Pluribus AM: Minn., Alaska target PFAS chemicals; Iowa Gov boosts fentanyl penalties; Mo., Ohio aim to limit ballot initiatives

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 10, 2023. In today’s edition, Minn., Alaska target PFAS chemicals; Iowa Gov boosts fentanyl penalties; Mo., Ohio aim to limit ballot initiatives:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: Minnesota is on the brink of passing the nation’s toughest ban on “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, as a House-Senate conference committee negotiates final details. Gov. Tim Walz (D) is expected to sign the bill. (Associated Press) The Alaska Senate unanimously approved a bill ending the use of firefighting foams that use PFAS chemicals. Those foams are mostly used around airports. (Alaska Beacon)

MORE: The Vermont Senate has voted to override Gov. Scott’s veto of legislation creating a clean heat standard that requires businesses that bring fossil fuels into the state to pay for a transition to new heating systems that pollute less. (VTDigger)

ABORTION: The South Carolina House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to advance a bill banning abortion after 6 weeks, with some exceptions. The legislature is set to adjourn Thursday, but Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is likely to call them back into special session to take up the bill. (Charleston Post & Courier)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has signed legislation protecting minors seeking gender-affirming care from intervention by their estranged parents. The law will excuse shelters and host homes from contacting the parents of a minor who fears their reaction. (Associated Press) The Louisiana House approved a bill banning discussions of sexuality and gender in schools. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will sign legislation increasing prison sentences and fines for those convicted of manufacturing, delivering or possessing fentanyl. (Iowa’s News Now) Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has signed legislation making it a crime to own or operate paramilitary training camps. (Burlington Free Press) Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has signed an executive order directing state agencies to surveil wastewater for signs of fentanyl use. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed a bill easing the licensing process for therapists, psychologists, social workers and health care workers in an effort to expand the health care workforce. The bill also allows pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines. (Kansas Reflector)

IMMIGRATION: Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has selected three companies to help carry out Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) migrant relocation program. Legislators approved $22 million to ship undocumented migrants to other states. (Tallahassee Democrat)

OREGON: Democratic and Republican leaders will meet Wednesday to try to resolve a dispute that led GOP lawmakers to walk out over 20 bills on topics ranging from abortion to guns to transgender health care. The Republican walkout has denied a quorum in the Senate for the last seven days. (Oregonian)

In Politics & Business

NORTH CAROLINA: Ex-U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R) is expected to announce later this month he will run for governor, joining Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) and Treasurer Dale Folwell (R) in the race. (Carolina Journal) The winner of the GOP primary is likely to face Attorney General Josh Stein (D). 

MISSOURI: The state House has approved a bill increasing the threshold proposed constitutional amendments must reach to pass, from a simple majority to 57%. If the state Senate approves, the measure would appear on the 2024 general election ballot. (Missouri Independent)

OHIO: The state House is expected to vote as early as today on a measure increasing the threshold proposed constitutional amendments must reach to pass, from a simple majority to 60%. The House Rules and Reference Committee approved the measure Tuesday. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch)

MORE: Supports of legal marijuana are beginning to collect signatures to place a measure on Ohio’s November ballot. They have only two months to collect 124,000 valid signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. (Ohio Capital Journal)

MARYLAND: The state Supreme Court has reversed a lower court order striking down a first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising. Verizon and Comcast challenged the 2021 law, which Democrats passed over then-Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto. (Baltimore Sun)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed bills extending tax credits and boosting school funding to attract a Ford Motor Company electric vehicle battery plant near Marshall. The plant is expected to create 2,500 new jobs. (Detroit Free Press)

By The Numbers

86: The number of tornadoes that have hit Illinois this year, the tops in the nation. State climatologist Trent Ford says climate change is shifting “tornado alley” east to include Illinois. (Center Square)

15: The number of deaths caused by firearms, per 100,000 residents, in Texas in 2021, a 50% jump over 1999 and the highest rate since 1994. (Texas Tribune)

$1 billion: The amount in tax breaks and incentives Amazon is set to receive from Morrow County, Ore., if the local port commission approves of incentives for a new data center in a vote Wednesday. Two current port commissioners have acknowledged they stand to benefit if the company wins the incentives. (Oregonian)

Off The Wall

A broadcast reporter in Sioux Falls has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after he used South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) phone number to prank call the former chairman of the state Republican Party. Austin Goss used a website to spoof Noem’s number. (Associated Press)

RIP to MTV News, which Paramount Global killed on Tuesday after nearly 40 years in business. (Los Angeles Times) The show’s greatest contribution to politics: That time in 1994 when someone asked then-President Bill Clinton whether he wore boxers or briefs.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has rejected more than 7,000 vanity license plate requests since 2015, and NJ Advance Media did the hard work of combing through them all. Among the rejects: “BOOGER,” “DRTPOOR,” “DRUNK,” “OLDFART” and “SUX2BU.” (NJ Advance Media)

Quote of the Day

“Whoo! That sounds like a success to me.”

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen (R), celebrating bipartisan passage of a $17.8 billion budget plan at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. (Arizona Republic)