Pluribus AM: Right-to-work repeal in Mich.; licensure reform in S.D.; Elvis’s relative running for governor

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. In today’s edition, Mich. Dems prepare right-to-work repeal; S.D. wants licensure reform; Elvis’s relative is running for governor:

Top Stories

MICHIGAN: A bill to repeal right-to-work legislation was among the first introduced in the legislature Wednesday, a decade after then-Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a law barring labor contracts from requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Democrats also proposed a measure to reinstate a prevailing wage law repealed in 2018. (Detroit News)

IOWA: Lawmakers will begin hearings next week on Gov. Kim Reynolds’s (R) proposal to allow parents to spend up to $7,500 in public funds on private school tuition. Reynolds’s office estimates the plan would cost $107 million in the first year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette) House Republicans introduced a bill similar to Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill. House Speaker Pat Grassley (R) co-sponsored the measure. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem (R) will introduce legislation that would streamline recognition of out-of-state licenses “for nearly every profession,” she said Wednesday. South Dakota has 23,000 open jobs that need to be filled; Noem pointed to Arizona, where licensure reform helped fill thousands of vacancies. (Dakota News Now)

VERMONT: Democrats will push a measure guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to all Vermont workers, including part-time and seasonal employees. Gov. Phil Scott (R) vetoed paid family leave bills in 2018 and 2020, but Democrats now hold a supermajority in the state House. (VTDigger)

PENNSYLVANIA: The state Senate has approved a constitutional amendment allowing victims of child sexual assault to file civil claims against their accusers. The Republican-controlled Senate added measures to require voters to show IDs at the polls and to make it easier to override a governor’s regulations, putting the overall package’s fate in question in the state House. (Spotlight PA)

GEORGIA: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will pledge pay raises for state employees and public school teachers in his second inaugural address today. He will also propose $1 billion in state income tax refunds and a $1 billion property tax rebate, money that comes from the state’s $6.6 billion surplus. (Associated Press)

WISCONSIN: Senate Republicans plan to vote today to allow conversion therapy for LGBTQ people, two years after overriding a ban on the practice approved by the Department of Safety and Public Standards. The ban has been back in effect since Dec. 1, though lawmakers can reverse it without giving Gov. Tony Evers (D) the chance to issue a veto. (Associated Press)

ALABAMA: Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said women who use abortion-inducing medication could be prosecuted under a state law designed to protect children from fumes generated by meth labs. A 2019 law barring most abortions in the state does not allow women who receive abortions to be held criminally liable. (

MORE: Senate Education Budget Committee chairman Arthur Orr (R) said he expects a proposal to send $500 million in taxpayer rebates later this year. The state education trust fund has a surplus of between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion. (

In Politics & Business

MISSISSIPPI: Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) will challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) this year. Presley, a relative of Elvis, signaled he would focus on corruption. (Mississippi Today) No Democrat has won Mississippi’s governor’s office since Ronnie Musgrove won re-election in 1999.

OHIO: State Rep. Derek Merrin (R) insists he is the leader of House Republicans, even after he lost a race to become Speaker to rival Rep. Jason Stephens (R). Merrin caucused with the 35 Republicans who backed him for Speaker in a private meeting Wednesday. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Statehouse News Bureau)

TEXAS: State House leaders shot down a proposal to ban Democrats from holding committee chairs. At the same time, Republican leaders backed a measure that would impose new fines and even expulsion for legislators who break quorum, two years after Democrats fled to Washington to prevent Republicans from approving new voting restrictions. (Texas Tribune) The Texas legislature has a long history of giving members of the minority committee chairs.

MISSOURI: State Rep. Ann Kelley (R) has proposed new dress code rules that would require women to wear jackets on the state House floor. Some Democrats objected to the change: “I’ve seen a lot of lack of decorum in this room in my two years here and not once has that lack of decorum spurred from someone’s blazer or lack thereof,” said state Rep. Ashley Aune (D). (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

By The Numbers

4.7 million acre feet: The amount of water added to California’s 154 largest reservoirs since Dec. 1, enough to cover the annual consumption of 23 million people. The Shasta reservoir has risen 37 feet; the Oroville reservoir has risen 97 feet. (San Jose Mercury News)

$113 million: The amount of money raised by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) for her second campaign against Gov. Brian Kemp (R). Kemp, who won by more than 7 percentage points, raised $78 million. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Talk about inflation: Abrams raised $27 million and Kemp raised $21 million in their first matchup in 2018.

639: The number of humans who have flown to space. Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello says that number will double in the next 10 years. DiBello said he expected investment in space infrastructure in Florida to grow to $10 billion over the next decade. (Florida Politics)

Off The Wall

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) briefly retired from office before taking the oath to serve a new term. Yost’s temporary exit allowed him to begin drawing a public pension even while he continues to make $124,000 for the rest of his term — a completely legal practice that will give him tens of thousands of dollars in additional compensation. (Columbus Dispatch)

Massachusetts lawmakers and history buffs helped escort a “sacred cod” that once hung in the Old State House through the streets of Boston to the current capitol in a recreation of the move it made 225 years ago. Matthew Wilding, a tour guide who carried the 5-foot statue, still had to go through security when he got to the new state house. About 250 people following Wilding chanted “Cod fish! Cod fish!” during the procession. (Boston Globe)

Sacred cod would be a great band name.

Quote of the Day

“If there’s somebody who’s spoken against expansion more than I, more publicly than I, I just don’t know who that would be.”

North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger (R), a longtime opponent of Medicaid expansion who’s now backing the plan to extend coverage to low-income residents. (Pluribus News)