Pluribus AM: Utah, Florida move social media restrictions

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, February 6, 2024. Happy Waitangi Day to our New Zealand readers. In today’s edition, Utah, Florida advance social media bills; Nebraska’s parents bill of rights; lucky lottery winner running for Congress:

Top Stories

Welcome back, Alabama lawmakers, who kick off session today.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Utah lawmakers have introduced bills to repeal and replace social media regulations passed last year in the face of legal challenges from the tech industry. One bill aimed at allowing parents and youth to sue social media companies would give those companies legal protections if they make changes; a second would mandate higher default privacy settings for youth accounts. (Pluribus News)

NetChoice, the tech industry group suing over the original bills, was critical of the new proposals.

MORE: The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation banning children under 16 from social media platforms with addictive features, regardless of parental approval. The House overwhelmingly approved the bill last month. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has raised concerns about the bill’s breadth. (Orlando Sentinel)

ESG: A Florida House subcommittee approved legislation that would block the state transportation department and local metropolitan planning organizations from taking into account non financial social, political or ideological factors when developing plans. (Pluribus News)

Legislators have introduced more than 100 bills relating to environmental, social and governance investing this year.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A bipartisan group of Kansas lawmakers has introduced legislation to bar the use of generative AI to create false political attack ads. The bill would allow advertisers to use generative AI if they clearly and prominently disclose that fact. (KCUR)

HEALTH CARE: Florida’s House Select Committee on Health Innovation unanimously approved legislation to create rural emergency hospitals that would be eligible for Medicaid payments. Federal law signed in 2020 would allow those rural hospitals to fill care gaps, but the state must first create its own license. A companion bill passed the Senate Health Policy Committee last week. (Health News Florida)

EDUCATION: Conservatives in Nebraska’s legislature introduced bills to give parents more control over school library books and curriculum. The parents rights bill, introduced by Education Committee chairman Dave Murman, would make it easier to object to curriculum and library books. Murman also introduced legislation to give students credit for attending religious classes outside of school. (Associated Press)

MORE: The Indiana Senate is expected to vote today on legislation that would require schools teaching about sexuality to have curriculum approved in a public meeting and publish it on district websites. Schools would be required to disclose whether a man or woman is teaching, and whether boys and girls would be taught together or separately. (WTHR)

EMINENT DOMAIN: South Dakota lawmakers advanced three bills that would protect landowner rights but would not prevent proposed carbon dioxide pipelines. The bills would add protections for property owners, giving them better terms in agreements with pipeline companies and add financial protections for those subject to eminent domain. (South Dakota Searchlight)

TAXES: The Kansas Senate is one vote away from overriding Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of a flat tax proposal, and one of her fellow Democrats — Sen. David Haley (D) — says he’s considering voting with Republicans. The bill would set personal income tax rates at a flat 5.25%, costing the state an estimated $1.59 billion over three years. (Kansas Reflector)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Voters head to the polls a week from today in a special election in suburban Philadelphia that will break the 101-101 tie in the state House. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has committed $50,000 on behalf of Jim Prokopiak (D), their candidate in the race. He faces Candace Cabanas (R) in a district that favored President Biden by 10 points in 2020. (Associated Press)

FLORIDA: Supporters of expanding Medicaid have begun gathering signatures for a proposed measure that would hit the 2026 ballot. Those backers need to collect about a million valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. (WUSF)

MASSACHUSETTS: The state Republican Party will move its headquarters back to Boston’s West End, a symbolic return to the liberal city after the previous chairman moved headquarters to Woburn. New party chair Amy Carnevale said the move would help recruit interns and connect with party leaders on Beacon Hill. (Boston Globe)

NEW YORK: A state Supreme Court judge rejected a Republican challenge to a new law that would allow any registered voter to vote by mail without an excuse. Republicans, who say expanding absentee ballot laws requires a constitutional amendment, said they would appeal. (State of Politics)

MISSISSIPPI: The state House voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to allow online sports betting anywhere in the state. The bill would allow online platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel to contract with Mississippi casinos to offer betting. Sports betting has been legal at Mississippi casinos since 2018. (

By The Numbers

68 million: The number of Americans expected to wager on this year’s Super Bowl, according to the American Gaming Association. That’s 35% higher than last year’s record high. Bettors are expected to wager $23 billion, up from $16 billion in 2023. (Associated Press)

$263 million: The shortfall in tax revenue collected by Massachusetts in January, even lower than already-watered-down estimates. Gov. Maura Healey’s (D) administration cut revenue estimates by $1 billion for the fiscal year. (Boston Globe)

$730,000: The amount Mississippi Auditor Shad White (R) says former NFL quarterback Brett Favre still owes the state in welfare money improperly spent on projects Favre backed. Favre has already repaid $1.1 million, but he still owes hundreds of thousands in interest. (Associated Press)

Off The Wall

Idaho officials were disappointed to learn their application for a grant to study a Boise-to-Salt Lake City passenger rail line had been rejected by the federal government. They were more disappointed to learn they had applied for the wrong grant. Utah lawmakers are eager to get the rail project moving, too — they approved $200 million to get the rail project moving back in 2021. (Idaho Capital Sun)

Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal’s campaign admitted Monday that more than 30 positive stories about her tenure in office posted to her campaign website had been created by ChatGPT. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that local news outlets could not find the stories in their archives. (Associated Press)

North Carolina physician Josh McConkey (R), one of 14 candidates running for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, suddenly has a lot more money to spend on his campaign. McConkey, making his first run for public office, won half of a $1.5 million lottery jackpot while waiting for his son to finish gym practice. (Raleigh News & Observer)

Quote of the Day

“I was really pleased to see all of our colleagues on the floor today.”

Oregon Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D), after Republicans showed up to work on the first day of session — just days after the state Supreme Court said members who had more than 10 unexcused absences would be ineligible to run again. (Associated Press)

That’s some serious shade.