Good morning, it’s Monday, June 19, 2023. Happy Juneteenth! In today’s edition, unemployment hits record lows; Iowa court deadlocks on abortion ban; who will pay for EV infrastructure?
ECONOMY: Unemployment rates set or matched record lows in 17 states in May, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is lowest in Nebraska, New Hampshire and South Dakota, at just 1.9%. Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate, at 5.4%, followed by the District of Columbia, at 5.1%. (Pluribus News)
ABORTION: The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday deadlocked, 3-3, over a 2018 law that would have barred abortion after six weeks. The tie vote means a lower court’s injunction against the law remains in effect, and abortion will remain legal through 22 weeks. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and legislative leaders vowed to pass new laws limiting abortions. (Pluribus News)
ENERGY: The rapid rise in electric vehicles has utilities and retail groups fighting over who will build the infrastructure necessary to charge all those cars. Some red states have imposed limits on utilities that want to build new charging networks, while blue states have proposed bills to allow utilities to bill ratepayers for charging stations. (Stateline)
There are about 2 million electric vehicles on the road today, a number that is set to grow to 28 million by 2030.
TRANSPORTATION: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) says a section of I-95 blocked by a collapsed bridge will open within two weeks. Shapiro toured the site Saturday with President Biden, who said the federal government would pay for the repairs. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
GUN POLITICS: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed legislation requiring all public schools to have at least one armed security officer on campus. The law will allocate $330 million to build security centers on campus.(KSAT)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Maine House has approved legislation requiring the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming care. (Portland Press Herald) A federal judge on Friday blocked Indiana’s new law banning puberty blockers and hormones for transgender minors. The judge, a Trump appointee, will allow the bill’s prohibition on gender-affirming surgeries to remain in effect. (Associated Press)
PUBLIC HEALTH: New Jersey’s Senate Health Committee has advanced bipartisan legislation to ban the sale and distribution of menthol cigarettes. Massachusetts and California already ban menthol cigarettes, while half a dozen states ban all flavored tobacco products. (NJ Advance Media)
TEXAS: Gov. Abbott has vetoed 76 bills over the last week as he ramps up pressure on the legislature to reach a deal to cut property taxes. The vetoes have enraged Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who is feuding with House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) over how to balance the property tax cuts between businesses and homeowners. (Texas Tribune)
In Politics & Business
ALABAMA: The legislature could return as early as July for a special session to draw new congressional district map lines after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the existing lines violate the Voting Rights Act. Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) has asked the lower court to allow the legislature to draw new lines. (AL.com)
OHIO: The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that Ohio can proceed with an August election to decide a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the threshold for future constitutional amendments. The measure would also increase signature-gathering requirements for supporters of those future amendments. (Columbus Dispatch)
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES: South Carolina Republicans have settled on Feb. 24 for the first-in-the-South presidential primary. (Associated Press) The Democratic National Committee on Friday gave New Hampshire Democrats until September to repeal the state’s first-in-the-nation primary law. National Democrats want New Hampshire to yield its place to South Carolina. (WMUR)
Prediction: New Hampshire will repeal its first-in-the-nation primary law about the same time as the sun goes dark.
MAINE: The state’s two largest power companies have contributed $18 million to political committees opposed to a ballot measure that would create a new state-owned nonprofit public power company. (Portland Press Herald)
This is going to be the most expensive ballot measure campaign in Maine’s history, by a country mile.
PEOPLE: Maryland Sen. Norman Stone (D) died Friday at 87. First elected to the state Senate in 1967, Stone was the longest-serving member of Maryland’s General Assembly. (Maryland Matters) Our condolences to the Maryland legislative family.
By The Numbers
28: The number of states where Democrats or Republicans hold supermajorities large enough to override a governor’s veto. That’s the highest number of supermajorities since at least 1982. (Associated Press)
22%: The share of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 who say they have been diagnosed with depression, the highest level among any age group. Residents of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee are most likely to have been diagnosed with depression, while just 12.7% of Hawaii residents have received a diagnosis, the lowest in the nation. (Pluribus News)
$4.4 billion: The amount spent in Colorado’s 18 resort-anchored mountain towns from November to March, an all-time record. Colorado’s ski industry said the state’s 27 lift-served ski areas notched 14.8 million visits this winter. (Colorado Sun)
75: The number of vetoes Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) has issued, smashing the record previously held by then-Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) during the 2009 session. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Off The Wall
Small cannabis farmers grew more than 300,000 pounds of pot last year in hopes of taking advantage of legislation in New York that legalizes recreational marijuana. The only problem: New York’s legal market has not yet gone into effect, so those farmers have no buyers. New legislation passed last week will allow those farmers to sell the dope to tribal nations. (Albany Times Union)
Old and busted: Plowing snow off roadways. New hotness: Plowing Mormon crickets off highways. A major invasion of the tiny katydids is overrunning parts of northeastern Nevada, where public safety officials have had to warn drivers that the dead bugs can make roads slick. (Sacramento Bee)
Quote of the Day
“They thought we were lying to them because they think there’s a conspiracy theory around every corner.”
— Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee (R), on conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus and the war of words that has broken out among Republicans after last week’s chaotic end of session. (Baton Rouge Advocate)