Pluribus AM: TikTok wins in court

Good morning, it’s Friday, December 1, 2023. Where does the time go? In today’s edition, Montana TikTok ban struck down; Whitmer signs elections bills; Wisconsin unions challenge Walker-era bargaining ban:

Top Stories

SOCIAL MEDIA: A U.S. District Court judge has blocked Montana’s first-in-the-nation blanket ban on TikTok from taking effect. Judge Donald Molloy said the legislation banning the popular app likely violates the First Amendment and conflicts with federal law. The company estimated that more than a third of Montana’s 1.1 million residents use their app. (Pluribus News)

States have tried hard to regulate social media companies in the last few years, whether through content moderation, parental controls or — in Montana’s case — outright bans. While social media giants are on the back foot in legislatures, they’re winning in the courts.

ELECTIONS: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a package of election reform bills on Thursday. The measures would create penalties for intimidating elections workers, require campaigns to disclose when they use artificial intelligence and prohibit AI-generated deepfakes within 90 days of an election without disclosure. Another bill will allow 16- and 17-year olds to pre-register to vote. (Detroit News)

CHILD CARE: Minnesota Democratic lawmakers plan to introduce legislation next year capping the cost of child care at 7% of a family’s income. The legislation would have the state pick up the remainder of the bill through the existing Child Care Assistance Program and Early Learning Scholarships. (Minnesota Reformer)

IMMIGRATION: Massachusetts lawmakers announced a deal on a long-stalled $2.8 billion spending package that includes $50 million Gov. Maura Healey (D) can use to create emergency shelters for homeless families, after an influx of migrants strained the state system. Republican objections mean legislators must convene a formal session as early as Friday to consider the bill. (Boston Globe)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: New legislation filed in Florida would ban nonprofit groups or employers who receive state funding from requiring training on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, a major expansion of the state’s so-called “don’t say gay” law. The bill would prevent businesses from disciplining employees for refusing to use someone’s preferred pronouns. (Orlando Sentinel)

ENVIRONMENT: Delaware has adopted new rules requiring 82% of new cars and trucks sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles by 2032. Delaware is the 12th state to adopt an Advanced Clean Car II program, which is meant to move the market toward zero-emission cars and trucks. (Delaware Public Media)

TRUMP: Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade (D) will not remove former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot, rejecting a request from a liberal group. Griffin-Valade said she lacks the authority to do so. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

In Politics & Business

OHIO: Supporters of nonpartisan redistricting reform have begun collecting signatures to qualify a measure for the 2024 ballot. They need to collect 413,487 valid signatures by July 3, including signatures from at least half of Ohio’s 88 counties. The proposed amendment would create a bipartisan panel of 15 citizens, including five independents, to redraw maps. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

GEORGIA: House and Senate committees voted Thursday to advance proposed new legislative district lines that would add Black-majority districts without imperiling GOP control over the chambers. Both maps could hit their respective floors on Friday. Republican lawmakers haven’t yet unveiled proposed changes to congressional district maps. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Associated Press)

WISCONSIN: State labor unions filed a lawsuit Thursday in an attempt to overturn Act 10, the near-total ban on collective bargaining for most state employees signed in 2011 by then-Gov. Scott Walker (R). The lawsuit comes months after control of the state Supreme Court shifted to liberals. (Associated Press)

MORE: Speaking of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, former Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) will challenge liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in 2025. Bradley won her last election, in 2015, by 16 points. (Associated Press)

This year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race, in which liberals won a majority, cost $51.6 million. Expect the 2025 fight to be even more expensive.

MISSISSIPPI: House Republicans have nominated state Rep. Jason White (R) to serve as the next Speaker. White says he is open to Medicaid expansion, a break with former Speaker Philip Gunn (R), who opposed expansion. (Mississippi Free Press)

FLORIDA: State Republican Party chairman Christian Ziegler is under criminal investigation for allegations of sexual battery that occurred at a woman’s home in Sarasota in early October. Ziegler’s attorney predicted he would be cleared of wrongdoing. (Orlando Sentinel) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called on Ziegler to resign. (NBC News)

By The Numbers

31.2 cents: The gas tax Georgia will begin imposing once again, after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) allowed an exemption to expire at the end of November. Kemp had suspended the gas tax for most of the last two years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

$16 billion: The estimated cost of the Gateway rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and federal officials broke ground on the tunnel on Thursday, 13 years after then-Gov. Chris Christie (R) nixed the project over cost concerns. (NJ Advance Media)

734,582: The number of tourists who visited Hawaii in October, down 3.2% from last year and 7.7% behind pre-pandemic levels in October 2019. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

Off The Wall

Arnaldo Chamorro, a senior official in Paraguay’s Agriculture Ministry, has been sacked after signing a cooperation agreement with the United States of Kailasa — a nation that doesn’t exist. Chamorro said “officials” from the fake country wanted to establish diplomatic relations with Paraguay. (AFP)

The IT system Vermont’s foster care agency uses is so outdated it lacks the capability to use a mouse, the agency says. Advocates worry the system is so old and outdated that it puts foster kids at risk. (VT Digger)

Quote of the Day

“I’m overweight and I don’t look good in horizontal stripes, so I don’t want to violate a court order.”

Georgia House Redistricting Committee chairman Rob Leverett (R), on new district lines his committee drew. Leverett contends the districts comply with a judge’s order to create new majority-minority districts. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)