Pluribus AM: Snake-bitten. Twice.

Good morning, it’s Friday, May 17, 2024. In today’s edition, lawmakers advance nuclear bills; New Hampshire, Louisiana approve transgender restrictions; abortion amendment headed to South Dakota ballot:

Top Stories

ENERGY: Lawmakers in more than half the states considered nuclear energy legislation this year, and expansions were approved in Kentucky and Virginia. Industry advocates are pushing Michigan lawmakers to approve legislation that would create signing bonuses for newly graduated nuclear engineers. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Legislation barring transgender girls from school sports teams that conform to their gender identities is headed to New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) desk after the Senate approved it Thursday. It’s not clear whether Sununu will sign the bill; he signed laws in 2018 and 2019 to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. (Boston Globe)

MORE: Louisiana lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to legislation requiring people at schools to use bathroom and changing room facilities that conform to their sex assigned at birth. The bill now heads to Gov. Jeff Landry (R), who is likely to sign it. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

MASKS: The North Carolina Senate approved legislation this week to repeal a pandemic-era law allowing masks in public for health reasons. The new bill will increase penalties for those who wear a mask while committing a crime. Lawmakers cited recent demonstrations at UNC Chapel Hill. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) has signed legislation requiring purchasers of firearms to undergo training first. Concealed carry permit holders and law enforcement officers are exempt from the requirement. A state sportsman’s group immediately sued to block the law. (Delaware Public Media)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) has signed legislation placing the animal tranquilizer xylazine on the controlled substances list. The legislation will prohibit possession of the drug without a license or authorization. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

HOUSING: Missouri lawmakers have approved legislation to block local governments from issuing eviction moratoriums. Local governments and courts in Kansas City and St. Louis had issued moratoriums during the pandemic. (Kansas City Star)

MEDIA: The Illinois legislature is debating a measure to create a tax credit for news publishers based on the number of reporters they employ. The $25,000 tax credit per journalist would only be open to “independently owned” outlets, not subsidiaries of publicly traded companies. (Capitol News Illinois)

TAXES: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has vetoed a bipartisan package of tax cuts. Kelly said the cuts, largely to personal income tax rates, would have cost too much. She plans to call lawmakers back into special session in the coming months. (Kansas City Star)

In Politics & Business

SOUTH DAKOTA: A proposed constitutional amendment that would protect reproductive rights will appear on November’s ballot after Secretary of State Monae Johnson (R) certified that supporters had submitted 46,000 valid signatures, 11,000 more than required. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

FLORIDA: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation barring offshore wind-energy generation and erasing references to climate change. The references to climate change were approved in 2008, under then-Gov. Charlie Crist, at the time a Republican. (Tallahassee Democrat)

TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has pardoned an Austin man convicted last year of murdering a Black Lives Matter protestor. Daniel Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing Garrett Foster during a 2020 protest. Abbott directed the state parole board to review the case, required under state law before he could issue the pardon. (Texas Tribune)

OREGON: Recently released emails between the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and alcohol industry leaders show the commission set aside valuable bottles of rare spirts for some of the businesses they regulate. The emails show the commission regularly provided access to the well-connected, outside of an existing lottery system. (Oregonian)

By The Numbers

More than 1.5 million: The number of new housing units the United States added between 2022 and 2023. More than a third of the total new homes were built in just three states — Texas, Florida and California. (Pluribus News)

More than $20 billion: The price tag for a giant tunnel California is building to capture more rainwater to prepare for drought. The cost of construction has risen $4 billion since the last estimate, in 2020. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Former West Virginia Del. Doug Skaff (R) has had a rough week. He finished second in the Republican primary for Secretary of State, then he was bitten by not one but two copperhead snakes while removing campaign signs. Skaff is recovering in the hospital. (WV MetroNews)

Watch out, Capitol Hill: A group of more than 100 Connecticut pizza makers are flying to Washington to join U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) when she reads a statement into the Congressional Record formally declaring New Haven the Pizza Capital of the United States. (New Haven Register)

Quote of the Day

“There’s a lot of buy-in to vote by any method available, and the vote-by-mail bogeyman is beginning to fade.”

Bill Bretz, chairman of the Westmoreland County (Pa.) Republican Party, on Republican efforts to restore confidence in absentee voting among their base. (Associated Press)