Pluribus AM: The North Carolina nail-biter

HAPPENING THURSDAY: Join New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) to explore ways to tackle the fentanyl epidemic. Register for free here.

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 12, 2024. In today’s edition, states move to boost alternative dwelling units; Florida reaches deal on ‘don’t say gay’ bill; North Carolina poll shows tight governor’s race:

Top Stories

HOUSING: At least three states are considering new financial assistance programs to subsidize the development of accessory dwelling units, following California and New York, where grants to low- and middle-income property owners are already available. Eight states have legalized ADUs by limiting local zoning rules, and more states are considering lifting ADU zoning restrictions. (Pluribus News)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Florida and LGBTQ rights groups reached agreement to settle a lawsuit over the so-called “don’t say gay” law under which students and teachers can discuss sexual orientation and gender identity provided the conversations are not part of instruction. The state Board of Education will issue instructions clarifying that the law does not prohibit discussing LGBTQ people or anti-bullying rules. (Associated Press)

MORE: Louisiana lawmakers are expected to take up bills during the regular session that began Monday to bar teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation, and to require public school teachers to use pronouns and names a student was assigned at birth. Former Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed those bills last year, but new Gov. Jeff Landry (R) is expected to sign them. (Associated Press)

INSURANCE: Louisiana Gov. Landry called on state lawmakers to deregulate the insurance industry. Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple (R) has asked lawmakers to reduce government regulations on property insurance companies to lure more of them to the state, in hopes of lowering rates. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

MARIJUANA: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) will issue pardons for those convicted of simple marijuana possession that could apply to tens of thousands of Bay State residents. Voters legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION: The Michigan Senate is considering legislation to allow high school athletes to enter into name, image and likeness deals for compensation. About 20 other states already allow those athletes to earn money through NIL deals. (CBS News)

MINE SAFETY: The Kentucky House has approved legislation to reduce the number of required mine emergency technicians on a shift from two to one for small mining operations. Mine emergency technicians are trained to provide emergency medical care to a miner in trouble. (Kentucky Lantern)

JOURNALISM: Meta, parent company of Instagram and Facebook, is threatening to block news availability in Illinois as lawmakers consider a bill to require social media platforms to share advertising revenue with online news outlets. Similar legislation is pending in California. (State Journal-Register)

In Politics & Business

REPUBLICANS: The Republican National Committee began mass layoffs Monday after a new leadership team took power over the weekend. The committee is expected to shed more than 60 jobs, and five senior staffers have been asked to resign as former President Donald Trump’s campaign takes control. (Politico)

NORTH CAROLINA: Attorney General Josh Stein (D) leads Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) by a statistically insignificant 44% to 42% margin, according to a new SurveyUSA poll. The poll found Stein leading among moderates by a 53% to 25% margin. (WRAL)

MICHIGAN: Detroit-area residents who sued over state legislative district maps they said unduly diluted the power of Black voters are unhappy with new maps, which they call “incumbency protection plans.” Lawyers for the voters signaled intent to sue once again. (Bridge MI)

Set the “Days Without a Redistricting Lawsuit” sign back to zero.

KANSAS: The state Republican Party is blaming an outside exhibitor for a stunt at a Johnson County party fundraiser Monday in which people were allowed to kick and beat President Biden in effigy. The state party called the incident “unfortunate.” (Kansas Reflector)

CRIME BLOTTER: Alabama Rep. John Rogers (D) will resign from the legislature and plead guilty to federal felony charges in a kickback scheme that ensnared another lawmaker. Rogers, 83, has served in the legislature since 1982. (

By The Numbers

74%, 72%: The share of U.S. teenagers who say they often or sometimes feel happy or peaceful, respectively, when they don’t have their smartphones. About four in ten say not having their phones makes them anxious, upset or lonely. (Pew Research)

49: The number of states (and the District of Columbia) that have signed memorandums of understanding with the Federal Communications Commission to share information about illegal robocall investigations. Nebraska is the lone holdout. (FCC)

$25 million: The amount of recreational and medical marijuana sold in Connecticut in February, down $2.6 million from January, and down more than $5 million from December. (CT Insider)

Off The Wall

Massachusetts Sens. Julian Cyr (D) and Brendan Crighton (D) and two of their former colleagues performed a Barbie-themed sketch, dressed as a set of Kens, during Senate President Karen Spilka’s (D) annual Galentine’s Day celebration. Politico has photographic evidence.

Remember the name Evan Kim. Kim, 12, finished the Ventura Marathon in February in 2 hours 58 minutes, only four minutes slower than the fastest marathon ever run by a 12-year old. Her goal is to qualify for the 2028 Olympics. (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Day

“You want to leave while at least some people will be sorry to see you go.”

Vermont Sen. Dick McCormack (D), who is retiring this year after more than three decades in office. (VT Digger)