Good morning, it’s Monday, January 15, 2024. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In today’s edition, youth data privacy advocates retool model bill; New Mexico governor lays out gun safety package; Iowans head to frigid caucuses:
Louisiana lawmakers return to work today for a special session. Welcome back to Baton Rouge!
SOCIAL MEDIA: Backers of youth data privacy protections are retooling model legislation, after California’s version of the law was blocked in a lawsuit funded by the tech industry. Supporters of increased protections for youth data will aim to pass new legislation this year in Maryland, Minnesota and New Mexico, and similar laws could be considered in Illinois, Vermont and New York. (Pluribus News)
MORE: Georgia Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R) has introduced legislation to require social media companies to verify the ages of their users, and to require the state Department of Education to develop curriculum around social media safety. Anavitarte said the bill would help reduce cyberbullying. (Georgia Public Broadcasting)
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The Idaho legislature will consider a bill to make it a crime to use sexually explicit images generated by artificial intelligence to harass or extort money from victims depicted. The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted last week to introduce the bill. (Idaho Capital Sun)
GUN POLITICS: New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) introduced legislation Friday that would ban assault-style weapons and implement a 14-day waiting period to purchase firearms. Grisham called the bills the largest and most comprehensive public safety legislation in state history. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
MORE: Columbus, Ohio has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a statewide ban on cities creating their own local gun ordinances. The city wants to enforce a ban on high-capacity magazines and prohibitions on selling guns to someone who cannot legally posses weapons. (Columbus Dispatch)
HOUSING: Oregon’s Housing Production Advisory Council offered 59 potential solutions to the state’s housing crisis aimed at reaching Gov. Tina Kotek’s (D) goal of 36,000 new homes every year. Among the proposals are hefty tax increases aimed at raising $3 billion a year, including personal income, property, retail, payroll and fuel tax increases. (Oregonian)
CIVIL RIGHTS: The Kansas legislature will take up a bill to ban hair discrimination this year. The bill would amend the Kansas Act Against Discrimination to prohibit discrimination associated with hair texture and protective styling involving braids, twists or knots. (Kansas Reflector)
Similar bills, dubbed the Crown Act, have passed in about half the states, both red and blue alike.
WORKFORCE: Delaware lawmakers have passed a resolution encouraging the state to end college degree requirements to fill state jobs. Gov. John Carney (D) recently ended bachelor’s degree requirements for some 350 positions. (Delaware Public Media)
We reported on this a year ago, when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) eliminated degree requirements for thousands of state jobs.
In Politics & Business
IOWA: Iowa Republicans will meet today in caucuses around the state. Former President Donald Trump is likely to run away with the win, while late polls show former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) pulling even with or ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Expect results to begin trickling in around 9 p.m. ET.
Weather check as we go to press: Des Moines stands at -9 degrees F, with a wind chill of -25. Bundle up, caucus goers!
TRUMP: Speaking of the former president, Oregon’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that Trump must stay on the primary ballot. (Associated Press) The Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission will meet Thursday to consider two challenges seeking to remove Trump from the ballot there. (Boston Globe) A Washington State court will consider a challenge to Trump’s ballot status. (Seattle Times)
WISCONSIN: The state Supreme Court has received seven draft legislative district maps they will consider after striking down existing maps as unconstitutional gerrymanders. An analysis by Marquette University research fellow John Johnson found six of the seven maps would reduce Republican advantages in controlling the legislature. (Wisconsin Examiner)
Two consultants hired by the court will evaluate the maps by Feb. 1, after which the high court will choose a winner.
LOUISIANA: Lawmakers begin a special session Monday aimed at redrawing state congressional district lines, after a federal judge ordered the state to create a new Black-majority district. The legislature will also consider changes to the “jungle primary” system, which both Democratic and Republican Party officials want to end. (Associated Press)
MISSOURI: A coalition of groups funded in part by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals said they will launch an initiative campaign to qualify legal sports betting for the 2024 ballot. The ballot initiative would grant Missouri’s six major sports franchises eligibility to receive bets on games. (KCUR)
By The Numbers
$35 million: The damage caused to the Colorado Supreme Court’s office tower after a man allegedly shot his way into the building early on the morning of Jan. 2. The man allegedly set fire to the building, setting off a sprinkler system that rendered three floors unusable. (Colorado Public Radio)
32: The number of years the Detroit Lions went without winning an NFL playoff game, a streak that ended Sunday night with a 24-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Lions lost nine playoff games before Sunday, the longest playoff losing streak in NFL history. (Associated Press)
More than 20: The number of questions on California’s driving test that Department of Motor Vehicle Director Steve Gordon has nixed, in an effort to streamline testing regimes. Among the now-former questions: One asking residents what an NEV is (a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, or golf cart). And two asking about criminal penalties for evading police pursuits. (Los Angeles Times)
Off The Wall
The Federal Highway Administration has no sense of humor. Well, they don’t want electronic traffic signs to have humor, anyway. A new 1,100-page manual released last month requires states to ban references to pop culture or attempts at humor on overhead electronic signs, which the administration says could distract drivers or lead to misunderstandings. (Associated Press)
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ruled in 2020 that Florida and other states could import drugs from Canada if they certify they can conduct the transfers safely. Now Azar chairs the board of LifeScience Logistics, the company Florida is paying $39 million to manage its Canadian drug reimportation program. (WUSF)
Former California House Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D) headlines this year’s class of inductees to the California Hall of Fame. Among the other recipients: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the rock band Los Lobos. (Sacramento Bee)
Quote of the Day
“Are we ever going to solve it? Probably not.”
— Alaska Senate President Gary Stevens (R), on the debate over Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) wants a bigger dividend than legislators would like. (Associated Press)