Pluribus AM: S.C. abortion ban still alive; Fla. legislature hands DeSantis big wins; Alaska extends Medicaid to new moms

Good morning, it’s Monday, May 8, 2023. In today’s edition, S.C. abortion ban still alive; Fla. legislature hands DeSantis big wins; Alaska extends Medicaid to new moms:

Top Stories

CRYPTO: The Connecticut House has approved legislation regulating owners of virtual crypto kiosks — known as crypto ATMs. The bill would allow first-time crypto investors to cancel their transactions within 72 hours and limit investments to $2,500 per customer. (Middletown Press)

ABORTION: The South Carolina House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on a Senate-passed bill to ban abortions after cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks. House Majority Leader Davey Hiott (R) said the bill will hit the floor on Thursday, the final day of the legislative session. A stricter ban failed in the state Senate. (The State)

CHINA: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has issued an executive order banning the Chinese-owned Tencent app from state devices. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting) Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) has signed a bill prohibiting the sale or lease of agricultural land or critical infrastructure to governments or businesses from China and several other foreign adversaries. Gianforte also said he would sign a bill blocking TikTok from the entire state. (Missoulian)

HEALTH CARE: The Alaska legislature has given final approval to a bill extending Medicaid coverage to new mothers for a full year. The bill was introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), who intends to sign it. (Anchorage Daily News)

HOUSING: Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) has filed budget proposals creating a low-income housing tax credit and a $29 million fund to spur housing developments. About half the states have low-income housing tax credits. (Boston Globe, Providence Journal)

CRIME: The Alabama legislature has approved a bill outlawing exhibition driving — intentionally creating tire skids, doing donuts and burnouts and street racing. (Yellowhammer News) The North Carolina legislature has approved a bill removing jail mugshots from the public sphere if someone is not convicted of a crime. (NC Newsline)

RAILROADS: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has issued a recommendation that railroad companies maintain two-person crews on freight trains running through the state. Eight other states — Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and California — already require two-person engine crews. (Kansas Reflector)

EDUCATION: Texas public universities will still be allowed to grant tenure under a revised version of a Senate education bill. The new version codifies tenure in state law, but it requires university regents to include instances in which a university can dismiss a tenured professor. (Texas Tribune)

FLORIDA: The state legislature unanimously adopted a $117 billion budget including $2.7 billion in tax cuts before adjourning early on Friday. The budget includes a 5% pay raise for state workers and a permanent sales tax exemption for baby products. (Orlando Sentinel) Read our analysis of Florida’s remarkable session here.

OREGON: State regulators have licensed the first legal psilocybin treatment center, in Eugene. The facility will begin offering psilocybin treatments soon. (Oregonian) Oregon Republicans stayed away from the Senate over the weekend, denying a quorum and halting work on abortion, transgender rights and gun control bills. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

In Politics & Business

NEW JERSEY: U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D) has signed veteran strategist Michael Soliman as he considers a 2025 bid for governor. (New Jersey Globe) Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) is already in the race, while U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D), former Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) and teacher’s union chief Sean Spiller are all meeting with party leaders to talk about the race.

WASHINGTON: Ex-U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) is considering a run for governor, according to donors who have spoken with her. (Spokane Spokesman-Review) Beutler would be the most prominent Republican in the race.

Shout out to one wag who emailed us, tongue firmly in cheek, to wonder about ex-Rep. Dave Reichert’s (R) candidacy. Reichert considered, and then dropped, gubernatorial bids on so many occasions that we lost count.

FLORIDA: A pro-abortion rights coalition intends to begin collecting signatures for an amendment enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution. State Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried says the ballot language will be unveiled this week. (The 19th)

MINNESOTA: Gov. Tim Walz (D) has signed legislation creating automatic voter registration and a permanent absentee ballot list. The bill will also allow 16- and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote. (Minnesota Reformer, MPR News)

ARIZONA: House Democratic leader Andres Cano (D) will resign at the end of the legislative session to begin a graduate program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. (Arizona Republic, Associated Press) The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has appointed Julie Willoughby (R) to replace ousted state Rep. Liz Harris (R) in the legislature. (Arizona Republic)

OKLAHOMA: State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R) has won election to chair the state Republican Party, ousting incumbent A.J. Ferate. (Tulsa World)

TEXAS: The House General Investigative Committee has recommended that state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) be expelled for inappropriate sexual conduct with a 19-year old intern. The full House could vote as early as Tuesday on expulsion. (Texas Tribune, Associated Press)

By The Numbers

48 million: The number of “nips,” or single-shot liquor bottles, sold in Connecticut in the last six months. A nickle-per-nip tax has generated $6.6 million for Connecticut cities and towns in the last year. (New Haven Register)

$31 million: The amount candidates and outside groups have spent campaigning for mayor of Philadelphia, the most expensive race in city history. Real estate magnate Allan Domb and grocery store owner Jeff Brown have poured millions of their own money into the campaign. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

26: The number of governors who have proposed teacher pay raises this year, the highest number in almost two decades. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Racing to finish its work for the year, the North Dakota legislature approved an adjustment to a pension carve-out for some state law enforcement employees. But a clerical error meant lawmakers approved the wrong version of the bill. The mistake might mean Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has to call legislators back into session to make a fix. (Fargo Forum)

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office has paused an investigation into a $500,00 contribution the state Democratic Party received last year that was allegedly donated under a false name by an executive at FTX, the failed cryptocurrency exchange. The reason for the delay: A request by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York that investigators stop talking to the executive, Nishad Singh, until after the October trial of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. (Oregonian)

Why do the bubbles in champagne flow straight to the top of the glass, while bubbles in other carbonated drinks zoom all over the place? Because of ingredients that act like surfactants, molecules that reduce the tension between liquid and gas, according to researchers at Brown University and the University of Toulouse. (Boston Globe)

We will happily volunteer for their next champagne-related study.

Quote of the Day

“Sometimes, elected officials have to look the taxpayers in the eye and say I screwed up, and that is why I should have never hired Michael Gableman.”

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), on the former state Supreme Court justice he chose to investigate the 2020 election. Gableman spread misinformation and eventually turned on Vos, backing a primary challenger who narrowly lost. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)