Good morning, it’s Friday, November 17, 2023. In today’s edition, Maine lawmakers address Lewiston shootings; Texas House taking key vote on school vouchers; why Republicans are trying to get their voters to vote early:
GUN POLITICS: Maine lawmakers have introduced seven new measures aimed at restricting gun access in the wake of the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston that left 18 people dead. Some proposals would create red flag laws, and one would allow people to sue if they are harmed at a business or facility where they are not allowed to carry firearms for their own protection. (Portland Press Herald)
Both Senate President Troy Jackson (D) and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D) have submitted bills to address the shooting, a sign that Maine Democrats — who aren’t the most anti-gun legislators in America — are serious about acting next year.
MORE: The Ohio House is preparing to take up legislation that would bar state and local authorities from helping to enforce federal gun or ammunition laws. House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) said he expects his chamber to pass the bill before the end of the year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
PRIVACY: The Ohio Senate voted unanimously to prohibit technology providers working for state school districts from selling or sharing student data. School districts will have to notify parents by Aug. 1 about the sorts of hardware and software devices their kids will use each year. (Statehouse News Bureau)
EDUCATION: The Texas House appears set to vote on a bill to create a school voucher program, the culmination of years of work and infighting in Austin. The bill includes billions in new funding for public schools to entice rural Republicans and urban Democrats who have blocked earlier versions. It would provide up to $10,500 per year per student to cover private school expenses. (Texas Tribune)
HEALTH CARE: Georgia Republican lawmakers held hearings Thursday on a proposal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Legislators heard a proposal to expand coverage in exchange for rolling back Certificate of Need rules. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Forty states have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. The red-state holdouts are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) is considering asking the legislature to prioritize a legal definition of “sex” in next year’s session. The legislature has several other proposals on gender identity, drag show bans and defining locker rooms and bathrooms on the basis of sex at birth on deck for next year. (Nebraska Examiner)
AID IN DYING: Michigan legislators will consider bills next year to allow terminally ill patients to pursue physician-assisted death, after four Senate Democrats introduced measures just before lawmakers went home for the year. Michigan voters rejected a ballot initiative to legalize aid-in-dying back in 1998, in the midst of the Jack Kevorkian controversy. (Bridge MI)
Aid in dying is currently legal in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
TRANSPORTATION: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the fire-damaged stretch of Interstate 10 in downtown Los Angeles will reopen by Tuesday at the latest. More than 100 columns supporting the freeway were damaged, but Newsom promised five lanes of traffic in each direction would reopen. (Los Angeles Times)
TRUMP: Voters challenging former President Donald Trump’s eligibility on 14th Amendment grounds are asking the Michigan Supreme Court to revive their case, after a Court of Claims judge ruled Tuesday that Trump’s name can appear on the Feb. 27 Republican primary ballot. (Detroit News) A Denver court is expected to rule on Trump’s ballot access there as early as today. (CBS News)
In Politics & Business
REPUBLICANS: National and Virginia Republicans are calling their early and absentee voting program a success, despite losses at the polls last week. Max Docksey, political director at the Republican State Leadership Committee, said a sustained campaign to convince voters to cast ballots early helped Republicans save at least four House of Delegate seats and two Senate seats. (Pluribus News)
Republicans at all levels were watching the early vote campaign closely last week, ahead of elections in 2024 when banking every vote is going to matter a lot.
WASHINGTON: Former U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R) and Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) take 31% each in the all-party primary to replace retiring Gov. Jay Inslee (D), according to a new Public Policy Polling survey for the Northwest Progressive Institute. Former school board member Semi Bird (R) takes 10%, while state Sen. Mark Mullet (D) pulls 5%. In a head-to-head matchup, Reichert leads Ferguson 46%-44%. (Northwest Progressive Institute)
Washington hasn’t elected a Republican governor since 1980 — but if the state is going to pick a Republican, it would be a candidate like Reichert, who long held a swing district outside of Seattle.
IDAHO: Senate President Chuck Winder (R) has stripped Sens. Glenneda Zuiderveld (R) and Brian Lenney (R) of their positions as vice chairs of their respective committees and reprimanded Sen. Scott Herndon (R) after the three wrote editorials attacking Winder and fellow Republicans. Zuiderveld, Lenney and Herndon are all members of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus. (Idaho Capital Sun)
By The Numbers
$89.9 million: The amount, at least, spent on the race for Kentucky’s governorship this year, according to an analysis of campaign filings made so far. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the Republicans who challenged him raised more than $44.6 million, while outside groups spent a combined $45.3 million on the race. (OpenSecrets)
25,987: The number of prescription fills of naloxone in Arkansas in Fiscal Year 2022, up fivefold over the year before. Arkansas legislators passed a bill in 2021 requiring doctors who prescribe high-dose opioids to co-prescribe naloxone. Prescription fills of high-dose opioids dropped 52% between 2017 and 2022, the state reported. (Talk Business & Politics)
Off The Wall
Workers at Harvard Book Store’s warehouse in Needham didn’t think twice about accepting a big shipment of books — until they noticed their latest delivery came in boxes marked “FROZEN FISH” and “HADDOCK.” “I was genuinely afraid that I had just casually accepted 600 pounds of frozen fish,” the warehouse manager said. Turns out, the store’s distributor just had a bunch of extra boxes lying around that they didn’t want to go to waste. (Boston Globe)
Representatives of the 30 Major League Baseball teams voted unanimously Thursday to approve the Oakland Athletics’ request to move to Las Vegas. Construction will begin on a new stadium in Las Vegas by the end of 2024, though the A’s won’t be able to move in for several years after that. (Nevada Independent)
Quote of the Day
“When DJ Willy Wow reached out to ask me to be on his album I knew it was something that I had to do, because our kids need positive influences like this in their lives.”
— Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D), who appeared on one track of a kid’s music album that has been nominated for a Grammy. (Baltimore Sun) No word on whether Moore will accept the Grammy in person.