Pluribus AM: Ohio GOP at war with itself

Good morning, it’s Monday, February 26, 2024. In today’s edition, states take aim at short-term rentals; West Virginia lawmakers move to ban gender-affirming care for at-risk minors; Georgia’s House speaker keeps breaking his gavel:

Top Stories

HOUSING: Blue states are considering proposals to spur short-term vacation rental owners to convert to long-term models or face higher tax rates, as cities face a housing crunch. Lawmakers in Hawaii, Colorado, Maine and Washington are all weighing either allowing localities to levy short-term rental taxes or creating tax incentives for longer-term tenants. (Pluribus News)

MORE: The Washington Senate approved legislation requiring cities to remove regulations that block development of small apartments with shared common spaces. A previous version of the bill won unanimous passages in the House. Rents on single-room occupancy buildings are about $500 less than a typical studio apartment in Seattle. (Seattle Times)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Colorado House has given initial approval to measures that would make it easier for a transgender person with a felony record to legally change names to conform to their gender, and require K-12 schools to have written policies for using a student’s chosen name and pronoun. (Colorado Public Radio)

MORE: The West Virginia legislature is considering a measure to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors deemed at risk of self-harm or suicide. The legislature banned gender-affirming care for minors last year, but with an exemption for at-risk kids. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: Florida’s Senate Rules Committee will hear legislation today that would authorize volunteer chaplains to help in schools. The bill would allow school districts to implement chaplain proposals at their discretion. (Florida Politics)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Kansas House unanimously approved legislation to shield people from prosecution when they call emergency services to report an overdose. Kansas is one of just two states — along with Wyoming — that does not have a so-called Good Samaritan law on the books. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

CHILD WELFARE: The Washington legislature approved a bill Friday to ban children under 18 from being married. Ten other states ban minors from getting married. (Seattle Times)

In Politics & Business

REPUBLICANS: Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel will formally resign on March 8, she said Monday. The RNC will formally elect a new chairman; former President Donald Trump has backed North Carolina GOP leader Michael Whatley to head the party, and Lara Trump to serve as vice chair. (The Hill)

WISCONSIN: The state Ethics Commission has recommended that state prosecutors file felony charges against Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R) and former President Donald Trump’s Save America PAC for allegedly conspiring to evade campaign finance laws. Brandtjen and the PAC helped raise money for Adam Steen, a Republican who challenged Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) in the GOP primary in 2022. (Associated Press, Wisconsin Examiner)

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday he would launch an advertising campaign aimed at abortion restriction legislation in Repiublican-led states. The first ads launch today in Tennessee, where legislators are considering an “abortion trafficking” ban. (Associated Press)

Should we have labeled that item “WHITE HOUSE 2028”?

ARIZONA: State Republican Party chair Gina Swoboda is earning $15,000 a month for advising the state Senate on election policy. American Oversight, a D.C.-based government transparency group with ties to Democrats, raised objections to the contract. (Arizona Republic)

By The Numbers

73%: The share of American adults who live in households with no landline telephone, according to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Twenty years ago, just 3% of American adults had no landline. (Associated Press)

$1.92 billion: The amount Michiganders bet on online gaming platforms last year, barely edging out New Jersey for the highest amount wagered in the country. Michigan is one of just six states that allows people to bet on poker, blackjack, slot machines and other games on their phones. (Bridge MI)

$955.4 million: The amount of legal marijuana Oregon residents purchased in 2023. It’s the second consecutive year overall sales have fallen. Prices remain low as supply exceeds demand. (Oregonian)

Off The Wall

Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns (R) doesn’t know his own strength: He’s broken four speaker’s gavels since November. “I’m getting the technique down better. Maybe I won’t hit it as hard.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Burns needs to trade notes with South Dakota Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden (R), who’s also known for breaking gavels.

Contestants in the first-ever Florida Man games participated in a mullet contest, a “mud duel” with pool noodles and an “evading arrest” obstacle course  on Saturday in St. Augustine. The games, meant to make light of the Florida Man meme, were thought up by a local podcaster who also organizes what he calls the laziest race in history — a half-kilometer beer run. (New York Times)

Quote of the Day

“It’s been blatantly obvious that some members of our caucus are working actively against Republican members of this caucus.”

Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R), on the bitter internecine fight over his position. Senate President Matt Huffman (R), who wants to be the next House speaker, is funding several primary challengers. (Columbus Dispatch)