Pluribus AM: The first state to end cash bail

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 19, 2023. In today’s edition, interest rate hikes help fill state coffers; Ill. to end cash bail; La. lawmakers override veto of gender-affirming care ban:

Top Stories

ECONOMY: States are earning hundreds of millions of extra dollars in interest on cash holdings and short-term investments as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The additional cash is small in comparison to their overall budgets, but it could help cover the rising costs of government services, experts said. Illinois, for one, earned 13 times more on interest than the year before. (Pluribus News)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Illinois will become the first state to eliminate cash bail for criminal defendants awaiting trial after the state Supreme Court upheld a portion of the SAFE-T Act. The 5-2 decision, split along party lines, found the law does not violate the state constitution. Cash bail is set to be eliminated Sept. 18. (Chicago Tribune)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Louisiana lawmakers overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (R) veto of legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors. The legislature failed to override Edwards’s veto of legislation preventing transgender students from using alternate pronouns and barring discussion of gender and sexuality in schools. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

ABORTION: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) expects to appeal a Polk County judge’s injunction against the state’s new six-week abortion ban. Reynolds said Tuesday Attorney General Brenna Bird (R) hopes to file an appeal by the end of the week. (Des Moines Register) Missouri’s Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over whether voters will get the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to an abortion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

VOTING: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation requiring at least nine days of early voting in future elections. Clerks can begin providing early in-person voting up to 29 days before an election, and they can begin tabulating ballots before Election Day. The new laws codify a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2022. (Detroit News)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Eight Democratic attorneys general joined Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House to discuss the fentanyl crisis, drug trafficking and expanding access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The White House said the attorneys general also addressed emerging threats like xylazine, the animal sedative increasingly found mixed with fentanyl. (Spectrum News)

MARIJUANA: The New York Cannabis Control Board is set to pass a temporary measure today to allow industry stakeholders to sell stockpile marijuana at fairs, festivals and concerts. The measure is meant to provide relief to businesses hampered by the slow rollout of legalized pot. (Albany Times-Union)

EDUCATION: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration has implemented new K-12 transgender policies emphasizing parents’ rights and rolling back protections afforded to students under previous administrations. The new regulations require students to use bathrooms that match their sex at birth, with exceptions to comply with federal law. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Rhode Island will receive $81 million to fund after-school learning centers around the state, a program spearheaded by Gov. Dan McKee (D). (Providence Journal)

HOUSING: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) issued executive orders allowing new residential projects that are on hold after the expiration of a developer tax break. Another order will require state entities to search for state-owned lands to build more housing, and to create a new portal for tracking housing data. (City & State)

In Politics & Business

ALABAMA: House and Senate committees voted Tuesday to approve new congressional district lines that maintain just one majority-Black seat, while increasing the share of Black voters in another district from 32% to 38%. Democrats say the new maps do not comply with a court mandate to create a second opportunity for Black voters to elect a candidate of their choice. (

Republicans are risking a court-drawn map — but passing a map with a lower share of Black voters gives them a chance to maintain their 6-1 advantage in the state’s congressional delegation.

MICHIGAN: Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) has brought felony charges against 16 Republicans who signed a certificate falsely claiming former President Donald Trump carried the state in 2020. The fake electors have each been charged with eight felony counts, including forgery and conspiracy to commit election law forgery. A certificate they signed and sent to the National Archives falsely claimed the electors had met in the Michigan Capitol. (Detroit News, MLive)

ARIZONA: Former Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has been contacted by the special counsel investigating Trump’s actions after the 2020 elections. Investigators have also spoken to current and former House Speakers Ben Toma (R) and Rusty Bowers (R), and they subpoenaed three state senators in February. (Arizona Republic)

VIRGINIA: Candidates running for seats in the General Assembly have raised $56 million so far this year, up 43% over the same period four years ago. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has raised more than $5.9 million through a PAC, a record sum for a Virginia governor. (Washington Post)

WISCONSIN: Republican Paul Melotik beat Democrat Bob Tatterson in a special election for an Assembly seat north of Milwaukee on Tuesday by a 53.7%-46.3% margin in an early test of voter attitudes in the battleground state. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Good news for Republicans: They held the seat. Good news for Democrats: U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) won the district by 20 points in 2022, so a 7-point win is a sign.

By The Numbers

541,798: The advantage Republicans hold over Democrats in registered voters in Florida. Democrats held an advantage of more than 250,000 voters as recently as January 2020. (Florida Politics)

33: The number of wastewater treatment facilities impacted by mass flooding in Vermont last week. Water levels at some plants reached such a high volume that the facilities could not treat all of it. Some municipal crews have been sleeping in their facilities overnight as they work to bring them back online. (VTDigger)

7: The number of malaria cases documented in Sarasota County, after health officials diagnosed a new locally-acquired case last week. The last outbreak of locally-acquired malaria in the United States happened in 2003. (CBS News)

Off The Wall

The Massachusetts State House is closed today after an apparent electrical fire Tuesday forced an evacuation. Gov. Maura Healey (D) and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll (D) were among those evacuated, and it took the Boston Fire Department about three hours to ensure the fire was out. (Boston Globe)

Mobile, Ala., now has 204,689 residents — an increase of 19,789 people after voters in three subdivisions voted Tuesday to join the city. That means Mobile is now the second-largest city in Alabama, eclipsing Birmingham for the first time in 123 years. (

A first-generation iPhone with only 4GB of storage space sold at auction this week for $190,373 — almost 380 times its original sales price of $499. Two other 8GB models have sold in the last year for $63,356 and $39,340. (Las Vegas Sun)

Nothing makes you feel old like realizing an iPhone is now a vintage collectible.

Quote of the Day

“I have no response to that.”

Rhode Island Sen. Josh Miller (D), asked why he keyed a car in a local shopping center in Cranston. The city solicitor determined that Miller’s initial excuse, that the victim yelled at him and he felt threatened, wasn’t true. Miller was ordered to pay $2,850 in restitution and to make a donation to the local food bank. (Boston Globe)