Pluribus AM: North Carolina’s redistricting redux

Good morning, it’s Monday, August 14, 2023. In today’s edition, abortion, legal pot lead in Ohio poll; North Carolina Republicans roll out new district maps; Massachusetts House approves gun safety bill:

Top Stories

GUN POLITICS: The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved a 125-page measure cracking down on so-called “ghost guns,” prohibiting someone from carrying a gun into a home without permission and strengthening the state’s assault-style weapons ban. The bill also prohibits guns in schools, polling places and government buildings. (Boston Globe, Associated Press)

PUBLIC SAFETY: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has approved $10 million in new state funding to add police presences to synagogues, mosques and other places of worship amid fears of violence stemming from Israel’s war with Hamas. Religious institutions will have a week to apply for a security grant program that would pay for reinforced doors, cameras and alarms. (Los Angeles Times)

ENERGY: The Michigan House Energy Committee on Wednesday approved a four-bill package designed to speed approval of renewable energy products. The legislation gives the state Public Service Commission, rather than local governments, the authority to determine where certain wind, solar and storage projects can be located. (Pluribus News)

MORE: The Biden administration announced $3.5 billion for 58 new projects around the country to strengthen electric grid resilience against extreme weather events. The largest grant is a $464 million project aimed at five transmission systems in seven Midwestern states. Projects in Georgia and Louisiana will get $249 million each. (Associated Press)

SOCIAL MEDIA: A Utah state judge has ordered TikTok to comply with subpoenas seeking 80 clarifications pertaining to the company’s business practices and 55 requests for documents related to age verification, data collection and its algorithm. The judge threatened to hold TikTok in contempt of court if it doesn’t comply. (Deseret News)

HEALTH CARE: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has signed legislation directing the Department of Health and health care providers to make resources available to women who have suffered pregnancy loss or infant loss. The bill, dubbed Ava’s Law, is meant to support mental and physical health. (State of Politics)

MORE: The Michigan Senate voted to end a 28-year old state law that provides immunity to pharmaceutical companies that prevents residents from participating in class action lawsuits. The bill won bipartisan support in the Senate. (Detroit News) Oregon lawmakers kicked off a joint legislative committee to address the opioid crisis aimed at writing legislation ahead of next year’s session. (OPB)

In Politics & Business

NORTH CAROLINA: The Senate redistricting committee rolled out new proposed U.S. House district maps that endanger at least three Democratic incumbents. The new maps come after the state Supreme Court imposed district lines that created an evenly divided congressional delegation; new lines would likely favor Republicans in 10 of the state’s 14 districts, and an 11th seat would be competitive. (Raleigh News & Observer, Associated Press)

Things that are certain in life: Death, taxes, and North Carolina redistricting litigation.

OHIO: A new poll conducted for Baldwin Wallace University shows Issue 1, the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to reproductive freedom, winning 58% of the vote, while 34% are opposed. Nearly 40% of Republicans say they will vote for the measure. Issue 2, legalizing recreational marijuana, leads by a 57%-35% margin.

NEW JERSEY: A new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll finds Democrats likely to maintain their hefty majorities in the legislature: 42% of likely voters say they will back a Democratic candidate in November’s elections, while 26% say they’ll support a Republican. (NJ Advance Media)

New Jersey often gets overlooked in odd-year elections — but don’t forget, Republicans had a surprisingly good showing in 2021, when they picked up six seats in the General Assembly and two in the state Senate.

KENTUCKY: Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) is up with a new television ad highlighting his endorsement from former President Donald Trump, the first Cameron ad to mention Trump since the May primary. A group backed by the Republican Governors Association launched a recent ad tying Gov. Andy Beshear (D) to President Biden. (NBC News)

By The Numbers

2.6%: The decrease in the number of opioid deaths in Florida from 2021 to 2022, the first time in a decade opioid deaths in Florida have fallen, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (WUSF)

$43,000: The starting salary for a member of Kansas’s legislature beginning in 2025, under a proposal from the Legislative Compensation Commission published this week — a 94% raise from the current salary of $22,109. Lawmakers set up the commission so they don’t have to vote on their own pay raises. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

776: The number of proposals for a new flag and seal design that Minnesota residents submitted to the State Emblems Redesign Commission. Residents have until October 30 to submit their designs, and the panel will pick five finalists next month. (MPR News)

Quick ideas for a new Minnesota flag: A Jucy Lucy. Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) fugitive cat. A mound of snow and a shovel. An ice fisherman

Off The Wall

New Jersey drivers will soon be able to zip around in Seoul without taking any new motor vehicle tests. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and South Korean officials have signed a reciprocity agreement allowing New Jersey residents living there, and South Koreans living in New Jersey, to convert their driver’s license. (New Jersey Globe)

California officials testing an earthquake early-warning system inadvertently woke residents up a little too early this morning — at 3:19 a.m. Those testing the system set the alarms to go off at 10:19 a.m, but in Greenwich Mean Time, rather than the Pacific timezone. (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Day

“It’s very hard to get lawmakers to pass very good ethics laws that apply to themselves.”

Delaney Masco, senior legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, on Michigan lawmakers dragging their feet on new ethics rules required under a voter-approved initiative that passed in 2022. (Bridge MI)