Pluribus AM: The cicada-pocalypse begins

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, April 24, 2024. In today’s (packed) edition, the culture war over gas stoves; Tennessee backs arming teachers in schools; Arkansas advances restrictions on crypto mines:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: California’s Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee advanced legislation Tuesday to require gas stoves to come with warning labels. The labels would caution uses to allow for ventilation, and to include a QR code linking to the Air Resources Board webpage dealing with indoor pollution. (Pluribus News)

We’ve seen similar measures in New York and Illinois — and virtually opposite measures rejecting bans on gas stoves in red states. Culture wars are a heck of a drug.

GUN POLITICS: The Tennessee House approved legislation that will allow trained teachers and school staff to carry firearms on campus, sending the bill to Gov. Bill Lee (R). The bill would require teachers to go through a training course, but it would not require schools to inform parents that handguns are on campus. (Tennessean)

We wrote about states moving to allow teachers to carry firearms on campus earlier this week, after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a similar bill.

LABOR: The Alabama House has approved legislation prohibiting businesses from receiving economic development incentives if union elections are not held by secret ballot. State Republicans are worried by organizing efforts the United Auto Workers are making at auto plants across the South. (Yellowhammer News)

CRYPTO: An Arkansas Senate committee has approved two bills to regulate crypto mines. One bill would impose noise mitigation requirements and minimum distances from residential or commercial facilities, return local control to municipalities that want to further regulate mines and ban crypto mines from being owned by people or governments from China and other adversarial nations. The second bill sets up a state regulatory system for mines. (Arkansas Times)

EDUCATION: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has signed legislation granting parents up to $6,500 a year to pay for private or home schooling. The program will be open initially to all children in low-performing schools. Funding for the program will be capped at 1% of total state school funding, or an estimated $140 million. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ABORTION/LGBTQ RIGHTS: Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed legislation shielding providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care from laws in other states that restrict such care. The bill protects providers from subpoenas, warrants, records requests and extradition requests from law enforcement in other states. (Portland Press-Herald)

MORE: Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has formally asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling upholding an 1864 near-total abortion ban. Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has signed an executive order giving Mayes’s office authority over abortion-related prosecutions, and Mayes has said she will not enforce those laws. (Arizona Republic)

IMMIGRATION: The Oklahoma Senate has given final approval to a Texas-style immigration bill creating a new offense for someone who is in the state illegally. First-time offenders would be subject to a $500 fine, a year in jail or both. (Tulsa World)

The Texas law remains on hold pending litigation.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has signed a bill adding protections for those whose property is seized by law enforcement in the course of an investigation. The law sets guidelines for asset forfeiture and improves due process rights for property owners. (KSNT)

In Politics & Business

BIDEN: The Alabama Senate has approved legislation that would require parties to certify presidential candidates 74 days before an election, rather than 82 days. The change, approved unanimously, would allow President Biden to appear on the state’s ballot. (Alabama Reflector)

MORE: Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) and Minority Leader Allison Russo (D) said they need to pass a permanent fix to change the deadline by which presidential candidates are nominated for the ballot. The two leaders said legislators have been talking about a fix that would allow Biden on the ballot this year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The key problem: Deadlines for presidential candidates to qualify for the ballot in Alabama and Ohio come before the Democratic National Committee formally meets to ratify Biden’s renomination.

PENNSYLVANIA: State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D), who had an arrest warrant issued and then rescinded over the last week, lost his bid for renomination on Tuesday to Sean Dougherty, the son of a state Supreme Court justice. Boyle’s friends and family have expressed concern for his mental health after he was videoed threatening a bar in February. (WHTM)

MINNESOTA: Democratic control of the state Senate is at risk after Sen. Nicole Mitchell (D) was arrested for allegedly breaking into the home of her stepmother early Monday. Republicans have called on Mitchell to resign. If she does, the Senate would be divided 33-33, and Minnesota has no tie breaking vote. (MPR News)

By The Numbers

1.1 million: The number of fentanyl pills the California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized in just the past seven days, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Tuesday. The pills, plus 523 pounds of methamphetamine, were confiscated throughout San Diego County. (Newsom’s office)

13%: The share of law enforcement officers in Hawaii who are women. The state House recently passed legislation aiming to boost that share to 30% by 2030. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

Off The Wall

A deputy tax assessor in Ascension Parish, La., has been arrested after allegedly lowering the property tax assessment on his own properties. The deputy assessor tried to lower his tax bill on two consecutive occasions, police said. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

The cicada-pocalypse has come early to Newberry County, S.C. The bugs emerging from the ground are so loud that county residents have been calling police to report loud roars or sirens. Scientists who study the creepy critters wear earmuffs to protect their hearing. (Associated Press)

Quote of the Day

“Both chambers are off the porch. We’ve both taken steps forward, something that hasn’t occurred and I don’t think a lot of people would have ever thought it would occur here.”

Mississippi Senate Medicaid Committee chairman Kevin Blackwell (R), on initial negotiations between House and Senate conferees over Medicaid expansion. The two sides remain far apart on a deal. (Magnolia Tribune)