Pluribus AM: Paid leave coming to Ill.; Tenn., Mont. pass new trans bills; Ohio abortion measure cleared for signatures

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 14, 2023. In today’s edition, paid leave coming to Ill.; Tenn., Mont. move new trans bills; Ohio abortion amendment cleared for circulation:

Top Stories

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Tennessee Senate has approved a measure barring people from changing genders on their driver’s licenses or birth certificates. Legislative officials have warned the bill could cost the state millions in federal funding. (Associated Press) The Montana Senate Finance Committee approved a measure defining sex under state law. Under the bill, a female would have to produce eggs and a male would have to produce sperm. (Missoulian)

MORE: The Arkansas Senate has approved a bill restricting transgender people from the bathroom of their choice at schools. The bill heads back to the House to deal with a minor amendment. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

ABORTION: California legislators unveiled 17 bills to expand reproductive rights, including measures to expand digital privacy protections and barring cooperation with law enforcement agencies that seek identities of those who search for abortion services online. (Los Angeles Times)

PAID LEAVE: Illinois will become the third state to require employers to offer paid time off for any reason after Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation on Monday. Maine and Nevada are the other two that require paid leave. (Chicago Tribune) New Mexico’s House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted to table a paid leave bill that had previously cleared the state Senate, likely killing it for the year. (Albuquerque Journal)

EDUCATION: A Florida House committee has approved a bill threatening universities and colleges with funding cuts if they maintain diversity, equity and inclusion offices or programs. A Senate panel will hear their version of the bill later this week. (Orlando Sentinel) The Georgia Senate gave final approval to a school safety bill that will require annual active shooter drills. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is expected to sign the bill. (Associated Press)

MINNESOTA: After weeks of solidarity, Democrats in the narrowly-divided Minnesota Senate are fracturing over bills on gun control, marijuana legalization and ending taxes on Social Security benefits. Three freshman legislators are on the opposite side of party leadership on all three issues. (Minneapolis Star Tribune) 

MONTANA: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed a $1 billion tax cut and spending package Monday. The measure includes short-term property and income tax rebates and a long-term income tax cut. Individuals could be eligible for up to $1,250 in income tax and $1,000 in property tax rebates over the next two years. (Montana Free Press, Missoulian)

IDAHO: The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee approved a bill to bring back the firing squad as a form of execution, sending the bill to the floor. The bill passed the state House earlier this month. (Idaho Capital Sun)

KENTUCKY: The House approved a bill to phase out property tax on the value of stored bourbon barrels, a top industry priority. (Associated Press) The House also approved a measure to legalize sports betting. The bill faces an uncertain path in the Senate, where it needs a three-fifths vote to advance because it’s a revenue-generating bill offered in an odd-numbered year. (Associated Press)

An appropriate time to remind you to get your brackets in. Kentucky is a 6-seed and Northern Kentucky is a 16-seed.

In Politics & Business

OHIO: Supporters of abortion rights will begin collecting signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment after the Ohio Ballot Board certified their proposal. They have until July 5 to collect 413,446 signatures from at least 44 counties to qualify for the November ballot. (Columbus Dispatch)

NORTH CAROLINA: The state Supreme Court hears new arguments today in Moore v. Harper, the case in which the previous Democratic majority overturned Republican-drawn legislative lines. The court, now under GOP control, could restore those old lines — and make moot a larger case before the U.S. Supreme Court that sought to establish the untested “independent state legislatures” theory. (Associated Press)

CALIFORNIA: A state appeals court has upheld Proposition 22, the Uber- and Lyft-funded ballot initiative that classifies gig workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Expect an appeal to the state Supreme Court. (Sacramento Bee) Ann O’Leary, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) former chief of staff, is repping Walgreens in conversations with the state over Newsom’s threat to end business with the pharmacy giant. (Politico)

TENNESSEE: Nashville officials have formally sued over a new Tennessee law that will cut the size of the metro council in half — a measure lawmakers passed after the metro council rejected efforts to host the 2024 Republican National Convention. The city says the law violates the state constitution’s provisions on local control. (Associated Press)

NEW YORK: Former state GOP chairman Ed Cox is back for a new term. Cox, the son-in-law of former President Richard Nixon, held the job from 2009 to 2019. (State of Politics)

TEXAS: The state Senate gave initial approval to a measure raising the penalty for voting illegally from a misdemeanor to a felony. (Texas Tribune)

MISSISSIPPI: The state Senate has approved a bill allowing local administrators to strike inactive voters from election rolls if those voters do not cast a ballot during a two-year period that includes two federal elections. Voters would have two years to respond to a notice from the state before their names are nixed. (Daily Journal)

MORE: A few weeks ago, we told you that the children of state Sen. Barbara Blackmon (D) and state Rep. Ed Blackmon (D) had filed to challenge their parents in upcoming primaries. Well, as we expected, the senior Blackmons have withdrawn their names from the ballot, leaving only Bradford Blackmon running for his mom’s seat and Lawrence Blackmon seeking his dad’s seat. (Supertalk)

The ol’ Lipinski switcheroo.

DESANTIS: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has scheduled his first trip to New Hampshire. He will headline the state GOP’s Amos Tuck Dinner in Manchester on April 14. (Fox News)

By The Numbers

25: The number of states in which the unemployment rate in January was lower than the unemployment rate in January 2022. New Mexico and New Jersey saw the steepest year-over-year declines of 1.9% and 1.7%. Only one state, Oregon, saw its unemployment rate rise by 1%. (Pluribus News)

127%: The statewide snowpack in Colorado, compared to the median between 1991 and 2020, after successive waves of winter storms. The picture is even brighter in southwest Colorado, where snowpack is approaching 150% of average after years of drought. (Colorado Sun)

11%: The share of Hawaii’s gross domestic product associated directly or indirectly with Hawaiian Airlines in 2022, according to an independent report — even before the carrier was back to pre-pandemic levels. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

Off The Wall

A Chicago man has filed class action litigation against Buffalo Wild Wings, claiming false advertising — because boneless wings are just chicken nuggets. (WGN)

When New York’s Department of Financial Services took over Signature Bank on Sunday, they ended up with a big slice of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) leftover campaign cash. Cuomo’s campaign won’t lose any money after federal regulators said depositors would be made whole. (City & State)

Happy Pi Day! How many digits of pi can you recite? Probably not as many as Keshav Hebsur, an Ann Arbor third grader who can recite pi to 1,300 places. His goal is to match the 100,000 digits memorized by Akira Haraguchi, a Japanese engineer who made it to six figures in 2006. (Detroit Free Press)

3.14159… well, we tried.

Quote of the Day

“The survey results confirmed for us that Idaho potatoes, in any form, are the most versatile vegetable; the pairing options are endless.”

Jamey Higham, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, after the commission teamed up with New York-based Van Leeuwen to create a malted milkshake-flavored ice cream loaded with french fry bites. (KSL) Pints sell for $12 each. (?!?!?!)