Pluribus AM: Judge strikes down Florida’s gender-affirming care ban

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, June 12, 2024. In today’s edition, ranked-choice voting faces red state bans; judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care ban; California fast-tracks retail theft bill:

Top Stories

ELECTIONS: Five states — Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma — have banned ranked-choice voting in local municipal elections in the last two months, joining five other red states that have already banned it. Voters in Oregon and Nevada will be asked to adopt statewide ranked-choice voting in November ballot measures, while voters in Missouri will vote on a proposed ban. (Pluribus News)

Conservatives turned against ranked-choice voting after former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) lost her bid for a U.S. House seat in 2022.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A federal district court judge has struck down Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender people, saying the law was unconstitutional. The ruling applies only to pharmaceutical treatments, not surgery. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration promised to appeal. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s law barring the sale of firearms and ammunition on state property is constitutional. The law bans gun shows on state-owned fairgrounds and other properties. Gun rights advocates promised to appeal. (Los Angeles Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The California House fast-tracked legislation requiring online marketplaces like eBay and Nextdoor to begin collecting bank account and tax identification numbers from high-volume sellers. District attorneys and big box retailers who back the bill say it will shut down organized theft rings. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The North Carolina General Assembly has given final approval to legislation increasing penalties for those who wear masks while committing a crime. Legislators stripped out a provision that would have barred masks in public for health reasons. (Associated Press)

CONSUMER PROTECTION: The Michigan House is debating legislation to impose a maximum $5,000 civil fine for individuals or companies that use or create ticket bots to buy tickets for events held in the state. StubHub, the largest ticket resale site, said it backs the bill. (Bridge MI)

MORE: Attorneys general in 43 states have reached a $700 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson over allegations the company’s talc-based baby and body powder products allegedly caused cancer. The company will stop making and selling the product, pending judicial approval of the deal. (Arizona Republic)

REVENGE PORN: Massachusetts House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal to crack down on so-called revenge porn.The House is set to vote today on the compromise. Massachusetts would become the 49th state to ban revenge porn. (Boston Globe)

TAXES: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) is calling lawmakers back to special session to consider income and property tax cuts by half a percentage point each. Lawmakers must also pass a budget for the state Game and Fish Commission before the new fiscal year begins July 1. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

NORTH DAKOTA: U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R) won the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday, beating out Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller (R) by a wide 73%-27% margin. Armstrong starts the general as a strong favorite over state Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D). (Fargo Forum)

MORE: North Dakota voters adopted a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to impose age limits on members of their congressional delegation. Federal lawmakers would be barred from office after their 81st birthday. (Grand Forks Herald)

CALIFORNIA: Supporters of the California Forever initiative who want to build a new green city in Solano County have turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for November’s ballot. The initiative asks voters to allow the urban development of 27 square miles near Travis Air Force Base. (Associated Press)

WISCONSIN: The only Republican challenging Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has ended his campaign. Andrew Cegielski (R) said he only ran because he couldn’t find anyone else willing to challenge Vos. Vos has challenged a second recall effort aiming to oust him from office, alleging fake signatures. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

By The Numbers

1.1%: The increase in the average governor’s proposed budget request for Fiscal Year 2025, compared to Fiscal Year 2024. That small hike is a sign that state budgets are coming back to normal after years of pandemic-era booms. (Pluribus News)

$3,861: The amount the average American spent on food away from home in 2023 — more than half the average person’s household food budget. A decade ago, Americans were spending far less than half their food budgets on restaurant and takeout meals. (Pluribus News)

Off The Wall

Friday is Flag Day — good news for workers in Pennsylvania, the only state in the nation that marks Flag Day as a state holiday. Flag Day marks the 1777 anniversary of the Continental Congress’s adoption of an American flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars representing the original colonies. (Associated Press)

Ten percent of the graduating class at Pollard Middle School in Needham, Mass., are twins. The 23 sets of twins, 46 students, are graduating from the 454-person 8th grade class. (Boston Globe)

Quote of the Day

“If he isn’t up there, I’m done. That’s something we could discuss and talk about.”

Mississippi House Rules Committee chairman Fred Shanks (R), who says he will only bring up a bill to replace the state’s two representatives in Statuary Hall — Jefferson Davis and James George, both Confederate figures — with Tupelo-born Elvis Presley. (Supertalk)