Pluribus AM: Va. ends degree requirements for state jobs; La. considers social media age verification; Nev. GOP Gov signs abortion bill

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 31, 2023. We know we said yesterday was Monday. It sure felt like a Monday, even if we were wrong. In today’s edition, Va. ends college degree requirements for state jobs; La. considering age verification for social media; Nev.’s GOP Gov signs abortion protection bill:

Top Stories

WORKFORCE: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has ordered state agencies to eliminate college degree requirements from the vast majority of state jobs. Youngkin said about 90% of state jobs will no longer require a college degree. Virginia has about 1,100 open full-time jobs posted on an internal jobs board. (Pluribus News)

Youngkin follows Republican and Democratic governors of Alaska, Maryland, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Utah who have sought to address a state workforce crisis by expanding access to jobs. We wrote about those moves back in February.

SOCIAL MEDIA: The Louisiana House Commerce Committee has approved a bill requiring social media companies to verify the ages of new users, modeled on Utah’s version. The Louisiana version would require social media giants to verify the ages of those who are under 16. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

EDUCATION: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has approved legislation allowing the state to accept teaching licenses that professionals have earned in other states, in a bid to ease the teacher shortage. (Florida Politics) Five other states have already joined the interstate compact, and legislation is pending in 13 other states.

MORE: Connecticut legislators have given final approval to a measure barring higher education institutions from withholding transcripts from students who still owe debts. (CT Mirror) DeSantis signed legislation creating a pilot program for music education for students in kindergarten through second grade. (Florida Politics)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has signed legislation banning transgender women from female sports teams in college. The state already has a ban on transgender athletes participating in K-12 sports. ( South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has sent a letter to the state Board of Regents asking them to prohibit enforcement of preferred pronouns and prohibiting drag shows on campus. (Los Angeles Blade) New York lawmakers are considering bills to mandate teaching LGBTQ history in public school curriculum. (NY State of Politics)

ABORTION: Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) has signed legislation protecting abortion providers and out-of-state abortion seekers from prosecution. The new law codifies an executive order issued by Lombardo’s predecessor, ex-Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). (Nevada Independent)

RIGHT TO REPAIR: The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has requested a temporary restraining order seeking to block Massachusetts’ voter-approved right-to-repair law. The lawsuit says auto dealers would be forced to remove “essential cyber security protections” from vehicles in order to allow third parties to repair cars. (Eagle-Tribune)

A lawsuit like this could have down-stream ramifications for right-to-repair legislation that’s sweeping through lots of other states this year.

MARIJUANA: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) formally signed legislation legalizing recreational marijuana, making his the 23rd state to do so. (Pluribus News, Minneapolis Star Tribune) An effort to legalize recreational pot in New Hampshire is dead, again, after a House committee failed to reach agreement on a state-control model. (WMUR)

TAXES: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appears to back a property tax relief plan approved by the state House that would cap annual increases. The House plan stands at odds with a Senate plan backed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) that seeks to raise the homestead exemption, instead. Patrick released a statement criticizing Abbott over the issue. (Texas Tribune)

The relationships between Abbott, Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) are among the more fascinating stories in American politics today. To say they are fraught grossly understates the matter.

In Politics & Business

FLORIDA: The Department of State in March revised campaign finance rules to allow state-level political committees to transfer money federal super PACs. The new rule allows a committee controlled by Gov. DeSantis to transfer up to $80 million to the super PAC backing his presidential campaign. (NBC News)

CONNECTICUT: The state Senate has given final approval to legislation giving voters 14 days to cast early ballots before an election. The Senate also approved a 2024 ballot initiative asking voters whether to allow no-excuse absentee voting. (Hartford Courant, Associated Press)

NEVADA: Gov. Lombardo has signed legislation creating new criminal penalties for those who harass, intimidate or use force against election workers. Those convicted under the new law would face up to four years in prison. (Associated Press) Maine, Vermont, Washington, New Mexico and Oklahoma — red and blue states alike — have similarly increased penalties on those who intimidate election workers.

OREGON: State Sens. Tim Knopp (R) and Brian Boquist (I) are preparing to sue to force the state to allow them to run for new terms, even though they have more than 10 unexcused absences this year, in violation of a voter-approved measure last year that requires senators to be present in order to run for new terms. Their attorney has asked acting Secretary of State Cheryl Myers to determine whether they can run, in preparation for a lawsuit. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

ARIZONA: The U.S. Census Bureau has approved Phoenix’s challenge to the official 2020 Census population count, making Phoenix the largest city in America to win an appeal. The Census will formally add 3,550 people who lived in 192 group quarter facilities to the city’s population count. (Associated Press) 

A decision that will be worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, in federal funding for the city over the next decade.

By The Numbers

8.3 million: The number of American homes and businesses that do not have access to high-speed internet, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The data will be used in doling out the $42.5 billion in federal broadband infrastructure to the states. (Pluribus News)

$2.83 million: The amount of money Prairie City, Iowa — population 1,708 — has made in Fiscal Year 2022 from speeding tickets issued by its four traffic cameras. After accounting for an outside vendor that collects fines, the money left over represents 42% of the town’s annual revenue. (KCCI)

Off The Wall

The Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat meet in the NBA Finals beginning tomorrow, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has a rather audacious bet he’d like to make with Florida Gov. DeSantis: The winner gets Disney World. Polis has taken shots at DeSantis’s war on Disney in the past: Last year, he offered Mickey and Minnie Mouse “full asylum.” (Denver Post)

Oregon Sen. Mark Meek (D) has introduced legislation banning statewide elected officials from working as a contractor, employee or controlling owner in an outside business while in office. The bill comes after then-Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) resigned earlier this month over her $10,000-a-month consulting contract with a cannabis company. (Willamette Week)

A racy novel written by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has captured the attention of the French public for its graphic scenes. The Wall Street Journal describes some of its more attention-grabbing moments: “The prose veers into ribald and almost clinical terminology, landing somewhere between erotica and shoptalk at a proctologists’ convention.” (Wall Street Journal) Paging Janet Yellen…

Quote of the Day

“It certainly would allow us to expand our reach to the independent market from the marijuana market, which is going to be viewed as a done deal. ‘What do we need you for now?’”

Kevin O’Connor, a spokesman for Minnesota’s Legal Marijuana Now Party, which is considering a name change after Gov. Walz signed marijuana legalization — including most of the party’s platform — into law. (MinnPost)