Pluribus AM: Md. backs gun bill, pot market on final day; Iowa moves social media age restrictions; Calif., Mass. stockpile abortion drugs

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Good morning, it’s Tuesday, April 11, 2023. In today’s edition, expelled Tenn. House Dem reinstated; Md. backs gun bill, pot market on final day; Iowa advances social media age restrictions:

Top Stories

TENNESSEE: The Nashville Metro Council voted unanimously to reinstate Rep. Justin Jones (D) to the House seat from which he was expelled last week. The Shelby County Commission is likely to reinstate Rep. Justin Pearson (D) on Wednesday. (Pluribus News) Three state judges have temporarily blocked a bill that would have cut the number of Nashville council seats in half, from 40 to 20. (Associated Press)

ABORTION: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said his state will purchase two million doses of misoprostol after a federal judge ruled against the FDA’s authorization of another abortion-inducing medicine, mifepristone. (Los Angeles Times) The University of Massachusetts system will stockpile 15,000 doses of mifepristone, Gov. Maura Healey (D) said Monday. (Boston Globe) Nebraska lawmakers will take up legislation banning abortion after cardiac activity is detected, about six weeks after conception. (Nebraska Examiner)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Indiana Senate has approved a measure requiring schools to notify parents if their children request a name or pronoun change. The measure would also bar schools from teaching human sexuality through third grade. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Maryland lawmakers have given final approval to a bill preventing someone from carrying concealed weapons at school playgrounds, hospitals and polling places. They also approved a bill requiring safe storage of firearms in places where minors are present. (Associated Press) A spokesman for Gov. Wes Moore (D) tells Pluribus News he will sign the bills.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Alabama House is considering a bill to increase prison sentences for crimes caused by gang activity. ( Nevada’s legislature heard testimony Monday on five bills backed by Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) that would increase penalties for fentanyl possession and distribution. (Nevada Independent) The Texas House has given initial approval to a bill decriminalizing fentanyl test strips. (Texas Tribune)

SOCIAL MEDIA: The Iowa House Ways and Means Committee has advanced a bill requiring minors to get parental permission to create social media accounts. Lawmakers dropped a provision that would have banned minors from creating social media accounts altogether. (Iowa Capital Dispatch, Cedar Rapids Gazette) Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) said she would sign a bill requiring parental consent and forcing social media companies to verify the age of their users. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

MARIJUANA: The Minnesota House and Senate could take up legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use as early as this month. The House version has cleared 14 separate committees. (MPR News) Maryland’s General Assembly gave final approval to a framework creating and regulating the recreational cannabis industry after voters approved legal pot last year. (Baltimore Sun)

FLORIDA: The House Health and Human Services Committee has approved legislation banning businesses and government entities from denying service to people who refuse to wear masks or take Covid-19 tests. (Orlando Sentinel)

NEW YORK: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has nominated Judge Rowan Wilson to serve as the state’s chief judge, weeks after the state Senate rejected her first nominee. Wilson, who would be the first Black chief judge in state history, won confirmation to his current Court of Appeals seat in 2017. (State of Politics, Albany Times Union)

In Politics & Business

ARIZONA: Printer problems in Maricopa County during last year’s midterm elections were caused by the length and thickness of the paper on which ballots were printed, according to an investigation by former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor. McGregor praised the county elections department and recorder’s office for their transparency. (Arizona Republic)

LOUISIANA: State. Rep. Jeremy LaCombe said Monday he will become a Republican after winning his second term as a Democrat, the second party switch in less than a month. LaCombe represents a district near Baton Rouge. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

OREGON: The House is advancing legislation to adopt ranked-choice voting at the state level, a bill backed by Speaker Dan Rayfield (D) and Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D). Multnomah County and Portland both use ranked choice voting to pick their elected officials. (Willamette Week)

KANSAS: The legislature has approved a bill requiring mail-in ballots to arrive by Election Day, eliminating a three-day grace period by which they can be submitted now. The bill did not win enough votes to overcome a veto if Gov. Laura Kelly (D) objects. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

NEVADA: Labor unions are backing a measure to overturn a constitutional ban on lotteries to pay for youth mental health services. The gaming industry is squarely against the proposal. (Nevada Independent)

This has all the makings of an epic lobbying battle to come.

By The Numbers

17.9 million: The number of Americans who worked from home in 2021, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. That’s up from just 5.7 million people who worked at home before the pandemic. Those who made the transition to work from home were more likely to be women, minorities, the well-educated and those at the top end of the income bracket. (Pluribus News)

$3,000: The raise in teacher pay Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) proposed in his State of the State address Monday. Edwards touted the $1.6 billion in extra tax collections the state collected last year. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

6%: The decline in full-time statehouse reporters between 2014 and 2022. Journalism students are filling in some of the gaps: More than 120 universities have programs in which students contribute local news coverage, and 20 cover statehouses. (Nieman Labs)

Off The Wall

The Texas House General Investigating Committee is looking into allegations that state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an intern. The compliant alleges Slaton invited the intern to his Austin condo late last month, where the two had a drink. The intern is under 21. (Texas Tribune)

Kaleb Heng’s grandmother gave him a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday, the first day he was legally allowed to play. The ticket won Heng $1 million — and presumably won his grandmother a lifetime of great presents from her grandson. (UPI)

Quote of the Day

“There’s a lot that gets done in those last eight or ten minutes.”

Maryland Delegate Marc Korman (D), on the frenetic action that took place in the final minutes before the General Assembly adjourned at midnight Monday. (Maryland Matters)