Pluribus AM: Medicaid expansion’s red state prospects

Good morning, it’s Friday, January 19, 2024. In today’s edition, red states consider Medicaid expansion; Kentucky moves to impose three-strikes law; California Senate president to run for governor:

Top Stories

HEALTH CARE: Republican lawmakers in three of the ten states that have not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are considering new efforts to do so, in part to solve the crisis of hospital closures impacting rural America. Lawmakers in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are open to expansion, though serious hurdles remain. (Pluribus News)

Click the link to read about the odds of Medicaid expansion in all ten states that have yet to act.

MORE: The Florida Senate unanimously approved an $800 million package to increase access to medical care by training more doctors, nurses and medical professionals. The bill includes millions in tuition assistance for students and loans to build clinics. (Orlando Sentinel)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Kentucky’s House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would implement a three-strikes policy for violent felonies. The bill also toughens penalties for those knowingly selling fentanyl that results in a fatal overdose. (Associated Press)

TECHNOLOGY: The Indiana Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to prohibit adult-oriented websites from displaying content unless consumers verify their ages. The legislation requires users to submit detailed personal information as part of the age-verification process. (Northwest Indiana Times)

EDUCATION: The Wisconsin Assembly approved a parental bill of rights measure that gives parents the authority to determine a child’s religion, names and pronouns used at school, and the right to review instructional materials. The measure also gives parents the right to “timely notice” before a controversial subject comes up in class. (Wisconsin Examiner)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Indiana Senate Health and Provider Services Committee has approved legislation creating a therapeutic psilocybin research fund to look into the medical properties of hallucinogenic drugs. The bill would provide financial assistance to state research institutions studying psilocybin’s use in treating mental health and neurological conditions. (Chicago Tribune)

TAXES: The Kansas legislature has given final approval to a measure creating a single flat rate for personal income taxes. The bill now heads to Gov. Laura Kelly (D), who has pledged to veto any flat-tax legislation. It’s not clear whether legislators have the votes to override her veto. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

In Politics & Business

TRUMP: A Washington State judge rejected a challenge to former President Donald Trump’s ballot access. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson ruled Secretary of State Steve Hobbs (D) acted appropriately when he included Trump on the list of candidates in the state’s GOP primary. (Seattle Times)

CALIFORNIA: Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D) is expected to announce her campaign for governor at an event in San Diego today. Atkins joins Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (D) in the race. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is also contemplating a bid. (Sacramento Bee)

TEXAS: Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) will not contest facts of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by four former employees. Paxton said Thursday he would accept any judgement in the case, allowing him to avoid sitting for a deposition. The whistleblowers say they were illegally fired for reporting Paxton’s actions to law enforcement. (Texas Tribune)

LOUISIANA: The state Senate altered Gov. Jeff Landry’s (R) proposal to create closed partisan primaries, limiting the new system to congressional and state Supreme Court races. An original version adopted by the state House would have applied to legislative races and statewide elections, too. (Louisiana Illuminator)

CRIME BLOTTER: North Dakota Rep. Nico Rios (R) has been given a 10-day suspended jail sentence, nearly a year of probation and a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty to drunken driving, an incident in which he insulted police officers with homophobic and anti-migrant comments. (Associated Press) New Hampshire Sen. Keith Murphy (R) was acquitted on charges of assaulting a restaurant employee last year. (Boston Globe)

By The Numbers

8,008: The number of threats against members of Congress the U.S. Capitol Police investigated in 2023, up more than 500 from 2022. Capitol Police officials warned this year may be worse, as tensions mount ahead of the election. (Politico)

$24.7 million: The amount corporations, associations and interest groups spent lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly last year, the highest lobbying spending ever reported in the state. And that was for last year’s short 30-day session. (Kentucky Lantern)

49.8%: The share of jobs in the Georgia Department of Corrections that are vacant, Commissioner Tyrone Oliver told lawmakers on Thursday. That’s 2,985 job vacancies out of 5,991 budgeted positions. Oliver said a media campaign has helped the department hire 670 new officers over the last year. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Off The Wall

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) shot down a report Wednesday that she’s secured a seven-figure advance to write a book. The New York Post claimed Whitmer had signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. Whitmer said she is seriously contemplating a book, but that there’s no deal yet. (Detroit News)

We’re happy to sign a seven-figure deal if any publishers are reading this.

Aliens, welcome to Lexington. The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau is using an infrared laser to beam a welcome message into space. But don’t roll out the red carpet just yet — the message will take 40 years to get to its intended target, the TRAPPIST-1 solar system. (Associated Press)

Republican voters in Nevada are incensed that former President Trump’s name isn’t on their presidential primary ballot. They blame Democrats — even though it was the Trump campaign’s decision, after state Republican Party officials forced candidates to choose between appearing on the primary ballot, which does not allocate delegates, or the party-run caucuses, which does. (Las Vegas Sun)

Quote of the Day

“We are in a brave new world.”

Florida Rep. Alex Rizzo (R), on his legislation requiring campaign advertisements to include a disclaimer if they use artificial intelligence. (Florida Politics)