Pluribus AM: N.C. adopts Medicaid expansion

Don’t miss our Spotlight event on the future of cannabis legislation — this Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. ET. Register right here!

Good morning, it’s Monday, September 25, 2023. In today’s edition, North Carolina finalizes Medicaid expansion; Newsom vetoes autonomous truck regulation; Biden admin rolls out rail safety funding:

Top Stories

HEALTH CARE: North Carolina lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a $60 billion budget that includes Medicaid expansion to cover those who make up to 138% of the federal poverty limit. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he would allow the budget to become law without his signature, though he directed the Department of Health and Human Services to begin Medicaid expansion immediately. (Pluribus News)

ENVIRONMENT: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) last week signed an executive order barring state agencies from purchasing single-use plastic bottles under 21 ounces. The order is the first of its kind in the United States; environmental groups welcomed the order as a way to cut waste. (Pluribus News)

TECHNOLOGY: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has vetoed legislation that would have required a human safety driver on board autonomous trucks that weigh more than 10,000 lbs. Newsom said the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ current oversight of electric vehicles was sufficient to protect the roads. (Pluribus News)

RAIL SAFETY: The Biden administration announced Monday it has awarded $1.4 billion to 70 rail safety projects in 35 states and the District of Columbia. One project will spend $178 million to restore passenger rail service to parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi for the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. (Associated Press)

CHILD CARE: Wisconsin Senate Republicans voted to formally introduce legislation funding more child care providers, creating a paid family leave program and a workforce development program sought by Gov. Tony Evers (D). The vote came a day after the legislature gaveled into and out of special session Evers had called to consider the bill. (Wisconsin Examiner)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Michigan Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee heard testimony Thursday on legislation to eliminate fees charged to juveniles involved in the justice system. The bills would bar courts from ordering juveniles to pay costs associated with being placed outside the home and performing community service. (Michigan Advance)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: California Gov. Newsom signed legislation aimed at protecting LGBTQ youth on Saturday, including a measure requiring families to show they can meet the needs of a child in foster care regardless of their sexual orientation. Another bill requires cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff. Newsom vetoed a bill on Friday that would have required judges to consider whether a parent affirms a child’s gender identity when making custody decisions. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: A federal judge has issued an injunction against a California law banning high-capacity magazines. Judge Roger Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, called the law “clearly unconstitutional.” Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) has pledged to appeal. (Sacramento Bee)

TAXES: Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson (R) and House Speaker Dan Hawkins (R) are launching a statewide campaign to build support for a flat tax in next year’s legislative session. Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has promised to veto the tax, though Republicans have the votes to override a veto if necessary. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

In Politics & Business

VIRGINIA: Early voting ahead of November’s elections began Friday as Democrats and Republicans compete to win control of the General Assembly. Republicans must reclaim two seats to secure the state Senate in a tie (Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears would break the tie), while Democrats must win back five seats to reclaim the House of Delegates. Our colleague Humberto Sanchez reports from Manassas.

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) are working on several debates ahead of November’s elections. Reeves said their respective campaign teams are working to hammer out dates. (Supertalk)

ARIZONA: Election reform advocates have launched a petition drive to get ranked choice voting and open primaries on the ballot in 2024. The group needs to collect 383,923 valid signatures by July 3 to qualify for the ballot. Their proposal would advance the top five finishers in an open primary to a general election. (Arizona Republic)

WISCONSIN: Two Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to withdraw the state from the Electronic Registration Information Center, known as ERIC. The multi-state consortium that helps states eliminate duplicate voter registrations has become a target of GOP attacks after former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COLORADO: A state judge overseeing a lawsuit aimed at barring Trump from the ballot issued a protective order prohibiting threats and intimidation in the case. Colorado is the second state, after Minnesota, where a 14th Amendment challenge has reached the courts. (Denver Post)

By The Numbers

75,000: The number of Kaiser Permanente employees in five states and the District of Columbia who plan to strike in early October after the health care giant and unions representing its employees failed to reached a deal on a new contract. It would be the largest strike by health care workers in American history. (Los Angeles Times)

30%: The share of Kansas state employees who worked from home during all or part of April. Another 15% of state employees could have done so based on existing agency policies. (Kansas Reflector)

Off The Wall

Erin DuPree, named last week as the new director of the Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management, quit after just one day after the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported a hemp store she owned sold illegal products. Gov. Tim Walz (D) took responsibility for the flub. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Portsmouth, R.I., has named Andrew Kelly as the town’s official “fence viewer.” The Colonial-era position, which still exists in five Rhode Island towns, adjudicates boundary disputes between residents. Fence viewers are entitled to collect $6 a day from those involved in property line disputes, but those who hold the offices say they don’t bother. (Providence Journal)

Georgia state Rep. Patty Stinson (D) celebrated her marriage to Bobby Stinson at the place that has meant the most to her over the last 11 years — the state capitol building in Atlanta. Fellow lawmakers joined the celebration next to a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King last week. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)

Quote of the Day

“I am hearing that across the state agencies there is a very steep learning curve.”

Idaho Rep. Wendy Horman (R), co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, on a new software system that is causing errors in accounting. State agencies say they cannot verify how much revenue Idaho has collected in the first three months of the fiscal year. (Idaho Statesman)