Pluribus AM: States tackle learning loss; GOP boosts bail requirements; Ill. to regulate ride share companies

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Good morning, it’s Monday, March 20, 2023. In today’s edition, states tackle learning loss; GOP boosts bail requirements; Ill. wants to regulate ride-share companies:

Top Stories

EDUCATION: States are debating how and when to hold students back if they don’t meet 3rd grade reading requirements. Red states have embraced allowing students to take another year as they deal with pandemic-era learning loss, while Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is poised to roll back her state’s retention law. (Pluribus News) The Florida House approved a bill extending vouchers to all students, regardless of income. (Orlando Sentinel)

ABORTION: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) on Friday signed legislation banning the prescription or administration of four abortion-inducing medicines. Gordon also allowed a bill criminalizing abortion to become law without his signature. (Pluribus News, Casper Star Tribune) Hawaii lawmakers have passed a measure protecting women’s right to access abortions. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Republican lawmakers in 14 states have introduced bills to increase the number of non-bailable offenses, require more cash bail and encourage judges to consider a defendant’s criminal record in setting bail. Wisconsin voters will decide on a referendum expanding bail requirements next month. (Associated Press) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) will allow a bill that increases penalties for property damaged in riots to become law. (Carolina Journal)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has vetoed a bill barring transgender athletes from girls’ sports leagues. (Kansas Reflector) Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) allowed a transgender athlete ban to become law without his signature. (Casper Star Tribune) The Idaho Senate will consider a measure barring gender-affirming care for transgender minors. (Boise State Public Radio) Maryland’s House of Delegates has approved a bill requiring Medicaid to cover gender-affirming treatments. (Maryland Matters)

ESG: Nineteen Republican governors have written to President Biden opposing environmental, social and corporate governance investing practices in federal retirement funds. Congress voted to block a new Labor Department rule that targets oil and gas industries; Biden is expected to veto the resolution. (Deseret News)

CALIFORNIA: The state has partnered with Civica, a health care nonprofit, to manufacture California-branded insulin they will sell for just $30, about 10% of the typical cost for cash-paying patients. The first doses are expected to roll off the line next year. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said California is now exploring whether to produce its own version of Naloxone, the overdose-reversing drug. (Associated Press, Sacramento Bee)

ILLINOIS: The state House has approved legislation to treat ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft as “common carriers,” opening them to the same type of liability as taxis and public transportation. (Capitol News Illinois)

FLORIDA: The state House has approved a package of bills limiting lawsuits against insurance companies and businesses. The bills would limit a plaintiff’s ability to recover attorney’s fees. The state Senate could vote on companion legislation as early as Wednesday. (Florida Politics)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed legislation banning non-compete agreements in health care occupations. The state already bans non-competes for physicians and nurses; the new bill expands that ban to cover physical therapists, social workers, athletic trainers and therapists. (Keloland)

NEW MEXICO: Legislators approved a $1.1 billion tax relief plan on Saturday, the final day of session. The package will provide $500 in individual rebates, $600 tax credits per child and gradual reductions on sales and business service taxes. (Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: State Rep. Francis Thompson joined the Republican Party on Friday, giving the GOP its first-ever supermajority in the House of Representatives. Thompson, elected as a Democrat to represent his northern Louisiana district, is the longest-serving legislator in state history. (Pluribus News)

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will ask legislators to advance a ballot measure funding residential facilities for 12,000 people suffering from mental illness and addiction. The initiative would raise $3 billion to $5 billion in general obligation bonds if voters approve in 2024. (Los Angeles Times, Associated Press)

OHIO: Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) has pulled out of the Election Registration Information Center, the interstate consortium that cleans voter rolls. LaRose said the bipartisan organization hadn’t adopted the reforms he had proposed. Florida and Missouri left the group earlier this year. (Columbus Dispatch)

WASHINGTON: A new survey from the Northwest Progressive Institute shows Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier (R) leading a hypothetical 2024 gubernatorial matchup with 35%. Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) takes 21%, and state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) and King County Executive Dow Constantine (D) take 7% each. (Cascade Advocate) Constantine told supporters over the weekend he will not run. (Seattle Times)

INDIANA: The Public Retirement System has contracted with Strive Advisory, the anti-ESG firm headed by presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy (R). The contract, signed before Ramaswamy entered the presidential contest, would pay the firm up to $150,000. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

By The Numbers

$444 million: The amount of money businesses and interest groups spent lobbying the California legislature last year, an all-time record. The Western States Petroleum Association spent the most, $7.3 million. More than 1,000 businesses spent at least $100,000. (Sacramento Bee)

18,800: The number of Connecticut state employees who made at least $100,000 last year. More than 12,800 state employees have base salaries in the six figures, according to state data. (Hartford Courant)

$36 million: The amount of tax revenue Illinois marijuana businesses have collected … from Wisconsinites. Republican legislative leaders say they are discussing whether to legalize medical marijuana. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Off The Wall

Florida has awarded a $4.57 million contract to Operation BBQ Relief, a Missouri-based nonprofit, to deliver food to survivors of Hurricane Ian. One of the group’s top executives is state Sen. Jay Collins (R), who won election weeks after the contract was awarded. (Orlando Sentinel)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said it would allow a family in Bucktown to keep its nutria, a swamp rat that has grown to 22 pounds. Neuty the nutria spends its days swimming in the pool and going for rides in the family pickup truck. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

Quote of the Day

“I wish I could credit it to our genius advocacy, but let’s be honest, it’s because the federal and then the state court both went stark raving mad.”

An attorney who participated in the campaign against Judge Hector LaSalle’s nomination to be chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, reflecting on the unprecedented campaign that ended in LaSalle’s defeat. (City & State)