Pluribus AM: Utah, Mont. advance abortion restrictions; N.C. leaders reach Medicaid deal; Mo., Neb., Ariz. target China

Good morning, happy Friday, March 3, 2023. In today’s edition, Tenn. Gov. approves drag show limits; Utah, Mont. advance abortion restrictions; N.C. leaders reach Medicaid expansion deal:

Top Stories

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed legislation Thursday barring drag shows from public property and where minors may be present, the first bill of its kind to be enacted. Lee also signed a bill banning most gender-affirming care for transgender youth. (Pluribus News) The Kentucky House passed a bill barring gender-affirming care to those under 18. (Associated Press) An Idaho House committee has passed a bill barring drag shows from public spaces where children may be present. (Idaho News)

ABORTION: Walgreens will not sell abortion pills by mail in 20 states where Republican attorneys general have threatened to sue. (Associated Press) The Michigan House voted to repeal a 1931 ban on abortion, a ban made moot after voters approved a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to abortion. (Detroit News)

MORE: The Utah Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure that will prohibit abortion clinics beginning in January. (Salt Lake Tribune) The Montana House approved bills to ban abortions after 24 weeks and to ban the most commonly-used abortion procedure, dilation and evacuation, after 12 weeks. (Missoulian)

CHINA: The Missouri House voted to ban entities from China and four other adversaries from purchasing land in the state. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) The Arizona Senate passed a similar bill on Thursday. (Arizona Capitol Times) Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) issued an executive order banning state broadband grants from going to contractors who use telecom equipment or services provided by five Chinese-owned companies, including Huawei. (Omaha World-Herald)

NORTH CAROLINA: Senate President Phil Berger (R) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said Thursday they had reached a deal to expand Medicaid to cover half a million state residents. The deal ends certificate of need rules in an effort to bolster health care in rural areas. (Pluribus News, Raleigh News & Observer) North Carolina becomes the 40th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Berger spoke to us in January about his evolution on Medicaid expansion, once it became clear the ACA wasn’t going to be repealed.

UTAH: Lawmakers approved bills allowing parents to sue social media companies for alleged harm caused to their children, and requiring teenagers to get parental permission to have social media accounts. Gov. Spencer Cox (R), who has threatened to sue social media companies, is likely to sign the measures. (Pluribus News) 

IDAHO: The state House passed three bills to bar ESG standards in investing. One bill prevents state and local governments from entering into contracts with companies that won’t do business with firearms or fossil fuels businesses. Another prevents banks from boycotting firearms and fossil fuel companies. A third bars state contracts from being awarded based on ESG standards. (Idaho Capital Sun)

ARKANSAS: Gov. Sarah Sanders’s (R) education reform package, the LEARNS Act, passed the state House on a mostly party-line vote. The bill, which raises minimum teacher salaries to $50,000 a year, establishes education savings accounts and requires 3rd grade reading standards, goes back to the Senate to approve a few amendments. (Talk Business & Politics)

MISSISSIPPI: The state Senate has given final approval to a bill requiring car companies to sell new vehicles through franchises. The bill grandfathers in Mississippi’s lone Tesla outlet, in Pearl, which operates as a store rather than a dealership. Other electric vehicle companies would have to follow franchise laws. (Magnolia Tribune)

HAWAII: A bill to legalize recreational marijuana is headed to the state Senate after passing through two Senate committees on Thursday. House Speaker Scott Saiki (D) says House committee chairs will work on the bill this summer, after session ends. (Hawaii News Now)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Two women — a prominent union leader and a former campaign manager — have accused state Rep. Mike Zabel (D) of sexual harassment in recent days. House Republicans have called on Zabel to resign. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

A reminder, Pennsylvania Democrats hold a 102-101 majority in the state House.

OHIO: A ballot summary of a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to an abortion has been certified by Attorney General Dave Yost’s (R) office. The measure must clear the Ohio Ballot Board before it begins collecting signatures to qualify for the 2023 ballot. (Columbus Dispatch)

WYOMING: A measure to prohibit voters from changing their party registration within three months of a primary election will become law without Gov. Mark Gordon’s (R) signature. Gordon said he would not veto the bill, but he said he had concerns that it may cause confusion among voters. (Associated Press)

GEORGIA: The state Senate has approved a bill barring donations to county elections offices to help administer elections. The bill, passed along party lines, comes after a foundation funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent millions helping those offices run the 2020 elections. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

MINNESOTA: The state House gave final approval to a measure restoring the right to vote for those convicted of a felony once they have completed their prison sentence. The measure will give 50,000 state residents the right to vote. Gov. Tim Walz (D) plans to sign the bill today. (Minnesota Reformer)

ARIZONA: Senate Democrats have chosen Sen. Mitzi Epstein (D) as their new minority leader, after Sen. Raquel Teran (D) stepped down to run for Congress. Sen. Eva Burch (D) will serve as minority whip. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

October 16: The date by which most California residents must pay their taxes this year. The delay, approved by the IRS and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), applies to residents of 44 counties covered by FEMA emergency declarations after January’s winter storms. (Los Angeles Times)

300: The number of adult-use cannabis licenses New York’s Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management will issue, twice as many as initially planned, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) office said Thursday. The office has received about 900 applications for legal pot shops so far. (State of Politics)

Off The Wall

California Assemblyman Phil Ting (D) once again wants to eliminate those obnoxiously long paper receipts. Ting, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, has introduced legislation requiring businesses to provide receipts only upon request. Ting introduced a similar bill in 2019, which passed the Assembly before dying in the Senate. (Los Angeles Times)

Florida Sen. Jason Brodeur (R) has filed legislation requiring any blogger writing about government officials to register with the Office of Legislative Services or the state Ethics Commission, and to file monthly reports disclosing their compensation. The rule would not apply to newspapers or other publications. (WFLA)

Quote of the Day

“I’ve heard people say when they go to Disneyland, they want to have a t-shirt with our flag, and our current flag doesn’t go on a shirt as well. Fine. Adopt a state t-shirt and put this on it. We’re apparently going to adopt a state crustacean, a state worm and a state mushroom. Let’s have a state t-shirt.”

Utah state Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R), who opposed a new design for the state flag. The new flag design passed the House in a narrow 40-35 vote, sending it to Gov. Spencer Cox (R) for a signature or a veto. (Salt Lake Tribune)

See Utah’s new state flag here.