Pluribus AM: Storms soak Northeast

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, July 11, 2023. In today’s edition, storms swamp Northeast; Newsom signs infrastructure bills; Texas GOP reaches property tax deal:

Top Stories

STORMS: More than eight inches of rain fell across Vermont and parts of New York Sunday and Monday, flooding towns and swelling rivers. Dozens of people have been rescued from storm waters, highways have been closed and Amtrak canceled service to Burlington. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared an emergency in two Hudson Valley counties. (VTDigger, New York Times, City & State)

Click here for a dramatic photo of flooding in Montpelier, with the state capitol building in the background.

INFRASTRUCTURE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed a package of five bills aimed at streamlining large-scale water, transportation, clean energy and broadband internet projects. The bills will limit legal challenges based on the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, to nine months. (Pluribus News)

TAXES: Texas lawmakers have reached a compromise on property tax cuts that will lower school property tax rates, raise the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000, and temporarily cut appraised values of non-homesteaded properties valued at up to $5 million. Property tax cuts had been a major sticking point between Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R). (Pluribus News)

HEALTH CARE: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has signed legislation capping the price of insulin, EpiPens and asthma inhalers. Murphy also signed a bill preventing pharmacy benefit managers from engaging in practices that make drugs more expensive. (NJ Advance Media)

The major lobbying fight over pharmacy benefit managers happening in D.C. is starting to play out at the state level. Watch for more bills next year.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has signed legislation legalizing fentanyl test strips, joining at least 20 other states that have approved similar measures in recent years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

ABORTION: Advocates and opponents will converge on the Iowa Capitol grounds today as lawmakers return for a special session to consider new abortion restrictions. Lawmakers will vote on a bill banning abortion after cardiac activity is detected. (Cedar Rapids Gazette) A federal court has ordered a freeze on a section of North Carolina’s new abortion law that requires doctors prescribing abortion pills to confirm that fertilized eggs are implanted in a woman’s uterus. (NC Newsline)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A Shawnee County district court judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing Kansas residents from amending gender declarations on driver’s licenses, siding with Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) over Gov. Laura Kelly (D). The judge’s order does not apply to birth certificates. (KCUR)

GAMBLING: A provision in Ohio’s state budget will increase the amount of taxes sports betting companies must pay from 10% to 20%, a move Gov. Mike DeWine (R) hopes will cut down on aggressive advertising campaigns. At least four betting companies have been fined this year for advertising campaigns that broke state rules. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

In Politics & Business

UTAH: The state Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments challenging congressional district boundaries. The League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs allege the legislature intentionally drew boundaries to split Salt Lake County between all four districts, diluting the vote in the most liberal part of the state. (Salt Lake Tribune)

TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has appointed longtime aide Angela Colmenero as Attorney General, replacing interim pick John Scott, who will step down at the end of the week. Scott said in a resignation letter that he always intended to serve only briefly. Impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) goes on trial in the Senate in September. (Texas Tribune)

Speaking of ousted AGs…

INDIANA: Former Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) will run for governor, he said Monday. Hill lost renomination in 2020 amid allegations that he groped several women, including a state lawmaker. Hill denied those allegations. He faces U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R), Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) and businessman Eric Doden (R) in the GOP primary. (Indianapolis Star)

ARIZONA: Attorney General Kris Mayes’s (D) chief of staff Amy Love will resign effective Aug. 7, Mayes’s office said Monday, about eight months after Mayes took office. Love previously worked for U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D), and as a lobbyist for the state Supreme Court. (Arizona Republic)

PEOPLE: Montana Senate President Jason Ellsworth (R) is under orders not to contact or come near his partner under a temporary protective order accusing him of physical abuse. (Missoulian) Minnesota Rep. Dan Wolgamott (D) was arrested Friday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

By The Numbers

50,000: The number of people who could receive $20 gift cards if they donate $1 to North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s (R) presidential campaign. Burgum needs at least 40,000 individual donors to qualify for the first Republican presidential debate. (The Hill)

That’s … kinda clever.

77,000: The number of recipients disenrolled from Arkansas’s Medicaid program in June, the highest monthly total since Covid-19 emergency rules ended. A total of about 218,000 people have been disenrolled in Arkansas since the emergency ended. (Talk Business & Politics)

Off The Wall

Colorado Reps. Elisabeth Epps (D) and Bob Marshall (D) have filed suit against House leadership and both the Democratic and Republican caucuses, alleging their colleagues violated open meetings laws by gathering to discuss official business away from public view. Epps and Marshall say fellow representatives used the messaging app Signal, which automatically deletes messages, to communicate. (Associated Press, Colorado Sun)

We don’t think we’ve ever heard of representatives suing an entire chamber before.

The nonprofit National Trust for Local News has entered into a purchase agreement to take over five daily newspapers and 17 weeklies in Maine. When the deal closes, the nonprofit will acquire the Portland Press Herald, the Lewiston Sun Journal, the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and the Times Record in Brunswick. The current owner of those papers said in March he was exploring a sale. (Boston Globe)

Quote of the Day

“All I did was get up and open the door like a foot wide … and a leg comes right into the door and gets me right in the groin.”

Clare County, Mich., Republican Party chairman Mark DeYoung, who was kicked by a fellow GOP activist at a Michigan Republican Party meeting on Saturday. DeYoung filed a complaint against the activist, James Chapman, who claimed he was acting in self defense. (Bridge MI)