Pluribus AM: Housing packages advance in Ore., Fla.; Mich. repeals right-to-work; Utah’s surprisingly controversial new flag

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, March 22, 2023. In today’s edition, housing packages advance in Ore., Fla.; Mich. repeals right-to-work law; Utah’s surprisingly controversial new flag:

Top Stories

PAID LEAVE: We hosted Maine state Sen. Mattie Daughtry (D), Minnesota Sen. Julia Coleman (R) and New Mexico Sen. Mimi Stewart (D) for a conversation on paid leave proposals coming up in both red states and blue states. Check out the video replay here.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has signed legislation banning transgender people at public schools from using bathrooms that conform to their gender identity. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Associated Press) Georgia’s state Senate has given final approval to a bill barring gender affirming surgeries and treatment for minors. (Georgia Public Broadcasting, Associated Press) 

MORE: Missouri’s state Senate passed bills prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors and banning transgender people from sports that conform to their gender identities. (KCUR, Associated Press) An Indiana House committee has approved a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. (Indiana Capital Chronicle) Nebraska’s legislature is debating a gender-affirming care ban after an Omaha senator filibustered for weeks to block it. (WOWT)

ABORTION: The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state constitution gives a woman the right to terminate a pregnancy that endangers her life. The court did not rule on whether elective abortions are constitutional. It left in place a law passed in 1910 that allows abortion to save the life of the mother. (Tulsa World)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Iowa House approved a measure tripling sentences for selling or providing drugs that result in the death of a user, and increasing penalties for selling fentanyl. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

HOUSING: Oregon lawmakers have given final approval to a $200 million housing and homelessness package in a bipartisan vote. The bill earmarks $20 million for factory-produced modular housing. (Associated Press) Florida’s housing overhaul package heads to the House floor after winning Senate approval last week. The bill bars local rent controls and preempts zoning, density and building height rules. (Orlando Sentinel)

EDUCATION: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) says she will veto legislation creating education savings accounts. The measure is in conference committee after different versions passed the House and Senate. (Fox 4) The Florida House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee has unanimously approved a bill creating a pilot program to study year-round schooling. (Orlando Sentinel)

AUTISM: Rhode Island and Nevada lawmakers are considering bills to add special markers to driver’s licenses of those who are autistic. The Rhode Island bill would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to add a special mark to an autistic person’s license plate. Both markings would be voluntary, according to bill sponsors. (WPRI, KVVU)

MICHIGAN: The House and Senate voted along party lines to end right-to-work legislation and to reinstate prevailing wage laws for state-funded construction projects. (Detroit News) Supporters of right-to-work legislation are considering mounting a ballot proposal to add the rule to the state constitution. (MLive)

FLORIDA: The state Senate is set to take up tort reform legislation today after the measure passed the state House. The bill would eliminate a plaintiff’s ability to win attorney’s fees from insurance companies. (NBC Miami)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed legislation to cut the state sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2%, after weeks of threatening to veto the measure because she favored a grocery tax cut. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

In Politics & Business

OHIO: Senate President Matt Huffman (R) says his caucus is considering whether to place a measure on the August ballot to raise the threshold by which constitutional amendments must pass. The proposal would come before a November vote on a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights, if proponents can gather enough signatures. (Columbus Dispatch)

MICHIGAN: A Genesee County judge has granted approval to a $626 million settlement in the Flint water crisis, the final step in a years-long process after a federal judge gave an okay in 2021. Michigan will pay $600 million to compensate residents, Flint will pay $20 million, and a regional medical center will chip in $5 million. (BridgeMI)

UTAH: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has signed legislation authorizing a new state flag. But supporters of the old flag have launched a referendum campaign to force the question onto the ballot. Those supporters have to collect 134,298 signatures by April 12. (Salt Lake Tribune)

By The Numbers

$40 million: The amount Ohio pension systems lost in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. The Biden administration has said deposits will be made whole, but the Ohio systems were invested in the bank itself. (Daily Montanan)

0: The number of committees in the Massachusetts legislature, out of 33, that met a March 16 deadline to file formal rules governing their operations over the next two years. (MassLive)

56: The number of months New York Assembly Member Amanda Septimo (D) went without filing a campaign finance report. Septimo lost her bid for a seat in the Assembly in 2018, but she won in 2020 and 2022. “No one at the state Board of Elections seemed to care” that she hadn’t filed reports. (City & State)

Off The Wall

The Idaho Senate has given final approval to a bill adding rattlesnakes to the list of predatory animals that can be killed, along with coyotes, skunks, raccoons and jackrabbits. (Idaho Reports)

Want to see how fast we can run? Just show us a rattlesnake.

Two inmates escaped a Newport News, Va., jail annex this week with the help of a toothbrush they used to carve a hole in a cell wall. But they were quickly recaptured after they decided to stop for a bite at a local IHOP. (Washington Post)

Some people will do anything for a Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.

Quote of the Day

“I, for one, won’t probably be out there buying anything because I’ve got to get up early the next morning to pheasant hunt, but what I would say is let this be a business decision.”

North Dakota state Sen. Scott Meyer (R), who introduced a bill to allow liquor stores to open on Thanksgiving. The bill failed on the Senate floor. (Fargo Forum)