Pluribus AM: Mich. lawmakers introduce gun bills; Pa. Gov wants to end death penalty; Iowa Gov signs tort reform

Good morning, it’s Friday, Feb. 17, 2023. Have a great President’s Day weekend, we’ll see you Tuesday. In today’s edition, Mich. lawmakers introduce gun safety measures; Pa. Gov wants to abolish death penalty; Iowa Gov signs tort reforms:

Top Stories

GUN CONTROL: In the wake of the attack on Michigan State University, lawmakers will propose bills requiring safe storage of firearms and ammunition; universal background checks on unlicensed gun sales; and a “red flag” law. (Pluribus News, Detroit News, MLive) The North Carolina Senate approved a package of gun bills ending a permitting system for handgun sales and permitting concealed weapons in churches that are attached to schools. (Charlotte Observer)

EDUCATION: Oklahoma House Republicans have unveiled a $500 million education plan that includes $2,500 teacher pay raises and a $5,000 private school tax credit. (McCarville Report) Indiana House Republicans will seek to expand school choice programs. (Indiana Capital Chronicle) A Federal District Court judge has dismissed a challenge to Florida’s law banning teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity, which critics call the “don’t say gay” law, for lack of standing. (Florida Politics)

CRIME: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) has formally asked lawmakers to abolish the death penalty. More than 100 people sit on death row in Pennsylvania, though the Commonwealth hasn’t conducted an execution since 1999. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Philadelphia Inquirer) The North Dakota Senate unanimously passed legislation to increase penalties on fentanyl dealers. The bill would make it a Class A felony to supply a drug to someone who dies or is severely injured by the drug. (Fargo Forum)

IOWA: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has signed legislation limiting medical malpractice damages to $2 million in lawsuits against hospitals and $1 million in suits against clinics and doctors. The limits will increase by 2.1% per year beginning in 2028. (Des Moines Register)

MINNESOTA: The state House has passed a bill creating a statewide sick leave program. Workers could earn up to 48 hours off each year. The Senate is expected to pass the measure as well. (MPR News)

TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) used his State of the State address to roll out “emergency” items that lawmakers can vote on immediately: Cutting property taxes, ending Covid restrictions, expanding school choice and school safety, stricter bail rules, border security and a measure to increase penalties on fentanyl dealers. (Texas Tribune)

UTAH: Legislative leaders rolled out a $400 million tax cut package that would drop the state income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%, increasing the income threshold for taxes on Social Security benefits and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. The bill also includes a tax credit for unborn children. (Salt Lake Tribune)

MONTANA: The Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee advanced a bill that would prohibit foreign countries such as China from buying or controlling agriculture land. (Daily Montanan) Senate Taxation Committee Chair Greg Hertz (R) introduced bills that would require some local taxes to be voted on every five years and new votes on currently permanent taxes. (Montana Free Press)

MARIJUANA: The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee has advanced a bill to legalize marijuana. The bill gives the state liquor commission the authority to oversee and regulate legal pot. (New Hampshire Union Leader) An Indiana House committee heard testimony on a bill decriminalizing possession of two ounces of marijuana, though they did not hold a vote. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

In Politics & Business

ARIZONA: A state court of appeals has rejected another lawsuit by former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) challenging her loss to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D). The court said it saw no evidence that voters were unable to cast ballots or that those ballots were counted incorrectly. (Arizona Republic)

ARKANSAS: A Senate committee has advanced a bill increasing signature gathering requirements for ballot measures. The bill will require initiative supporters to gather qualifying signatures from 50 counties, up from 15 currently required under state law. (Arkansas Times) State Sen. Tyler Dees (R) advanced a bill banning drop boxes — which don’t exist in Arkansas. (Arkansas Times)

OHIO: The two main groups working on a ballot measure to put abortion protections in the state constitution will work together to qualify the amendment for the 2023 election, they said Thursday. The groups said they would model their amendment on a Michigan measure that passed in 2022. (Columbus Dispatch)

TEXAS: The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section in Washington will take over a corruption investigation into Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Antonio recused itself. Paxton settled a separate lawsuit brought by four whistleblowers last week for $3.3 million in taxpayer money. (Texas Tribune)

RHODE ISLAND: State GOP chair Sue Cienki will step aside to run for national committeewoman. Former Attorney General candidate Chas Calenda will run to replace Cienki, and former state party chair Gio Cicione is contemplating a bid, too. (Providence Journal)

OREGON: Paul Rosenbaum, chairman of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, resigned late last night at the request of Gov. Tina Kotek (D) a day after defending how the agency handled a scandal involving top employees using their positions to secure rare bourbon. (Oregon Capital Chronicle, Oregonian)

He was our Quote of the Day yesterday. We promise we’re not cursed.

By The Numbers

$30,000: The amount in football tickets and gifts related to the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs that public officials in Missouri and Kansas have accepted from lobbyists since 2017, the year quarterback Patrick Mahomes was drafted. (Kansas City Star)

13: The number of budget bills Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) vetoed Thursday, after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a budget that effectively continues current spending levels. (Arizona Republic)

This bipartisan relationship isn’t off to a great start.

Off The Wall

It’s Electric: Portland, Ore., Fire and Rescue next month will receive the first electric fire engine in the Northwest. For those concerned about reliability in a life-saving situation, it has a diesel-powered backup engine. (NW News Network)

Quote of the Day

“I suspect that 10 years from now, we’ll look back on this the way we look back on opioids, the way we look back on tobacco use, and just say, ‘What were we doing? I can’t believe we did this to our kids.’”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), calling on lawmakers to pass regulations on social media companies. (KSL)