Pluribus AM: N.D. loves robots; Ill., Pa., Va. Govs tackle workforce shortages; child poverty at record low

Your Pluribus AM will always be free — but don’t miss the chance to keep up with all of our coverage of state legislatures across the nation! Subscribe today and get access to our stories, special events and content!

Good morning, it’s Monday, March 6, 2023. In today’s edition, N.D. loves robots; Ill., Pa., Va. Govs tackle workforce shortages; child poverty at record low:

Top Stories

AUTOMATION: North Dakota businesses are so hard up for workers that Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has proposed subsidies to help companies invest in high-tech machinery to automate. Burgum proposed spending $5 million to expand an automation tax credit and $10 million on grants to help companies automate. (Pluribus News)

Old and busted: Machines took our jobs! New hotness: Machines took our tax credits!

GUN SAFETY: New Mexico’s state Senate approved a measure allowing adults to be held responsible for children who get access to a firearm. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she would sign it. (Santa Fe New Mexican) A New Mexico Senate committee approved a bill requiring a 14-day waiting period to purchase a firearm. (Santa Fe New Mexican) The Colorado House will consider a measure banning assault weapons. The bill would grandfather in those who already own qualifying firearms. (Colorado Public Radio)

ABORTION: The Idaho House State Affairs Committee has approved a measure making it a crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion. (Idaho Press) Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) plans to sign a bill barring abortion clinics from operating in the state. (Associated Press)

COVID: Washington and Oregon will end mask mandates in health care settings on April 3, lifting the last major masking requirements in the nation. (Associated Press) California plans to end mask requirements in health care settings, correctional facilities and homeless shelters the same day. (Los Angeles Times)

MONTANA: The Senate has passed a measure to ban TikTok from operating anywhere in the state. The bill would bar app stores from offering TikTok, punishable by a $10,000 fine. The company said the bill violates free speech rights. (Pluribus News)

ILLINOIS: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has proposed spending $210 million over the next three years on a Teacher Pipeline Grant Program, to be used for signing bonuses, housing spending and down-payment assistance to attract new teachers in 170 school districts. (St. Louis Public Radio) Pritzker also rolled out a $20 million initiative to help independent grocery stores in rural communities and poor urban neighborhoods. (Center Square)

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) will propose a $2,500 tax break for newly certified teachers, police officers and nurses in his state budget to address workforce shortages. (Associated Press) Shapiro lays out his budget proposals to lawmakers tomorrow. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

VIRGINIA: Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has signed legislation allowing those with occupational licenses in 85 jobs to practice in Virginia. The universal licensing bill passed the legislature unanimously. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

WYOMING: Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has signed legislation extending Medicaid health benefits to new mothers up to a year after they give birth. (Casper Star-Tribune)

TERM LIMITS: Nebraska lawmakers are considering a bill to increase the number of terms they could serve before leaving office to three four-year terms. Voters would have to give their approval. (Nebraska Examiner) North Dakota lawmakers are considering legislation to allow them to serve up to 12 years, after voters approved an eight-year limit in November. (Fargo Forum)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: Former Transportation Department Director Shawn Wilson (D) will run for governor, the first Democrat to enter the race. Wilson, who will announce his campaign today, will face Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), Treasurer John Schroder (R), state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R) and state Rep. Richard Nelson (R). U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R) is the only potential candidate who hasn’t announced. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

OKLAHOMA: Voters head to the polls tomorrow to decide a ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana. The initiative would allow residents to legally grow up to 12 marijuana plants. Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana by a 14-point margin in 2018. (Associated Press)

NEVADA: State Democrats elected Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D) as their new chair, ousting incumbent Judith Whitmer by a wide margin. National Democrats worked around Whitmer, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist. (Nevada Independent)

PEOPLE: Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt (R), who rose from onion farmer to the statehouse, has died at age 96. Batt kept a parrot in his office that he trained to mock fellow former Gov. Cecil Andrus (D). He trained the parrot to say “Cecil is silly.” (Idaho Statesman)

By The Numbers

5.2%: The share of children in America who live in poverty, the lowest rate ever measured by the federal government. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

36-12: The margin by which the Arkansas Senate beat the Arkansas House in an annual charity basketball game. Adding literal injury to insult, two state reps — Brandon Archer (R) and Kendon Underwood (R) — went down with torn achilles tendons. (Arkansas Times)


Off The Wall

The town of Seaford, Del., is considering allowing businesses to vote in municipal elections. Delaware is one of three states that allow nonresident property owners voting rights in local elections. (Delaware Public Media)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has formally asked the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to rename Mount Evans, named for a territorial governor who participated in a massacre of Native Americans in 1864. The state wants to rename the peak Mount Blue Sky. (Colorado Sun)

Quote of the Day

“There is no reason to report this.”

The Stanislaus County, Calif., Sheriff’s Office, posting on Facebook urging residents not to call 911 over bright lights in the sky … that turned out to be Jupiter and Venus. (KTVU)