Pluribus AM: Texas, feds escalate border wars

Good morning, it’s Thursday, January 18, 2024. In today’s edition, Texas, feds escalate border dispute; Iowa sues TikTok; Florida considers banning pride flags in schools:

Top Stories

IMMIGRATION: Texas has refused to allow federal Border Patrol agents access to part of the border with Mexico, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said Wednesday. Paxton said the state would not relinquish control over Shelby Park, which runs along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas. (NBC News) The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday allowed Texas to keep a floating barrier in the Rio Grande while the full circuit considers the Biden administration’s request to remove it. (Associated Press)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird (R) has sued TikTok for allegedly misleading parents by hosting sexual content and profanity while maintaining a 12+ rating on Apple’s App Store. Bird says content moderation policies meant to keep harmful content from minors aren’t being properly enforced. (Cedar Rapids Gazette) The Florida House Judiciary Committee approved a bill banning children under 16 from social media, setting it up for passage in the full House. (Orlando Sentinel)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Missouri Senate began considering a “parent’s bill of rights” that will require teachers to notify a student’s parents if the student changes gender identities. The House Emerging Issues Committee will begin considering legislation ending an exemption that allowed minors already receiving gender-affirming health care to continue getting treatment. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MORE: The Florida House Constitutional Rights, Rule of Law and Government Operations Subcommittee voted to approve legislation to ban the display of LGBTQ pride flags in public buildings or schools. Similar legislation introduced in the Senate has not yet received a hearing. (Orlando Sentinel)

EDUCATION: The Florida Board of Education voted Wednesday to prohibit spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs at the state’s 28 public colleges. Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said the rule would end “state-sponsored discrimination.” The state Board of Governors will meet to discuss the proposed rule next week. (Tampa Bay Times)

GUN POLITICS: The Maine House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to allow victims of gun violence or the attorney general to sue firearms manufacturers or dealers who irresponsibly market or sell their products. Democrats who control the legislature say they want new gun laws following the mass shooting in Lewiston last year. (Portland Press Herald)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The South Dakota House has passed legislation to make xylazine a controlled substance, with illegal possession punishable by up to two years in prison. The drug has been mixed with fentanyl to create a deadly new wave of overdoses around the country. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: The Illinois General Assembly will consider legislation to create a prescription drug price oversight board that would have the authority to set price limits on some drugs. House Speaker Chris Welch (D) has signed on as a cosponsor. (Capitol News Illinois)

HOUSING: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) has introduced three bills aimed to spur housing development, including a bill incentivizing new affordable housing development through density bonuses. Another bill would create a commission to give loans for new development, and a third would create better protections for renters facing eviction. (Maryland Matters)

In Politics & Business

INDIANA: Former Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers (R) has raised $8 million in his bid for governor, including $5 million he loaned his own campaign. U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R) pulled in $4.4 million and finished 2023 with $4.1 million in the bank. Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) finished the year with $3.8 million on hand, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. (Indianapolis Star)

WISCONSIN: Democratic lawyers have asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the state’s congressional district lines ahead of November’s elections, after the high court nixed state legislative district lines. The lawsuit contends the existing lines unfairly benefit Republicans. (Wisconsin Examiner)

LOUISIANA: The state Senate voted to overhaul Louisiana’s congressional district map, creating a second Black-majority district that would likely give Democrats a new seat in Congress. The bipartisan vote, backed by Gov. Jeff Landry (R), now advances to the state House. (Associated Press) The state House approved a bill Landry backs to end the “jungle primary” in favor of closed partisan primaries. (Associated Press)

KENTUCKY: The state Senate voted to shift statewide elections from the year before a presidential election to the same year as a presidential election. If the House approves the same measure, it would be up to voters to decide this November. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: The Michigan Republican Party is in default on a $500,000 loan provided by Comerica Bank, according to a court filing. The bank has demanded immediate payment of the loan, a demand the state party ignored. (Bridge MI)

NEW YORK: Former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) has formed an exploratory committee as he contemplates a challenge to Mayor Eric Adams (D) in 2025. Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is among those said to be considering a run for mayor. (City & State)

By The Numbers

47,000: The number of residents Illinois will add to its official population, after the U.S. Census Bureau formally adjusted its count. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said the Bureau overlooked 40,500 people living in long-term care facilities and 5,800 college students living in dorms. (Associated Press)

381: The number of legal pot dispensaries Minnesota will need to account for public demand, according to the Office of Cannabis Management. That’s one retail shop for every 12,500 residents. (MPR News)

8%, 7.6%: The market share of new car sales for hybrid vehicles and all-electric vehicles, respectively, in the United States last year. Hybrid sales rose 65% year-over-year, while electric sales jumped 46%. Buyers paid an average of $42,500 for hybrid cars and $60,500 for electric vehicles. (New York Times)

Off The Wall

Kentucky state Rep. Nick Wilson (R) has pulled legislation meant to expand the state’s ban against incest after a provision that would have allowed first cousins to engage in consensual sex went viral. Wilson said the legislation striking “first cousins” from the list of familial relatives banned from sex was an inadvertent mistake. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

A postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern University has found about 20 previously unknown stories and poems written by the 19th century author Louisa May Alcott under her own name and pseudonyms, published in local newspapers in Massachusetts in the 1850s and 1860s. One of the stories is a ghost tale that reads like the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” (Associated Press)

The Chicago Bears of Indiana? Indiana state Rep. Earl Harris (D) has introduced a bill to create a regional commission aimed at wooing the NFL franchise across state lines, as the Bears negotiate with Chicago and suburban leaders over a new stadium. (WGN)

Quote of the Day

“We’ve got to have the conversation. We cannot not have it.”

Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R), on whether the state will expand Medicaid to cover more residents under the Affordable Care Act. (Yellowhammer News)