Pluribus AM: Ohio’s school cellphone ban

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 15, 2024. In today’s edition, DeWine to sign school cellphone bill; Louisiana moves to ban THC edibles; Morrisey wins West Virginia gubernatorial primary:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will sign legislation Wednesday requiring K-12 school districts to create a policy reducing cellphone distractions and limiting cellphone use during school hours. School districts that don’t create their own policies will be allowed to use a model from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce. (Columbus Dispatch)

MARIJUANA: An Ohio joint committee on agency rule reviews is close to approving regulations meant to allow the state’s recreational marijuana program to begin retail sales as soon as next month. Medical marijuana firms will be allowed to apply for recreational sales licenses to begin selling by a June 7 deadline. (Statehouse News Bureau)

MORE: The Louisiana House Criminal Justice Committee has advanced legislation that would ban the manufacture or sale of products containing THC. The legislature approved a law legalizing hemp edibles with delta-9 THC in 2022, based on what lawmakers later called misleading testimony. (Louisiana Illuminator)

CHILD WELFARE: Rhode Island Sen. Alana DiMario (D) has introduced legislation entitling the child stars of influencer parent YouTube and TikTok channels to compensation. Minors would be entitled to 10% to 50% of earnings from each video, set aside in trust until they are 18. (Providence Journal)

The bill is modeled on Illinois legislation, which we wrote about last year.

PUBLIC HEALTH: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will make $3.3 billion available for the construction of mental health treatment centers to combat homelessness and drug addiction. The money is being released ahead of schedule after voters narrowly approved a $6.4 billion bond in March. (Associated Press)

MORE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed “Good Samaritan” legislation providing immunity to those who call for help when someone overdoses on drugs. Kelly also signed a law increasing criminal penalties for distribution of fentanyl-related substances. (Kansas Reflector)

Wyoming is now the only state in the nation without a Good Samaritan law.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Delaware Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend (D) has introduced legislation that would revoke pretrial release in capital murder cases and other high-level felonies. Townsend said the bills would improve fairness by making detention decisions transparent. (Delaware Public Media)

MORE: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) has signed legislation expanding the death penalty to cases of child rape convictions. Florida approved a similar law last year, though there are concerns both laws will be challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

WEST VIRGINIA: Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) won the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday, outlasting former Del. Moore Capito (R) 34% to 28%. Auto dealer Chris Miller (R) finished with 19%, and Secretary of State Mac Warner (R) ended with 16%. (Charleston Gazette-Mail) Morrisey begins the general election as the overwhelming favorite against Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D).

NORTH CAROLINA: State Republicans nominated political strategist Hal Weatherman (R) for lieutenant governor in a runoff election Tuesday. He will face state Sen. Rachel Hunt (D) in November. Former UNC Board chair Dave Boliek (R) won the Republican runoff for the state auditor nomination. Boliek faces incumbent Auditor Jessica Holmes (D), appointed to the position in December. (Raleigh News & Observer)

GEORGIA: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will spend $500,000 from his own political committee to aid Supreme Court Justice Andrew Pinson, who faces a challenge from former U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D). Barrow has focused his campaign on abortion rights. The ostensibly nonpartisan election takes place May 21. (Associated Press)

REPUBLICANS: The Secret Service is refusing to budge its plans to allow a protest zone near the Republican National Convention in downtown Milwaukee, despite pressure from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.). McConnell had raised concerns about interactions between protestors and convention delegates. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Expect a summer of protest in both Milwaukee and Chicago.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The American Edge Project will release a new ad campaign touting the benefits of AI to small businesses. AEP CEO Doug Kelly tells us the ad isn’t aimed at specific legislation, but it urges policymakers to “preserve America’s global leadership as they consider new regulations around” AI. (Release)

By The Numbers

$1,360: The amount Alaska residents would receive from the state’s Permanent Fund Dividend under an agreement reached by state budget negotiators. The legislature is also proposing an additional $295 energy relief payment. The dividend is slightly higher than last year’s $1,312 payment. (Associated Press)

$20.29 per hour: The new minimum wage approved by the King County, Wash., council, matching the highest minimum wage in the nation. The minimum wage would rise with inflation in the future. (Seattle Times)

54.4%: The share of home sales in Jacksonville, Fla., that are completed in all-cash deals, the highest share of any market in the country. Five of the ten markets with the largest share of cash-only deals are in Florida. (Axios)

Off The Wall

Washington State will deploy a $30,000 anti-graffiti drone that will spray paint to cover vandalized freeway overpasses. The Washington State Department of Transportation estimates it spent $815,000 on graffiti removal in 2023, including staff time and equipment costs. (Popular Science)

A public art installation in New York City and Dublin that allows people to see each other across the Atlantic in real time has been shut down, after people on both sides displayed boorish behavior. In New York, an OnlyFans model flashed the screen. In Dublin, people held up inappropriate images of the Twin Towers. (Associated Press)

Amy Appelhans Gubser, 55, has become the first person to swim the 29.7 miles between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands — a passage known for its shark-infested waters. She wore a black and white swimsuit in an effort to trick sharks into thinking she might be an orca whale. (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Day

“Bipartisanship is going to be the spoonful of sugar that makes this whole end-of-session session go down.”

Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R), calling for Democratic concessions on an Equal Rights Amendment and rural ambulance services to end a GOP filibuster that has slowed the final days of this year’s session. (Associated Press)