Pluribus AM: The 400-year education plan

Good morning, it’s Thursday, July 6, 2023. In today’s edition, Iowa lawmakers will consider new abortion restrictions; Wis. Gov gets creative with his veto; Ohio pot, abortion measures likely headed for the ballot:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will call legislators back into special session on July 11 to pass new abortion restrictions, after the state Supreme Court deadlocked over a previous abortion ban. State Republicans were hoping the court’s ruling would give them some clarity, but the deadlock means none of the justices’ opinions create a precedent. (Des Moines Register)

EDUCATION: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) used his partial veto authority to sign a new state budget that increases funding for public schools by $325 per pupil every year until 2425. That’s not a typo — he struck a single hyphen that will expand education spending for the next four centuries. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Ohio legislators gave final approval to an $86 billion budget that funds universal school vouchers. (Associated Press)

MORE: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) is dropping his push for a school choice program amid opposition from his own party in the state House. Shapiro said he would push for tuition vouchers for students in failing schools another year, rather than hold up the state’s $45.5 billion budget. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

HEALTH CARE: Doctor’s offices and hospitals can no longer require visitors, patients and employees to wear masks under emergency rules published by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration. Patients may only be required to wear masks in common areas if they are exhibiting symptoms of or have been diagnosed with an infectious disease. (Florida Politics)

MORE: Maryland’s Medicaid program will begin paying for community violence prevention services and pregnancy and postpartum care for non-citizens. A Healthy Babies initiative will aim to reduce the number of maternal deaths, and the program will cover four months of postpartum care. (Baltimore Sun)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has vetoed measures barring gender-affirming care for minors, restricting transgender participation in school sports and limiting classroom lessons on gender identity and sexuality. Republican lawmakers are expected to override all three vetoes when they return next week. (Associated Press)

CIVIL RIGHTS: The California Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill banning caste discrimination, adding castes to the list of protected classes in civil rights, housing and employment laws. The bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin in May. (CalMatters)

ENERGY: Eight New England states have asked the federal Department of Energy to fund and coordinate an interregional transmission planning collaborative to improve the flow of power between the Northeast and grids in New York and New Jersey. The goal is to improve clean energy transmission to fight climate change. (Maine Public Radio)

In Politics & Business

OHIO: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights turned in more than 700,000 signatures Wednesday, far surpassing the 414,000 required to make the ballot in November. Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s (R) office has until July 25 to certify the signatures. (Pluribus News)

Remember, Ohio voters will decide in August whether to raise the threshold by which constitutional amendments must pass, from a simple majority to 60%.

MORE: Backers of legal recreational marijuana submitted 222,198 signatures to qualify a new ballot initiative yesterday. They need at least 124,046 of those signatures to be valid to make the 2023 ballot. (Columbus Dispatch) The legal pot initiative had to clear a lower bar because it would only change statute, rather than amend the constitution.

NEW MEXICO: The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that state courts have the authority to rule on whether congressional district lines unfairly advantage one party or hurt another. The ruling aids a case brought by state Republicans, who challenged a U.S. House map approved by the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

CALIFORNIA: New Speaker Robert Rivas (D) is reshaping leadership in the Assembly. Assemblyman Isaac Bryan (D) will serve as majority leader, and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry will serve as speaker pro tempore. Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D), an ally of ex-Speaker Anthony Rendon (D), has lost his seats on the budget committee and several subcommittees. (Sacramento Bee)

KENTUCKY: State Rep. Pamela Stevenson (D), the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, is licensed to practice law in Indiana — but not Kentucky. Stevenson’s campaign says she’s on track to be admitted to the Kentucky Bar by August. Stevenson served as a litigator in the U.S. Air Force for 27 years. (Lexington Herald Leader)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: State Rep. David Cote (D) has resigned after winning 21 two-year terms in office. Cote, who has serious health issues, was never sworn in because of the threat he faced from Covid-19. The state House does not allow remote participation. (Boston Globe)

By The Numbers

45%: The share of tap water in the United States likely contaminated by PFAS forever chemicals, according to a new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey. PFAS contamination is most likely in urban areas along the East Coast and the Midwest. (Pluribus News)

$1.161 billion: The surplus Arkansas ended with as Fiscal Year 2022-2023 comes to a close, thanks to higher-than-expected sales tax collections. It’s the third consecutive year Arkansas has notched a surplus of more than $1 billion. (Talk Business & Politics)

$1.1 billion: The amount Nevada has collected in a series of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors. Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) announced a settlement with Walgreens, marking the end of four years of opioid-related litigation. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Off The Wall

Do you have questions about Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s (R) run for the presidency? A super PAC backing Suarez’s campaign has a tool to help — an artificial intelligence chatbot. The chatbot doesn’t actually answer questions, but it does direct users to relevant videos highlighting Suarez’s record and background. (Orlando Sentinel)

AI on the campaign trail: What could possibly go wrong?!?

How can a political organization get around pesky financial disclosure requirements? Become a church. A group that opposes ranked choice voting in Alaska founded a church that could have allowed donors to claim tax credits and skirt disclosure requirements, according to a complaint lodged by ranked-choice voting proponents. (Anchorage Daily News)

Quote of the Day

“We’re going back to the moon after half a century. And we’re not going back just to go. We’re going in order to learn, to live, to work, to invent, to create — in order to go to Mars and beyond.”

NASA administrator Bill Nelson, visiting a space trade show in Washington State. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)