Pluribus AM: Landmark ruling in app store case could set off state lobbying scramble

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, December 12, 2023. In today’s edition, Google loses major legal battle; Washington Gov proposes new climate spending; Ohio opens first EV charging station paid for by infrastructure law:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: A San Francisco jury has ruled unanimously that Google violated California and federal antitrust laws by limiting payment and download options through its Play mobile app store. Google said it plans to appeal. Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, sued to force Google to allow users to download and pay for its products by other means. (Wired, Associated Press)

Why this matters to state legislators: Epic Games has started introducing legislation to force Apple and Google to open their app stores to alternate payment methods. Massive lobbying battles have ensued, as we wrote last year.

ABORTION: The Texas Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Dallas woman seeking to end a non-viable pregnancy did not qualify for an abortion under the state’s exemptions to protect the life of the mother. The woman, Kate Cox, left the state to receive an abortion elsewhere, her lawyers at the Center for Reproductive Rights said. (Texas Tribune)

MORE: Illinois has proposed to end enforcement of a law including so-called crisis pregnancy centers in the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The law would have fined those centers over deceptive and misleading practices. A federal judge blocked the law in August, calling it “very likely unconstitutional.” (Chicago Tribune)

EVEN MORE: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation repealing a measure that required patients to get separate add-on insurance to cover abortion services. The original law, dubbed “rape insurance” by opponents, passed a decade ago. Whitmer, then the Senate minority leader, led the charge against its passage. (MLive, Detroit Free Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The U.S. Supreme Court will not take up a challenge to laws in 22 states that ban so-called conversion therapy. A Washington State therapist challenged his state’s law, arguing that banning conversion therapy violates his First Amendment rights. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he voted to hear the case. (Sacramento Bee)

GUN POLITICS: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) says she will push legislators to consider statewide restrictions on assault-style weapons. Grisham is using a federal bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as a template: Heinrich’s bill would require assault-style weapons to have permanently fixed magazines limited to ten rounds. (Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press)

CLIMATE CHANGE: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) will propose spending $941 million on climate change projects in his supplemental budget next year. The money would go toward community decarbonization projects, electric school buses and upgraded climate systems in schools, and to pay for clean energy workforce development. (Seattle Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ohio has opened the nation’s first electric vehicle charging station funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law two years ago. The station, at a Pilot Travel Center on Interstate 70, is one of 27 planned across the state. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) The Pennsylvania House is advancing a Senate-passed measure to charge electric vehicle owners a $290 annual road use fee. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

HEALTH CARE: The Pennsylvania House has approved legislation to allow seniors to remain eligible for prescription drug assistance programs even if their income exceeds eligibility limits. Up to 20,000 seniors would retain coverage if, as expected, Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) signs the bill. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has named Heather Williams its new president. Williams has served as the group’s interim president for most of the year. (Politico)

KENTUCKY: Gov. Andy Beshear (D) was sworn into his second term in office shortly after midnight. Beshear has a full set of events today in Frankfort to mark his second term. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

MISSOURI: Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) is threatening to sue Media Matters for America, the liberal watchdog group that reported finding sponsored advertisements next to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi content on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. In a letter to Media Matters, Bailey’s office cited “potentially unlawful business practices.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has also threatened to sue the group on behalf of X’s owner, Elon Musk.

MICHIGAN: A state judge has formally dismissed misdemeanor charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder (D) over the Flint water scandal. The move was expected after the state Supreme Court rejected an appeal from state prosecutors last month. The judge ordered police records and Snyder’s booking photo be destroyed. (Associated Press)

WHITE HOUSE: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) plans to endorse former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) at an event Tuesday in Manchester. Sununu has said he doesn’t believe former President Donald Trump can win in 2024. (WMUR)

By The Numbers

$3.48 billion: The surplus New Mexico expects to maintain after paying its yearly expenses, Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Wayne Proust told lawmakers on Monday. Much of that surplus comes from higher oil and gas extraction revenue. The oil and gas industry accounts for about 40% of the state’s annual revenue. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

$460 million: The amount Maryland has saved in health care costs after expanding Medicaid, both before and under the Affordable Care Act. In the last 15 years, Maryland’s uninsured rate has dropped from 13% to 6%. (WYPR)

Off The Wall

South Dakota’s Motor Vehicle Division will no longer be the arbiter of taste and decency when it doles out vanity license plates, under a settlement filed with a U.S. District Court judge. The agreement stems from a lawsuit brought by a Flandreau, S.D., man who runs a marijuana business on the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s reservation. He wanted his license plate to read “REZWEED.” (South Dakota Searchlight)

A panel of Virginia lawmakers voted Monday to approve a deal that would bring the Washington Capitals and Wizards to a new arena in Northern Virginia. The deal, which must still be approved by the full General Assembly, would have the teams move into an arena in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood. The teams, both owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, have asked D.C. to spend $600 million to renovate Capital One Arena, money the city doesn’t have. (Washington Post)

Capital One Arena is in the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood, an area that has suffered substantially during and after the pandemic.

Quote of the Day

“There’s a lot of fiscal cliffs coming.”

Rhode Island House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi (D), warning of future budget downturns. (Boston Globe)