Pluribus AM: KY Dems swamp GOP on TV

Good morning, it’s Thursday, August 31, 2023. In today’s edition, Whitmer lays out sweeping clean energy plan; feds worried over Medicaid disenrollment errors; Kentucky Dems swamp GOP in TV air wars:

Top Stories

ENERGY: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) asked legislators to approve a 100% clean energy standard goal by the end of the year. In a sweeping address laying out her priorities for the final months of the year, Whitmer said energy measures she would seek would save $5.5 billion in household energy costs and create 160,000 jobs. (Pluribus News)

HEALTH CARE: Federal officials have found major errors in systems and procedures states are using to verify Medicaid eligibility during the post-Covid “unwinding” that could leave huge numbers of eligible children without coverage. A top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote to states that technical errors might be to blame for some disenrollments. (New York Times)

MORE: Advocates for aid-in-dying laws have sued New Jersey in federal court to overturn a residency requirement written into state law. The suit, on behalf of cancer patients in Delaware and Pennsylvania, says the residency requirement violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. Oregon and Vermont have both suspended residency requirements for access to aid-in-dying treatment. (Pluribus News)

SOCIAL MEDIA: The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a First Amendment challenge to a 2021 Florida law that placed restrictions on social media companies. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to uphold an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that blocked parts of the law over imprecision and ambiguity. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Expect the Supreme Court to weigh in on a host of state-level social media bills in the coming years.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has signed an executive order defining a person’s sex as their gender assigned at birth. The order does not carry the weight of law, but it provides guidance to state agencies tasked with implementing a ban on gender-affirming care for minors the legislature passed earlier this year. (Nebraska Examiner)

CHILD CARE: Wisconsin Republicans introduced legislation to address a shortage of child care slots in the state by raising the ratio of children to staffers and increasing the maximum group size for children in certain age groups. Another bill would allow families to deduct child care costs from state income taxes, and a third would create a new licensing category for “large family child care centers.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

PREEMPTION: A Texas district judge ruled Wednesday that a new law preempting local governments from enacting policies that go beyond state requirements is unconstitutional. The law, which opponents called the “Death Star” bill, will still take effect, but local city attorneys believe the ruling will give them grounds to counter lawsuits challenging local laws. (Texas Tribune)

TAXES: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) says he expects the legislature to address the estate tax, raising the minimum threshold from $4 million to $12 million when they return in October. (Center Square)

In Politics & Business

KENTUCKY: Democrats backing Gov. Andy Beshear (D) are poised to outspend Republicans who support Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) by a more than three-to-one margin on television ads between Aug. 1 and Election Day, according to ad data obtained by Pluribus News. Beshear and Democratic groups have booked $17.3 million in ads through the end of the contest, while Cameron and his GOP allies have booked just $5 million. (Pluribus News)

OHIO: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has scheduled a Sept. 13 meeting of the state’s redistricting commission to redraw state legislative district lines, after a federal court ordered those lines redrawn. The lines as they existed in 2022 gave Republicans huge supermajorities in the state House and Senate. (Associated Press)

IOWA: Attorney General Brenna Bird (R) has appealed a judge’s decision to allow elections officials to offer non-English voting materials to the public. The judge ruled in June that Iowa counties may, at their discretion, provide citizens with non-English ballots, voter registration reforms and absentee ballot applications. The ruling reverses a 2008 injunction that barred providing voter registration forms in languages other than English. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

ENVIRONMENT: Nearly two dozen states have reached an updated $12.5 billion settlement with 3M over its role in contaminating drinking water with PFAS “forever” chemicals. New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) office announced the settlement this week. (State of Politics)

By The Numbers

$5.6 billion: The amount of money Oregon will return to taxpayers, the largest “kicker” tax rebate, three times the previous record high. Filers in the top income tax bracket — those who make more than $466,700 a year — are expected to receive $44,600 payments. (Oregonian)

$1.4 billion: The amount Nevada casinos took in in gaming revenue in July, the highest monthly figure ever. Strip casinos took in $834.9 million that month, another single-month record. (Nevada Independent)

Off The Wall

Hurricane Idalia felled a 100-year old oak tree on the grounds of Florida’s governor’s mansion in Tallahassee on Wednesday. First Lady Casey DeSantis shared a photo of the tree on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. No one was hurt. (CBS News)

If you were so moved by the blockbuster film “Oppenheimer” that you want to visit the site of the Manhattan Project, be warned: The Los Alamos National Laboratory is still a national security lab with strict rules for visitors. In a FAQ released this week, the lab reminded visitors that even photos snapped from the street or in your car are prohibited, and security officials can potentially confiscate your phone to delete those images. (Albuquerque Journal)

Deb Gruver, a reporter at the Marion County Record, has filed a federal lawsuit against Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody for allegedly violating her civil rights when he snatched her personal cell phone out of her hands during a search of the paper’s offices earlier this month. The search ignited an outcry over First Amendment rights issues; Gruver was investigating Cody’s background before the search was conducted. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“At the end of the day, I put my suit on the same way every other person who walks in that statehouse does.”

Mississippi state representative candidate Fabian Nelson (D), who is poised to become the first openly LGBTQ member of the state House after he won a runoff election Tuesday. He faces no opponent in November’s elections. (Associated Press)