Pluribus AM: The race to police political deepfakes

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, November 29, 2023. In today’s edition, Michigan on path to clean energy; states regulating political deepfakes; New Jersey Dems win one more close race:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Tuesday signed a package of clean energy bills that will require utilities in the state to produce 100% carbon-free energy by 2040. One measure in the package will preempt localities from rejecting large wind and solar projects. Michigan is the 14th state to set 100% clean energy goals. (Pluribus News)

Michigan will need an estimated 209,000 acres of land for clean energy projects. They’re using about 17,000 acres for wind and solar projects today.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) has unveiled proposals to help coastal communities confront climate change. Healey pledged to develop the nation’s “first comprehensive strategy to protect coastal communities,” though she offered few specifics. The state is planning for sea levels to rise up to 2.5 feet by midcentury. (Boston Globe)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Gov. Whitmer is expected to sign legislation requiring political campaigns to disclose when an advertisement uses artificial intelligence and banning the use of AI-generated deepfakes within 90 days of an election without a disclosure that such media has been manipulated. California, Minnesota, Texas and Washington have passed measures regulating deepfakes in political advertising. (Associated Press)

IMMIGRATION: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) says legislators will vote for more funding to handle the influx of migrants to Chicago and elsewhere around the state when they return for session next year. Pritzker said talks about how much to spend will be part of the budget process next year. (Center Square)

HOUSING: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation allocating $30 million in new rental assistance for low-income residents in the face of a wave of post-pandemic evictions. Polis also signed legislation creating a task force to study long-term fixes to rising property tax costs. (Greeley Tribune)

MORE: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) said she will make housing her highest priority in next year’s session. Kotek’s chief priority will be legislation putting $500 million into housing production, along with bills allocating $65 million to increase shelter capacity and $33 million to boost rental assistance. (Oregonian)

EDUCATION: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) will ask legislators to set up a new fund to offer as many as 20,000 students up to $7,000 each per year to pay for private and parochial schools. The funds would apply to students whose families make less than 300% of the federal poverty line, or about $90,000 a year for a family of four, and to 10,000 students in public schools. (Tennessee Lookout)

MORE: A major overhaul of Ohio’s higher education system restricting diversity training on campus appears dead in the House, where Speaker Jason Stephens (R) says he doesn’t have the votes. A House committee will hear testimony on the bill Wednesday. Senate President Matt Huffman (R) says he expects the bill to return next year. (Columbus Dispatch)

In Politics & Business

NEW JERSEY: Assemblyman Brandon Umba (R) has conceded defeat to his Democratic challenger, Andrea Katz, after late ballots put Katz ahead by 216 votes out of more than 54,000 cast. Umba’s concession, in a traditionally Republican district, means New Jersey Democrats added six seats to their majority in the Assembly. (NJ Advance Media)

INDIANA: Former Superintendent of Education Jennifer McCormick (D) says her gubernatorial campaign has collected enough signatures to make the ballot next year. (Indiana Capital Chronicle) Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has appointed Boone County Council president Elise Nieshalla (R) as the state’s next comptroller. Nieshalla will succeed incumbent Tera Klutz (R), who is resigning to take a private sector job. (Northwest Indiana Times)

ARKANSAS: Attorney General Tim Griffin (R) has rejected the wording of a ballot measure that would prohibit restrictions on abortion until 18 weeks after conception. Griffin cited “ambiguities” in the text and claimed the language was misleading. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

77.5: The average life expectancy of an American born in 2022, the first increase after an unprecedented three-year decline attributed to both deaths of despair and the pandemic. Life expectancy rose by more than a year, the CDC said Wednesday, but it’s still well below pre-pandemic highs. (Associated Press)

49,000: The number of Americans who died by suicide in 2022, the highest figure ever recorded. The suicide rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 residents is the highest recorded since 1941, according to new CDC figures. (Los Angeles Times)

$265 million: The added revenue Maine expects to take in over the next two years, according to the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Officials called it a “modest” boost to revenue growth that is expected to continue into the following two-year budget cycle. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

The National Christmas Tree on the White House grounds was toppled Tuesday by a strong gust of wind that snapped a cable. National Park Service officials sprang into action, and the tree — a 40-foot Norway spruce from West Virginia — is standing once again. (WTOP)

We can only hope this isn’t some kind of omen relating to a Grinch.

The International Olympic Committee meets beginning today in Paris to start narrowing the field of potential hosts for the 2030 and 2034 games, and Utah is preparing for a celebration. The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games will host a re-lighting of the Olympic cauldron from the 2002 games at University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday. Sweden, Switzerland and France are bidding on the 2030 games, while Utah appears to be the only bidder for the 2034 event. (Deseret News)

Hey Utah, if you’re looking for someone to oversee the games, Sen. Mitt Romney (R) might be available to reprise his act from 2002.

Amazon is entering the artificial intelligence game with its answer to ChatGPT, a program dubbed Q, a business chatbot powered by generative AI. (Associated Press) An all-powerful being named Q? Star Trek fans are feeling a sense of deja vu.

Quote of the Day

“I promised to be a bipartisan governor, and I think we can all admit — I succeeded at bringing Kansans across the political aisle together in disliking this new license plate.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D), rescinding the state’s new license plate design because everybody hated it. Kelly told reporters that the biggest concern she had heard was that the new plate too closely resembled Mizzou’s gold-and-black color scheme. (Topeka Capital-Journal)