Pluribus AM: ‘King Don versus Ron-zilla’

Good morning, it’s Monday, September 18, 2023. In today’s edition, California takes on Big Oil; governors warn about struggling energy projects; Paxton acquitted on all charges:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: California has sued oil industry giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and the American Petroleum Institute, alleging decades-long deception over the harms of burning fossil fuel. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) asked a San Francisco County Superior Court to order the companies to pay into a climate mitigation and adaptation fund. (Pluribus News)

MORE: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) says he will sign legislation requiring corporations to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, approved last week, will apply to companies that take in more than $1 billion in annual revenue. (Sacramento Bee)

See our in-depth report on the landmark Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act here.

ENERGY: Six governors of Northeastern states wrote to the Biden administration urging it to boost the offshore wind industry as growing costs imperil mega-projects on the Atlantic seaboard. The governors want the Treasury Department to update guidance making clear that offshore projects will be eligible for clean energy tax credits. (Bloomberg)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Massachusetts Senate’s Juvenile and Emerging Adult Justice Committee held its first public hearing last week in an effort to craft legislation reducing recidivism among minors and young adults. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Brendan Crighton (D), is sponsoring a bill to keep offenders as old as 20 in the juvenile justice system rather than being tried as adults. (MassLive)

GUN POLITICS: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed legislation Friday exempting extreme risk protection order applications from state fees, a law she said would remove financial barriers. (State of Politics)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Kansas will no longer recognize transgender residents’ gender identities, reversing birth records back to someone’s assigned sex at birth, Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) said. The legislature this year approved a new law adding legal definitions of gender by reproductive abilities. (Kansas Reflector)

WORKFORCE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says his administration will pay for billboards in Illinois, offering $5,000 signing bonuses for police officers who want to relocate to the Sunshine State. DeSantis said a state recruitment program had paid signing bonuses to more than 2,300 officers since it began. (NBC Chicago) Hawaii is offering up to $50,000 in loan payments for health care workers who stay in the state. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

In Politics & Business

TEXAS: The Texas Senate acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton (D) on all charges of bribery and corruption on Saturday, clearing him to return to the office from which he was suspended earlier this year. Only two Republicans, Sens. Kelly Hancock (R) and Robert Nichols (R), voted to convict Paxton on 13 of the charges. (Texas Tribune) Paxton still faces state securities fraud charges, and the FBI has been investigating his actions since 2020, though no charges have been filed. (Texas Tribune)

NORTH CAROLINA: The state legislature is set to give final approval to a new bill that would shift the authority to appoint members to the state Board of Elections from the governor to the legislature. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is sure to veto the bill, but Republicans have enough votes in the legislature to override that veto. (Associated Press)

IOWA: State Democrats voted Saturday to hold presidential caucuses on Jan. 15, the same day as Republicans. Democratic caucuses will serve only as organizational meetings, while a presidential preference vote will take place by mail at a later date so as not to conflict with national Democratic Party rules. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

INDIANA: Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) is proposing to eliminate the state’s 3.15% income tax if she wins election as governor next year. The proposal is at the heart of Crouch’s latest ad campaign. Indiana’s personal income tax generated 36% of the revenue the state general fund took in last year. (Northwest Indiana Times)

By The Numbers

$37.6 million: The amount supporters and opponents spent on Ohio’s Issue 1, the proposal to make it harder to change the state constitution that failed in August. Opponents of the measure outspent proponents by a narrow margin of $20.1 million to $17.5 million. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

More than 10,000: The number of Alabama third graders at risk of having to repeat a grade if they fail to reach reading benchmarks required to advance to the fourth grade, according to schools superintendent Eric Mackey. (Associated Press)

$673.2 million: The amount Indiana casinos took in bets on baccarat last year, more than the $653 million in bets on blackjack. Baccarat players held onto 81.4% of their wagers last year, compared with the 78.8% blackjack players won. (Northwest Indiana Times)

Indiana must be full of James Bond aficionados.

Off The Wall

Loopholes in state and federal law mean minors in Iowa can purchase high-potency marijuana drinks and gummies, the state Bureau of Cannabis Regulation says. Limiting high-THC products will require the legislature to act, Bureau chief Owen Parker told state officials last week. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Rhode Island officials removed the Independent Man statue from atop the state House on Friday for the first time since 1975 as Hurricane Lee approached the Northeast. A drone scanning the state House dome spotted a gap in the base beneath the 500-lb. statue that could have caused it to fall in high winds. (Boston Globe)

Quote of the Day

“I hate to see King Don versus Ron-zilla burning down Tokyo. That’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Florida Republican state committeeman Vic Baker, on the GOP presidential primary campaign pitting former President Donald Trump against DeSantis. (Orlando Sentinel)