Pluribus AM: Louisiana’s unlicensed florists

Good morning, it’s Monday, April 22, 2024. In today’s edition, states move to restrict professional license obligations; Tennessee auto workers vote to unionize; New York budget includes pot crackdown:

Top Stories

WORKFORCE: Legislatures across the country are advancing bills to alter or restrict occupational licensing laws, efforts to boost workforces by breaking down barriers. Louisiana’s legislature is moving a bill to end licensure requirements for florists. Illinois will recognize real estate licenses granted in other states. Maine has joined a multi-state social worker compact. (Pluribus News)

LABOR: Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga voted overwhelmingly to join the United Auto Workers, one of the first big auto plants in a Southern state to unionize. The UAW’s next big test comes in May, when workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant near Tuscaloosa, Ala., decide whether to unionize. (Tennessean)

ABORTION: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday he would introduce legislation expediting licenses for abortion providers from Arizona to allow them to practice in his state. Newsom said his office had worked with Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) to develop the bill after the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling reinstating a Civil War-era abortion ban. (Washington Post)

MARIJUANA: New York lawmakers have approved a state budget that includes provisions cracking down on illegal cannabis shops and their landlords. The state Office of Cannabis Management will have the authority to padlock illegal businesses, and landlords who knowingly rent to such shops would face a $50,000 fine. (State of Politics)

HOUSING: New York’s budget also includes a tax break for developers who offer a portion of apartments in new buildings below market rates. The housing provision includes measures to protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases and evictions. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has signed legislation allowing school employees to obtain a professional permit to carry guns on school grounds. The law gives districts and armed employees qualified immunity for the use of reasonable force. (Des Moines Register)

DEI: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has allowed a bill banning some diversity, equality and inclusion practices in higher education to become law without her signature. The law bars universities from using DEI in considerations relating to admissions, education aid and employment decisions. (KSNT)

HOMELESSNESS: The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case that will test whether governments can ban people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. The case challenges a law in Grants Pass, Ore., which fines people $295 for sleeping outside in a bid to manage homeless encampments. (Associated Press)

We wrote about the case, and legislation moving in other states to ban public sleeping, here.

In Politics & Business

LITIGATION: The Republican National Committee has filed lawsuits in 23 states related to the 2024 elections. Suits include challenges to voter roll maintenance in Michigan and Nevada, and challenges to absentee ballot procedures in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Arizona. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON: State Republicans voted Saturday to endorse former Richland School Board member Semi Bird (R) for governor, after former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R) withdrew his name from consideration. Reichert, who represented a swing district in Congress, is the favorite of national Republicans. (Seattle Times)

MISSOURI: Supporters of sports betting say they have gathered about 300,000 signatures to qualify a measure for the November election. They need 171,000 valid signatures to guarantee a spot on the ballot. The initiative has been funded in part by pro sports teams in St. Louis and Kansas City. (KCUR)

IDAHO: Abortion rights backers are fundraising ahead of a push to qualify a ballot initiative guaranteeing the right to an abortion for the 2026 elections. About a quarter of Idaho obstetricians have stopped practicing after a near-total abortion ban took effect in 2022. (Associated Press)

PEOPLE: Former Arkansas Gov. David Pryor (D) has died at 89. Pryor later served in the Senate, where he spearheaded a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights in 1988. (Associated Press, Talk Business & Politics)

By The Numbers

$1.9 billion: The amount of economic activity the ski industry generated in Utah in the 2022-2023 season, according to a University of Utah study. About half the 7.1 million ski and snowboard visitors came from out of state, the report found. (KSL)

$1.7 million: The amount Georgia’s Republican Party has spent on legal fees defending those accused in the Fulton County election interference case. That’s about four times what the party spent on its convention last year. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Off The Wall

Actor Kevin Bacon returned to Payson High School in Utah on Saturday, more than 40 years after he filmed the cult classic “Footloose” there. Bacon danced on stage before the school’s final prom; the building is set to be torn down next spring. (Associated Press)

Work begins today on a new high-speed passenger rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Officials project the $12 billion project will open for business by 2028, running along the median of Interstate 15. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“You have no rights at all, because no private right of action exists.”

Dick Sinapi, a Rhode Island attorney who has drafted legislation allowing state residents to sue if their constitutional rights have been violated. No such right of action exists in state law today. (Providence Journal)