Pluribus AM: Red states target abortion pills; IRS won’t tax state relief; why Vermont’s governor bought a tape measure

Good morning, it’s Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. In today’s edition, red states target abortion bills; IRS won’t tax state relief payments; Mont. redistricting process comes to an end:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Republican attorneys general in 23 states are backing a Texas lawsuit to remove abortion-inducing medication from shelves. The suit challenges the FDA’s decision to approve mifepristone to end pregnancies back in 2000. (Kansas Reflector) At least five states — Wyoming, Iowa, Missouri, West Virginia and Texas — are considering bills to ban or restrict access to abortion-inducing drugs. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: An Indiana state House committee advanced a measure last week to protect parents who don’t support their transgender children from abuse allegations. (Indiana Capital Chronicle) North Dakota’s state House voted to approve bills to bar school districts from creating policies to accommodate transgender students unless parents give permission and from providing classroom instruction recognizing gender identity that differs from sex at birth. (Fargo Forum)

MORE: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says he will support legislation barring transgender collegiate athletes from competing on teams that match their gender identities. Texas already has a law barring transgender athletes from K-12 sports that match their gender identities. (Texas Tribune)

TAXES: The Internal Revenue Service said Friday it will not tax state relief payments that qualify as “general welfare and disaster relief” payments. The announcement covers rebates — and allows taxpayers to file their taxes — in 20 states. (Los Angeles Times, Washington Post)

IOWA: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has filed new legislation to fine school districts up to $5,000 for violating parental rights in education. The bill expands the definition of “sexually explicit material” that should be banned from school libraries and requires school districts to notify the Department of Education when it has removed a book from the shelves. It requires schools to notify parents if a child changes gender identities. (Iowa Starting Line)

OHIO: Social media companies would be required to get parental consent for users under the age of 16 under Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) budget proposal. The provision would require social media companies to send written confirmation to parents. (Columbus Dispatch)

WISCONSIN: Gov. Tony Evers (D) has proposed repealing personal property taxes, expanding research tax credits and $1.2 billion in middle class tax cuts. Legislative Republicans back a flat tax, which Evers has said he will veto. (Wisconsin State Journal, WisPolitics)

IDAHO: House Health and Welfare Committee chairman John Vander Woude (R) has proposed legislation repealing Medicaid expansion. Idaho voters approved expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2018. (Idaho Press)

ARIZONA: The Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced a bill making catalytic converter theft a felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $150,000 fine. More than 1,000 catalytic converters have been stolen in Arizona in the last seven months. (Phoenix New Times)

UTAH: Legislative leaders plan to eliminate a state sales tax on food, but only if voters remove a provision in the state constitution guaranteeing funding for education. The constitution requires that income taxes can only pay for public education and social services. Sales and gas taxes pay for the rest of state government. (Salt Lake Tribune)

In Politics & Business

MONTANA: The decennial redistricting process is complete, after independent commission chair Maylinn Smith backed a legislative district map proposed by two Democratic commissioners. The map likely guarantees Republican control of the legislature for another decade. (Missoulian, Daily Montanan)

MISSISSIPPI: The state Senate has advanced two bills to restore the ballot initiative process, after the state Supreme Court struck it down over a technicality. The initiative process would not allow citizens to amend the constitution or change local laws. The legislature would have the authority to amend initiatives by a two-thirds vote. (Magnolia Tribune)

NORTH CAROLINA: State Democrats elected campaign organizer Anderson Clayton, 25, as their new chair, ousting incumbent Bobbie Richardson, who had support from Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and Attorney General Josh Stein (D). Democrats ousted three sitting vice chairs, as well. (WRAL)

FLORIDA: Former state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) will run to chair the Florida Democratic Party. She will face former state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who entered the race earlier this year. Fried lost the Democratic primary for governor last year, while Taddeo lost a bid for Congress. (City & State FL)

KANSAS: State Republicans elected long-time activist Mike Brown as their new chair in a narrow vote. Brown replaces retiring chair Mike Kuckelman. (Kansas City Star, Associated Press)

MASSACHUSETTS: State Democratic Party chair Gus Bickford will retire after six years at the helm. He backs former Lt. Gov. Steve Kerrigan (D) as his replacement. Massachusetts Democrats will vote on a new chair at their April 24 meeting. (Boston Globe)

GEORGIA: Republican Party chairman David Shafer will not run for a new term. He backs former state Sen. Josh McKoon (R) as his successor. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

By The Numbers

More than 40: The number of election-related bills filed in South Dakota’s legislature so far this year. Legislative leadership and members of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus have competing bills working their way through committee. (South Dakota Searchlight)

24,000: The number of Washington State residents with past felony convictions who are eligible to vote. But just 414 actually cast a ballot in the 2022 midterm elections, and fewer than one in ten have registered. (Crosscut)

Off The Wall

We hear Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) dispatched an aide to a hardware store during this weekend’s NGA meeting in D.C. to buy a tape measure for New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), so Sununu could measure the drapes at the White House. Hat tip to a couple of sources of ours who asked not to be named.

Last week, we told you about a scandal in Oregon’s Liquor and Cannabis Commission that involved six senior agency officials diverting highly valued spirits for their own consumption. Now, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) has launched a criminal investigation into the scheme. (Oregon Capital Chronicle, Oregonian)

Dinner with the kids? Not at Nettie’s House of Spaghetti. The Tinton Falls, N.J., Italian joint has barred children under the age of 10 from its dining room, citing “recent events.” (Fox 5 NY)

Quote of the Day

“I was single when I started, and I would be single again if I did it again.”

Montana Redistricting Commissioner Dan Stusek, on whether he would serve on the independent redistricting commission again in a decade. Stusek got married last year. (Daily Montanan)