Pluribus AM: SCOTUS hears Moore v. Harper; OR gun law blocked; NE gov to seek Senate seat
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. In today’s edition, SCOTUS hears a landmark case; Fla. plans insurance overhaul; Neb. Gov. Ricketts will seek a Senate seat:
SCOTUS: The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in Moore v. Harper, the case that tests the independent state legislature theory that lawmakers are free to regulate federal elections without interference from federal courts. (SCOTUSblog) Catch up with our preview of the case from last month, and our interviews with a prominent supporter and opponent of the independent legislature theory.
OREGON: A Harney County judge has placed a temporary restraining order on Measure 114, a gun safety initiative narrowly approved by voters last month. Judge Robert Raschio’s ruling came hours after a federal judge allowed the measure to take effect as planned. The case in Harney County challenges the measure under the Oregon Constitution. (Oregonian)
FLORIDA: Legislators plan a major overhaul of the state’s property insurance system in a special session next week, including provisions to lower the cost of lawsuits, increasing the availability of reinsurance and boosting the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. They will also consider bill credits for frequent users of toll roads. (Orlando Sentinel)
MINNESOTA: State budget officials say huge growth in tax revenues will lead to an almost $18 billion surplus, nearly double the projections from 10 months ago. Legislative leaders said they were considering eliminating state taxes on Social Security payments; Gov. Tim Walz (D) wants to issue rebate checks to residents. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)
MAINE: Gov. Janet Mills (D) released her proposal to provide $450 checks to low-income residents dealing with high winter energy costs. If the plan wins approval from two-thirds of the legislature, the Mills administration says it can get the checks out the door by mid-January. Mills also called for $40 million in additional funding for low-income home energy assistance programs, and $21 million to open new shelters. (Portland Press Herald)
NEW MEXICO: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) will push a bill to provide free school meals to all public school students, regardless of family income level. About 80% of public school students are already eligible for free or reduced-price meals. (Albuquerque Journal) We wrote about this trend in other states back in October.
OHIO: Legislators pushing a measure to bar transgender girls from female sports have dropped a provision allowing genital exams to verify gender. Senate President Matt Huffman (R) and House Speaker Bob Cupp (R) both called the provision unnecessary. (Columbus Dispatch) The Ohio High School Athletic Association says only one transgender girl in the entire state plays on a varsity team.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem (R) proposed both the largest-ever state budget, at $7.2 billion, and the largest-ever tax cut in state history in her annual budget address. Noem proposed ending a sales tax on groceries, though legislative Republicans like Senate President Pro Tem Lee Schoenbeck (R) questioned whether the state could afford it. (South Dakota Searchlight, KELOLAND)
ILLINOIS: Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signed amendments to the SAFE-T Act, allowing authorities to detain individuals accused of violent crime and clarifying the process of warrants and summonses for those who fail to appear for hearings. The criminal justice overhaul is still subject to several lawsuits from bipartisan groups of state’s attorneys and sheriffs. (Chicago Tribune)
MARYLAND: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued an emergency directive banning the use of TikTok on state-owned devices over privacy concerns, following Republican governors in other states. Hogan’s order also applies to apps and products from Huawei, ZTP Corp, Tencent, and other companies tied to China and Russia. (CBS Baltimore)
MICHIGAN: The legislature has given final approval to a resolution to place a statue of the late former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young (D) in Statuary Hall. The statue of Young, Detroit’s first Black mayor, would replace a statue of Lewis Cass, Michigan’s second territorial governor who served as Secretary of War under Andrew Jackson. (Detroit News)
NEBRASKA: Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) says he will be an applicant to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R), who is quitting to become president of the University of Florida. Gov.-elect Jim Pillen (R) will make the appointment. (Nebraska Examiner) Ricketts gave Pillen’s campaign $1.3 million. So there’s that.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: For the first time since Gerald Ford was president, legislators will meet today to pick a Secretary of State not named Bill Gardner. David Scanlan, who replaced the retiring Gardner last year, is expected to win bipartisan support, though he faces a challenge from ex-state Sen. Melanie Levesque (D). (WMUR)
TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will nominate retiring state Sen. Jane Nelson (R) to serve as Secretary of State, after incumbent John Scott announced his retirement. Nelson, who has served in the legislature for 30 years, is likely to be confirmed by the Senate. Abbott’s last three nominees have gone unconfirmed. (Texas Tribune)
ARIZONA: A schism among top Democrats is emerging over the race to chair the state Democratic Party. Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D) backs Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo. Sen. Mark Kelly (D), Secretary of State-elect Adrian Fontes (D) and Attorney General-elect Kris Mayes (D) back current vice chair Yolanda Bejarano. (Arizona Republic)
PEOPLE: Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro (D) has named campaign manager Dana Fritz as his chief of staff. Jennifer Selber, who runs the Attorney General’s criminal division, will be Shapiro’s general counsel, and Uri Monson will serve as budget secretary. (Associated Press) Oregon Gov.-elect Tina Kotek (D) has named Andrea Cooper as her new chief of staff. Cooper works as a deputy chief of staff to outgoing Gov. Kate Brown (D). (Oregonian)
By The Numbers
13,000: The number of challenges to federal internet speed data lodged by the Colorado Broadband Office. The data, issued by the Federal Communications Commission, will serve as the basis for $42 billion in infrastructure grants. The challenges will help the state win more of that money to improve high-speed internet in rural communities. (Colorado Sun)
$511 billion: The amount of money Americans spend on illegal online sports books, internet casinos and unregulated slot machines, according to a new report commissioned by the American Gaming Association. State governments miss out of $13 billion in yearly tax revenue from the illegal bets — $2 billion more than they collect from gaming. (Nevada Independent)
0: The number of “murder hornets” found in Washington State this year. State residents and entomologists set more than 1,000 traps to find the invasive bugs earlier this year. (Seattle Times)
Off The Wall
Maine Republicans have introduced legislation that would prohibit businesses from receiving equipment tax reimbursements if they have banned or restricted the sales of any Maine-produced products. The measure is meant to punish Whole Foods, which has paused the sale of Maine lobster over concerns about the industry’s threat to endangered right whales. (Maine Public Radio)
The International Olympic Committee will postpone a decision on the location of the 2030 Winter Games, citing concerns about the impact of climate change on potential hosts. Salt Lake City is vying against Sapporo, Japan and Vancouver, Canada for the right to host either the 2030 or 2034 games. (KSL)
Quote of the Day
“The people of San Francisco have spoken loud and clear: There is no place for killer police robots in our city.”
— San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston, after the Board of Supervisors voted to halt a plan to allow police to use robots capable of lethal force. (Sacramento Bee)