Pluribus AM: Louisiana requires Ten Commandments in classrooms

Good morning, it’s Thursday, June 20, 2024. In today’s edition, Louisiana to require Ten Commandments in schools; Newsom wants to restrict smartphones in class; Kansas bets big on Chiefs, Royals stadiums:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R) signed legislation Wednesday requiring a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in public classrooms from kindergarten through university. The first-in-the-nation law is being challenged in court on constitutional grounds by the ACLU and other civil liberties groups. (Associated Press, Louisiana Illuminator)

MORE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Tuesday he wants to restrict students’ usage of smartphones during the school day, the day after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms. Newsom’s office didn’t immediately provide details of a plan. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: The Delaware House has approved legislation requiring firearms to be placed in a locked container if left in a vehicle. The bill exempts concealed carry permit holders from storage requirements. (Delaware Public Media)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Delaware House backed a bill requiring pornographic websites to conduct age verification on users. Violations would be subject to a $250 civil penalty and liability for damages resulting in minors’ access to objectionable material. (Delaware Public Media)

PornHub says it will cut off access to Nebraska users on July 15, when a similar age verification law takes effect. (Nebraska Examiner)

TAXES: Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has signed legislation cutting the top income and corporate tax rates by half a percentage point. The cuts are expected to cost the state about $310 million in annual revenue. (Talk Business & Politics)

SPORTS: The Kansas legislature approved a bill allowing the state to issue sales tax and revenue bonds to pay up to 70% of the cost of new stadiums for the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals. Debt for the two billion-dollar-plus stadiums would be repaid over 30 years through tax revenue generated in surrounding developments, sports gambling revenue and lottery revenue. (Kansas City Star)

ENVIRONMENT: Florida will invest $5 million in artificial reefs to help support the ecosystem in Key West. At a press conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said his administration had spent $114 million on coral reef recovery, more than the rest of the nation and the federal government combined. (Florida Politics)

In Politics & Business

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) reported raising $4.2 million since she jumped in the race, which her campaign says is the most raised by any gubernatorial candidate in state history. She has $3.3 million on hand, far more than any of her rivals. (WMUR)

NEW YORK: The state’s top appellate court will allow a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing a woman’s right to have an abortion and prohibiting discrimination related to gender or gender identity to appear on November’s ballot. The unanimous ruling overturned a lower court’s decision to block it from the ballot. (Albany Times-Union)

ILLINOIS: State Republican Party chairman Don Tracy has resigned his post, just weeks before the Republican National Convention in neighboring Wisconsin. Tracy said he was quitting because he had to spend more time dealing with infighting between Republicans than competing with Democrats. (Chicago Tribune)

OREGON: Senate Democrats have tapped Sen. Kathleen Taylor (D) to serve as caucus leader. Taylor succeeds Sen. Kate Lieber (D), who stepped down to take over the top Senate spot on the budget-writing committee. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

By The Numbers

13: The number of states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, that have won approval for Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment proposals. Qualification means those states get access to their share of the $42 billion Congress allocated for broadband expansion. (Pluribus News)

$2,666,850: The amount Maryland lobbyist Lisa Harris Jones billed over the last six months, the highest amount of any lobbyist in the state. Harris Jones is the first woman and the first person of color to top the list of highest-billing lobbyists in state history. (Maryland Matters)

$78.7 billion: The amount of export sales from Illinois in 2023, a state record. Illinois is the nation’s fifth-largest exporter. (WAND)

Off The Wall

Tourism spending jumped 23.4% in Maine in April, compared to the same month a year ago, as visitors flooded the state to get a good view of the solar eclipse. Hotel occupancy was up 47%, and visitor spending at bars and nightlife establishments jumped 79%. (Maine Public Radio)

How much do you like your state license plate? AutoBlog writer James Riswick has ranked state license plates from coolest to worst. In the top spots: Colorado’s white-and-green outline of the Rocky Mountains and New Mexico’s aqua, yellow and red rising sun motif. In last place: California’s drab white with red cursive. (AutoBlog)

Quote of the Day

“It happens.”

Kansas Sen. Marci Francisco (D), on a closed-door dinner hosted by the Kansas City Royals at a Lawrence steakhouse, the day before lawmakers voted to approve a bond deal that could help fund a new billion-dollar stadium for the team. “Most of the discussions in the legislature go on behind closed doors,” Francisco told a reporter. (Kansas Reflector)