Pluribus AM: Trump, Biden or Literally Anybody Else

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Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 26, 2024. In today’s edition, Colorado moves to protect your brain waves; conservatives want to ban “chemtrails”; DeSantis signs youth social media ban:

Top Stories

TECHNOLOGY: The Colorado Senate is set to vote today on a first-in-the-nation law to create privacy rights for human brain waves. The bill would add biological data as a form of sensitive data deserving privacy protections. The bill advanced through committee on a unanimous vote last week. (Pluribus News)

ENVIRONMENT: Conservatives in at least seven states have introduced measures preventing or restricting weather modification experiments based on “chemtrail” conspiracy theories from the 1990s. The Tennessee Senate approved a bill last week, and Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) says he’ll introduce a similar bill soon. (Pluribus News)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed legislation barring those under 14 from having a social media account, and requiring those under 16 to obtain parental permission to operate an account. The new law will allow civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation. (Tallahassee Democrat)

GUN POLITICS: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has signed legislation barring banks and credit card companies from using merchant category codes to track the purchase of firearms and ammunition. Lawmakers in at least eight other states have passed similar bills, though California legislators passed a bill requiring retailers to use the code. (Center Square)

PUBLIC HEALTH: The Tennessee House has given final approval to legislation eliminating flu and whooping cough vaccine requirements for adoptive and foster families and medically fragile kids. Supporters say the bill expands the number of foster families to include those with religious or moral objections to vaccines. (Tennessee Lookout)

ADULT CONTENT: The Kansas House is expected to take up legislation that would require pornographic websites to verify user ages. The measure has already passed the Senate. (Kansas Reflector) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed legislation dubbed the Strippers’ Bill of Rights, requiring training to prevent harassment and human trafficking. (Associated Press)

EDUCATION: The Alaska Senate has approved a bill that will allow schools to apply for high-speed internet grants to boost download speeds to 100 megabits per second, four times the speed currently available under state law. Backers say the bill will be especially impactful in rural areas. (Anchorage Daily News)

TAXES: The Louisiana House approved legislation cutting oil severance tax rates by 4 percentage points, and cutting taxes on oil produced by orphaned or inactive wells by half. The severance tax cut is expected to cost the state $80 million in annual revenue. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

In Politics & Business

REPUBLICANS: The Republican State Leadership Committee is advising candidates to support protections for doctors and clinics that perform IVF treatments, and to discuss crime from a mental health perspective. In a memo released Tuesday morning, the RSLC urged candidates not to focus too much on opposition to President Biden.

Check in with Pluribus News later this morning for a full report on the memo.

HEALTH CARE: The Maryland Department of Health has issued more than 500 advanced payments to health care providers impacted by a cyberattack on Change Healthcare, the massive insurance payment system. The company says it has a backlog of $14 billion in unpaid bills since it was hacked Feb. 21. (WYPR) New Mexico is working on its own measures to help cover cash flow problems small health care providers are incurring. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

CRIME BLOTTER: Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R) faces ten new felony counts in connection with a bribery scheme that landed him in prison. The new charges allege Householder misused campaign funds to pay for his criminal defense. (Associated Press)

MORE: An Ohio man who acknowledged making death threats against then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) during the 2022 election has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He’s at least the third person sentenced to prison this year for making threats against Hobbs. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

270,000: The number of Americans who died between November 2019 and October 2023 from overdosing on a synthetic opioid. (Bloomberg)

26,055: The estimated increase in the number of self-managed abortions in the six months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, according to a new study. Monthly orders for abortion-inducing medication rose 322% over that period. (Kentucky Lantern)

$25 billion: The amount states have spent on film incentive programs over the last 20 years, according to a New York Times review. The review shows 38 states allocate taxpayer dollars to film and television productions.

Off The Wall

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning after a container ship rammed a support beam. First responders said they had rescued two people from the water, one of whom is in serious condition. (Associated Press)

Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R) will introduce legislation to name the Hershey’s Kiss the official state candy. Mehaffie represents the Dauphin County district that includes the candy giant’s headquarters, where more than 70 million Kisses are produced every day. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Lede of the day: “It’s a good idea to wash carrots after they’re pulled from the ground because they might have some dirt on them. They don’t typically come with more than a ton of methamphetamine, but you can never be too careful.” (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Day

“I’m not delusional. This will be very hard to do, but it’s not impossible. My hope is to have Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and then Literally Anybody Else right underneath.”

Literally Anybody Else, a 7th grade math teacher from Birdville, Texas, who legally changed his name in hopes of running for president. He’s already filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to get on the ballot in Texas. (WFAA)