Good morning, it’s Wednesday, January 17, 2024. In today’s edition, New York Gov. Hochul seeks billions to pay for migrant services; Utah tweaking social media bills after lawsuits; DLCC adds new board members:
Welcome back to session, Hawaii lawmakers! Just for the record, it’s 71 degrees in Honolulu today — 50 degrees warmer than at Pluribus News World Headquarters.
IMMIGRATION: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) asked the legislature to spend $2.4 billion on migrant services, a $500 million increase over this year’s spending, as part of her $233 billion budget proposal. Hochul said she would travel to Washington this week to pressure the Biden administration to secure the border and help handle the crisis. (Pluribus News)
ENERGY: California’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation banning oil and gas exploration off the state’s coasts, a day after it passed the Natural Resources and Water Committee. The bill only affects three offshore oil and gas platforms currently in operation. It would cost the state $100 million in lost revenue. (Pluribus News)
TECHNOLOGY: Utah lawmakers used their first day of the legislative session to amend laws requiring parental permission before a minor gets a social media account. The laws will apply to social media platforms with at least 5 million users. The amendments come as the tech industry has sued to block the initial laws, passed last year. (Associated Press)
GUN POLITICS: A panel of Illinois lawmakers approved guidelines that will allow state police to maintain and enforce a registry of gun owners who possess high-powered firearms. Gun owners would face misdemeanor charges for failing to register their weapons, with felony charges for repeat offenders. (Chicago Tribune)
TAXES: Kansas Republicans have agreed to a plan to eliminate state taxes on Social Security, exempt $100,000 on state property taxes for homeowners, and establishes a 5.25% income tax on income over $12,300 for married couples. (KSNT) Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is likely to veto the measure if and when it reaches her desk.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) has proposed floating $982 million in bonds to pay for repairs to existing infrastructure. Walz has proposed spending $215 million on water and transportation projects, including $119 million in grants and low-interest loans for safe drinking water projects. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The Wisconsin Senate approved legislation to spend $80 million in federal money to build a network of electric vehicle recharging stations across the state. Private businesses would be allowed to sell electricity by the kilowatt hour, rather than by the length of time it takes to charge a vehicle. (Wisconsin Examiner)
ALCOHOL: The Indiana House has approved legislation allowing beer wholesalers to sell liquor-based ready-to-drink cocktails. Liquor distributors oppose the change, which would allow liquor-based mixed beverages to be covered under a wine license. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
The three-tiered system, in place in most states since the end of Prohibition, creates some of the most complicated politics of any policy area in state legislatures.
In Politics & Business
DEMOCRATS: The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee will add North Carolina House Minority Leader Robert Reives (D), California Sen. Monique Limón (D) and Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst (D) to its board of directors, the DLCC tells us.
“Our board prides itself on ensuring we bring leaders together who have experience from every corner of the country, and these new members bring diverse insights that will strengthen the DLCC as a whole,” board chair and New York Senate President Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) said.
FLORIDA: Businessman Tom Keen (D) won a special election in the Orlando area Tuesday, beating out former Osceola School Board member Erika Booth (R) in a seat previously held by ex-Rep. Fred Hawkins (R). President Biden carried the district with 52% of the vote in 2020. (Florida Politics)
LOUISIANA: A state House committee has approved a draft map that would create a second Black-majority U.S. House district. A seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Garrett Graves (R) would become the center of the Black-majority district, likely handing another seat to Democrats. (Associated Press, Baton Rouge Advocate)
Gov. Jeff Landry (R) backs the proposed new map. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) took to his campaign account on X, formerly Twitter, to register his disapproval.
MICHIGAN: The state’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has begun redrawing seven Detroit-area state House districts ahead of a court-ordered Feb. 2 deadline. The commission plans ten meetings before the deadline to try to reach agreement. (Michigan Advance)
MONTANA: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) said he would seek a second term on Tuesday. He’ll face a primary challenge from state Rep. Tanner Smith (R). Activist Ryan Busse (D) is the only Democrat to say he will run. (Missoulian)
By The Numbers
110,298: The number of Iowans who participated in Monday’s Republican caucuses, just 15% of the state’s 752,200 registered voters. That was well below the turnout in similar caucuses, a drop attributed to both weather and the widespread expectation that former President Donald Trump would run away with the win. (Des Moines Register)
$350 million: The amount Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) wants legislators to appropriate in state funds for a new economic development plan that would bring an electric vehicle battery project to north Mississippi. Reeves said the deal will create 2,000 jobs paying average annual salaries of $66,000. (Mississippi Today)
2: The number of Minnesota Supreme Court justices who have announced their retirements in the space of a week. Justice Barry Anderson, the last justice appointed by a Republican governor, said he would retire in May. Justice Margaret Chutich, appointed by then-Gov. Mark Dayton (D) in 2016, will retire this summer. (MPR News)
Walz has appointed three of the high court’s seven sitting justices.
Off The Wall
New Jersey lawmakers are set to get a big pay raise, under new legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy (D). A rank-and-file legislator will earn $89,000 a year, up 67% from the current $49,000 annual salary, beginning in 2026. It’s their first raise in 24 years. (NJ Advance Media)
The Utah Senate kicked off its 2024 session Tuesday with a brief country music concert. Musician Cole Hartley played the Star-Spangled Banner, and then riffed with state Sen. Kirk Cullimore (R), on the fiddle. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Billionaire backers of California Forever, the company that secretly bought up $800 million in land in Solano County, say they want to build nearly 20,000 homes for 50,000 residents. The company needs to collect 13,000 signatures to ask voters for approval to build the city. (Associated Press)
Quote of the Day
“We have a very detailed bill that I am pretty sure has 50 votes in our caucus to pass. So taking and renegotiating the bill means we probably lose votes in our caucus.”
— Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), who said he wouldn’t amend a medical marijuana bill to address concerns raised by the state Senate. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)