Pluribus AM: N.Y., Fla. Govs release budget drafts; 10 states consider teacher compact; critical groundhog updates

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Happy Groundhog Day. Don’t drive angry. In today’s edition, N.Y., Fla. Govs unveil budgets; 10 states consider teacher compact; lawmaker drops f-bombs on Zoom:

Top Stories

WORKFORCE: Legislators in 10 states are considering an Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, first proposed by the U.S. Defense Department, to allow teachers to offer reciprocal teaching certificates across state lines. A Colorado House committee advanced the plan Wednesday. Lawmakers in states like Hawaii, Washington, Kansas, Georgia and Mississippi are among those considering the plan. (Associated Press)

LGBTQ: Iowa Senate Republicans advanced a bill barring teaching gender identity through eighth grade. The House will vote on a bill requiring parents to provide written consent before a school could call a transgender student by their preferred name or pronouns. (Iowa Public Radio) Minnesota legislators held a committee hearing on a bill to make the state a refuge for transgender youth seeking care. (MPR News) 

MORE: Wyoming’s Senate has approved a bill criminalizing gender-affirming care for transgender youth. (Casper Star Tribune) The Arkansas state House approved a bill opening schools to lawsuits if they fail to ensure students use bathrooms corresponding to their genders assigned at birth. (Arkansas Times) Tennessee House and Senate committees advanced measures Tuesday to ban gender-affirming care for minors. (Nashville Post)

NEW YORK: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) laid out a $227 billion budget plan Wednesday that includes a 10% increase in school funding, $337 million to reduce gun violence and $1 billion to treat and support those with mental illnesses. Hochul wants to require upstate communities to increase housing supply by 1% and downstate communities to grow supply by 3% every three years. (Pluribus News)

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) rolled out a $115 billion budget recommendation that includes $1.5 billion in tax relief, a 5% pay increase for state workers and a $1 billion pay hike for teachers. The budget proposes raising reserve levels from $5.1 billion to $15.7 billion. DeSantis proposed a permanent sales tax exemption for gas stoves. (Orlando Sentinel, Florida Politics)

LOUISIANA: The state House has approved a bill to stabilize the property insurance marketplace by a wide, bipartisan margin. The Senate Finance Committee will hear the bill, which creates $45 million in incentives to woo insurance firms back to the state, today. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

Read our story on what’s at stake in the midst of Louisiana’s property insurance crisis here.

IDAHO: The House Health and Welfare Committee has recommended extending Medicaid expansion five years after the state first accepted money under the Affordable Care Act. The committee recommended the Division of Medicaid alert about 67,000 participants that they will no longer qualify for coverage when Covid-related public health emergencies end. (Idaho Press)

MONTANA: The state House has approved six bills that would send rebates of up to $1,250 for residents who paid taxes in 2021 and $1,000 for those who pay property taxes in 2022 and 2023. The bills also cut state business equipment and capital gains taxes. Another measure pays down existing state debt by $150 million. (Montana Free Press)

ARIZONA: Senate Republicans have given final approval to a “skinny budget” aimed at extending current funding levels to give them time to negotiate with Gov. Katie Hobbs (D). Hobbs has said she will veto the budget. (AZ Mirror)

MINNESOTA: Gov. Tim Walz (D) has signed legislation adding hairstyle protections to the state human rights law. The measure, meant to protect Black women from being sent home from work because of their hairstyles, passed the legislature by wide margins last month. (Fargo Forum)

In Politics & Business

MISSISSIPPI: The filing deadline for this year’s statewide contests passed Wednesday without a high-profile Republican jumping in to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R). Reeves begins the nine-month sprint to Election Day with $7.9 million in his campaign accounts; likely Democratic rival Brandon Presley reported $724,000 in the bank at the end of January. (Pluribus News)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed a bill to move the state’s presidential primary forward to the end of February 2024. But it’s not clear the bill can take effect before March 2024, because of Republican opposition; legislative Republicans voted against the bill because it would reduce the number of delegates they can send to the GOP convention. (Detroit Free Press) 

MISSOURI: The state House has approved a measure raising the threshold by which the state constitution could be amended. The bill would raise the threshold for approval from a simple majority to 60%. Voters will still have to approve the measure if it passes the state Senate. (Missouri Independent, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OHIO: Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican who broke with her party over redistricting, says she will aid a new redistricting reform amendment intended for the 2024 ballot. The proposed amendment hasn’t been drafted yet. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Ohio lawmakers missed a deadline to raise the threshold for proposed constitutional amendments to 60%; the soonest they could qualify the amendment is for the November ballot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

NEW MEXICO: A state Senate committee has advanced legislation to prohibit firearms at polling places, with exceptions for police officers. The measure passed on a party-line vote. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

1,451: The number of new legislators serving in sessions this year, about 20% of the 7,386 state legislators serving across the country. Hat tip to our friends at Multistate for that nugget.

56: The number of constitutional amendments Montana lawmakers have drafted this session. Former Gov. Marc Racicot (R) joined protestors in Helena urging lawmakers to leave the constitution alone. (Daily Montanan)

Off The Wall

Groundhog Update: Good news for the East Coast, less good news for the Rust Belt. Connecticut’s official state groundhog Chuckles and Staten Island Chuck both predicted early springs. Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. (Hartford Courant, New York Daily News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Federal authorities have spent more than two years investigating whether ex-Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson (R) received bribes in return for state licenses to operate medical marijuana facilities. The alleged bribes took place more than a decade after Johnson left the legislature. (Detroit News)

Two Idaho legislators have offered a nonbinding petition seeking talks with Oregon’s legislature over about a dozen Oregon counties that want to secede as part of the Greater Idaho movement. Voters in 11 Oregon counties have asked county commissioners to explore joining Idaho. (Idaho Capital Sun)

Connecticut lawmakers are considering posthumous pardons for the nine women and two men who were executed for witchcraft. The Connecticut witch trials, lesser known than their Salem neighbors, took place over a 15-year period in the mid-17th century. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“Welcome to the world of Zoom.”

Connecticut state Sen. Tony Hwang (R), after state Rep. Travis Simms (D) let loose a string of curse words during an unmuted moment in a virtual transportation committee meeting. Simms apologized for the tirade, which he said had nothing to do with the hearing. (Shelton Herald)