Pluribus AM: Iowa passes digital privacy law; Mich. moves gun safety package; Fla. advances tort reform

Top o’ the morning, it’s Friday, March 17, 2023. In today’s edition, Iowa approves digital privacy law; Mich. backs gun safety package; Fla. advances tort reform:

Top Stories

PRIVACY: Iowa’s state House gave unanimous approval to a comprehensive data privacy law. The bill is among the more business-friendly versions of data privacy legislation that have passed this year. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia have all passed data privacy laws. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Iowa’s state House has approved a bill prohibiting people from entering a bathroom that does not conform to their sex at birth. (Des Moines Register) The Idaho House has given final approval to a similar bathroom bill, sending it to Gov. Brad Little (R). (Idaho Reports) The Georgia House approved a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The bill must return to the Senate to deal with an amendment. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MORE: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a bill adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state’s anti-discrimination law. (Detroit News) The New Hampshire Senate voted to require teachers to answer parents when parents inquire about their children’s gender expression at school. (Boston Globe) The Kentucky House and Senate have approved a bill barring gender-affirming care to transgender minors. (Lex18)

GUN POLITICS: The Michigan Senate has approved bills expanding background check requirements, red flag laws and gun storage requirements in homes where children are present. (Detroit News) Oregon lawmakers are pushing a package of bills to punish ghost gun manufacturers, increase the legal age of possession to 21 and allow cities to restrict concealed weapons. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

ABORTION: The North Dakota Supreme Court has allowed a stay on the state’s abortion ban to continue while a lawsuit over its constitutionality proceeds. (MPR News) The Wisconsin Senate will not take up a measure adding exceptions to the state’s 1849 abortion ban. (WisPolitics) Nevada’s legislature is beginning work on a three-year process to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. (Las Vegas Sun) New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has signed a measure barring local governments from restricting abortion access. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

FLORIDA: The state House is likely to vote today on a measure limiting lawsuits against insurance companies and businesses. The bill limits plaintiffs from collecting damages if they are at fault for their own injuries and eliminates a homeowner’s ability to collect attorney fees if they successfully sue insurance companies. (Florida Politics)

MARYLAND: The state Senate gave overwhelming approval to a measure eliminating the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits filed by survivors. The bill now heads back to the House, where it has passed in previous years. Gov. Wes Moore (D) has said he will sign it. (Baltimore Sun)

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has signed legislation extending Medicaid coverage to new mothers for up to a year after they give birth. (Mississippi Free Press)

ARKANSAS: The state House has approved a measure barring entities affiliated with the Chinese government from purchasing farmland. The bill now heads to the Senate for approval. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

ALABAMA: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has signed bills allocating $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan to water and sewer projects, health care costs and broadband internet expansion after lawmakers meeting in special session gave final approval Thursday morning. (

In Politics & Business

NEBRASKA: The legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing over a proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. If passed, the measure would appear on the 2024 ballot for voters to decide. (Omaha World Herald)

UTAH: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) says he’s running for re-election in 2024. (KSL) No huge surprise, but a race to watch — former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) has said he’s considering a bid for governor or a U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Mitt Romney (R). 

OREGON: The legislature’s Joint Semiconductor Committee has approved a bill giving Gov. Tina Kotek (D) authority to compete for money from the federal CHIPS and Science Act, and allocating $190 million to prepare sites for potential new semiconductor facilities. (OPB)

By The Numbers

$20 million: The amount California will spend to transform the notorious San Quentin State Prison from a high-security facility to a “center for innovation focused on education, rehabilitation and breaking cycles of crime.” (CalMatters)

37: The number of South Carolina senators who signed onto legislation calling for the removal of Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom (R), after Eckstrom disclosed a $3.5 billion accounting error. (FitsNews)

Off The Wall

Legislators raising their own pay is a third rail in politics. But Kansas lawmakers have found a handy workaround — the state House has approved a bill creating an independent commission to set wage rates for the legislature, so the lawmakers themselves don’t take the heat. (KCUR)

The Oregon Senate has approved legislation allowing restaurant customers to use their own food containers to bring home leftovers. (KOIN) Be right back, checking to see how much Big Tupperware spent lobbying this year…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Dubliner, the Irish bar where just about every congressional staffer who ever worked on Capitol Hill has enjoyed a tipple, is suing a Boston bar of the same name for trademark infringement. (Universal Hub)

Every owner of a Kelly’s or an Irish Times is looking around nervously right now.

Quote of the Day

“It just didn’t need to be there.”

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R), on his decision to remove a portrait of ex-Speaker Larry Householder (R), convicted earlier this month in a massive bribery scheme. (Columbus Dispatch)

Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek. Kotek is a Democrat.