Good morning, it’s Thursday, December 28, 2023. In today’s edition, previewing red state legislative priorities; social media companies earn billions advertising to minors; Michigan court allows Trump on ballot:
REPUBLICANS: Red state legislative leaders plan to use legislative sessions in 2024 to cut tax rates and offer new education reforms, from teacher pay raises to parental bills of rights and disciplinary measures. In interviews with us over the last few weeks, Republican leaders said they are planning new tax cuts, though they are cognizant that the boom budget years are coming to a post-pandemic end. (Pluribus News)
Don’t miss our preview of what’s coming in blue state legislatures across the country, right here.
PUBLIC HEALTH: Iowa and Nebraska have told the U.S. Department of Agriculture they will not participate in a federal food assistance program aimed at feeding low-income kids during the summer months. Other states have until Jan. 1 to notify USDA they will participate in the summer program; only 23 states had done so by Wednesday, the agency reported. (Pluribus News)
States are required to cover half the program’s administrative costs. In Iowa’s case, that would amount to $2.2 million.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media companies made over $11 billion in advertising revenue from minors last year, according to a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. YouTube alone generated about $959 million from users age 12 and under, followed by Instagram at $801 million. (Associated Press)
New York, Utah and other states advanced bills regulating social media company interactions with minors this year. Expect a lot more action in next year’s sessions.
IMMIGRATION: The Democratic mayors of Chicago, New York City and Denver once again asked the Biden administration for federal help with the growing number of migrants arriving in their cities by bus and plane. The mayors criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), whose administration has sent more than 80,000 migrants north this year, for failing to coordinate with their cities. (Associated Press)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador (R) plans to appeal a federal judge’s preliminary injunction blocking a state ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors that was set to take effect Jan. 1. (Idaho Statesman) A federal judge in Alabama has denied a Biden administration request to pause a lawsuit challenging a transgender care ban while other courts consider similar challenges. (The Hill)
GUN POLITICS: Virginia Democrats have filed legislation to ban assault-style weapons and to hold gun owners liable if minors access or use their firearms. The measures have solid chances of passing the legislature once Democrats take full control after November’s elections, but they are likely to meet Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) veto pen. (WTVR)
TRANSPORTATION: New Jersey legislators have given final approval to a measure requiring the state Department of Transportation to make annual pothole counts public. Even before Gov. Phil Murphy (D) acts on the bill, the DOT released three overdue pavement condition reports covering fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023. (NJ Advance Media)
In Politics & Business
TRUMP: Michigan’s Supreme Court said it will not hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling allowing former President Donald Trump to stay on the primary ballot. The lower court rejected a request from voters to kick Trump off the ballot over the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. (Associated Press)
MORE: The Colorado Republican Party has appealed the state Supreme Court’s decision to boot Trump from the ballot earlier this month. The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court will stay the state-level court’s pause on its own ruling until Jan. 4, the day before primary ballots are due at the printer. (Associated Press)
Trump has promised his own appeal.
WISCONSIN: The state Supreme Court’s ruling striking down legislative district lines calls for new remedial map proposals by Jan. 12. Two independent redistricting consultants will evaluate the maps by Feb. 1, with the goal of finalizing new maps by mid-March in order to have ballots ready for Wisconsin’s August primary. (Wisconsin State Journal)
PEOPLE: Ben Kieckhefer, chief of staff to Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R), will step down early next year. Lombardo’s office said Kieckhefer would be replaced by Ryan Cherry, a former top aide to Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison (R) and former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R). (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
By The Numbers
9.7%: The economic growth rate, on an annual basis, Kansas experienced in the third quarter of the year, the highest in the nation, according to new figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GDP rates grew by more than 7% in Texas, Nebraska and Idaho. GDP was up in all 50 states. (BEA)
$531,000: The amount paid by the California State Athletic Commission in pension benefits to 33 retired boxers, the most the commission has forked out since it began making pension payments in 1999. Fewer than a quarter of eligible retired boxers have claimed their pension payments. (Los Angeles Times)
Off The Wall
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott (D) and fiancee Hana Pugh welcomed their first child on Tuesday — Charm Jamie Scott, an homage to Baltimore’s nickname, Charm City. (Baltimore Sun)
Pods of orca whales are showing up in unexpected places in Southern California, apparently drawn by a booming population of dolphins. The orcas are feasting on the dolphins, which arrive in mega-pods that are easy to hunt. (Los Angeles Times)
Quote of the Day
“Every DOT director everywhere in the world says there’s a backlog.”
— Washington Senate Transportation Committee chairman Marko Liias (D), on why he’s not worried about his state’s backlog of transportation projects. (Seattle Times)