Pluribus AM: The coming onslaught of AI legislation

Good morning, it’s Friday, September 29, 2023. In today’s edition, the coming onslaught of AI legislation; California fast food workers get a raise; Fat Bear Week falls victim to the shutdown:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: Industry groups are preparing for an onslaught of legislation aimed at regulating artificial intelligence. Legislators considered 191 AI-related bills in 31 states this year, 14 of which became law. Governors in Oklahoma, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia have signed AI-related executive orders, and more are likely in the coming months. (Pluribus News)

Don’t forget to register for our Pluribus Spotlight event on AI policy, next Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT. We’ll hear from four leading lawmakers who are thinking deep thoughts about how government should be involved with AI.

SHUTDOWN: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to keep federal parks open during the coming government shutdown, his office said Friday morning. Governors in Utah and Arizona have already moved to keep parks open. Read our full story on how a federal shutdown impacts the states here.

WORKFORCE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed legislation that would raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour. The bill, passed in the waning hours of this year’s legislative session, is the result of a deal between fast food worker unions and business groups that feared a larger wage hike. (Associated Press)

ENVIRONMENT: A Michigan House committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill to reverse a 2016 state law that banned local municipalities from restricting the use of disposable plastic bags and containers. The bill does not require banning bags, but it gives local governments the option to do so. (Bridge MI)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted preliminary injunctions against Kentucky and Tennessee laws that bar gender-affirming care for minors. The laws will be in place as lawsuits challenging their constitutionality move forward. (Nashville Post)

TAXES: The Massachusetts Senate gave final approval Thursday to a $1 billion tax cut package, a day after the measure won approval in the state House. The package doubles the child and dependent tax credit, doubles the maximum tax credit for seniors and raises the threshold for the state inheritance tax. (MassLive)

ABORTION: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and the online review company Yelp are suing each other over descriptions of crisis pregnancy centers. Paxton alleges the company violates the Deceptive Trade Practices Act by labeling crisis centers as providers of limited medical services. (The Hill)

ELECTIONS: The Ohio Senate is considering legislation to close party primaries, restricting voting to members of a specific political party. Another bill under consideration would effectively ban ranked-choice voting in local municipalities. (Ohio Capital Journal)

In Politics & Business

ALABAMA: Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) filed objections to a new federally-ordered congressional district map on Thursday, calling the plan a racial gerrymander. The new maps, drawn by a special master appointed by the court, creates a second Black-majority district in the state. (

LOUISIANA: A panel of federal judges blocked a district court judge’s plan to hold hearings on new congressional district lines that would add a second majority-Black district. Two of the three judges said the district court judge needed to give Louisiana attorneys more time to consider the new maps. (Associated Press)

MISSOURI: Republican mega-donor Rex Sinquefield gave Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (R) $250,000 toward his campaign for governor. Kehoe faces Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) and state Sen. Bill Eigel (R) in the Republican primary to succeed term-limited Gov. Mike Parson (R). (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CRIME BLOTTER: Former Michigan House Speaker Rick Johnson (R) has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for accepting $110,000 in bribes while he headed the state marijuana licensing board from 2017 to 2019. Johnson served as House Speaker from 2001 to 2004. (MLive, Associated Press)

PEOPLE: Indiana Comptroller Tera Klutz (R) will resign from office at the end of November. Klutz plans to return to the private sector. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) will appoint her replacement. (Indianapolis Star) North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) will not seek re-election in 2024, he said Thursday. Moore has eyed a congressional race in the past. (Associated Press)

MORE Breaking as we publish this morning: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has died at 90. Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, had been in poor health and had announced her retirement at the end of her current term. (NBC News)

By The Numbers

More than 30,000: The number of jobs created by Illinois’s legal marijuana market. Pot shops have earned more than $669 million since recreational marijuana became legal in 2020, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) told an industry conference. (Chicago Sun-Times)

$6.03: The average price of a gallon of gas in California, up 14 cents over just a two-day span this week. Gov. Newsom is considering ordering a switch to winter-blend fuel earlier than usual to ease high prices. (Los Angeles Times)

Off The Wall

A tragic victim of the impending government shutdown: Fat Bear Week. The National Park Service said it will not host what’s become a fun social media phenomenon as scheduled Oct. 4-10 if the government remains without a funding deal. However, one Interior Department official noted: “The bears will continue to get fat.” (Anchorage Daily News)

Pay attention to those height restriction signs: The driver of an 18-wheeler got stuck in a tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn on Thursday, causing a massive traffic jam. Emergency responders had to cut the truck apart to get it out. (Associated Press)

The city of Ojai, Calif., has become the first in the nation to recognize the legal rights of elephants. The ordinance approved by the city council Thursday gives elephants the “right to bodily liberty.” (California Globe)

Quote of the Day

“This is essentially a publicly subsidized way for professional sports teams to compete more effectively against local recreation and entertainment businesses.”

Stanford economist Roger Noll, on the billions of dollars in public funds going to build new sports stadiums around the country. (Pluribus News)