Good morning, it’s Friday, November 3, 2023. In today’s edition, gig companies settle over wage complaints; Texas immigration bill falls victim to Republican feud; surprise poll shows close Kentucky race:
GIG ECONOMY: Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft have agreed to pay $328 million in back wages to drivers in a pair of settlements with New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Uber has agreed to start paying into the state’s unemployment insurance fund in a first-of-its-kind settlement. (Pluribus News)
We saw gig economy bills advance in Washington, Minnesota and Massachusetts this year. Expect more action in legislatures next year.
ENERGY: Michigan lawmakers gave final approval to bills that will require the state to phase out carbon-emitting energy sources over the next two decades. The legislation will require Michigan to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2040. Renewables account for about 12% of the state’s energy today. (MLive) The House also approved a bill allowing a state energy panel to override local opposition to large-scale wind and solar projects. (Detroit News)
GUN POLITICS: Michigan’s state House gave final approval to two measures that would ban residents convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms for eight years. The measures add several misdemeanor crimes to the list of those that would ban someone from owning a weapon. (MLive)
IMMIGRATION: The feud between Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) threatens to kill a border security bill that would make it a state crime to enter Texas from Mexico illegally. Patrick called the House-passed bill a “Texas-sized catch-and-release bill.” (Texas Tribune)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The White House is offering states $334 million in new funding to hire additional law enforcement officers. The money would pay for 1,700 officers and pay for upgraded school safety and crisis intervention efforts. (Bloomberg)
HOUSING: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is signaling support for initiatives to increase affordable housing next session. Lawmakers have debated statewide zoning reform; Lamont cited local NIMBYism as a barrier to building new homes, but he stopped short of endorsing reform. (Hartford Courant)
MARIJUANA: A Pennsylvania House subcommittee held its first-ever hearing on legalizing recreational marijuana this week, the first of what chairman Dan Frankel (D) says will be several hearings over the next few months. (Harrisburg Patriot-News) Indiana’s Interim Study Committee on Commerce and Economic Development held a six-hour meeting to consider legalized marijuana, though it did not advance any recommendations. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Both states border Ohio, where voters are likely to approve a legal marijuana ballot measure next week.
In Politics & Business
KENTUCKY: A new Emerson poll shows Gov. Andy Beshear (D) tied with Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) at 47% apiece, a month after the same group found Beshear leading 49%-33%. When undecided voters are allocated by lean, Cameron takes a statistically insignificant 49%-48% lead. (Emerson College)
Other polls have showed Beshear with a narrow but stable lead. A Cameron win would be a surprise.
NORTH CAROLINA: House Speaker Tim Moore (R) is preparing to run for a new Republican-leaning U.S. House district west of Charlotte, his political advisor said Thursday. Moore had already announced he wouldn’t seek another term in the legislature. (Associated Press)
Moore has been eyeing a congressional campaign for years.
NEW YORK: Federal prosecutors and the FBI are conducting a corruption investigation into whether New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s (D) 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal foreign donations. Federal agents raided the Brooklyn home of Adams’s chief fundraiser on Thursday. (New York Times)
By The Numbers
$97,000: The amount the city of Albuquerque spent on a sponsored book detailing how it adapted during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The book sold just 91 copies. (Albuquerque Journal)
$653 million: The amount the federal government will allocate to 41 ports across 26 states in an effort to boost post-pandemic supply chains. Ports in Tacoma, Wash., and Long Beach, Calif., will each receive more than $50 million in funding. (The Hill)
26%: The share of Americans who bet on sports in 2021, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling, up from 20% in 2018. Only 3-4% of adults have signs of mild, moderate or severe problem gambling. (Portland Press-Herald)
Off The Wall
Ohio state Rep. Jay Edwards (R) has introduced legislation to rename a section of Route 33 in honor of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Edwards cited Burrow’s work to address hunger in Appalachian Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch)
Wisconsin Rep. Jon Plumer (R) and Sen. Cory Tomczyk (R) have introduced measures to name the Brandy Old-Fashioned as the state’s official cocktail. Historians have traced Wisconsin’s love of brandy to food shortages after World War II, when residents faced a choice of “bad whiskey or good brandy.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Quote of the Day
“People have dogs that shouldn’t have dogs and people have gators that shouldn’t have gators.”
— Pennsylvania state Rep. Abby Major (R), who will introduce legislation next year to increase penalties for intentional or negligent release of exotic animals. Kayakers in Major’s district spotted several gators in local rivers. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)