Pluribus AM: Tenn. passes trans youth care ban; Ohio working on rail safety upgrades; post-Super Bowl holiday in N.M.?
Good morning, it’s Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. The first Spring Training games happen this afternoon in Arizona and Florida. In today’s edition, Tenn. passes trans youth care ban; Ohio working on safety upgrades after derailment; N.M. working to make Super Bowl Monday a holiday:
LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Tennessee House has approved a bill to bar gender-affirming care for transgender youth, sending it to Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) desk. Tennessee’s legislature is the fourth this year to approve a ban, after Utah, South Dakota and Mississippi. (Associated Press)
MORE: The Montana House has given initial approval to a bill barring drag performances on public property where minors are present. (Montana Free Press) The Idaho Senate Education Committee approved a bill barring anyone from using a bathroom that doesn’t match their biological sex. (Idaho Reports) Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley (R) says his caucus is exploring legislation barring gender-affirming care for transgender youth. (Des Moines Register)
ABORTION: Wyoming’s Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously backed a bill barring abortions, with exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. A previous version passed the state House by a wide margin. (Casper Star Tribune) A New Mexico Senate panel has approved a measure to limit cooperation with law enforcement agencies in other states seeking to punish abortion providers and patients. (Associated Press)
OHIO: State legislators have proposed changes to railroad safety laws in the wake of the derailment in East Palestine two weeks ago, including requirements that trains have at least two crew members, and that tracks install updated cameras and sensors. A lobbyist for the Ohio Railroad Association said the crew member requirement could be unconstitutional. (Statehouse News Bureau)
ARKANSAS: The Senate approved Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s (R) education overhaul package, which includes expanded voucher programs and a big salary increase for starting teachers. The bill now heads to the state House, where the Education Committee is scheduled to take it up next week. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) The Senate also backed a bill barring local governments from prohibiting or limiting short-term rentals. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
GEORGIA: The state House approved a $1 billion income tax rebate and the state Senate voted for a $1 billion property tax rebate on Thursday. Both were part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) plans for the $6.6 billion surplus the state ran in the last fiscal year. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
COLORADO: State Democrats unveiled a package of gun control measures Thursday, including bills to create a three-day waiting period; raise the age of possession to 21; add extra officials and professionals to the list of those who can file Extreme Risk Protection Orders; and allow lawsuits against firearm manufacturers. (Colorado Public Radio, Denver Post)
TEXAS: House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) said he would prioritize measures to expand Medicaid eligibility for new mothers up to a year after they give birth; end a tax on feminine hygiene products and diapers; enact new protections on consumer data; and protect children from what he called “addictive algorithms.” (Texas Tribune)
UTAH: The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved a bill to create a commissioner to oversee efforts to save the Great Salt Lake, after the lake’s water level dropped to record lows over the summer. (Deseret News) Don’t miss our story on Utah’s efforts to save the lake, here.
NEW MEXICO: A measure providing employees with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave is headed to the full Senate after winning approval in the Finance Committee. The bill would levy a new 0.4% wage tax on employers and 0.5% on employees to fund the program. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
In Politics & Business
ELECTIONS: Senior national cybersecurity leaders are urging local election administrators to upgrade defenses ahead of next year’s presidential contest in the face of foreign and domestic threats. Foreign actors scanned state and local government websites close to the midterm elections, one administration official said, though election systems weren’t targeted. (Stateline)
LOUISIANA: U.S. Rep. Garret Graves (R) says he’s facing “extraordinary pressure” to run for governor this year. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), Treasurer John Schroder (R), state Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R) and state Rep. Richard Nelson (R) are already in the race. Graves says he’s not impressed with the field. (Lafayette Daily Advertiser)
NEVADA: Silver State voters will decide whether to remove slavery and involuntary servitude from the state constitution after the state Senate unanimously approved a resolution placing the question on the 2024 ballot. (Las Vegas Review-Journal, Associated Press)
KANSAS: The state Senate voted Thursday to ban ballot drop boxes outside of elections offices, and both the House and Senate approved bills to require absentee ballots to arrive by Election Day. The bills did not receive veto-proof majorities, though Gov. Laura Kelly (D) hasn’t commented on either proposal. (Kansas City Star)
MONTANA: The state Senate has approved a measure setting a $3,700 filing fee for proposed ballot measures to offset costs incurred by the state Attorney General and legislature. The bill would also bar initiatives that are “substantially the same” as measures defeated over the previous four years. (Missoulian)
PENNSYLVANIA: House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D) has proposed a new rules package that would limit a majority leader’s ability to kill legislation and give rank-and-file members the power to force votes on bills. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star) Sounds like someone doesn’t plan to step down from the Speakership any time soon.
By The Numbers
960,000: The number of votes cast in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court primary election Tuesday, a 36% increase over the previous record turnout set in 2020. Even more impressive, that last record came in an election that also featured the Democratic presidential primary. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
$35,000: The amount Oregon elections officials have fined the state Democratic Party for failing to disclose the identity of an FTX executive who donated $500,000 in the month before Election Day. Democrats said they would fight the fine. (Oregonian)
10.8: Inches of snow that fell on Portland, Ore., on Wednesday, the second-largest snowfall since record-keeping began in 1939. (Oregonian)
Off The Wall
Did you have trouble getting up the morning after the Super Bowl? New Mexico’s Senate Indian, Rural and Cultural Affairs Committee is taking the step so many have called for, advancing a measure to make the day after the Super Bowl a legal state holiday. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
Iowa state Rep. Jeff Shipley (R) has introduced a bill barring margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oil from school lunches. Shipley says his bill will help kids avoid trans fats found in the butter substitute. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
After all, there ain’t no margarine cow at the Iowa State Fair.
Quote of the Day
“Clearly, there’s some constitutional amendment that voters supported back in the day that says, ‘If you’re a governor of Texas, you must consider running for president.’”
— Dave Carney, chief strategist to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Next year may be the first presidential cycle since 1952 in which no Texan mounts a bid for the White House — though did Carney just drop a hint about Abbott’s plans? (Associated Press)