Pluribus AM: No foolin’

Good morning, it’s Monday, April 1, 2024. No foolin’. In today’s edition, New Hampshire considers AI guardrails; Maryland lawmakers roll out bridge relief programs; judge delivers blow to New Jersey party bosses:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: New Hampshire lawmakers are considering legislation to prohibit the state from using AI to surveil citizens, including with facial recognition technology. The bipartisan bill passed the House last week. Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Virginia and Washington all ban law enforcement use of facial recognition. (Pluribus News)

INFRASTRUCTURE: Maryland lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to offer relief to businesses and workers impacted by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. The bill would create a temporary financial relief program for port workers, and a relief program for small businesses and trade associations dependent on the port. (Baltimore Sun)

The Port of Baltimore generated 51,000 direct, induced and indirect jobs in 2023, $5 billion in personal wages and $647 million in state tax revenue.

GUN POLITICS: Maine Democratic lawmakers introduced “red flag” legislation that would allow family members to petition a court to temporarily confiscate guns held by individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. Maine is the only state with a “yellow flag” law that requires police to initiate the confiscation process. (Maine Public Radio)

MORE: The New Hampshire House adopted legislation that would require the state’s judicial system to report to the FBI when someone has been involuntarily committed or found not guilty by reason of insanity. New Hampshire is one of only a few states that does not share that information with federal officials. (WMUR)

ABORTION: Democratic attorneys general in 25 states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold emergency room doctors’ authority to perform abortions on patients facing critical medical situations. The Democrats filed an amicus brief in a case relating to Idaho’s near-total abortion ban. (Arizona Republic)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Louisiana House has approved legislation that would fine hospitals, public agencies and employers up to $50,000 for mandating Covid-19 vaccines. The bill would bar employers from enforcing mask mandates, with exceptions for hospitals, nursing facilities and prisons. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

ECONOMY: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has signed this year’s version of the “tamale bill,” legislation that will allow home cooks selling food to the public to offer refrigerated items, like tamales and cheesecakes. Hobbs vetoed last year’s bill over opposition from the Department of Health Services. (Arizona Mirror)

WORKFORCE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed legislation exempting service members and their spouses from occupational licensing, registration and certification fees. The bill, adopted unanimously in the legislature, will allow those with occupational licenses in other states to transfer those licenses to Kansas. (Kansas Reflector)

In Politics & Business

NEW JERSEY: A federal judge issued an injunction Friday blocking the state’s primary election ballot design, in which party bosses can dictate which candidate appears at the top of the ballot order. The ruling is a win for U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D), seeking a U.S. Senate seat. The judge clarified over the weekend that the ruling applies only to this year’s Democratic primary. (NJ Advance Media)

The ruling is being described as a political earthquake in a state where party bosses have long held more control over their candidates than almost anywhere else.

FLORIDA: The state Supreme Court will issue rulings Monday over whether ballot measures that would expand abortion access and allow recreational marijuana will be included on November’s ballot. Both proposals have collected about a million signatures, but Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) challenged the wording of each measure. (Tampa Bay Times)

MICHIGAN: House staffers are working to organize a union under Teamsters Local 243, they said last week. House Speaker Joe Tate’s (D) office said he supports the unionization drive. (Detroit News)

MARYLAND: Environmental groups have dropped their opposition to legislation aimed at attracting data centers to the state. The new bill would direct 15% of tax revenues generated by data centers to a Strategic Energy Investment Fund meant to promote clean energy and climate programs. (Maryland Matters)

By The Numbers

17: The number of states set to experience the rare convergence of Brood XIII and XIX cicadas, which will emerge over the next few months to begin breeding. Brood XIII emerges every 17 years, and Brood XIX shows up ever 13 years. It’s the first time they will emerge together in 221 years. (The Sun)

2: The number of trolls that will soon appear in Charlestown, R.I. The trolls, built by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, are meant to attract tourists. (Providence Journal)

52.44%: The share of the vote former President Donald Trump carried in counties that will be in the path of next week’s solar eclipse. President Biden carried the Texas, Vermont and New York counties in the path of totality, while Trump carried the mostly rural areas in the other 12 states. (@_fat_ugly_rat_)

Off The Wall

If you can’t beat ‘em, rename ‘em. Maryland lawmakers have approved legislation rechristening the invasive Northern Snakehead fish the Chesapeake Channa. The measure is meant to make the fish sound more appetizing; Sen. Jack Bailey (R) says it’s delicious. (Maryland Matters)

Cambridge, Mass., city council member Burhan Azeem is running advertisements urging his city to annex neighboring Boston, and to reclaim its position as the state capital. Azeem wants to redub the city “MegaCambridge.” (Boston Globe)

That’s it, that’s the one April Fool’s joke allowed in today’s newsletter.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve still got executive orders.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), after signing the last bills of this year’s legislative session — his last as governor. (Washington State Standard)