Pluribus AM: The bell tolls for Medicaid expansion

Good morning, it’s Monday, April 29, 2024. In today’s edition, Medicaid expansion dead in Kansas, on life support in Mississippi; Kristi Noem’s shocking admission; Howard Dean eyes a comeback:

Top Stories

MEDICAID EXPANSION: Kansas Democrats fell one vote short of bringing Medicaid expansion to the floor Friday, dooming its hopes for another year as the legislature heads toward adjournment next week. It’s the latest blow to expansion backers who had high hopes after North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill last year. (Pluribus News)

Medicaid expansion efforts are dead for the year in Georgia and on the ropes in Alabama. Mississippi lawmakers are making one last effort to reach an agreement by today or tomorrow. (Mississippi Today)

EDUCATION: The Ohio Senate has approved legislation requiring school districts to create a cell phone policy for students, emphasizing that phones should be used as little as possible during the school day. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) asked legislators to pass a bill requiring the Department of Education and Workforce to adopt a model phone policy. (Ohio Capital Journal)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s ruling that found the state’s 2021 ban on transgender female athletes from participating in women’s sports to be unconstitutional. The court said the law, and two others related to higher education, violated the constitutional authority given to the state Board of Regents. (KTVH)

GUN POLITICS: The Connecticut House has approved legislation allowing state officials to access juvenile records for the purposes of conducting background checks on firearms sales. Existing state law limits access to juvenile records. (CT Insider)

PROPERTY RIGHTS: The Alabama House and Senate approved legislation that would increase penalties for individuals who illegally enter residences they do not own. The bill creates a new crime for entering property and causing damage, and increases punishments for falsifying deeds. (Yellowhammer News)

Fox News has been hyping a purported epidemic of squatting incidents around the country. Expect more bills like this one to pop up.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Alabama legislature has approved a bill that would make it a felony for members of the clergy to have sexual interactions with anyone younger than 19. The Baptist State Convention backs the bill, which is headed to Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) desk. (

MORE: The Oklahoma House approved legislation lowering the felony threshold for theft to $500 and creating a new crime of organized retail theft. The bill, which must still win Senate approval, gives authority to the state Attorney General’s office to hire more agents to combat retail theft. (McCarville Report)

ALCOHOL: The Oklahoma Senate gave final approval to a new bill that will lift a requirement that businesses check the identification of anyone purchasing an alcoholic drink, if the person making the purchase definitely looks old enough. State Rep. Robert Manger (R), the bill’s author, calls the measure “Odell’s Law,” after his 90-year-old friend. (McCarville Report)

In Politics & Business

SOUTH DAKOTA: In a new book, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) revealed she shot and killed a 14-month old wirehaired pointer she was training for pheasant hunting. Noem also shot and killed a “nasty and mean” male goat. The passage, first revealed by The Guardian newspaper, inspired widespread, bipartisan derision. (Associated Press)

Headline of the day: “Murphy joins Kirsti Noem-inspired trend of governors who don’t shoot their dogs.” (NJ Advance Media)

UTAH: State Republicans endorsed Rep. Phil Lyman (R) for governor, as incumbent Spencer Cox (R) took just 32.5% of the vote. Lyman and Cox will both appear on the June 25 primary ballot. (Deseret News) Democrats nominated state Rep. Brian King (D) as their party’s nominee. (Deseret News)

VERMONT: Former Gov. Howard Dean (D) is considering running for his old job this year. Dean served from 1991 to 2003 before launching his bid for president. He’s not fully committed to challenging Gov. Phil Scott (R), but volunteers are gathering signatures to get him on the ballot by a May 30 deadline. (VT Digger)

ELECTORAL COLLEGE: Maine lawmakers are pledging to change the way they allocate electoral college votes if Nebraska goes ahead with a plan to award its votes to the statewide winner. Both states allocate votes to the winner of each congressional district. President Biden carried one of Nebraska’s electoral votes in 2020, while former President Donald Trump carried one of Maine’s. If both states change their system, it would likely result in a wash. (Nebraska Examiner)

By The Numbers

$6 billion: The economic value of Alaska’s seafood industry in 2022, according to a McKinley Research Group study. A price collapse in 2023 likely means last year’s value was much lower. (Alaska Beacon)

$3.9 million: The amount earned last year by Timothy Perry, the top-grossing lobbyist in Annapolis. Maryland lobbyists took in a record $70 million to influence the legislature last year. (Maryland Matters)

180: The number of trees felled at Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) home in Greenwich, in an incident dubbed “treegate.” Lamont has been cited for having the trees cut without a permit. (Hartford Courant)

Off The Wall

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) planted a cucumber magnolia outside the statehouse on Friday, fulfilling his administration’s pledge made in 2020 to plant a million trees around the state. It’s part of a broader campaign by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, a group of eight states and two Canadian provinces, to plant 250 million new trees by 2033. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

A Pittsburgh-based firm is set to debut driverless 18-wheelers on a stretch of Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston later this year. The trucks are already being tested with human safety drivers. (Associated Press)

One Oregon man has purchased 104 winning lottery tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots totaling $4.8 million. The man, Mike Platzer, is purchasing tickets on an industrial scale for an Australian company that offers Australians and New Zealanders the chance to play U.S. lotteries — and Oregon law allows lottery jackpots to be paid out to people in other countries. (Oregonian)

Quote of the Day

“Maybe you hate that I don’t hate enough.”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), addressing Republican delegates before they voted to endorse his opponent. (Salt Lake Tribune)