Pluribus AM: Tropicana Dreams Edition

Good morning, it’s Friday, June 16, 2023. In today’s edition, N.J. tackles deepfakes; N.C., Texas, Wis. advance transgender bills; labor board eases path for gig worker unions:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: New Jersey’s Assembly Judiciary Committee has approved legislation banning the distribution of election-related deepfakes within 90 days of an election. The committee also approved a bill establishing a crime of using deepfake technology to assist in other offenses. (New Jersey Globe)

ABORTION: The Iowa Supreme Court will rule today on a case challenging a 2018 law that banned nearly all abortions after six weeks. The law has been blocked since passage, but the high court is likely to allow it to be implemented in the wake of last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. (Des Moines Register)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: North Carolina Senate committees have approved legislation banning transgender girls from participating in women’s sports from middle school through college. The House and Senate previously passed different versions of the bill. (Raleigh News & Observer) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed legislation banning transgender athletes from college sports that conform to their gender identity. (Dallas Morning News) The Wisconsin legislature’s budget committee has banned state Medicaid programs from paying for gender-affirming care. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

EDUCATION: The Ohio Senate approved a budget expanding educational choice scholarships to virtually every student in the state. The bill also allows the governor to appoint the director of the Department of Education, sidelining the state Board of Education. It will prohibit mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training and ban professors from striking. (Columbus Dispatch)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation requiring people to wait in jail for up to 48 hours if they are re-arrested after being released for a different crime. The bill requires judges, not magistrates, to determine whether those charged with serious felonies should be eligible for bail. (NC Newsline) New Hampshire legislators are meeting to consider bail reform preventing violent criminals from being automatically released. (WMUR)

TAXES: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has signed legislation cutting sales taxes on groceries from 4% to 3%. The legislation cuts taxes another percentage point next year, if the state’s Education Trust Fund has grown by at least 3.5%. ( Texas Gov. Abbott has threatened to veto bills if the House and Senate cannot come to an agreement on property tax relief. (Texas Tribune)

SECURITY: The Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles and the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services suffered a massive data breach caused by hackers who got into third-party software, the agencies said Thursday. Officials believe everyone with a Louisiana driver’s license and most Oregon drivers have had their data exposed. (Baton Rouge Advocate, Oregonian)

LABOR: The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that gig workers can seek to unionize and strike. The NLRB threw out a Trump-era standard that excluded independent contractors from unionizing. (Sacramento Bee)

CALIFORNIA: Lawmakers approved a $311 billion budget on Thursday as negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) continue. Lawmakers agreed to delay funding for 20,000 new child care slots until next year, though disagreements remain over environmental cuts Newsom favors. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

TENNESSEE: State Reps. Justin Jones (D) and Justin Pearson (D) easily won special primary elections on Thursday to fill their own seats two months after they were expelled from the House over gun control protests. The two face an August general election they are both likely to win. (Tennessean)

OREGON: Senate Republicans have ended a six-week walkout after Democrats agreed to change bills relating to gun control and abortion rights, which the Senate approved late Thursday. Legislators have nine days left in the regular session; the end of the walkout likely means they can avoid a special session. (Pluribus News)

TEXAS: A state Senate committee is expected to release recommendations next week for rules governing Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) impeachment trial. Paxton allies want a rule allowing the charges to be dismissed. The committee is considering a rule to require state Sen. Angela Paxton (R), Ken’s wife, to recuse herself from proceedings. (Texas Tribune)

NEVADA: Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) has signed a public financing package that will spend up to $380 million on the proposed $1.5 billion stadium that would be home to the Oakland Athletics beginning in 2027. The stadium would be constructed on the site of the Tropicana Hotel. (Nevada Independent)

By The Numbers

$210 million: The amount of damage inflicted on California state parks by atmospheric rivers that dumped tons of water on the state over the winter. Seacliff State Beach, near Santa Cruz, suffered more than $100 million in damage alone. (Los Angeles Times)

$200,000: The amount of funding for Orlando’s Black History Month Celebration vetoed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). DeSantis also vetoed $200,000 set aside to promote Florida’s Black Music Legacy, and $825,000 for a Beatles museum in Dunedin. (Florida Politics)

Off The Wall

The Rhode Island official accused of making racist and sexist comments during a business trip to Philadelphia has resigned. Gov. Dan McKee (D) said he had asked for David Patten’s resignation from the Department of Administration after a human resources investigation was completed. (Providence Journal)

Among the changes Apple will make to its operating system: It will finally learn that you’re not trying to type “ducking.” The computer giant said it would allow autocorrect to learn the epithet you’re actually trying to spell. (Reuters)

Quote of the Day

“I’m a product of the California Dream, and certainly we have a lot of work to do to get back to that so that this generation and future generations, they have those same opportunities that I’ve had.”

Incoming California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas (D), in an exclusive interview with Pluribus News, on rising expenses facing families in his state. Don’t miss our story here.