Pluribus AM: The future of the connected car

Good morning, it’s Monday, November 13, 2023. In today’s edition, states test connected cars; Ohio Republicans plot abortion response; Louisiana to redraw district lines:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Utah are running pilot programs to test connected vehicle technology, which allows vehicles to communicate with each other to make driving safer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle communications could eliminate up to 80% of crashes involving non-impaired drivers. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: Ohio Republicans are considering a measure to block the judicial branch from considering challenges to state abortion laws. The concept, introduced by four state legislators, comes less than a week after Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment enshrining a right to abortion and reproductive care. (Columbus Dispatch)

EDUCATION: The Texas House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment approved a school voucher plan Friday that would allow parents to spend up to $10,500 in taxpayer money for private school expenses. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has endorsed the bill. (Texas Tribune)

Long-time readers know how arduous the fight over vouchers has been in Texas this year. The committee vote represents a breakthrough, but the measure still faces a tough slog against the coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans who are skeptical.

MORE: The same Texas House committee unanimously approved school safety funding measures that would dedicate $1.3 billion to public schools. One measure would establish and fund school safety grant programs that would pay for security personnel, protective fencing, metal detectors and mental health prevention. (Texas Tribune)

EVEN MORE: Utah’s Education Interim Committee will consider legislation allowing books to be removed from school libraries. A draft proposal would allow lawmakers to challenge books in districts they represent. The measure would remove books from all districts statewide if more than two districts or more than five charter schools conclude that a book contains sensitive material. (KSL)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will sign legislation this week that would automatically seal criminal records of anyone convicted of a misdemeanor after three years, and anyone convicted of a felony eight years after they are released from prison. The bill would not apply to the most serious felonies or crimes that require someone to register as a sex offender. (State of Politics)

ALCOHOL: New Jersey lawmakers will return for a lame-duck session to consider Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) proposal to overhaul Prohibition-era liquor laws that limit the number of licenses issued in a town. Legislators have already passed one bill to lift restrictions on breweries and wineries. (NJ Advance Media)

INSURANCE: The Florida legislature approved a $416 million relief package for victims of Hurricane Idalia, including $181 million to harden homes against future hurricanes and $162 million in agricultural assistance to farmers, timber growers and the shellfishing industry. The bill also bans county and city governments from restricting new development for two years. (Orlando Senitnel)

In Politics & Business

LOUISIANA: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has ordered the legislature to redraw congressional district lines by Jan. 15 to create a new majority-Black seat. It’s not clear if Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) will call a special session, or whether he’ll leave it to Gov.-elect Jeff Landry (R). (Associated Press)

VIRGINIA: Del. Don Scott (D) will serve as Speaker of the House when Democrats take over next year. Scott, who won the unanimous support of his fellow Democrats, will be the first Black House speaker in the chamber’s 400-year history. (Associated Press)

MORE: U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) will run for governor in 2025, she said Monday. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) is likely to join the race. On the GOP side, Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R) are likely to run. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON: Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz (D) has ended her campaign for governor and will run instead for a seat in Congress, after U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D) said he wouldn’t seek a new term next year. Franz was running far behind Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) in the race to replace retiring Gov. Jay Inslee (D). (Seattle Times)

By The Numbers

2080: The year when America’s population is expected to peak, at nearly 370 million people. That’s according to new Census Bureau projections that project further declines in birth rates. (Pluribus News)

$1 million: The cost of a lobbying campaign launched by the Business Council of New York in an effort to persuade Gov. Hochul not to sign legislation banning noncompete clauses. The legislature approved the measure five months ago. (New York Times)

Read our story on the effort to ban noncompete agreements, which began this year in Minnesota.

Off The Wall

New York Gov. Hochul has appointed Dr. Ruth Westheimer as the state’s Ambassador to Loneliness. The famed sex therapist will help develop new approaches to dealing with social isolation and the associated physical and mental health issues. (State of Politics)

NASA astronauts conducting a space walk earlier this month lost a $100,000 tool bag, which is now orbiting about 200 miles above Earth. The white satchel can be spotted from Earth using a decent pair of binoculars. (UPI)

Don’t you just hate it when you accidentally let go of your tools while floating in the void of space?

Quote of the Day

“I love the fact that the marketplace is open, but I think one of its biggest deficiencies is the fact it’s too open.”

Bill Sluben, president of The Data Heard, a company that tracks the cannabis market in New Mexico. In the year and a half since New Mexico legalized recreational pot, the number of pot shops has more than doubled, to about 600. (Albuquerque Journal)