Pluribus AM: Mississippi’s Medicaid expansion fight

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Good morning, it’s Wednesday, February 28, 2024. In today’s edition, California proposes first-in-the-nation ad privacy measure; Mississippi House takes up Medicaid expansion; New York Dems introduce new U.S. House maps:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: The California Privacy Protection Agency is backing legislation that would make it easier for consumers to opt out of having their data collected online for targeted advertising purposes. The bill, carried by Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (D), targets popular browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge that do not offer built-in support for opt-out preference signals. (Pluribus News)

HEALTH CARE: Mississippi’s House Medicaid Committee has advanced legislation to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for those making less than 138% of the federal poverty limit. That vote sets up the first House debate over expansion. The Senate has debated expansion before. (Jackson Clarion Ledger, Associated Press)

Gov. Tate Reeves (R) remains extremely skeptical that work requirements proposed under the measure would actually win approval from the Biden administration.

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Oregon House and Senate will consider legislation to reintroduce criminal penalties for minor drug possession after the bill cleared a key committee hurdle. The bill would allow those found with drugs to pursue treatment before facing criminal penalties. (Oregonian)

The bill is meant to reverse Measure 110, approved by voters in 2020. We wrote about the backstory here.

EDUCATION: The Alabama House has passed legislation to expand the number of families eligible for Education Savings Accounts worth up to $7,000 to pay for private or religious schools. The expansion will apply to families making less than 300% of the federal poverty line, or about $90,000 a year. (Yellowhammer News)

GUN POLITICS: The Georgia House has approved legislation to bar credit card companies and financial institutions from using a merchant category code for gun purchases on a party-line vote. The House approved a new $300 tax credit to pay for safety training and gun storage devices in a bipartisan vote. (Associated Press)

MORE: South Dakota’s House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation allowing adults with permits and permission from a principal to carry concealed pistols in schools. The bill has already passed the state Senate. (South Dakota Searchlight)

ABORTION: Alabama Sen. Tim Melson (R) has introduced legislation allowing clinics that provide in-vitro fertilization treatments to be immune from civil and criminal lawsuits. The proposal comes after the state Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are children under state law. (

MORE: The West Virginia Senate approved a bill that would require public schools to show a video on fetal development produced by an anti-abortion group. Similar bills are up for debate in Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

NEW YORK: State Democrats have introduced new versions of a proposed U.S. House district map that would likely endanger Reps. Nick Lakota (R) and Brandon Williams (R), while shoring up seats held by Rep. Pat Ryan (D) and Rep.-elect Tom Suozzi (D). (State of Politics)

Hardly the swing-for-the-fences gerrymander that some Republicans feared — and some Democrats wanted.

MICHIGAN: A Kent County Circuit Court judge has ruled that former state Republican Party chair Kristina Karamo has been removed from her post. The judge barred Karamo from calling herself the state party chair, from conducting business in the party’s name and from accessing its bank accounts. (Detroit News) The decision means ex-U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) is the Michigan GOP chair in the eyes of the law.

MISSOURI: The state Democratic Party has refused to accept a filling fee from former Rep. Sarah Unsicker (D), who tried to file papers to run for governor. Unsicker was kicked out of the House Democratic Caucus after she associated herself in social media posts with a Holocaust denier. (Associated Press)

ILLINOIS: House Speaker Chris Welch (D) is directing $560,000 to oust Rep. Mary Flowers (D), the longest-serving African American lawmaker in the General Assembly. Flowers was stripped of her leadership role last year over alleged abusive behavior. Welch and labor unions are backing educator Michael Crawford (D) in the primary. (Chicago Sun-Times)

GEORGIA: The Senate Ethics Committee voted along party lines to end automatic voter registration, which registers voters when they get a driver’s license. Gov. Brian Kemp (R), then Secretary of State, approved automatic voter registration in 2016. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

By The Numbers

62,000 lbs: The amount of fentanyl California authorities confiscated in 2023, valued at roughly $670 million. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office said the amount seized was enough to kill everyone in the world twice over. (Los Angeles Times)

$25 million: The amount Minnesota will spend on a Star of the North tourism and talent attraction campaign. The campaign will target workers in technology, health care, education and high-tech manufacturing. (Center Square)

2.46 gallons: The average amount of spirits purchased per capita in Delaware on an annual basis, higher than any other state. New Hampshire and Nevada are the only two other states where per capita sales tops 1.5 gallons. (Vinepair)

Important caveat: Both Delaware and New Hampshire have spirits tax rates so low that they attract consumers from neighboring, higher-tax states.

Off The Wall

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said it had found an explosive device near the office of the state Attorney General. No one was injured, and it wasn’t clear that the device targeted the AG’s office. (Alabama Reflector)

Florida lawmakers advancing legislation to allow volunteer chaplains in public schools have an enthusiastic backer in the Satanic Temple. The group said in an email it looks forward to participating in chaplain programs alongside clergy from other religions. (Tallahassee Democrat)

Quote of the Day

“As a society we need to stand up, especially in rural areas where the furthest hospital might be an hour away.”

Virginia Del. Terry Kilgore (R), on the importance of naloxone training. Sen. Todd Pillion (R) challenged all 140 members of the General Assembly to undergo naloxone training to help prevent overdose deaths. (WVTF)