Pluribus AM: Tech industry takes on California

Good morning, it’s Thursday, July 27, 2023. In today’s edition, tech industry sues over California’s age-appropriate design law; automakers to build new EV charging stations; Iowa senator arrested during RAGBRAI:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: Hearings begin today in a tech industry challenge to California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code law, which a right-of-center trade group says violates the First Amendment and threatens online privacy. The lawsuit, brought by NetChoice, alleges the law meant to protect minors violates the Commerce Clause and is preempted by federal law. (Pluribus News)

Children’s privacy is the low-hanging, bipartisan fruit lawmakers have been working on this year. That doesn’t mean the tech sector is happy about it.

POLLUTION: A bipartisan group of 22 attorneys general on Wednesday urged a federal court to reject a proposed $10.3 billion settlement with 3M over drinking water contaminated with PFAS “forever” chemicals. The attorneys general say the deal doesn’t give water suppliers enough time to determine whether the settlement would cover cleanup costs. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Ohio will begin offering free feminine hygiene products at middle and high schools under a $5 million provision included in the state budget. About 30 states have passed laws easing access to menstrual supplies. Ohio ended sales taxes on period products in 2019. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

EDUCATION: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed bills Wednesday expanding bargaining power for teachers’ unions and making it easier for out-of-state teachers and counselors to get licenses to work. One measure will allow public schools to deduct union dues or fees from employee paychecks. Two more bills would recognize out-of-state teaching licenses. (Detroit Free Press)

MORE: The Tennessee Education Association has sued to block a two-year-old law prohibiting instruction around race and gender. The lawsuit argues the law is unconstitutionally vague and violates the Fourteenth Amendment. (Tennessee Lookout)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Michigan is the 22nd state to outlaw conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors under legislation Gov. Whitmer signed Wednesday. One of the bills Whitmer signed creates criminal penalties for therapists who use conversion therapy on minors. (MLive)

HOMELESSNESS: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation Wednesday creating an interagency task force on homelessness, centralizing programs across 17 departments and agencies to get people off the streets. State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe (D), the bill’s chief sponsor, said the average wait time for someone to receive housing services is 802 days. (Capitol News Illinois)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Seven major automakers announced plans Wednesday to build 30,000 vehicle charging ports on major highways in the U.S. and Canada, nearly doubling the number currently available. The companies — BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis — will invest $1 billion in the joint venture. (New York Times)

In Politics & Business

MISSISSIPPI: A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that would create criminal penalties for people who help others with absentee voting. The judge wrote the law violates Voting Rights Act protections for disabled voters. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

OHIO: Attorney General Dave Yost (R) is making plans to run for governor in 2026, when Gov. Mike DeWine (R) faces term limits. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R) and conservative policy analyst Matt Mayer (R) have already filed to run. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MASSACHUSETTS: State Auditor Diana DiZoglio (D) said she will sue the House and Senate after legislative leaders stonewalled her plans to audit the legislature. DiZoglio said the legislature is the only government entity that has refused her efforts to conduct an audit. She asked Attorney General Andrea Campbell (D) to back the suit. (Boston Globe)

MAINE: Gov. Janet Mills (D) will allow a bill calling for a referendum on whether to redesign the state flag to become law without her signature. The decision means the referendum will be delayed until the 2024 elections. Supporters of the change want to revert to a 1901 flag design that features a pine tree and a lone blue star. (Portland Press Herald)

PEOPLE: Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery (R) died Wednesday, just a day after he announced he would resign after suffering debilitating strokes. He was 66. (Talk Business & Politics) Our condolences to the Arkansas capital community.

By The Numbers

$5.2 billion: The amount of money Illinois overpaid in unemployment benefits during the pandemic, according to a state audit. Tens of millions went to those who were incarcerated or deceased. (Center Square)

$48.8 million: The amount special interest groups spent lobbying Maryland legislators this year. Northeast Maglev, a company trying to develop a high-speed transportation line between Washington and Baltimore, spent more than any other firm lobbying legislators, $542,206. (Baltimore Sun)

14: The number of local governments in Colorado, out of 336 that are eligible, that have applied for affordable housing under a voter-approved ballot measure that allocates $151 million to help lower housing costs. The remaining governments have until Nov. 1 to apply. (Colorado Sun)

Off The Wall

Iowa state Sen. Adrian Dickey was taken into custody after refusing to abide by a law enforcement officer during the annual RAGBRAI bike ride across Iowa. A Sac County Sheriff sergeant said Dickey refused to move from the middle of the road. Dickey said he is innocent. (Associated Press)

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) allowed $49,000 from the state general fund to go to Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke’s (D) office so she could make payroll on the final day of the fiscal year. The bailout helped Luke avoid potential negligence charges she would have faced if she overspent her allotted budget. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Photo of the day: A New Hampshire family fishing off Cape Cod caught an incredible shot of three humpback whales breaching in unison in the open ocean. Click through, it’s a pretty incredible shot. (Boston Globe)

Quote of the Day

“It’s clear that the sides are still far apart, but he is deeply concerned about the impact a prolonged strike can have on the regional and state economy.”

Anthony York, a spokesman for California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who has offered to help mediate strikes by writers and actors that have brought Hollywood to a halt. (Associated Press)