Pluribus AM: States tackle deepfakes; Ohio, Pa. move AirTag tracking bans; GOP sues over Calif. trucking rule

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, June 7, 2023. In today’s edition, states tackle deepfakes; Ohio, Pa. move AirTag tracking bans; GOP sues over Calif. trucking rules:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: Lawmakers in Illinois, Minnesota, Texas and Washington have approved bills this year cracking down on deepfake videos, often pornographic in nature or used to try to influence elections. The bills vary widely, but some allow victims to sue for damages, and others require creators to include disclosure statements on their videos. More than two dozen bills related to so-called synthetic media were introduced in legislatures in nine states this year. (Pluribus News)

MORE: An Ohio Senate committee has approved legislation to create a new criminal charge of using a device or app to track a person without their consent. At least 26 other states and the District of Columbia have passed bills relating to AirTags and other tracking devices. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a similar bill. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

STILL MORE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a digital bill of rights giving residents the ability to control their personal data and the right to opt out of having their personal data sold. (News4Jax)

We previewed the legislation late last month. Read all about it here.

EDUCATION: A proposed $85.7 billion budget offered by Ohio Senate Republicans includes a provision to expand the state school voucher program to extend to any K-12 student whose family makes less than 450% of the federal poverty line. Students whose families make more than that would be eligible for partial vouchers. Current law applies only to those in low-performing districts whose families are at or below 250% of the federal poverty line. (Statehouse News Bureau, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Louisiana lawmakers gave final approval to a measure banning gender-affirming care for minors, and a bill banning K-12 public school employees from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) opposes the bills, but has not said whether he will veto them. Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in the legislature. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed legislation extending the state’s assault weapons ban, banning open carry of firearms and barring the possession of so-called ghost guns. The bill also extends safe-storage laws to all firearm owners. (Hartford Courant)

TRUCKING: Nineteen Republican attorneys general, led by Iowa’s Breanna Bird (R), are suing the EPA challenging a decision to allow California to require truck manufacturers to sell increasing numbers of zero-emission trucks. The regulation requires zero-emission trucks and buses to account for between 40% and 75% of vehicles sold by 2035. (Cedar Rapids Gazette, Iowa Capital Dispatch)

ABUSE: Michigan lawmakers have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the civil statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse from age 28 to 52. The bill would give victims a two-year window to sue retroactively, regardless of the time limit. (Associated Press)

TAXES: Connecticut lawmakers approved a bipartisan budget that will cut income taxes for roughly 1 million of the state’s 1.7 million tax filers. Gov. Lamont called it the largest personal income tax cut in state history. (Hartford Courant, CT Mirror) Alabama lawmakers gave final approval to a measure exempting overtime pay from state income tax beginning in 2024. The cut will expire in June 2025 unless lawmakers renew it before then. (Associated Press,

In Politics & Business

COLORADO: Former state Sen. Mike Johnston (D) won election to become Denver’s next mayor, replacing three-term incumbent Michael Hancock. Johnston bested former Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough in a battle between two moderates who emerged from the 16-candidate field in the April primary. (Denver Post)

INDIANA: Former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) is considering running for governor, three years after allegations of sexual harassment cost him his bid for renomination. Hill’s law license was temporarily suspended by the state Supreme Court, which found “convincing” evidence of wrongdoing. (Associated Press)

DELAWARE: New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer (D) formally announced his campaign to replace term-limited Gov. John Carney (D) next year. (Delaware Public Media)

MICHIGAN: The House Elections Committee has approved a bill along party lines to join the National Interstate Popular Vote Compact. (Michigan Advance) Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has formed the Fight Like Hell PAC to support federal candidates running in next year’s elections. She’ll aim to back President Biden and the Democratic nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). (Bridge MI)

Just saying, this is a step a lot of future presidential candidates take as they consider their futures.

OHIO: A bipartisan group of lawmakers are spearheading a proposed constitutional amendment to remove involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime. More than a dozen states, and the U.S. Constitution, still have language in founding documents that allow slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. (Columbus Dispatch)

NEVADA: The legislature returns to a special session today to consider a package of tax incentives and county bonds to help the Oakland Athletics build a stadium near the Las Vegas Strip. Lawmakers have been asked to approve the $380 million package to lure the A’s. (Las Vegas Sun, Nevada Independent)

By The Numbers

16.4%: The share of Wisconsin state employees, not counting those who work for the University of Wisconsin system, who left their jobs in FY 2022, a staggering increase over past rates. More than 5,700 full-time positions in state agencies were vacant as of last June. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

State data shows workers who quit for reasons other than retirement rose faster than those who retired. (Wisconsin Examiner)

$1.3 billion: The amount Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts reported spending on mental health services in 2022, up from $610 million in 2019. The number of behavioral health visits doubled, too, from 4 million to 8 million. (Boston Globe)

48,830: The number of Americans who lost their lives to gun violence in 2021, according to new research from Johns Hopkins University. About 26,000 of those deaths were attributed to suicide, while nearly 21,000 were homicides, both substantial increases from 2020 — which was already a record year for gun deaths in America. (NPR)

Off The Wall

Congratulations to the architects of the U.S. Post Offices in Los Angeles; New York City; Columbus, Ind.; and Winslow, Ariz., all of which were named to Architectural Digest’s list of the 11 most beautiful post offices in the world. They’re in pretty good company — check out the post office in Mexico City, which looks more like a Gilded Age opera foyer. (Architectural Digest)

Quote of the Day

“That’s a whole long story.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who signed legislation relating to open records that went missing for more than a week after it passed both chambers of the legislature. Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan (R) must both sign bills before they are forwarded to Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Patrick blamed an organizational snafu. (KXAN) More background on the missing bill here.