Pluribus AM: Taylor Swift and the ticketing bots

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Good morning, it’s Friday, January 26, 2024. In today’s edition, lawmakers tackle ticket resellers and bots; GOP governors back Abbott; Minnesota advances aid-in-dying bill:

Top Stories

CONSUMER PROTECTION: Legislators in Arizona, Maryland and Washington this week took up bills to crack down on ticket resellers and excessive fees. The bills require price disclosures, ban delivery fees and outlaw bots used to snap up tickets before the general public can buy them. (Pluribus News)

The Washington State legislation is dubbed the TSWIFT Act. Cute.

IMMIGRATION: Republican governors in 25 states said Thursday they support Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as he refused to abide by a U.S. Supreme Court decision ordering the state to allow Border Patrol agents access to a part of the Rio Grande River. Abbott declared his state is being invaded by undocumented immigrants. (Texas Tribune)

ABORTION: The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would set a statewide referendum to ban abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy. Current state law allows the procedure up to 20 weeks. The measure passed over the opposition of Democrats and ten Republicans. (Associated Press)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Kentucky House approved a package of criminal justice bills that would impose tougher sentences, including a three-strikes penalty for those who commit violent offenses. The bill would raise penalties for fentanyl dealers if a user dies, and creates a standalone carjacking law. (Associated Press)

MORE: The Indiana Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring police departments that poach new officers from other counties or cities to pay for a portion of the officer’s training and equipment. Some Indiana localities have been wooing officers from others with the promise of higher salaries. (Northwest Indiana Times)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: An Iowa House subcommittee will hear testimony over legislation that would remove discrimination protections for transgender people from the state’s Civil Rights Act. Judiciary Committee chairman Steven Holt (R) killed a similar bill in 2020; now he says he’s open to the conversation. (Des Moines Register)

MORE: A Missouri House committee approved a bill barring medical providers from prescribing hormone and puberty blockers for minors, and a measure allowing health care professionals to refuse to provide gender identity transition care if it contradicts personal beliefs. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

HEALTH CARE: The Minnesota House Health Finance and Policy Committee approved a measure that would allow people with terminal illnesses to end their lives. Ten states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical aid in dying since Oregon went first in 1994. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

RAILROADS: An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved legislation requiring railroads to deploy train defect detectors every 15 miles along branch lines. The bill comes as rail traffic in Eastern Iowa has increased since a merger between two freight rail companies last year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

In Politics & Business

MISSOURI: Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin (R) and Sen. Bill Eigel (R) held a tense exchange on the Senate floor Thursday after O’Laughlin said she’d like to expel Eigel over delay tactics he and conservative Freedom Caucus members have used to slow proceedings. Missouri’s Senate has not debated any legislation on the floor in its first four weeks of work. (Associated Press)

IOWA: Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) filed legislation that would prevent state residents from challenging a presidential candidate’s eligibility to run for office under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. The bill would also remove requirements that a candidate be barred from the ballot if they are convicted of a felony. (Des Moines Register)

OHIO: Attorney General Dave Yost (R) rejected language summarizing a ballot proposal known as the Ohio Voter Bill of Rights, a title he called misleading. Supporters of the measure, which includes automatic voter registration and expanded early voting options, will have to come up with a new title. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CALIFORNIA: Don’t expect Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to endorse a successor anytime soon. Asked whether he would weigh in on the increasingly crowded field lined up to replace him when he faces term limits in 2026, Newsom “grumbled about having only served ‘five goddamn years.’” (Los Angeles Times)

CRIME BLOTTER: Minnesota Rep. Brion Curran (D) pleaded guilty to fourth-degree driving while intoxicated after being arrested in October. If the plea deal is approved, Curran will have to pay a fine and attend a victim impact program. (MPR News)

By The Numbers

43%: The share of state legislators who say they have faced harassment and threats during their current terms in office. Lawmakers say the severity of threats has increased. Women and minority lawmakers are more likely to experience threats of violence than their white male counterparts. (Pluribus News)

21.3 million: The number of people who signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace plans for 2024, the third straight year ACA signups have set a new record. (New York Times)

$45 million: The amount Pacific Gas & Electric will pay in a fine approved by the California Public Utilities Commission for the 2021 Dixie Fire, the second-largest fire in state history. The fire cost the state $637 million to suppress. (Sacramento Bee)

Off The Wall

California Sen. Scott Wiener (D) has proposed legislation that would require vehicles sold in the state to be equipped with speed governors to limit how fast they can travel. The bill would require those governors to limit cars to 10 m.p.h. over the speed limit. (Los Angeles Times)

Bryn Mawr College chemistry professor Michelle Francl suggests adding a pinch of salt to tea to make the perfect cup — and the entire United Kingdom is furious. In a cheeky statement seeking to paper over the international outrage, the U.S. Embassy in London said it would “continue to make tea in the proper way — by microwaving it.” (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“When I first heard it, I thought it was unseemly for a governor, but I guess I’m getting used to it.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Russ Diamond (R), on Gov. Josh Shaprio’s (D) motto: “Get s*** done.” (Associated Press)

If you need us, we’ll be over here clutching our pearls.