Pluribus AM: Paid leave bills advance; Wash., Colo. advance gun controls; red states review AP’s new course

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. We hope you had a relaxing long weekend. In today’s edition, paid leave scores big wins; Wash., Colo. lawmakers advance gun controls; red states review AP’s new course:

Top Stories

PAID LEAVE: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) is set to sign a bill giving workers paid time off for sick or family leave. While 14 states have paid sick leave policies, the Illinois bill will not require employees to offer a reason for their absences. (WBEZ) The Minnesota House has approved a bill providing workers with an hour of paid time off for every 30 hours they work. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press) 

MORE: South Dakota’s Senate blocked two bills backed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R) that would have expanded paid family leave. (Keloland) Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) will propose adding 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave benefits by 2025. The state would spend $243 million to seed the program, which would then be funded by employer and employee contributions. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

ABORTION: Democratic governors in 20 states will launch a national network aimed at boosting abortion access. The Reproductive Freedom Alliance will share model bill language and executive orders, funded by the California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation. (Associated Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Indiana’s House Education Committee has watered down legislation modeled on Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” bill. The Indiana bill now requires teachers to inform parents when their children change gender identities. (Indianapolis Star) The Minnesota House has approved a ban on so-called conversion therapy. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press) The Missouri Senate Emerging Issues Committee has approved a bill restricting gender-related care for minors. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

GUN CONTROL: Washington lawmakers have kept alive bills prohibiting the sale or transfer of semi-automatic rifles; mandating gun safety training through a permit-to-purchase program; and holding gunmakers liable in some cases of harm. (Crosscut) Colorado lawmakers are likely to pass a bill rolling back extra protections against lawsuits targeting gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers. (Colorado Sun) The Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday approved a permit less carry bill. (Florida Politics)

CHINA: The South Dakota Senate today will debate a bill creating a statewide committee to review future attempts by foreign entities to purchase state farmland. Legislators face a Wednesday deadline to advance bills. (Keloland) The North Dakota House unanimously passed a bill barring foreign governments and businesses from acquiring or holding interest in agricultural lands. (Fargo Forum) The Georgia Senate has approved a ban on TikTok on state devices. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Vermont is at least the 28th state to ban TikTok from state devices. (VTDigger)

EDUCATION: Arkansas Republicans rolled out details of Gov. Sarah Sanders’s (R) education package, which includes boosting starting teacher pay to $50,000 and a new school choice plan allowing families to apply state funding to non-public education. The measure outlaws critical race theory and anything related to sexual orientation or gender identity until 6th grade. (Talk Business & Politics, Arkansas Democrat Gazette) Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) proposed a $1,500 pay raise for K-12 teachers. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

MORE: Officials in Arkansas, Virginia, North Dakota and Mississippi say they plan to review the new AP African American studies course after Florida education officials rejected the course. (Washington Post) Florida officials have been meeting with the founder of the Classic Learning Test, an alternative to the SAT that promotes “great classical and Christian tradition.” (Orlando Sentinel)

Read our story on Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) fight with the College Board over the AP class, and the potential for an SAT alternative, here.

OHIO: The Department of Health will set up a clinic in East Palestine to address medical needs of residents in the wake of the Norfolk Southern train derailment on Feb. 3. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has yet to declare a disaster; he says FEMA tells him Ohio does not qualify for assistance. (Columbus Dispatch)

In Politics & Business

CONNECTICUT: House Speaker Matt Ritter (D) says lawmakers are coalescing behind allowing two weeks of early in-person voting ahead of Election Day, after voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow early voting last year. Lawmakers will hold a hearing this week on bills to create 10, 14 or 18 days of early voting. (Stamford Advocate)

IDAHO: The Senate State Affairs Committee approved measures barring Idaho elections officials from accepting private money to pay for election administration, and to add candidates to existing voter guides. Voter guides at the moment include information only about initiatives and referenda. (Idaho Capital Sun) The state House voted to bar student IDs from the list of acceptable documents necessary to cast a ballot. (Idaho Capital Sun)

MICHIGAN: Former Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo will lead the Michigan Republican Party after defeating former Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno. Former President Donald Trump backed DePerno. (Detroit News)

FLORIDA: State Republicans have chosen Christian Ziegler as their new chairman. Ziegler beat Leon County GOP chairman Evan Power to win the top spot. Power will serve as vice chair. (Orlando Sentinel)

VERMONT: State Democrats elected David Glidden as their new party chair in a unanimous vote Saturday. Glidden, 28, is one of the youngest state chairs in the nation. (VTDigger)

MONTANA: State Republican Party leaders recently informed Marc Racicot they no longer consider him a Republican, after he penned an op-ed in The Washington Post opposing former President Donald Trump. Racicot served two terms as governor and chaired the Republican National Committee under George W. Bush. (Missoulian)

By The Numbers

22,000: The number of Massachusetts residents who have died from Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, more than twice the number of Bay Staters who died in World War II, Vietnam and Korea combined. State lawmakers are considering a Covid “Remembrance Day,” to be designated the first Monday of March. (Newbury Port Daily News)

30,000: The number of jobs created in the cannabis industry in Illinois since legalization took effect in 2020, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). (Forbes)

$1.4 billion: The amount of money Wyoming lawmakers propose socking away in a rainy day fund, the largest savings the state has ever had. (Casper Star Tribune)

2,632: The number of bills introduced by California legislators this year, a new record high. The previous record, set in 2019, stood at 2,576. (California Globe)

Off The Wall

The powerful chair of a California Assembly Budget Subcommittee tasked with overseeing public safety spending is recusing herself from deliberations about the state Department of Justice’s budget — because her husband leads the department. Assemblywoman Mia Bonta (D) said she wouldn’t participate in the budget talks, even though the committee doesn’t have any say over how much Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) earns in salary. (Associated Press)

Commissioners in Lincoln County, Nev., are poised to roll back an ordinance barring the sale of alcoholic beverages in the town of Alamo, population 1,142. Alamo has been a dry town since 1985. (Las Vegas Review-Journal) Color us shocked there’s still a dry town in Nevada — but even if Alamo gets booze, a no-liquor law in the town of Panaca remains on the books.

What’s the most dangerous animal in North America? Not a bear, not a big cat, not a wolf — but deer. Deer are responsible for 69% of animal-related auto accidents, according to State Farm, and 440 of the estimated 458 Americans killed in confrontations with wildlife every year, according to a Utah State University biologist. (Washington Post)

Quote of the Day

“I fully intended to compete. But unfortunately, I left my skis at home.”

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R), attending — but not participating in — an annual ski jump competition at Harris Hill in Brattleboro. Scott is plenty experienced at danger sports: He’s scored more wins than any other late-model stock car racer at Barre’s Thunder Road Speedbowl. (VTDigger)

This item has been updated to fix an error in the Paid Leave item. A previous version misidentified the legislature that blocked a paid family leave plan — it was the South Dakota Senate, not the North Dakota Senate.