Pluribus AM: Gun bills advance in Maine, Texas; paid leave coming to Minn.; Texas Rep., Ore. Sec/State resign in disgrace

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, May 9, 2023. In today’s edition, gun bills advance in Maine, Texas; paid family leave coming to Minn.; Texas Rep., Ore. Sec/State resign in disgrace:

Top Stories

GUN POLITICS: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) will call lawmakers back to Nashville on Aug. 21 for a special session on gun safety legislation in the wake of the Covenant School shootings. An extreme risk protection order bill Lee favored did not get introduced in the last session. (Pluribus News) 

MORE: The Maine state House heard testimony on a bill that would ban bump stocks. Fourteen other states have similar laws on the books. (Spectrum) The Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety approved a bill raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. Two Republicans joined Democrats to advance the measure. (Texas Tribune, Dallas Morning News)

WORKFORCE: The Minnesota Senate gave final approval to a bill allowing paid family and medical leave for workers. The bill will let workers collect up to 12 weeks of partial wages when they take leave, beginning in 2025. Minnesota will be the 12th state to adopt a paid family leave plan. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ABORTION: Nebraska Sen. Ben Hansen (R) has introduced a bill banning abortions after 12 weeks, after a six-week abortion ban fell victim to a filibuster. (Omaha World-Herald)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed legislation banning transgender students from bathrooms that align with their gender identity and barring schools from adopting policies requiring staff to address stunts by preferred gender pronouns that do not match their sex at birth. (Fargo Forum) The Louisiana House has passed a bill requiring school employees to use names and pronouns on a student’s birth certificate, unless parents provide written permission to do otherwise. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

DRUGS: Delaware’s Controlled Substance Advisory Committee has voted for an emergency regulation limiting the distribution of Xylazine, the tranquilizer being added to fentanyl and other drugs. Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia already classify Xylazine as a controlled substance. (Delaware Public Media) The New Hampshire Senate is expressing reservations about legalizing marijuana for recreational use, after the House approved a bill in a bipartisan vote. (WMUR)

HOUSING: The Vermont House has given initial approval to a bill legalizing duplexes anywhere single-family homes are allowed and fourplexes in areas served by water and sewer systems. (VTDigger) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has signed legislation overriding local zoning rules in cities where some neighborhoods allow only single-family homes. The law will allow more duplexes and fourplexes. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has signed legislation allowing parents and community members to ask school libraries to ban books they deem “offensive.” The bill would create felony penalties for librarians who keep those books in their catalogues. (Indianapolis Star)

TAXES: The Missouri House gave final approval to a bill eliminating state income taxes on Social Security benefits and providing property tax credits for seniors. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Parson (R), who’s likely to sign it. (St. Louis Public Radio)

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation banning foreign purchases of farmland and land near critical infrastructure; blocking Chinese-owned apps from state devices; and barring Chinese gifts to state universities. (Pluribus News) Disney has expanded a federal lawsuit against DeSantis, citing his comments at a Friday press conference celebrating the end of the legislative session. Disney alleges that DeSantis violated the company’s First Amendment rights. (Orlando Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

TEXAS: State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) resigned Monday after an investigation panel recommended he be expelled over a sexual relationship with a 19-year old legislative intern. Rep. Andrew Murr (R), who leads the investigative committee, said he still plans to call up the expulsion resolution. (Texas Tribune)

LOUISIANA: Former President Donald Trump endorsed Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) in the race for governor. Landry has support from the state Republican Party, though state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R), state Rep. Richard Nelson (R), Treasurer John Schroder (R) and business trade group executive Stephen Waguespack (R) are also running. (Lafayette Daily Advertiser)

OREGON: Former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) formally resigned Monday, handing power to chief deputy Cheryl Myers. Gov. Tina Kotek (D) is likely to take a few weeks to consider candidates to replace Fagan until the next election, in 2024. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

PEOPLE: Florida state Rep. Jennifer Canady (R) has secured enough votes to win the speakership in the 2029 legislative session, putting her in line to become the first woman to run the chamber. (Florida Politics)

By The Numbers

18.4 million: The area, in square feet, of vacant office space in downtown San Francisco, a 31% vacancy rate. In early 2020, just 4% of office space was vacant. (San Francisco Chronicle)

$51 million: The estimated bill for repairs, renovations and replacements in the aging Alabama state House building needed over the next decade, according to a March 2020 report from a state agency. The House is considering construction of a whole new building instead. (

A side note: Huge congrats to the Alabama Media Group,’s owner, where journalists won not one but two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday — including an award for a team that included father-son duo John and Ramsey Archibald. Read about their win here.

Off The Wall

Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have filed legislation to ban declawing cats. Maryland and New York already have similar laws on the books, as do about 40 countries around the world. Veterinarians have lobbied against the bills in some states. (Daily Montanan)

The market for Arkansas-grown “aromatic rice” is on the rise as demand increases for non-alcoholic beer. The rice can be used to expand flavor profiles. The industry estimates non-alcoholic beer sales stood at $16 billion in 2021, projected to grow to $23 billion by 2025. (Talk Business & Politics)

Quote of the Day

“I do spend a lot of my time explaining what I do before somebody can have an engaging conversation about how I can, maybe, be of service to them or help them.”

Indiana state Auditor Tera Klutz (R), whose official title will be changed to state Comptroller after lawmakers included a provision changing the name in the new state budget. The auditor’s office doesn’t do any actual auditing; that’s the domain of the state Board of Accounts. (WFYI)