Pluribus AM: Gun control measures in blue states; IN abortion ban on hold, again; and inflation hits the Iditarod

Good morning, it’s Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. In today’s edition, gun control legislation ahead in Md., Ill.; Ind. abortion ban on hold; and inflation impacts the Iditarod:

Top Stories

MINIMUM WAGE: The minimum wage will increase in 27 states at the beginning of the year, either by statute or because of state laws indexing the wage to inflation. Twenty states, mostly those under Republican control, still use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. (Pluribus News)

MARYLAND: Lawmakers will take up bills banning guns from “sensitive locations” like schools, parks, hospitals and places of worship. Democrats said they would also introduce bills to raise the minimum age to legally possess a rifle or shotgun to 21, and to require gun purchasers to receive training before they qualify for a license. (Maryland Daily Record)

ILLINOIS: Legislators will meet for a special session beginning Jan. 4 to debate a proposed assault weapons ban. By waiting until the special session, such a ban would need only simple majorities to pass the Democratic-controlled House and Senate; bills brought up in the just-concluded veto session require three-fifths to approve. (State Register-Journal)

OREGON: Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s (D) office said late Sunday the state will not have a firearms permitting process in place before a new gun safety law approved by voters last month takes effect. The law, Measure 114, faces four separate lawsuits challenging its constitutionality. The Attorney General’s office said firearm safety courses mandated by the law are not yet available. (Oregonian)

INDIANA: A Marion County judge has issued a preliminary injunction against a near-total abortion ban in a lawsuit that claims the law violates Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a measure signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) in 2015. It’s the second time the abortion ban has been temporarily blocked. (Indianapolis Star)

CALIFORNIA: Lawmakers return to Sacramento today to consider measures proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to place monetary penalties on excessive oil company profits. (Los Angeles Times) Don’t expect quick action; Senate President Toni Atkins (D) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) are signaling that the real work will begin in January.

MAINE: Lawmakers meet for the first time Wednesday to consider a plan to send $450 checks to residents who make less than $75,000 a year in the face of higher winter heating bills this year. The proposal circulating through Augusta would dedicate another $50 million for other heating aid programs and $15 million for emergency housing and shelters. (Bangor Daily News)

VERMONT: Religious schools can now receive public education funding, after the state settled lawsuits following U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Vermont law allowed so-called town tuition dollars — money set aside for kids whose town has no public school — to be spent at religious schools. (Burlington Free Press)

In Politics

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES: The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee on Friday voted to give South Carolina the right to host the first presidential primary on Feb. 3, 2024, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire three days later, Georgia on Feb. 20 and Michigan on Feb. 27. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Crain’s Detroit Business) Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats still plan to put up a fight. (Des Moines Register)

GEORGIA: The State Election Board is watching a second investigation into Cobb County’s handling of absentee ballots ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Senate runoff. A lawsuit filed last week alleged the county board failed to send out 3,400 absentee ballots before the runoff. A judge ordered those ballots be counted as long as they are postmarked by tomorrow. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

ARIZONA: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’s (D) office has accused Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby (R) and Peggy Judd (R) of violating state law for delaying the canvass of general election results. Hobbs’s office asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) to investigate whether the pair had committed criminal or civic offenses. (Arizona Republic)

TEXAS: House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) won a second term over conservative challenger Tony Tinderholt (R) on Saturday, securing a second term with the gavel. Just six Republicans backed Tinderholt. Conservatives wanted Phelan to end a long tradition of allowing minority Democrats to chair some committees. (Texas Tribune)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Secretary of State Steve Barnett (R) has resigned from office to pursue a job in the private sector, effective today. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) appointed Secretary of State-elect Monae Johnson (R) in Barnett’s place. Johnson won election in November with 64% of the vote. (Dakota War College)

MINNESOTA: Former state Republican Party chair Jennifer Carnahan has sued the party, alleging improper disparagement in her termination in 2021. The state party filed a countersuit accusing Carnahan of damaging its reputation. (MPR)

By The Numbers

42%: The share of California legislative seats held by women, up from just 22% five years ago. The 39 Latinos who hold legislative seats marks an all-time high. (Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee)

$5.177: The average price of a gallon of gasoline in Hawaii, the only state where gas prices haven’t fallen significantly in recent weeks. Gas in Hawaii is typically $1 per gallon more expensive than on the mainland, though right now it’s hovering about $1.70 over mainland prices. (Civil Beat)

34: The number of mushers who will run the 2023 Iditarod, the smallest field in the last half-century. Several recent champions decided not to enter this year, but some mushers said inflation had made the race just too expensive. (Anchorage Daily News)

Off The Wall

Conservative Georgia radio host Brian Pritchard, who will seek a seat in the state House in an upcoming special election, rails often against election fraud. The Georgia Attorney General’s office says he knows whereof he speaks — they accused Pritchard of voting illegally nine times while serving a felony forgery and theft sentence. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

New York City employs tens of thousands of people, including an official Director of Rat Mitigation, an NYPD bee-keeper, an official clockmaster and a puppeteer, who can make up to $47,909 performing in Central Park’s Swedish College Marionette Theater. (City & State)

Quote of the Day

“My husband told me not to say it, but I’m a squid girl living in a squid world.”

Rhode Island Rep.-elect Megan Cotter (D), who works in the squid industry, one of 18 new lawmakers who will take office in the nation’s calamari capital. (Providence Journal)

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Sometimes they were all too accurate in what they put down because of what I did say.”

Ex-Virginia House Speaker Vance Wilkins (R), asked whether any reporter had ever misquoted him. (Lynchburg News & Advance)