Pluribus AM: Maryland sets the pace on privacy

Good morning, it’s Friday, May 10, 2024. In today’s edition, Maryland adopts strict data privacy law; California budget revisions won’t be good news; West Virginia governor primary coming down to the wire:

Top Stories

DATA PRIVACY: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) on Thursday signed both a comprehensive data privacy law and a children’s data privacy law. The children’s data privacy law, modeled on regulations in the United Kingdom, is likely to wind up in court. The comprehensive bill imposes stricter data collection requirements on companies than similar measures from other states. (Pluribus News)

Vermont’s version of data privacy legislation is on the ropes in the final days of session. House and Senate negotiators remain far apart on a final agreement. (VT Digger)

WORKFORCE: Maryland Gov. Moore also signed legislation requiring employers to disclose wage ranges in job postings. The bill would allow applicants to sue employers if they knowingly violate provisions of the bill. (WYPR)

BUDGETS: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) plans to lay out his budget revisions today, and the news isn’t likely to be good. State tax collections are $6 billion below projections, meaning the $38 billion deficit Newsom outlined in January will likely grow. (Associated Press)

We’ll have budget coverage this afternoon, when Newsom makes his announcement.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Newsom said California would partner with five companies to create generative AI tools to help reduce traffic jams, provide tax guidance and provide better access to state services. Newsom pointed out that 35 of the world’s top 50 AI companies are located in California. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: The Delaware House has approved legislation providing funding for a full-time school counselor for every 250 high school students in public schools. The bill would also reimburse school employees who earn mental health certificates. (Delaware Public Media)

IMMIGRATION: The federal Department of Justice has sued to block a new Iowa law that allows state officials arrest and deport immigrants who had previously been denied entry into the country. Several civil rights groups have already filed suit to block the law. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

A similar Texas law has already been blocked by the courts.

ENVIRONMENT: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) says she will sue the fossil fuel industry over damages caused by climate change. Rhode Island became the first state to sue big oil companies in 2018, and other states are pursuing strategies similar to those that won big settlements from tobacco and pharmaceutical companies. (Bridge MI)

GUN POLITICS: The Minnesota Senate has approved legislation hiking penalties for gun straw buyers, and a ban on binary triggers. One Democrat objected to a different bill that would have added safe-storage requirements, effectively killing its chances. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

In Politics & Business

WEST VIRGINIA: The Republican gubernatorial primary election is getting closer: Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) leads former Del. Moore Capito (R) just 28% to 25%, with auto dealer Chris Miller (R) at 19%, according to a new Emerson College poll. Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) brings up the rear at 12%. Morrisey’s lead was 19 points in March; it’s down to three ahead of next week’s primary. (Emerson)

NEW JERSEY: Former state Sen. Ed Durr (R) will announce his candidacy for governor on Monday. Durr leapt onto the political scene in 2021 when he upset then-Senate President Steve Sweeney (D). (New Jersey Globe)

CALIFORNIA: Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) won’t decide whether to run for governor until after November’s elections. Bonta has more cash in his campaign account than announced candidates like Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D), Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (D), former Comptroller Betty Yee (D) and Sen. Toni Atkins (D). (Sacramento Bee)

ARKANSAS: State Rep. Brian Evans (R) will be the next Speaker of the House, legislators decided on Thursday. Evans will succeed retiring Speaker Matthew Shepherd (R), who is stepping down after three terms. (Talk Business & Politics)

By The Numbers

4.2%: The decrease in the number of medical students who applied to residency programs in states with strict abortion bans over the last year. Applications for residencies in states where abortion remains legal fell 0.6%. (Associated Press)

$100,000: The amount one Minnesota bill would set aside to purchase the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz. The slippers, owned by a private collector, have an estimated value of $3.5 million. (MPR News)

Off The Wall

Three macaws managed to escape from Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo — for the second time in a year. Two of the colorful birds were nabbed nearby, while a third “pulled an all-nighter,” according to a zoo official, and made it all the way to Cranston. All three birds are safe. (Providence Journal)

Drivers on Interstate 30 in Arkansas experienced slippery conditions after a truck carrying raw chicken parts lost some of its contents. At least one car overturned after driving through what one headline writer termed the “offal mess.” (Arkansas Times)

California’s Department of Water Resources has released incredible before-and-after photos of reservoirs newly filled to capacity after winter storms. The Los Angeles Times has cool graphics that illustrate the difference.

Quote of the Day

“You play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

South Carolina Rep. Adam Morgan (R), on the death of legislation that would have consolidated the state’s six health care agencies. (Associated Press)