Pluribus AM: Texas nears education savings deal

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, November 1, 2023. How was your candy haul? In today’s edition, VP Harris to roll out AI guardrails; Texas nears deal on education savings accounts; infant mortality rises for first time in decades:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Vice President Harris will announce new measures to curb the risks of artificial intelligence ahead of a global summit in Britain. Harris will outline guardrails, and a political declaration seeking to establish global norms on AI development and military deployment that has been joined by 30 other nations. (New York Times)

EDUCATION: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says lawmakers have reached a deal on school choice legislation, but House Speaker Dade Phelan’s (R) allies say House Democrats are using stall tactics to delay passage. Abbott says the deal includes universal savings accounts worth $10,400 a year, increased teacher pay, school funding and safety funding. (Dallas Morning News)

Lawmakers have until Nov. 7 to finish their work in special session, though Abbott has threatened to call them back to Austin if they don’t finalize school choice legislation.

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The New Hampshire legislature heard testimony Tuesday on a new proposal to ban gender-affirming genital surgeries on minors. The pared-down version of the bill does not address non-genital surgeries or hormone treatments like puberty blockers. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH CARE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is taking her case for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act to voters, in a bid to pressure the overwhelmingly Republican legislature to take it up next session. Both House Speaker Dan Hawkins (R) and Senate President Ty Masterson (R) have pledged to block expansion. (KCUR)

PUBLIC HEALTH: A bipartisan group of Ohio representatives has introduced legislation to create a pilot program to provide remote methadone treatment for those trying to overcome opioid addiction. Patients would be monitored daily. Nearly 5,400 Ohioans died of a drug overdose in 2021 alone. (WBNS)

FAMILY LEAVE: Minnesota’s new paid family leave program will cost taxpayers about $628 million more than expected, a new report found. The report cited benefit and administrative costs that will be higher than what the state projected before lawmakers approved the program. (Center Square, Minnesota Reformer)

ELECTIONS: Former President Donald Trump is suing to block Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) from disqualifying Trump from the 2024 elections, as a separate lawsuit seeks to keep him off the ballot over the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. Trump’s attorneys argue enforcement of the 14th Amendment is up to Congress, not state officials. (Bridge MI, Associated Press) A federal judge in New Hampshire has rejected a suit seeking to block Trump from the ballot. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

MORE: Wisconsin lawmakers have begun discussing legislation that would allow elections officials to begin processing absentee ballots a day before Election Day. Officials would not begin counting ballots until Election Day itself, but the measure would allow them to ensure a voter is eligible and has signed their ballot appropriately, in an effort to cut down on Election Day delays. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

MISSISSIPPI: Former President Trump has endorsed Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for re-election, a week ahead of Election Day. In a video filmed for Reeves’s campaign, Trump ties Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) to President Biden. (Mississippi Today, Supertalk) As of Tuesday, new campaign finance reports show Presely has $1.3 million left in the bank, while Reeves has $1.2 million left to spend. Both have spent about $11 million on the race so far. (Pluribus News)

NEW JERSEY: Spending on state legislative races has topped $40 million this year. Democratic candidates have spent $22 million, compared with just $8.5 million spent by Republican candidates, and Democrats hold a three-to-one cash on hand advantage over the final stretch. Democratic outside groups have spent about 60% of the $12 million in independent expenditures. (New Jersey Globe)

MICHIGAN: A panel of federal judges will begin hearing arguments today in a lawsuit challenging state legislative district map lines in Detroit. The suit alleges the new maps, drawn by a bipartisan citizens commission, unfairly diluted the strength of Black voters in the city. (Detroit News)

MORE: The state Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal against former Gov. Rick Snyder (R) over the 2014 Flint water crisis. The ruling effectively means the state’s efforts to bring criminal charges against Snyder and other state officials has ended without any convictions. (Detroit Free Press)

MISSOURI: A state appeals court has rejected Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s proposed description of a ballot measure protecting abortion rights, after supporters said Ashcroft’s language injected political arguments in what is supposed to be an objective description. Ashcroft said he would appeal the decision. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star)

MORE: The House Ethics Committee will meet again this week to consider charges against Speaker Dean Plocher (R), over Plocher’s move to fire his chief of staff. The committee is considering whether the House Clerk has the authority to continue paying the former chief of staff, Kenny Ross, over whistleblower protections. (Kansas City Star)

NEBRASKA: Supporters of abortion rights have filed proposed language for a ballot measure that would restore abortion rights. Planned Parenthood, which backs the initiative, aims to qualify it for the 2024 ballot. (Nebraska Examiner)

By The Numbers

3: The number of states — Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — that set new record-low unemployment rates in September. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been keeping track of state-level unemployment rates since 1976. Maryland’s 1.6% unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation. (BLS)

3%: The increase in the infant mortality rate in the United States last year, the largest increase in two decades. The Centers for Disease Control cited large spikes in maternal complications and bacterial meningitis for the increase. (Associated Press)

$260 million: The net benefit legal marijuana would contribute to Ohio’s economy, according to a Columbus-based economics analysis firm. Ohio voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use in next week’s election. (Ohio Capital Journal)

Off The Wall

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed an executive order Tuesday to delay the date by which his state will have to adopt a new area code. Sununu’s order directs the state Department of Energy to conserve telephone numbers and reclaim unused numbers to maintain the state’s signature 603 area code as long as possible. (WCAX)

Florida state Sen. Joe Gruters (R) voted earlier this year to make it harder to sue property insurance companies. Now he’s raising up to $55 million to start his own insurance firm. A prospectus Gruters is circulating to potential investors says the company projects returns of 165% over five years. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

The new executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party is out, just a week after he took the job. Dave Roetman quit days after the Fargo Forum asked questions about controversial posts he made on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“When the Republicans decided that 35,000 people that work for UW System shouldn’t get a raise, without having any legislation that gives them that authority, that’s just bull****.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), who has sued the legislature for what he says is obstruction of basic government functions. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)