Pluribus AM: Massachusetts set for historic pot pardon

Good morning, it’s Thursday, April 4, 2024. In today’s edition, states target HOA powers; Alabama considers state and local immigration enforcement; Massachusetts set for historic marijuana pardons:

Top Stories

HOUSING: Lawmakers in at least ten states are considering measures to rein in the power of homeowner associations, limiting restrictions and punitive power that can lead to foreclosures. Virginia, Indiana and Idaho have passed new restrictions, while bills are pending in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, South Carolina and North Carolina. (Pluribus News)

HOAs initiated more than 2,400 foreclosure cases in Colorado alone between 2018 and 2022.

IMMIGRATION: The Alabama House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held hearings Wednesday on legislation that would allow state and local law enforcement to arrest people based on immigration status. The bill would allow those agencies to enter into agreements with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws and investigate immigration status. (Alabama Reflector)

EDUCATION: The Idaho Senate approved legislation allowing residents to sue schools and libraries over books deemed harmful to minors. Those books would have to be moved to an adults-only section within 60 days, after which residents could sue for damages. (Associated Press)

ECONOMY: The Minnesota legislature is considering up-front sales tax breaks for the construction of large-scale data centers. The bill would give a break to companies that invest at least $250 million in data center construction. (Minnesota Reformer)

Thirty-three states already offer tax incentives to companies that want to build data centers.

PUBLIC SAFETY: The Maine House voted Wednesday to ban unauthorized paramilitary training in the state. The measure prohibits someone from “intentionally or knowingly” teaching about firearms or bombs if the training is meant to create civil disorder. The bill passed by a single vote. (Portland Press Herald)

AGRICULTURE: The Iowa House has approved legislation prohibiting food producers from labeling plant-based meat alternatives or lab-grown meat as “meat.” The bill would allow a state agency to levy civil penalties on plants that mislabel non-meat foods. The Senate must concur with amendments before the bill goes to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R). (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

TAXES: The Iowa Senate has approved a constitutional amendment requiring a flat individual income tax rate. If the House passes the bill, subsequent legislatures would have to give approval in 2025 or 2026 before the proposal goes to voters. (Des Moines Register)

MARIJUANA: The Massachusetts Governor’s Council unanimously approved Gov. Maura Healey’s (D) blanket pardon of those convicted of marijuana possession. Healey’s office estimated the pardon would apply to hundreds of thousands of people, making it the largest gubernatorial pardon in history. (Boston Globe)

In Politics & Business

MISSOURI: Jackson County voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted against a proposed sales tax that would have helped fund a new downtown ballpark for the Kansas City Royals and upgrades to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium. The measure to levy a three-eights of a cent sales tax attracted just 42% of the vote. (ESPN)

Related: Former Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman (R) says he’s making plans to try to lure the Chiefs across state lines. (KSNT)

MORE: The Missouri House General Laws Committee voted to advance a proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine the state’s near-total abortion ban in the constitution. Voters would have to approve the measure this November if it passes the House and Senate. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

TENNESSEE: U.S. Rep. John Rose (R) is considering a run for governor in 2026, when Gov. Bill Lee (R) faces term limits. (Tennessee Journal) Other potential candidates include U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R), Secretary of State Tre Hargett (R), House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs (R), the former WWE wrestler known as Kane.

NEBRASKA: Lawmakers on Wednesday blocked a last-minute effort to change the way the state awards its electoral votes in the face of public pressure from former President Donald Trump. Trump and Gov. Jim Pillen (R) wanted lawmakers to end Nebraska’s system of awarding electoral votes by congressional district. (NBC News)

Democrats won a single Nebraska congressional district — and thus one electoral vote — in 2008 and 2020.

By The Numbers

91: The number of vetoes Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has issued this year, setting a new state record. (WTKR)

Up to $15,000: The amount a Colorado rancher will be eligible to receive in compensation after a wolf killed a calf, the first livestock kill after ten wolves were reintroduced to the state in December. (Colorado Sun)

$1.1 million: The amount Avalon, N.J., spent to import 550,000 cubic yards of sand to keep its beaches open last year. Most of that sand is now gone, the city’s business administrator says, washed away by the ocean. (NJ Advance Media)

109%: The size of Colorado’s snowpack, measured against the 30-year median. That’s less than last year’s snow total, but better than 2022 and 2021. (Denver Post)

Off The Wall

California’s top-two primary election will feature three candidates in one contested U.S. House race, for the first time in history. Assemblymember Evan Low (D) and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian (D) finished the primary with exactly 30,249 votes apiece, tying for second place behind former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D). State law stipulates that a tie for second means both candidates advance to a three-way general election. (San Jose Mercury News)

The above item has been corrected to reflect the accurate number of votes cast for each candidate.

Thieves in the San Fernando Valley made off with as much as $30 million from a money storage facility on Sunday, possibly the largest cash heist in Los Angeles history. They managed not to trip the alarm system, so the company didn’t discover the theft until Monday morning. (Los Angeles Times)

Sounds like the Ocean’s 11 screenwriters have their next plot line.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve got to carry the bill, and it’s bad when I don’t even know if I’m going to vote for it.”

Kansas House Taxation Committee chairman Adam Smith (R), on a deal struck between Republican legislators and Gov. Laura Kelly (D) to cut taxes by up to $1.4 billion over three years. (Associated Press)