Good morning, it’s Thursday, November 30, 2023. In today’s edition, states that use the most renewable energy; North Carolina begins Medicaid expansion enrollment; Florida voters like legal pot:
ENERGY: Texas, Washington and California use the most electricity generated from renewable sources, according to a Pluribus News analysis of federal data that shows adoption of renewable energy surging. Vermont gets almost all of its energy, 99.59%, from renewable sources, while Southern and Eastern Seaboard states lag behind the rest of the nation. (Pluribus News)
MORE: Washington State’s Building Code Council has adopted new rules that would make it nearly impossible to install fossil-fueled appliances in new home and business construction. The proposed amendments would require builders to match the energy efficiency of heat pumps in order to install gas in new buildings. (Seattle Times)
HEALTH CARE: North Carolina has begun enrolling people in Medicaid after the legislature agreed earlier this year to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. State officials say about half the estimated 600,000 residents newly eligible for coverage will be enrolled by week’s end. (Associated Press)
SOCIAL MEDIA: An Indiana county judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state that accused TikTok of deceiving users about inappropriate content for children. The judge said the state lacks jurisdiction, and that downloading a free app does not constitute a consumer transaction under state law. (Associated Press)
Similar lawsuits are pending in Utah and Arkansas. A Montana judge is set to rule shortly on a new state law banning TikTok from the state altogether.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) will form the State Government AI Advisory Council to develop plans for artificial intelligence in state government that value transparency, privacy and equity. At least 25 states introduced bills related to AI this year, and 15 states passed some proposals. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Missouri legislators are pledging to revive a bill to make it a felony to knowingly deliver a controlled substance that is mixed with another drug that causes serious physical injury. The bill, vetoed as part of a larger package earlier this year, would punish drug dealers with three to 10 years in prison if a user suffers harm, or 10 to 30 years in prison if a user dies. (Kansas City Star)
PUBLIC HEALTH: The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules that would require most cities to replace lead water pipes within a decade to prevent public health crises. The bipartisan infrastructure law allocated $15 billion to find and replace lead pipes, though more funding will be needed to replace the estimated 9 million lead pipes left in the country. (Associated Press)
In Politics & Business
FLORIDA: A new poll from the University of North Florida finds 62% of Florida voters would vote in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights. The same poll showed 67% would vote in favor of a proposed amendment to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. (Florida Politics, Florida Politics)
Supporters of both measures are trying to qualify for the 2024 ballot. Constitutional amendments must receive 60% of the vote to be adopted in Florida.
VIRGINIA: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) has filed papers to run for governor in 2025, making him the second Democrat — along with U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) — to join the race. Stoney served in former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) administration before becoming the youngest mayor in Richmond history. (Washington Post)
A reminder: Virginia is the only state in the nation that limits its governors to a single term.
GEORGIA: State legislators kicked off a special session to consider new legislative and congressional district lines on Wednesday. Republican drafts of the new maps would add two new Black-majority Senate seats and five new Black-majority House seats with minimal risk to their current majorities. Democrats say those draft maps don’t go far enough to comply with a judge’s order to redraw the lines. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
LOUISIANA: State lawmakers will have until Jan. 30 to redraw congressional district lines after U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick gave them an extension from the original Jan. 15 deadline. The extension means Gov.-elect Jeff Landry (R) will have to call a special session shortly after he is inaugurated Jan. 8. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
Lawmakers are likely to draw an additional Black-majority district that could help Democrats add a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
NORTH CAROLINA: Senate President Phil Berger (R) will back Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) in his bid for governor, Berger said Wednesday. (Raleigh News & Observer) Robinson is leading a GOP field that also includes Treasurer Dale Falwell (R), conservative activist Bill Graham (R) and former state Sen. Andy Wells (R).
UTAH: The Forward Party, led by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, has earned ballot access in Utah, making it the eighth party able to qualify candidates. The group’s policy focus is mainly on government reform issues, allowing its candidates to take their own positions on hot-button issues. (KSL)
By The Numbers
More than 342,000: The number of Ohio residents who have lost Medicaid coverage since April, when the post-pandemic “unwinding” process began. About 71% of those nationally who have been unenrolled have lost coverage for procedural reasons, according to KFF data. (Ohio Capital Journal)
30.6%, -32.2%: The growth or decline of America’s population through 2060, based on high-immigration and zero-immigration scenarios, according to calculations from Brookings senior demographer William Frey. See his full analysis of the future of America’s population here.
Off The Wall
Iowa’s state lottery posted incorrect winning numbers for Monday’s Powerball drawing for about seven hours before someone fixed what officials called a human error. Lottery officials said anyone who cashed tickets based on the incorrect numbers can keep their winnings, which would have amounted to between $4 and $200. (Quad City Times)
In other lottery news, the Hoosier Lottery Commission in Indiana allowed a man to collect his $50,000 Powerball prize even though staff at the shop where he bought the ticket ripped it in half. Lottery officials viewed surveillance video that corroborated the man’s story. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Quote of the Day
“They’re just failing and they’re not failing lightly.”
— Cliff Maloney, chief executive of the conservative Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, on the state Republican Party’s efforts to get voters to cast ballots early and by mail. Maloney’s group is launching a massive get-out-the-vote campaign to bank votes early next year. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)