Pluribus AM: Miss. lawmakers pass trans youth care ban; N.M. House advances election reform; S.D. House kills grocery tax repeal

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. In today’s edition, Miss. lawmakers pass trans youth care ban; N.M. House advances election overhaul; S.D. House kills Noem’s grocery tax repeal:

Top Stories

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Mississippi Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill barring physicians from providing gender-affirming care or surgery to transgender youth, sending the measure to Gov. Tate Reeves (R). (Pluribus News) The Arkansas Senate Committee on City, County and Local Affairs passed a bill barring children from “adult-oriented performances,” after heavy revisions to a measure that initially targeted drag shows. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

EDUCATION: The Idaho Senate Education Committee voted to approve legislation prohibiting sex education of all types, including in sexual orientation and gender identity, before 5th grade. (Idaho Press) The Florida Senate Education PreK-12 Committee voted along party lines to advance a bill making every student eligible for vouchers to pay private school tuition or home-schooling costs. (Orlando Sentinel)

GUN CONTROL: Colorado Democrats have unveiled their first two pieces of gun control legislation this session, a proposal to limit firearm purchases and possession to those over 21 and a bill to establish a three-day waiting period between the purchase and possession of a firearm. (Denver Post, Colorado Sun) The Florida House Judiciary Committee has advanced permitless carry to the full House, a day after a Senate committee advanced similar legislation. (WUSF)

NEW MEXICO: The State House voted along party lines to advance an election overhaul bill that would create a permanent absentee voter list, reinstate voting rights for felons upon their release and make Election Day a state holiday. The bill would also register qualified voters who prove their citizenship at the DMV. (Santa Fe New Mexican) The House also approved a bill barring cities and public schools from interfering with a person’s access to abortion or gender-affirming care. (Albuquerque Journal)

SOUTH DAKOTA: The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted down a proposal backed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R) to repeal a tax on groceries. House Republicans voted in caucus over the weekend in favor of a general sales tax cut instead. (South Dakota Searchlight, Associated Press)

INDIANA: The House Ways and Means Committee approved a new measure barring ESG investing, after a previous version that was projected to cost the state up to $6.7 billion in returns was tabled. The new measure would exempt private market funds, which make up about 15% of assets managed by the public retirement system. (Indianapolis Star)

GEORGIA: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has signed legislation to increase access to mental health and substance abuse care. The bill requires insurers to cover mental health the same way physical health is covered and forgives student loans for mental health providers in underserved areas. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) The General Assembly gave final approval to a bill to extend hate-crime protections to those who are targeted because of race, sexual orientation or religion. Kemp said he would sign the bill. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

PENNSYLVANIA: A special state House committee has advanced a measure creating a two-year exception to civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits, a top priority of Speaker Mark Rozzi (D). The full House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday. The Senate version includes a voter ID requirement. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

SOUTH CAROLINA: The Senate Finance Committee has approved one-time fees of $250 for a driver’s licenses and $250 for vehicle registrations for new residents, a measure dubbed the “Yankee Tax.” South Carolina added 129,000 residents from other states in 2019. (Associated Press)

FLORIDA: State Rep. Alex Andrade (R) has introduced legislation proposing sweeping changes to libel and defamation laws, after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called for new restrictions on media. The bill presumes information from anonymous sources is false and ends protections that allow journalists to shield sources if they are sued. (Orlando Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

WISCONSIN: Former Justice Dan Kelly and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz received the most votes in Tuesday’s primary for an open seat on the state Supreme Court, in a race that’s already drawn millions in spending. Protasiewicz, the liberal candidate, took 46% of the vote. Kelly, a conservative, took 24%, just ahead of Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow, another conservative. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MORE: State Rep. Dan Knodl (R) beat state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R) in a special Senate primary on Tuesday. Knodl has sought to distance himself from former President Donald Trump, while Brandtjen, a prominent election denier, had Trump’s support. Knodl is likely to win the open seat in an April 4 general election against Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin. (Associated Press)

OHIO: Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights filed a written summary of their proposal with Attorney General Dave Yost’s (R) office on Tuesday. It’s the first step in the process toward reaching the November ballot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MAINE: Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) said Tuesday an initiative to require auto manufacturers to provide independent repair shops with access to diagnostic systems, a “right to repair” law, has qualified for the November ballot. (Maine Public Radio, Portland Press Herald)

MINNESOTA: The state Senate has approved legislation restoring voting rights for convicted felons when they leave prison.The law, which will apply to about 55,000 state residents, now goes to Gov. Tim Walz (D) for his likely signature. (MPR News, Associated Press)

MASSACHUSETTS: The state Republican Party has hired a former federal prosecutor to serve as outside counsel after an audit found more than $600,000 in unpaid bills. The attorney they hired, Brian Kelly, is best known for putting Whitey Bulger away for life. (Boston Globe, Boston Herald)

COLORADO: Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R) is among six candidates running to head the Colorado Republican Party in elections to be held next month. Chair Kristi Burton Brown said in December she would not seek a new term. (Denver Post)

By The Numbers

75.5%: The share of drivers in New Hampshire who report wearing a seatbelt, the lowest rate in the nation. New Hampshire is the only state that does not mandate seat belts for adults. A new bill introduced Tuesday would create the first such mandate. (WMUR)

Off The Wall

Mississippi Sen. Barbara Blackmon (D) and Rep. Edward Blackmon (D) both face familiar challengers in this year’s primary elections — their children. Just before the filing deadline, Bradford Blackmon filed papers to run against his mom, while Lawrence Blackmon filed to run against his dad. (Magnolia Tribune)

If the two parents both withdraw, they will effectively gift their seats to their children. In Illinois they might call this move the Full Lipinski.

An Indiana House committee has killed a bill that would have established the Hoosier State as its official nickname, after historians raised questions about the genesis of the name. The bill sought to define Harry Hoosier, an 18th century Methodist minister born into slavery, as the origin of the name. Indiana newspapers first started calling residents Hoosiers in 1830, 24 years after Harry Hoosier’s death. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

Quote of the Day

“They must be beating each other up in the hallway right now to get in.”

Montana Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee chairman Jason Small (R), after no one stood up to testify in favor of a bill allowing indoor smoking. The committee tabled the bill in a unanimous vote. (Daily Montanan)