Pluribus AM: MI Dems plan abortion measures; UT gov proposes big teacher raises; and why Yellen is practicing her handwriting

Good morning, it’s Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. In today’s edition, Mich. Dems plan abortion measures; Utah gov proposes big teacher raises; and why Janet Yellen was practicing her handwriting:

Top Stories

FLORIDA: Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer of last resort, want the legislature to allow them to raise rates so that more Florida residents will choose private insurance options. No bills have been filed ahead of next week’s special session, but Citizens president Barry Gilway acknowledged he was asking lawmakers for a “fundamental fix” that would bring the company’s premiums up. (Orlando Sentinel)

MICHIGAN: Incoming legislative Democrats say they will repeal a 1931 law banning abortion that has now been made unenforceable after voters approved Proposal 3 in November. It’s not clear whether Democrats will also attempt to roll back parental consent laws and a 24-hour waiting period before someone obtains an abortion. (BridgeMI)

CALIFORNIA: Assembly Democrats have released budget priorities for next year, an initial step in the months-long negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ahead. Budget Committee chairman Phil Ting (D) proposed shifting billions in spending to later years, low-cost borrowing if revenues continue to outpace expectations and reevaluating spending expectations in the face of rising inflation. (CalMatters)

OHIO: The House Government Oversight Committee heard testimony on a bill that would raise the threshold for approving a constitutional amendment. In testimony to the committee, bill supporter and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) specifically mentioned abortion rights — which proponents intend to place on the ballot in the coming years. (Center Square)

GEORGIA: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has signed an order extending the state gas tax for another month into January, but he said the tax will be reimposed in the new year. Lawmakers first approved suspending the 29.1-cents per gallon tax in March. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

UTAH: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) has proposed spending $200 million to give schoolteachers a $6,000 raise in next year’s budget. Legislative leaders have signaled support, though some want to make the raise contingent on passage of school voucher legislation. (Salt Lake Tribune) Cox’s budget proposal includes $1 billion in income and other tax cuts. (Deseret News)

ILLINOIS: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed legislation that will eliminate $1.8 billion in unemployment benefit debt. The deal, a bipartisan agreement that included business and labor groups, will put an additional $450 million into an unemployment insurance trust fund. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: Lawmakers in Montana, Wyoming, Missouri and Mississippi will consider proposals to provide up to a year of continuous coverage for new mothers enrolled in Medicaid. A provision in the federal American Rescue Plan Act allows states to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage without applying for a waiver. (Kaiser Health News)

ELECTRICAL GRID: Law enforcement officials have reported at least six attacks against the electrical grid in Oregon and Western Washington since mid-November. At least two of the attacks are similar to attacks on substations in North Carolina that left tens of thousands without electricity. (Oregon Public Broadcasting) Investigators in North Carolina have applied for search warrants related to the attacks there. (WUNC)

MERGERS: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s (D) office will lead a multi-state investigation into the proposed merger of Albertsons and Krogers. Weiser did not name the other states involved, though he mentioned Washington State’s move to bar Albertsons from issuing a $4 billion dividend to investors. (Denver Post)

In Politics

PENNSYLVANIA: Neither Democrats nor Republicans hold a majority in the state House of Representatives, according to a legal opinion issued by the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau. Democrats won a one-seat majority in November, but because of a death and two lawmakers resigning to take higher office, and Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton has tried to claim control. Republicans are planning legal strategies. (PennLive)

FLORIDA: State Rep. Joe Harding (R) has resigned from office a day after authorities announced he had been indicted on allegations of defrauding federal Covid-19 loan programs meant for small businesses. Harding, who sponsored Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” bill last year, said he had fully repaid the loans. (Orlando Sentinel)

OKLAHOMA: Supporters of an abortion rights ballot initiative notified the Secretary of State’s office this week that they would withdraw their petitions. The backers had just a few months to gather enough signatures to qualify for a March special election. (Tulsa World)

ARIZONA: A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has approved a temporary restraining order blocking Proposition 209, a voter-approved measure reducing the maximum interest rate on medical debt. Plaintiffs led by the Arizona Creditors Bar Association say the measure is too vague and ambiguous about past debts. (Arizona Republic)

ARKANSAS: State Democratic Party chairman Grant Tennille won’t seek a new term. Tennille has also been serving as the party’s executive director. “I’m exhausted,” he told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

By The Numbers

$800 million: The amount supporters and opponents of California ballot measures spent on their campaigns this year. The most expensive measure, Proposition 27, which would have allowed legal sports betting, attracted $418 million in spending for and against. (Los Angeles Times)

Off The Wall

Evidence is mounting that the pirate Henry Every hid out in New England before sailing for Ireland in the late 1600s. Researchers in Rhode Island have unearthed coins with Arabic inscriptions that may be linked to Every’s attack on the Ganj-i-Sawai, a royal vessel owned by India’s emperor, in 1695. (CBS News) The global manhunt to track Every down is the subject of an excellent book, “Enemy of All Mankind.”

Quote of the Day

For both of them, it was decided that they should redo it. And so I knew that this was something you could really screw up.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, whose signature will soon appear on U.S. currency, on predecessors Tim Geithner and Jack Lew, whose handwriting was illegible. (Wall Street Journal)