Pluribus AM: Minnesota goes to pot

Good morning, it’s Monday, July 31, 2023. In today’s edition, Minn. prepares for legal pot; Pritzker overhauls parole rules; NAACP sues over Ala. congressional districts:

Top Stories

MARIJUANA: Minnesota is set to legalize marijuana for recreational use beginning Tuesday, when adults will be legally allowed to possess and grow cannabis. Adults will be allowed to possess up to two ounces of pot in public, and two pounds at home. (CBS) Most recreational retail sales are likely to begin in early 2025, though the White Earth Nation and NativeCare, a tribal-run medical marijuana provider, will open dispensaries in August. (Associated Press)

ENVIRONMENT: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation allowing the state to pass environmental rules that are stricter than federal standards. The law reverses a 2018 law approved by Whitmer’s predecessor, former Gov. Rick Snyder (R). (Bridge MI)

MORE: Attorneys general in 23 states have filed a motion urging a federal court to reject a $10.3 billion settlement proposal from 3M over PFAS chemical contamination in drinking water. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) has filed a new complaint adding allegations against the defendants. (Cap Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed legislation overhauling parole, allowing a Prisoner Review Board to reduce the length of post-incarceration supervision if offenders earn educational degrees. The new law allows for remote check-ins and encourages parole officers to recommend early discharge for those who demonstrate success after release. (Capitol News Illinois)

MORE: Colorado lawmakers are pursuing a constitutional amendment to allow victims of child sex abuse to sue their alleged abusers even after statutes of limitations expire. The state Supreme Court struck down a 2021 law that gave victims of abuse a three-year window to sue their abusers, which the court said violated the state constitution. (Colorado Sun)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Illinois Gov. Pritzker signed legislation banning vaping in public spaces. The law adds e-cigarettes to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, the 15-year old law banning smoking in public places. (Chicago Tribune)

EDUCATION: A U.S. District Court judge has issued a temporary injunction against a new Arkansas law that allows books to be removed or relocated in public libraries. The measure, Act 372, would also set criminal penalties for librarians. The judge said the act likely violates First Amendment rights. (Talk Business & Politics)

BUDGETS: Massachusetts lawmakers are set to vote today on a $56.2 billion budget deal after House and Senate negotiators reached agreement late Sunday. The budget will fund tuition for students attending community college nursing programs, free school meals and a pilot program aimed at enrolling 70,000 residents in health care coverage. (Boston Globe)

GAS: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) will let a bill allowing self-service gasoline across the state to become law, ending a 72-year ban on drivers pumping their own gas. The law will still require gas stations to staff at least half their pumps for those who don’t want to pump their own gas. Kotek said her office received more than 5,000 emails about the bill. (Oregonian)

In Politics & Business

ALABAMA: Voting rights activists have filed an objection to the state’s new redistricting plan after Republican lawmakers approved a map that does not create a new majority-Black U.S. House district. Plaintiffs representing the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other groups asked the three-judge panel to step in and draw new lines. (Associated Press) The federal Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case. (

GEORGIA: Attorney General Chris Carr (R) has told fellow Republicans he plans to run for governor in 2026, when Gov. Brian Kemp (R) faces term limits. Carr and Kemp are close allies. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

VIRGINIA: U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) has told several state Democrats she will run for governor in 2025. Spanberger has told at least two state Democrats she will not seek re-election in 2024, when Democrats will have to defend her competitive district. (Politico) Virginia is the last state to limit governors to a single term in office.

OHIO: Republicans have filed a legal challenge against a proposed amendment to protect abortion rights, alleging the amendment’s petitions failed to list state laws that would be repealed if it takes effect. Ohio’s Secretary of State approved the amendment for November’s ballot last week. (Columbus Dispatch)

MORE: Supporters of Issue 1, the August ballot measure that would raise the threshold future constitutional amendments must meet to win approval from a simple majority to 60%, have said the measure is meant to stop out-of-state interest groups from messing with Ohio’s constitution. But both supporters and opponents have raised the majority of their campaign cash from out-of-state interests. The main group backing the measure got most of its money from Richard Uihlein, the Illinois-based GOP mega-donor. The main group opposing the campaign got lots of money from a national Democratic group called the Sixteen Thirty Fund. (Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Capital Journal)

CALIFORNIA: Voters will decide whether to repeal a 1995 law that limits a city’s ability to impose rent controls after the AIDS Healthcare Foundation submitted more than 800,000 signatures to qualify the measure for next year’s ballot. California voters rejected rent control ballot measures in 2018 and 2020. (Sacramento Bee)

MORE: The California Republican Party has changed its rules for allocating delegates in the presidential primary, a move backed by former President Donald Trump’s campaign. The new rules will give any candidate who wins more than 50% of the vote all of California’s 169 delegates. If no candidate receives a majority, delegates will be awarded based on proportional vote shares. (Los Angeles Times)

PEOPLE: Alabama Sen. Tim Melson (R) is in critical condition after suffering a heart attack during a trade mission to South Korea. State Sen. Arthur Orr (R) performed CPR and resuscitated Melson. ( A scary situation, our best wishes to Sen. Melson for a speedy recovery.

By The Numbers

$20.6 million: The amount Louisiana spent responding to cyberattacks against state agencies, school boards and local governments in the last fiscal year — about nine times what the state spent just three years ago. A working group meant to respond to cyberattacks has handled 130 such attacks since it was formed in 2019. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

$2.6 billion: The amount New Jersey has spent on beach replenishment projects in the last century. New Jersey’s latest budget adds another $50 million to the Shore Protection Fund, which piles sand on Jersey Shore beaches. (NJ Advance Media)

31: The number of consecutive days in which the temperature has topped 110 degrees, smashing the previous record of 18 straight days. A potential monsoon storm system headed toward Phoenix could finally break the streak. (Arizona Republic)

Off The Wall

Lots of state legislators have side gigs, but Iowa state Rep. J.D. Scholten (D) may take the cake — he’s signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Oosterhout Twins, a team in the Dutch “Honkbal Hoofdklasse” league. The team needed a new pitcher because of an issue with a Japanese player’s visa. Scholten, who played pro ball before entering politics, says he’s pitching better than he ever has before. (Quad-City Times)

More than 125,000 residents in Miami-Dade County are free of medical debt after billionaire residents Daniel and Jane Och spent $264 million to pay off medical bills. The Ochs’ family foundation donated the money through RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys unpaid hospital bills in bulk at reduced rates. (Health News Florida)

Bears, bears, bears: A black bear trying to escape the heat in Burbank, Calif., decided to take a dip in a swimming pool last week. The bear ambled away when officers arrived. It was later spotted sleeping in a nearby tree. (Los Angeles Times) An Anchorage biologist spotted a black bear taking an afternoon snooze in a bald eagle’s nest on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Click here for a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo. (McClatchy)

Quote of the Day

“I didn’t know people care about me that much.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D), denying rumors that he would resign to become executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. Someone has been circulating a fake press release saying the controversial Krasner was leaving his job. (Philadelphia Inquirer)