Pluribus AM: Massachusetts aims to cap drug costs

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, November 14, 2023. In today’s edition, Massachusetts to advance drug cost cap; Wisconsin AG pushes for domestic violence gun ban; Louisiana special session on redistricting likely this year:

Top Stories

HEALTH CARE: The Massachusetts Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation requiring insurers to cover the cost of generic drugs for free and limiting co-pays for brand-name drugs to $25. The bill would create a licensure process for pharmacy benefit managers, and create a trust fund to provide financial aid for drugs that treat chronic illness. (MassLive)

GUN POLITICS: Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) introduced legislation that would bar those convicted of disorderly conduct as a result of domestic violence from owning a firearm. Sen. Kelda Roys (D) said one in six domestic violence deaths in the United States take place in Wisconsin. (WKOW)

WORKFORCE: The Massachusetts House Labor and Workforce Development Committee will hear testimony Tuesday on legislation to give tax credits to businesses that join a pilot program testing a four-day work week. Workforce experts say the four-day work week reduces stress and burnout for employees. (CBS News)

MORE: Illinois lawmakers have approved a bill allowing the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to batch-renew licenses to address a backlog of applications in critical industries. The bill also requires the agency to build a new computer software system to handle future applications much faster. Health care practitioners and mental health professionals have faced long wait times to renew their licenses. (Capitol News Illinois)

EVEN MORE: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has ordered an end to remote work for state workers. Those workers still doing their jobs from home will be required to return to the office full-time by Jan. 2. Nebraska has about 2,500 unfilled state jobs. (Nebraska Examiner)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Michigan Democrats have introduced legislation to remove requirements for name changes on official documents. The bills strike age requirements for name changes and remove a section of state law that presumes fraudulent intent if the person seeking a name change has a criminal record. (Michigan Advance)

The legislature is set to adjourn for the year on Tuesday. Expect this package of bills to come back in the new year.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation appropriating $45 million for security grants to Jewish institutions and synagogues. He also signed bills providing hurricane recovery money to agriculture industries. (Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press)

STADIUMS: The Wisconsin Senate is set to approve a measure allocating more than half a billion dollars in public funds to repair the home of the Milwaukee Brewers over the next several decades. The Brewers have threatened to leave Milwaukee if they don’t get the help in repairing the stadium. Gov. Tony Evers (D) has signaled he would sign the bill. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) says he is likely to call a special session to consider new congressional district lines before the year is out. A federal judge has given lawmakers until Jan. 15 to draw a new map that creates a new majority-Black district in the state. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

GEORGIA: Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R) has launched a digital ad campaign attacking Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) after Raffensperger skipped a hearing on upgrades to the state’s electronic voting system. It’s a preview of the likely showdown between the two Republicans in 2026, when Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is term-limited. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

MORE: Kemp has raised $5.2 million for his political action committee, the Georgians First Leadership Committee, which has become a fundraising rival to the state Republican Party. Kemp has used the committee to pay for voter turnout operations that the state GOP can’t afford. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

TEXAS: U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R) will quit Congress to seek his old seat in the Texas Senate, after state Sen. Drew Springer (R) said he would not seek a new term. Fallon called his two years in the state Senate “the best two years I ever spent” in politics. (Texas Tribune)

More proof — as if our audience needed it — that it’s more fun to be a state legislator than it is to be a member of Congress.

PEOPLE: South Dakota state Rep. Jess Olson (R) will resign ahead of next year’s legislative session, citing ongoing health issues. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting) New Hampshire state Rep. Roger Menear III (D) has died. Official announcements did not mention a cause of death. (Boston Globe) Our condolences to the New Hampshire capitol family.

By The Numbers

42%: The share of drug users in rural counties who were in prison or jail within the last six months, according to a study by Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Medicine. The results suggest prison systems could do much more to treat substance abuse. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

2.5 degrees: The increase in the median temperature of the Lower 48 states since 1970, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment. That’s faster than the global average of 1.7 degrees — but slower than Alaska, which warmed by 4.2 degrees over the same period. (Associated Press)

7 of 8: The number of bureaucratic requirements Louisiana has completed toward awarding construction cont tracts that will deliver high-speed internet to the estimated 200,000 locations that don’t have access. That puts Louisiana ahead of every other state in the effort to connect homes to high-speed services. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

Off The Wall

Michigan took in more tax revenue from legal marijuana sales in the most recent fiscal year than it did from taxes on alcohol, according to the legislature’s House Fiscal Agency. Pot taxes contributed $266.2 million to state coffers, while booze sales generated $192.6 million in revenue. Illinois, Colorado, Arizona and Washington have all seen pot tax revenue surpass alcohol revenue. (Marijuana Moment)

South Dakota lawmakers stand to take a pay cut next year, five years after they tied their wages to the state’s median household income. A lawmaker’s salary will drop from $14,800 this year to $13,400 next year, after median household income declined in 2022. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

The city of Bend, Ore., has a new tourist attraction: The Big Obvious Boulder, or Bob for short. It’s a rock in a shopping plaza that has been hit by any number of cars. The first person to high-center their car on the rock, about 20 years ago, says he still recalls the accident: “It was such a stupid but hilarious accident that I haven’t lived it down to this day,” he said. (Oregonian)

Quote of the Day

“When we’re looking at local House candidates and how they might do, we can’t even use his numbers because he’s off the charts.”

New Hampshire House Deputy Speaker Steven Smith (R), defending Gov. Chris Sununu (R) from attacks from former President Donald Trump and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (R). Smith called Sununu “extremely popular.” (WMUR)