Good morning, this time it really is Tuesday, April 25, 2023. We goofed in yesterday’s newsletter. In today’s edition, Ind., Kan. approve ESG bills; N.D. Gov signs strict abortion ban; DeSantis vs. Disney, again:
ESG: The Indiana House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill banning state pension fund leaders from investing with firms that consider environmental, social and governance principles. Business groups dropped their opposition to the bill after Republican sponsors dropped a provision to publish lists of companies that had made ESG investment commitments. (Associated Press)
MORE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has allowed a bill barring the state from doing business with ESG firms to become law without her signature. (Associated Press)
ABORTION: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has signed legislation banning abortion throughout pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest or medical emergency like an ectopic pregnancy. North Dakota’s last abortion clinic shut down last summer. (Fargo Forum, Associated Press)
MARIJUANA: The Minnesota House will vote today on a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The state Senate has set a Friday vote on the same bill. (MPR News, Minneapolis Star Tribune) Colorado will become one of the first states in the nation to offer loans to cannabis companies. (Denver Post)
ENVIRONMENT: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a petition from fossil fuel companies to move a case from Rhode Island state court to federal court. The decision allows Rhode Island to continue a 2018 lawsuit seeking to force 21 fossil fuel companies to take responsibility for their role in climate change. (Providence Journal) The ruling also allows a lawsuit from Boulder, Colo., to continue. (Colorado Public Radio)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Indiana House approved a bill that would require schools to notify parents if their children request a name or pronoun change, sending the bill to Gov. Eric Holcomb (R). (Associated Press) Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has authorized Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne (R) to hire private attorneys to defend against a lawsuit challenging a 2022 law barring transgender people from girl’s competitive school sports. (Arizona Republic)
HEALTH CARE: Indiana lawmakers have approved a bill banning hospital systems from requiring primary care physicians to sign noncompete agreements. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Indiana House and Senate on Monday unanimously approved legislation criminalizing non-consensual tracking. Planting a tracking device without consent would become a Class A misdemeanor, or a Level 6 felony in certain circumstances. (Indiana Capital Chronicle) A Michigan Senate committee has unanimously approved bills increasing penalties for doctors who commit sexual assault, seven years after Dr. Larry Nassar was arrested. (CBS News)
FLORIDA: An amendment to a Senate transportation bill will allow the Florida Department of Transportation to inspect Disney World’s monorail system, the latest shot from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) allies. The bill specifically targets transportation systems that are located in two contiguous counties — Disney World spans parts of Orange and Osceola counties. (Florida Politics)
MARYLAND: Gov. Wes Moore (D) has signed into law a bill creating a paid public service program for recent high school graduates. The program, a key pillar of Moore’s campaign for office, will pay participants $15 an hour and a $6,000 stipend if they complete a nine-month term. The program will start with 200 participants later this year and grow to 2,000 by its fourth year. (Baltimore Sun)
In Politics & Business
CALIFORNIA: Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) says she will run to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in 2026. Kounalakis, who served as ambassador to Hungary during the Obama administration, is the first Democrat in the race, though certainly not the last. She would be California’s first woman governor. (Los Angeles Times)
OHIO: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) says he would sign a bill allowing an August special election to decide whether to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to pass from a simple majority to 60%. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Former Govs. Bob Taft (R), John Kasich (R), Dick Celeste (D) and Ted Strickland (D) say they oppose raising the threshold. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Remember, this is all about making it harder for an amendment codifying abortion rights to pass on November’s ballot.
MONTANA: Seven people were arrested for protesting in the Montana House gallery over the majority’s ruling barring state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D) from speaking on the House floor. Republicans have demanded an apology from Zephyr, the first transgender woman to serve in the Montana legislature, who said they would have “blood on [their] hands” if they passed a bill banning gender-affirming care. (Daily Montanan, Missourian)
MORE: Efforts to revive a bill creating a top-two primary in next year’s U.S. Senate contest failed Monday, likely bringing an end to hopes of forcing Sen. Jon Tester (D) into a one-on-one matchup with a Republican nominee. (Montana Free Press)
NORTH DAKOTA: State Democrats chose Adam Goldwyn as their new party chairman, and state Rep. Lisa Finley-DeVille (D) as vice chair. (Fargo Forum) The party hasn’t won a statewide race since Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) won her seat in 2012.
PEOPLE: Former Maryland House Speaker Casper Taylor (D) has died at age 88. Taylor was the first speaker from Western Maryland in more than a century when he won the gavel. (Maryland Matters)
By The Numbers
One in four: The share of youths who spent time at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago who were shot and killed in the years after their release, according to a new study from Northwestern University. Rates of gunshot injury and death were more than 20 times higher than for the general population. (Chicago Sun-Times)
20%: The share of open jobs at Oregon’s state health authority. About 13% of Department of Transportation positions are vacant. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Seemingly every conversation we have with state lawmakers, about almost any issue, comes back to an underlying workforce crisis.
1,439: The number of bills Arkansas lawmakers introduced during this year’s session. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed 889 bills into law. Both are the lowest totals since 1971, according to legislative records. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
Sanders had a remarkable first session as governor, signing into law consequential bills on education, criminal justice and tax cuts, as we wrote earlier this month.
Off The Wall
After Iowa lawmakers approved a measure allowing students to use education savings accounts to pay for private and parochial schools, some Catholic schools are raising their tuitions accordingly. Schools in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque are increasing tuitions by 30%-40%. The schools say they will be able to raise teacher pay and improve programming. (KCRG)
The Saxophone House, a 4,000-square foot home with two protruding towers in the shape of soprano saxophones, is on the market in Berkeley, Calif. It can be yours for the low, low price of $1.997 million — don’t miss the crazy photos in the listing. (Sacramento Bee)
Quote of the Day
“I’m competitive and passionate about legislation and my district and I let my competitive juices get the best of me.”
— Louisiana state Sen. Stewart Cathey (R), who nearly came to blows with fellow Sen. Regina Barrow (D) over a bill redistributing tax money from East Baton Rouge Parish, Barrow’s district, to areas across the state. The senators later made up. (Lafayette Daily Advertiser)