Pluribus AM: The slow progress of the war on poverty

Good morning, it’s Thursday, December 7, 2023. In today’s edition, poverty rates down over time, but up since pandemic lows; New Mexico sues Meta; fake electors indicted in Nevada:

Top Stories

DEMOGRAPHICS: The number of people living in poverty in the United States has dropped by more than 5 million over the last five years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today, and the number of children living in poverty is down by 2 million. Arizona, Idaho and Georgia registered the biggest drops in poverty over time, while nine states have poverty levels below 10%. (Pluribus News)

And/but: Childhood poverty has risen sharply from pandemic-era lows, when policies like an expanded childcare tax credit helped lift millions out of childhood poverty.

SOCIAL MEDIA: New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez (D) is suing Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, for allegedly directing harmful and inappropriate material toward minors. Torrez said his lawsuit is the first to focus on child sexual abuse material and trafficking. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

PUBLIC SAFETY: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation doubling the maximum fines imposed for harassing or assaulting medical professionals or volunteers. The measures passed with wide bipartisan majorities. (Detroit Free Press)

GUN POLITICS: The Ohio House approved legislation Wednesday allowing municipalities to permit concealed firearms in buildings with courtrooms, albeit when court hearings aren’t taking place. The measure comes after residents in Lebanon sued the city in an effort to let them carry firearms in city hall. (Columbus Dispatch)

MORE: Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) will ask the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling that a state law requiring handgun buyers to get a license is unconstitutional. Maryland lawmakers passed the license requirement in 2013, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. (Baltimore Banner)

ALCOHOL: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has signed legislation overhauling the state’s liquor laws, requiring so-called wedding barns to obtain liquor licenses. The law clarifies who is allowed to invest in alcohol businesses and creates a new division within the Department of Revenue to oversee the alcohol industry. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has given preliminary approval to a $15 congestion pricing fee for drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street. New Jersey residents have filed two lawsuits seeking to block the fee, which would shift the commuting habits of an estimated 80,000 to 110,000 commuters. (NJ Advance Media)

POPULATION: A Michigan commission considering how to boost the state’s slow population growth is considering a proposal to pay people to move in. Michigan has ranked 49th in growth since 1990, leading only West Virginia. (Bridge MI)

Almost 200 communities around the country already offer pay-to-move incentives, though most of those programs have struggled to attract new residents in large numbers.

In Politics & Business

GEORGIA: Lawmakers are set to take a final vote today on new congressional district maps that would retain Republicans’ 9-5 advantage wile creating two majority-Black districts in the metro Atlanta area. The GOP-backed map eliminates a multicultural district represented by Rep. Lucy McBath (D). (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NEVADA: A state grand jury has indicted six leaders of the Nevada Republican Party on charges of forging and submitting fake documents in the fraudulent elector scheme meant to overturn President Biden’s election in 2020. Those charged include Republican Party chairman Michael McDonald. If convicted, they face up to nine years in prison. (New York Times)

WISCONSIN: Ten Republicans who posed as fake electors for former President Donald Trump settled a civil lawsuit by admitting President Biden won the state, and that their scheme was meant to overturn Biden’s victory. It’s the first settlement of its kind by fake Trump electors. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: The state Republican Party is on the brink of bankruptcy, according to a draft report commissioned by a state party leader. The party has $620,000 in outstanding debts and just $315,000 in the bank. The report comes as some in the state party are angling to oust chair Kristina Karamo from office. (Detroit News)

LOUISIANA: Gov.-elect Jeff Landry (R) has named ex-state Rep. Richard Nelson (R) as his new revenue secretary. Nelson ran for governor before dropping out and backing Landry. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

$249 million: The amount 14 states paid to managed care organizations for Medicaid enrollees for months after the beneficiaries had died, according to audits by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general. All but three of those states have repaid the federal government. (Becker’s)

$50 to $120: The size of the check 400,000 Washington State households will receive by the end of the year, after Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) settled a lawsuit against chicken and tuna producers over price-fixing. Ferguson sued 19 chicken producers for violating antitrust laws in 2021. (Seattle Times)

Off The Wall

Wyoming’s Board of Land Commissioners will consider whether to auction off a pristine square-mile property within Grand Teton National Park — but it won’t come cheap. State Lands Director Jenifer Scoggin has recommended a starting bid of $80 million for the parcel, money that would fund public schools. (Associated Press)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says a skunk purchased from a breeder in Attica tested positive for rabies. Three other skunks tested positive for rabies over the summer. (Detroit Free Press)

So many questions! Who is breeding skunks? And who is purchasing those skunks?!?

Quote of the Day

“I will miss sitting next to him, but I’ve got his cell phone on speed dial, and he knows it.”

North Carolina Rep. Becky Carney (D), on the retirement of Rep. Marvin Lucas (D), the state House’s longest-serving Democrat. (Raleigh News & Observer)