Pluribus AM: Kan. approves protections for child abuse survivors; 12 states take up DEI bans; N.Y. leaders reach bail reform deal

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, April 18, 2023. In today’s edition, Kan. approves protections for child abuse survivors; 12 states take up DEI bans; N.Y. leaders reach agreement on bail reform:

Top Stories

CHILD ABUSE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed a bill removing the statute of limitations on criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits related to allegations of childhood abuse. The bill passed the legislature in unanimous votes. (Kansas Reflector)

As we wrote last week, this is a big year for the victims of child sexual abuse — they’ve won legislative victories in Maryland, Indiana, Mississippi and South Dakota, and others are on the way.

LABOR: The Indiana House approved a bill eliminating a provision in state law that requires school administrators to discuss curriculum, class size and safety issues with union representatives during contract negotiations. Teachers unions call it a union-busting measure. (Indianapolis Star) Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill to require employers to share names, addresses and phone numbers of employees with labor representatives every 90 days. (Center Square)

RAIL SAFETY: The Michigan Senate is considering four bills to increase rail safety, adding funding to separate rail and roadways and requiring at least two staffers on each train transporting freight. Trains would be limited to 7,500 feet in length. (MLive)

EDUCATION: Republican lawmakers in at least 12 states have filed more than 30 bills targeting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in higher education. Kansas and Texas budget proposals would block spending on DEI programs, and separate bills banning DEI offices have been proposed in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia. (Associated Press)

TORT REFORM: The Iowa Senate has voted to cap pain and suffering damages in lawsuits involving crashes with trucks and commercial vehicles at $5 million. The bill now heads to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) for a signature. (Des Moines Register)

NEW YORK: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and legislative leaders have reached a tentative deal to allow judges greater discretion to set bail in violent felony cases. The compromise, which will allow the long-delayed budget to pass, removes a requirement that judges impose the “least restrictive means” when determining bail. (City & State)

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Monday the legislature will unveil a bill as early as next week to void the development agreement enacted by Disney and the since-disbanded board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. DeSantis threatened to raise the company’s property taxes and to build a prison near the landmark theme parks. (Pluribus News)

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed three bills to provide financial and workforce aid to state hospitals. The bills will invest $103 million in a grant program for rural hospitals, and expand training programs for health care professionals. (Supertalk)

NORTH DAKOTA: The state Senate approved bills banning “vaccine passports” and easing access to federal vaccine data. The ban on vaccine passports prohibits governments and businesses from requiring vaccination documents for access to services. (Fargo Forum)

MINNESOTA: House Democratic leaders unveiled a tax package that would give residents a one-time rebate, expand family tax credits and property tax aid and establish a “millionaire tax” on high-income residents and corporations with International operations. (MPR News)

IOWA: The legislature has given final approval to a measure to allow the sale of raw milk, after years of trying. Americans for Prosperity lobbied for the bill, while the Iowa State Dairy Association and the Iowa Dairy Foods Association lobbied against it. (Des Moines Register) Iowa is one of 19 states that has prohibited the sale of unpasteurized milk.

In Politics & Business

CALIFORNIA: The Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee has approved a bill repealing a 2016 law banning travel to states with anti-LGBTQ laws on the books. Senate President Toni Atkins (D), a supporter of the 2016 law, is the prime sponsor of the repeal bill. (Sacramento Bee)

OHIO: The Ohio Ballot Board has unanimously approved the language of a proposed constitutional amendment increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, allowing supporters to begin collecting signatures. They must secure 413,000 signatures to make the ballot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

TEXAS: The state Senate approved a “use it or lose it” bill that would purge voters who skip two consecutive federal elections. Voters who do not vote in federal or state elections must confirm they still live at the same address to maintain their position on the rolls. (Dallas Morning News)

NORTH DAKOTA: Lawmakers have given final approval to bills increasing scrutiny on signatures submitted by ballot measure proponents. One bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly submit petitions with a fraudulent signature. (Fargo Forum)

WHITE HOUSE: Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) will formally launch his presidential campaign April 26 in Bentonville. (Talk Business & Politics)

By The Numbers

33%: The increase in deaths by suicide between 2001 and 2021. New data from the National Center for Health Statistics show 14.1 deaths per 100,00 residents, the 11th leading cause of death in the United States — and the second-leading cause among those 10-34. (Pluribus News)

Thirteen states have approved money for 988 suicide and crisis hotlines since last year.

200%: The size of the snowpack in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, compared with average in recent years. More snow is expected today. (Oregonian)

$25,000: The amount three nonprofits in Maine are spending on billboards in San Antonio, hoping to lure veterans to fill vacant health care jobs up north. San Antonio is the home of medical training facilities for the Army, Navy and Air Force. (Portland Press Herald)

Off The Wall

Next time you’re at the airport, keep an eye out for a 7-foot stuffed clam. You aren’t seeing things — it’s part of a $4.5 million tourism campaign aimed at air travelers in destinations served by Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport. The “stuffies” will be installed in Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore and Los Angeles, among other places. (Providence Journal)

Quote of the Day

“Active shooter threats are sort of today’s bomb threat.”

Colorado Sen. Jeff Bridges (D), sponsor of a measure that would make falsely reporting a mass shooting a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. More than a dozen schools were targeted with fake reports of mass shooting events in February. (Colorado Sun)