Pluribus AM: The three-legged bear who loves mango White Claw

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, September 6, 2023. In today’s edition, everything you need to know about the current state of redistricting litigation; auto worker strike looms; and the Florida bear that prefers mango White Claw:

Top Stories

REDISTRICTING: Democrats are challenging voting district lines in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee in a handful of cases that could impact the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives. It can be hard to keep track of all those cases, so our colleague Humberto Sanchez has an up-to-the-minute look at where they all stand. Read it for free here.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A bipartisan coalition of 54 state and territorial attorneys general wrote to Congressional leaders urging the creation of an expert commission to combat the use of artificial intelligence to sexually exploit children. The AGs asked Congress to pass a law making it clear that AI-generated images of child abuse is illegal. (Pluribus News)

CIVIL RIGHTS: California lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to legislation banning caste discrimination and adding protections for those of South Asian descent. California would be the first state to ban caste discrimination if Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signs the bill. (Associated Press) New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation Tuesday to protect interracial marriage. New Jersey was one of a handful of states that never banned interracial marriage before the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling that such bans were unconstitutional. (NJ Advance Media)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: A federal judge on Tuesday allowed Georgia to resume enforcing a ban on hormone replacement therapy for minors after a federal appeals court allowed Alabama to enforce a similar measure. The judge placed a stay on her own injunction against the measure, issued a day before the 11th Circuit decision allowing Alabama’s measure to go ahead. (Associated Press)

LABOR: The United Auto Workers and the big three automakers have just over a week to reach a deal on a new contract, and little public progress has been made. UAW members have voted to authorize a strike if no deal is reached. Some estimates suggest a ten-day strike could cost the U.S. economy $5.6 billion. (Bridge MI)

BUDGET: Virginia lawmakers return to Richmond today for a special session to approve the state budget. Lawmakers reached a deal to provide one-time rebates to taxpayers of up to $400 per couple, to increase the standard deduction and to restore a back-to-school sales tax holiday. Lawmakers nixed Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) call for bigger tax cuts. (Washington Post)

INSURANCE: Incoming Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple (R) will call on the legislature to hold a special session in January to pass laws he hopes will attract new insurance companies to the state. Temple said he would end his predecessor’s policy of limiting insurance companies to one rate hike per year. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

RAILROADS: Ohio cities can now apply for a $100 million pool of grants to eliminate some of the 5,700 intersections where roads and railways meet. The state money, approved in this year’s budget, will act as a match for federal dollars in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

In Politics & Business

TEXAS: State senators kicked off suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) impeachment trial Tuesday by rejecting 16 motions to dismiss charges. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), acting as the judge, ruled that Paxton cannot be forced to testify. The trial resumes this morning to hear testimony from Jeff Mather, a former second-in-command in Paxton’s office who quit in 2020. (Texas Tribune)

OHIO: Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to create a citizen-led redistricting commission submitted new language to Attorney General Dave Yost’s (R) office on Tuesday, after Yost rejected the first proposal on Aug. 23. The measure, if approved for circulation, would aim to land on the 2024 ballot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

WISCONSIN: The Wisconsin Judicial Commission has dismissed complaints against Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz that sought to force her to recuse herself from upcoming arguments over the state’s legislative district lines. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Senate Republicans said they will discuss options for impeaching or sanctioning Protasiewicz if she refuses to recuse herself. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

CALIFORNIA: Two parents who lost children to fentanyl overdoses have filed a proposed initiative to crack down on fentanyl dealers. The measure would set 10-to-12 year prison sentences for fentanyl dealers who sell drugs that end up killing someone. Supporters have to gather more than half a million signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot. (KCRA)

By The Numbers

4,410: The number of new laws enacted in Texas this year, more than any other state. About half the bills Texas lawmakers introduced, 48%, actually became law. Colorado lawmakers were the most efficient, approving 78% of the bills introduced, according to a Fiscal Note analysis of legislation that won passage this year. (Pluribus News)

177,000: The number of overdose deaths among Americans under the age of 40 between 2018 and 2022, the leading cause of mortality among that cohort. By contrast, vehicle accidents caused about 96,000 deaths, while Covid-19 caused about 23,000 deaths among that youngest group. (Stateline)

4: The number of television advertisements aired in gubernatorial contests in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi — out of nearly 150 total ads aired — that mention either President Biden or former President Donald Trump. Education and crime are the top issues in those campaigns. (New York Times)

$7.02 billion: The size of Florida’s estimated budget surplus heading into Fiscal Year 2024. The state’s Long-Range Financial Outlook Draft Report says general revenue fund collections have continued to exceed expectations after an expected recession failed to materialize. (The Capitolist)

Off The Wall

Hawaii fire officials are pushing to recreate a state Fire Marshal’s office, disbanded in 1979, after deadly fires swept across Maui last month. Hawaii is the only state in the nation that does not have a fire marshal. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

A three-legged bear broke into a family’s home in Lake Mary, Fla., over the weekend and helped himself to three White Claws and some fish food. The owner of the home said Tripod, well-known in the neighborhood, prefers mango and strawberry-flavored beverages. (WESH)

Quote of the Day

“You remind me of Sandra, my favorite sister. Even when we have a philosophical disagreement, I have her back. And I have your back.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), as the two showed a united front after recent disagreements over migrant policy. (State of Politics)