Pluribus AM: Paid family leave coming to Ill.; Minn. House passes abortion protections; who wants to cancel Utah?
Good morning, it’s Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. In today’s edition, Ill. to approve paid leave; Minn. House passes abortion protections; right-to-repair headed to Maine ballot.
ILLINOIS: The state House has given final approval to a bill that would require Illinois employers to offer up to five days of paid leave for any reason each year. Illinois would become the 16th state, along with Washington, D.C., to mandate paid time off. (Illinois Times) Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) is expected to sign the bill.
MINNESOTA: The state House has passed a bill codifying abortion rights into state law. Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (D) says she has the votes to pass the bill in the Senate as early as next week. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Associated Press) Gov. Tim Walz (D) has proposed spending $669 million to create a paid family and medical leave program and $276 million to expand broadband access. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
FLORIDA: House Speaker Paul Renner (R) will prioritize a bill to expand vouchers for private school tuition to every student in Florida, with a focus on low-income and special needs students. (Associated Press) Florida’s Department of Education has informed the College Board it will no longer allow students to enroll in AP African American studies courses. The College Board planned to offer the course to all schools in the 2024-2025 school year. (Orlando Sentinel)
WYOMING: The House Revenue Committee has advanced a measure expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Previous efforts to expand the program failed in 2010 and 2014. (Casper Star Tribune)
COLORADO: Legislative Democrats will introduce bills banning assault weapons after a series of mass shootings going back decades. But Gov. Jared Polis (D) doesn’t sound terribly enthusiastic about the bills. He said he is focused on strengthening a red flag law and banning so-called “ghost guns.” (Colorado Sun)
MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Maura Healey’s (D) first legislative proposal is a $987 million “Immediate Needs Bond Bill” funding infrastructure, housing and economic development. The measure includes $400 million for public infrastructure projects. A separate bill adds another $400 million for municipal road and bridge improvements. (MassLive, Boston Globe)
RHODE ISLAND: Gov. Dan McKee’s (D) budget proposal includes a plan to reduce state sales tax from 7% to 6.85% and increasing K-12 school budgets by $57.8 million. His budget would also add abortion coverage to state employee health insurance plans. (Providence Journal, Boston Globe)
NEW YORK: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is considering all her options after her nominee to head the state judiciary was voted down in committee, including a possible lawsuit to force the full Senate to take a vote. (State of Politics) Even if Hochul were to force the full vote, it’s not clear her nominee, Justice Hector LaSalle, would win confirmation.
WASHINGTON: The state Senate is fast-tracking a bill to lower the legal blood alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle from .08% to .05%. The bill, backed by state Sen. John Lovick (D), a former sheriff, is modeled on Utah’s version that passed a few years ago. (KOIN)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Arkansas’ Senate City, County and Local Affairs Committee has approved a measure classifying drag performances as adult-oriented businesses and ban them from public property. (Associated Press) North Dakota lawmakers will try to bar transgender people from bathrooms that conform to their gender identity, and from girl’s sports. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) vetoed a transgender sports ban in 2021. (Fargo Forum)
MORE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration is requiring state universities to provide information about services provided to people with gender dysphoria. (WLRN) The Utah state Senate has approved bills barring sex reassignment surgeries and puberty blockers for minors. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) says he won’t veto the bills. (Deseret News)
In Politics & Business
ELECTIONS: Legislators in Idaho and Montana have advanced measures to bar outside funding of local elections. In Idaho, a new bill would bar the state from accepting outside money. Montana’s bill would bar local officials from using private money. About 30 counties in Montana received outside help from a foundation funded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2020. (Idaho Press, Missoulian)
CONNECTICUT: Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas (D) has asked legislators to authorize 10 days of early voting, after voters approved a constitutional amendment striking a prohibition on early voting in the midterm elections. Connecticut is one of just four states that doesn’t allow early voting. (CT Mirror)
WISCONSIN: A proposed constitutional amendment to give judges more discretion when making bail decisions will appear on the April ballot after the Assembly gave final approval in a bipartisan vote. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) The proposal will appear alongside a high-stakes state Supreme Court race.
MAINE: A coalition of auto repair shop owners say they have submitted more than 70,000 signatures to Maine’s Secretary of State to qualify a ballot proposal that would require automakers to make repair and diagnostic information available to independent shops. (Maine Public Radio) We’ve said it before, right-to-repair is a big trend in legislatures this year.
NEW JERSEY: The Assembly State and Local Government Committee has unanimously approved bills requiring prepaid postage on mail-in ballots and applications. Democratic strongholds in New Jersey already provide free postage; the bills would standardize postage rules across the state. (New Jersey Globe)
FLORIDA: Ex-state Sen. Annette Taddeo (D) will run to chair the state Democratic Party, after chairman Manny Diaz resigned in the face of historic defeats in the midterm elections. (Florida Politics)
By The Numbers
27 million acres: The area the U.S. Forest Service will be able to treat across seven Western states, thanks to $490 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday. (Idaho Capital Sun)
679: The new area code Michigan has requested to cover the Detroit area. Michigan’s Public Service Commission estimates it will run out of 313 numbers in late 2025. (Detroit Free Press)
Off The Wall
Albuquerque police are looking into whether the man who allegedly orchestrated a plot to shoot at the homes of Democratic lawmakers this year received funding for his own campaign for the state House with money from an alleged drug trafficker. About 40% of the money alleged mastermind Solomon Pena raised for his 2022 campaign came from Jose Luis Trujillo, in federal custody on drug charges, and his mother, Melanie Griego, who said she has never donated to any campaign. (Albuquerque Journal)
Ex-California Democratic Party Secretary Melahat Rafiei has agreed to plead guilty to attempted wire fraud in connection with a corruption investigation in Anaheim involving the proposed sale of Angel Stadium. (Los Angeles Times)
Only products that are “lacteal secretions” would be allowed to call themselves “milk” under a new North Dakota bill backed by state Rep. Dawson Holle (R), a dairy farmer. Holle’s bill omits drinks made from soy, oats, coconuts and almonds. Holle’s grandfather, Kenton, is a lobbyist for the North Dakota Milk Producers Association. (Fargo Forum)
Quote of the Day
“I don’t see why we need to cancel Utah.”
— Mike Brown, a sixth-generation Utahn who opposes a new design for the state flag. A bill authorizing the new design passed the Senate Business and Labor Committee, despite Brown’s protestations, on a 6-1 vote. (KSL)