Pluribus AM: ‘The fight of David and Goliath’

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, February 21, 2024. In today’s edition, why states want to link carbon markets; Oregon advances right-to-repair bill; states tackle zoning rules to add housing units:

Top Stories

ENERGY: A Washington House committee advanced legislation to authorize the state Department of Ecology to begin talks to eventually link the carbon market to those in California and Quebec. Combining markets could lower prices for carbon credits and attract new participants; state Sen. Joe Nguyễn (D) said he had already heard from representatives in New York and the United Kingdom about linking programs. (Pluribus News)

Expect more blue states to experiment with carbon markets, after rocky rollouts in California and Washington.

TECHNOLOGY: The Oregon Senate approved right-to-repair legislation that will require tech firms like Apple and Google to provide repair tools and instructions to independent repair shops. Oregon would be the fifth state — after California, New York, Minnesota and Colorado — to guarantee a right to repair. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Iowa Senate approved legislation to bar state and local government from “substantially” burdening an individual’s exercise of religion and allowing individuals and organizations to seek damages if their religious rights are harmed. Opponents of the measure said it would be used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. (Des Moines Register)

MORE: The Alabama Senate County and Municipal Government Committee advanced legislation that would define words like “man” and “woman” in state law based on the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate. The bill states there are only two sexes, and that everyone is either male or female. (Alabama Reflector)

GUN POLITICS: The Iowa House voted Tuesday to prohibit use of merchant codes for credit card transactions at gun retailers meant to identify suspicious firearms and ammunition sales. The legislation would prohibit banks and credit card companies from declining transactions based solely on the firearms code. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

EDUCATION: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed legislation that requires the University of Wisconsin-Madison to admit all high school students who finish in the top 5% of their classes. Other UW campuses would have to admit those in the top 10%. The bill also includes language limiting diversity positions within the UW system. (Associated Press)

MORE: The Georgia Senate Education and Youth Committee advanced legislation to require school libraries to notify parents of every book their child checks out. (Associated Press)

HOUSING: Colorado Democrats have introduced legislation to send millions of dollars to cities that agree to encourage denser housing near transit, while withholding state highway funding from those that don’t. (Colorado Sun) New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a package of bills meant to increase housing supply. One bill would bar towns with water and sewer connections from imposing ordinances requiring more than 10,000 square feet for each housing unit to encourage density. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

MORE: The Pennsylvania House Housing and Community Development Committee unanimously approved legislation to allow cities to obtain grants if they move to increase housing in areas not yet zoned for housing. Another bill that won committee approval would revise zoning laws to allow for multifamily housing in zones designated for office space. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: The Democratic Governors Association plans to spend $5 million on a Power to Appoint Fund, a project aimed at highlighting the role governors play in judicial appointments. The fund will focus especially on open seats in New Hampshire and North Carolina. (New York Times)

MISSOURI: The state Senate voted Tuesday to approve a plan requiring future ballot initiatives to win majorities of the vote in a majority of the state’s congressional districts. Measures that do not carry a majority of the eight congressional districts would fail, even if they win a majority of votes statewide. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The measure would apply to a proposed initiative to protect the right to abortion and reproductive services that’s currently collecting signatures to win ballot access.

NEW JERSEY: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) intends to run for governor in 2025. Baraka said he would run in a Monday speech marking Black History Month, and a spokeswoman said the remark was meant to launch his campaign. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D) and former Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) are already in the race, and at least two members of Congress are considering a bid. (NJ Advance Media)

KANSAS: Republican defectors helped uphold Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a $1.6 billion tax cut that would have imposed a flat 5.25% tax on personal income. The state House came three votes short of overriding her veto. (Kansas City Star, Associated Press)

By The Numbers

$73 billion: California’s budget shortfall, as projected by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office in a revised estimate released Tuesday. That’s $15 billion higher than the previous estimate, and almost double the $38 billion Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) office projected. (Sacramento Bee)

$66.5 billion: The amount American commercial casinos won from gamblers in 2023, the highest-ever yearly total. Those figures do not include tribal-owned casinos, which are expected to add more than $40 billion to the overall total. (Associated Press)

$15.6 million: The amount of adult-use cannabis sold in Connecticut in January, down from $17.2 million in sales in December. It’s the first time recreational pot sales have dropped month to month. (Inside Investigator)

Off The Wall

Michigan Republicans plan to host their state convention on March 2 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids … and at Huntington Place in Detroit. Rival factions, one led by former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), one led by ousted party chair Kristina Karamo, have pledged to hold the dueling conventions to select delegates to the national convention. (Detroit Free Press)

Domino’s Pizza will spend $25,000 to help plow roads in Anchorage, Alaska, after a significant number of residents nominated their home town for the company’s Plowing for Pizza contest. To win the grant, the city has to share photos and videos of its operations to be featured on Domino’s website. (Alaska Public Media)

Headline of the day: “Bill establishing drone regulations flies through committee.” (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

Quote of the Day

“I feel like I’ve been invited to the fight of David and Goliath.”

Virginia Del. Bonita Anthony (D), in the midst of a legislative fight between tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris International over taxes on new heated cigarette products. (Pluribus News)