Pluribus AM: Red states sue over Biden immigration policies; Whitmer calls for universal pre-K; compulsory voting coming to Wash.?
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. In today’s edition, GOP sues Biden over immigration rules; Whitmer to call for universal pre-K; is compulsory voting coming to Wash.?
IMMIGRATION: Twenty Republican attorneys general sued the Biden Administration over new immigration rules that would admit 30,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela each month. Republicans said the plan, Biden’s most assertive effort to stem a tide of migrants, oversteps the administration’s authority. (Texas Tribune, Associated Press)
ABORTION: GenBioPro, a pharmaceutical company that makes an abortion pill, has filed suit against West Virginia’s ban on abortion medication, the first of a likely wave of litigation challenging state bans. The suit argues the FDA’s approval of the pill supersedes state law. (New York Times)
MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will give her State of the State address today. She will propose universal pre-K for 4-year olds, rolling back taxes on retirement income and increasing the earned income tax credit. (Associated Press) Democrats will not block an income tax cut from 4.25% to 4.05% triggered by rising state revenues. (BridgeMI)
MINNESOTA: Gov. Tim Walz (D) has proposed tax credits worth up to as much as $2,600 per family, paid for by the state’s budget surplus. The checks — $2,000 for families making less than $150,000 a year, or $1,000 for single filers making less than $75,000, plus $200 for each dependent up to three — would cover an estimated 2.5 million residents. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
ARKANSAS: The state Senate became the first in the nation to restrict the location of drag shows, classifying the performances the same way that strip clubs and adult theaters are regulated. The measure passed on a party-line vote. (Talk Business & Politics, Associated Press) At least 20 bills targeting drag shows have been introduced in nine states.
IOWA: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has signed a bill establishing education savings accounts to provide up to $7,600 for students to put toward tuition at private schools. Reynolds has been working toward the measure, her top priority, for the last three years. Reynolds said Iowa will now look for a third-party company to administer the program. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
NEW MEXICO: The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee has advanced a bill that would hold adults criminally responsible if children or teens accessed their firearms. (Santa Fe New Mexican) The House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee advanced a bill to tie the minimum wage to inflation. (Albuquerque Journal)
UTAH: House Republican leaders have signed onto a bill that would bar businesses from requiring vaccine passports. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Walt Brooks (R), passed the House last year but died in the state Senate. (Salt Lake Tribune)
PENNSYLVANIA: The state House will recess until Feb. 27 without reaching a deal on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow survivors of child sexual abuse to seek civil suits against accusers. That’s more than a month after the Jan. 27 deadline by which ex-Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said the legislature had to pass a bill to qualify for the May primary, when voters would have to ratify the amendment. (Harrisburg Patriot News)
OHIO: A debate over rules caused a ruckus in the state House, where Speaker Jason Stephens (R) blocked an attempt by fellow Republicans to open up the committee assignment process. Those Republicans, who backed state Rep. Derek Merrin (R) for Speaker, wanted to allow legislators a full calendar day to review proposed amendments and substitute bills, among other changes. (Columbus Dispatch, Statehouse News Bureau)
In Politics & Business
CALIFORNIA: Opponents of a 2022 law that would raise wages for fast-food workers have submitted enough signatures to qualify a referendum for the 2024 ballot, Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) said Tuesday. A campaign paid for by the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association submitted more than 623,000 signatures to get on the ballot. (Associated Press)
NEW YORK: Voters will decide in 2024 whether to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution, after lawmakers on Tuesday gave final approval to the proposal. (State of Politics, Albany Times-Union)
MISSOURI: Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to increase the threshold for qualifying a state ballot initiative. A plan sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Mike Henderson (R) would require supporters to gather signatures from 10% of voters in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Several similar measures have been floated in the state House. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
TEXAS: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) says he will run for re-election in 2026, reversing earlier plans to retire. (Texas Tribune) “I’m kind of a term-limits guy,” Patrick said in 2020, when he said his 2022 re-election campaign would be his last.
WYOMING: Legislators are considering more than a dozen election reform measures, including bills to require voters to show IDs, blocking so-called “crossover” voting in primaries and restricting absentee voting. (WyoFile)
DESANTIS: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is voicing radio ads in Idaho to call for a constitutional convention to impose congressional term limits. The ads are paid for by U.S. Term Limits, a group that backs a convention of the states. (Tampa Bay Times)
By The Numbers
Up to $1.7 billion: The amount of revenue Massachusetts tax officials expect to collect from a new tax on the wealthiest earners, approved by voters in November. The measure raises state income taxes from 5% to 9% on income exceeding $1 million. (Boston Globe)
$4 billion: The amount Florida would spend on expanding school vouchers under a “universal choice” plan introduced last week in the state House, according to the Florida Policy Institute, a progressive think tank that opposes the plan. (Orlando Sentinel)
$1.7 billion: The amount Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System paid to private investment managers in 2021. New Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) wants to cut the reliance of state pension funds on outside investment contractors. As chair of the Montgomery County Commission, Shapiro moved millions of investments into low-cost index funds. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Off The Wall
Massachusetts state Sen. Barry Finegold (D) has drafted legislation regulating the use of artificial intelligence programs — with the help of ChatGPT. Finegold said he used the groundbreaking AI program to underscore his point that the technology has negative consequences. (Boston Globe)
Maine state Rep. Clinton Collamore (D) faces 33 charges for allegedly forging signatures to obtain public funding for his 2022 election campaign. House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D) called on Collamore to resign over the allegations. (Maine Public Radio)
Quote of the Day
“Just like paying taxes and signing up for the draft for all males, it’s just another civic duty that we would require people to do.”
— Washington State Sen. Sam Hunt (D), on his bill to make voting compulsory. Registered voters would be legally required to return ballots in every primary and general election, though failing to do so would carry no punishment. (Northwest News Network)