Pluribus AM: Tiny Vermont takes on Big Oil

Good morning, it’s Friday, May 31, 2024. In today’s edition, Vermont’s first-in-the-nation oil bill; Louisiana to require Ten Commandments in classrooms; North Carolina Gov race is tied:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) has allowed legislation requiring big oil companies to pay for damages their products have caused due to climate change to become law without his signature. The first-in-the-nation law requires companies to pay into a superfund to cover environmental damages based on a company’s emissions between 1995 and 2024. (VTDigger)

MORE: Scott also signed several bills prohibiting the manufacture, sale or distribution of cosmetic, menstrual, clothing, cookware or athletic field products containing PFAS chemicals. (VTDigger)

EDUCATION: The Louisiana legislature has given final approval to a measure that would require the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. Gov. Jeff Landry (R) is expected to sign the bill, making Louisiana the first state to require such a display. (Associated Press)

MORE: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has proposed a ban on smartphones in schools. Hochul’s proposal would allow kids to carry “dumb” phones that can send texts but cannot access the internet. Hochul plans to push the legislation in next year’s session. (New York Post)

HOUSING: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed legislation allowing local governments to be first in line to purchase subsidized housing units in order to keep them affordable. Local governments would be allowed to match accepted offers made by third-party buyers to a building’s owner. (Denver Post)

MARIJUANA: The New Hampshire House has rejected a Senate-passed measure legalizing recreational marijuana, sending the bill back to negotiators. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) backs the Senate plan, which would create 15 state-regulated pot shops; a coalition of House Democrats and libertarian Republicans backs a more open market. (WMUR)

IVF: Louisiana legislation to protect in vitro fertilization providers has died in a dispute over language that defined embryos as “biological human beings.” The measure had passed the House and Senate and was due for a final procedural vote before the sponsor, Rep. Paula Davis (R), opted to kill it. (Pluribus News)

In Politics & Business

NORTH CAROLINA: A new poll conducted for the Cook Political Report shows Attorney General Josh Stein (D) and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) tied at 43% apiece in the race to replace retiring Gov. Roy Cooper (D). (Cook Political Report)

MICHIGAN: Democrats at the Mackinac Policy Conference are buzzing about candidates lining up to succeed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) when she faces term limits in 2026. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan (D), Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D) are seen as leading candidates. (Bridge MI)

MINNESOTA: Gov. Tim Walz (D) and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman Ken Martin are calling on Sen. Nicole Mitchell (D) to resign as she faces burglary charges. Their calls come just after Minnesota’s legislative session ended; Democrats have only a one-seat majority in the Senate. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WISCONSIN: Gov. Tony Evers (D) has signed an emergency order to help security preparations for this summer’s Republican National Convention. The order makes it easier for Milwaukee to qualify for state and federal security grants. Milwaukee expects as many as 4,500 law enforcement officers from agencies outside the city to assist with security. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

CORRECTION: Alaska Rep. Dan Ortiz (I) caucuses with the minority, not the majority as we reported yesterday. We regret the error.

By The Numbers

197,525: The number of Missourians who have lost Medicaid coverage since last June, when pandemic-era enrollment rules expired. More than half of the decline, 56%, were children. (Missouri Independent)

$13.8 billion: The economic impact of Kentucky’s tourism industry last year, the second straight year of record tourism spending. An estimated 79.3 million tourists visited Kentucky in 2023, up 4.5% from the year before. (Associated Press)

We’ll be among the Kentucky tourists this year when we attend NCSL’s annual convention in August. Legislators, are you going too? Let us know.

Off The Wall

Massachusetts Sen. Mark Montigny (D) earns $61,000 in leadership stipends for his work chairing the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs and the Senate Steering and Policy Committee. But neither of those committees have held public hearings or considered a single bill since he took over in January 2023. (Boston Globe)

Your taxes may be easier to file next year. The IRS said Thursday it will make permanent a free electronic tax return filing system it piloted this year, expanding the program to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Direct File program is meant for those with simple W-2s. (Associated Press)

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is headed to Europe for a trade mission. This isn’t an item about the trade mission — it’s an item about the fantastic sport coat Holcomb is wearing in the AP file photo attached to the story. Click here to check it out.

Quote of the Day

“We like to be on the cutting edge. We just don’t want to be on the bleeding edge.”

Matt Crane, head of the Colorado County Clerks Association, on legislation that would delay implementation of an open primary system and ranked choice voting if voters approve those changes in a November ballot initiative. (Colorado Sun)