vetoed a 24-hour waiting period in 2019. (VTDigger) The North Carolina state House voted the nix a requirement that handgun buyers obtain a permit from a county sheriff. (Associated Press) The South Carolina House approved a bill allowing firearm owners to carry handguns without a permit. (Associated Press) 

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Indiana Senate Public Health Committee has approved a ban on gender-affirming transition treatments for those under 18. (WTHR) Georgia’s House Health and Human Services Committee approved a ban on hormone and surgical treatment for transgender minors. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) The North Dakota House approved a bill prohibiting students from using a restroom facility that does not coincide with their biological sex. (Fargo Forum) Kentucky legislators are fast-tracking a bill to bar transition services for transgender minors. (Louisville Courier Journal)

ABORTION: The Nebraska Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced a bill barring abortions after cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks after conception. The measure now goes to the full Senate. (Nebraska Examiner) Missouri Sen. Mike Moon (R) has proposed a constitutional amendment explicitly excluding the right to an abortion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

PENNSYLVANIA: The state House could vote as early as today on legislation to extend the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil suits. The proposal passed a bipartisan committee in a unanimous vote on Tuesday. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

ARKANSAS: The Senate Education Committee has approved Gov. Sarah Huckabee’s (R) LEARNS Act, which would expand access to education savings accounts and raise starting teacher pay. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. (Talk Business & Politics, Arkansas Times) The Senate approved a bill barring minors from accessing books that depict or describe nudity and sexual content in libraries, and criminalizing librarians who knowingly allow access. (Arkansas Times)

FLORIDA: The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a package of housing bills to address the affordable housing crisis and to bar local governments from imposing rent controls, a top priority of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R). (Florida Politics) A Leon County circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration over flights that transported about 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, after the legislature approved a bill making the suit moot. (Orlando Sentinel)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has proposed eliminating licensure requirements for more than 30 professions, including barbering and cosmetology, nursing assistants, medical technicians and radiation therapists. Sununu’s proposal would also make it easier for those with out-of-state licenses to get applications processed in New Hampshire. (WMUR)

SOUTH DAKOTA: The House approved a measure reducing the state sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2%, which backers say amounts to the largest tax cut in state history. It’s expected to save the average resident about $116 per year. (Dakota News Now)

MARIJUANA: The Washington Senate has approved a bill barring employers from discriminating against job applicants over their cannabis use outside of work. (Olympian) 

In Politics & Business

ARIZONA: Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) released an investigative report and two internal memos from last year showing her predecessor Mark Brnovich (R) was aware his investigators had found no evidence of criminality or fraud in the 2020 elections. Brnovich kept the report private and issued his own “interim report” citing “serious vulnerabilities” — that his own investigators refuted. (Arizona Republic, Washington Post)

INDIANA: The state House has approved a bill requiring voters to provide identifying information — either the last four digits of a Social Security number or state driver’s license number — when applying for an absentee ballot. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

ARKANSAS: The state House has approved a bill requiring proposed ballot initiatives to gather qualifying signatures from 50 counties, up from the 15 required under current law. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

OHIO: Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R) has designated a treasurer for a new campaign committee on Wednesday, a necessary step as he moves toward a bid to replace term-limited Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in 2026. (Columbus Dispatch)

VIRGINIA: Voters will head to the polls March 28 to fill a vacancy in the state Senate, created when U.S. Rep.-elect Jennifer McClellan (D) won election to replace the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D). (Associated Press) The Democratic candidate will be the favorite in the Richmond-based district.

SOUTH CAROLINA: State Democratic Party chair Trav Robertson will not seek a new term in office heading into the 2024 cycle. Robertson endorsed former state party executive director Christine Spain, who said Monday she will run. (Charleston Post & Courier)

By The Numbers

$3.9 billion: The amount of money Oregon will have to refund to taxpayers as part of a legally mandated “kicker” that applies to excess revenue. That’s up from a $3.7 billion estimate from November, after the state took in more money than expected. (Oregonian)

$2.7 million: The amount for which Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s (D) historic Baltimore home is for sale. Ex-Gov. Larry Hogan (R) also sold his home once he took office to move into Government House, the state-owned governor’s residence. (WYPR)

3: The number of times Alaska state Rep. David Eastman (R) has been censured by his colleagues in the state House. The most recent reprimand, on Wednesday, came after Eastman asked during a committee hearing whether there could be economic benefits from the deaths of abused children. (Anchorage Daily News)

Off The Wall

Oregon taxpayers have been paying travel costs for state employees who work remotely from states as far-flung as Hawaii, Florida and Maine to attend mandatory meetings. The state Senate Labor and Business Committee this week voted to restrict those long-distance commutes, with exceptions for employees covered by labor agreements and those who have to live out of state to do their jobs. (Oregonian)

Key Texas lawmakers struck a deal to repeal sales taxes on diapers late Tuesday — in a unique way: State Reps. Donna Howard (D) and Jared Patterson (R) used Twitter to join forces to back the bill. (Dallas Morning News) See their Twitter conversation here.

Quote of the Day

“We can no longer rely on the traditional party infrastructure to win in the future.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), in remarks to donors to his own fundraising vehicle at a luncheon in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Kemp raised a record sum for his re-election bid, but he was outraised by Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams.