Pluribus AM: ‘We’re way ahead of where the federal government is’

Good morning, it’s Thursday, October 5, 2023. In today’s edition, states don’t trust the feds to act on AI; Michigan approves prescription drug panel; poll shows Reeves up in Mississippi:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: State lawmakers are so convinced Congress won’t act to address artificial intelligence policy that they are considering their own legislative remedies, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers told us Wednesday. More than 90 state legislators are meeting virtually through the fall to learn more about AI as they consider legislation. (Pluribus News)

Did you miss our Pluribus Spotlight event on artificial intelligence yesterday? Here’s the video.

HEALTH CARE: The Michigan Senate has approved legislation creating a prescription drug affordability board that would eventually have the authority to cap drug prices, and to require health insurers and Medicaid to comply with payment limits. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to sign the bills, which she made a priority during the fall session. (Detroit Free Press, Michigan Advance)

LABOR: Whitmer signed legislation allowing public school districts to enter into collective bargaining agreements that automatically deduct union dues from an employee’s paycheck. Unions will also be allowed to negotiate performance-based compensation. (Detroit Free Press)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: The Ohio House held initial hearings Wednesday on legislation that would prohibit transgender students from using school bathrooms or locker rooms that conform to their gender identity. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) The Wisconsin Assembly held hearings on bills that would bar minors from receiving gender-affirming care and ban transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports. (Wisconsin Examiner)

INSURANCE: Florida regulators have approved proposals allowing private insurers to take up to 153,000 policies off the hands of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Regulators are trying to “depopulate” Citizens, the corporation that is supposed to be the insurer of last resort. (Orlando Sentinel)

WORKFORCE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed legislation allowing employees to accrue five days of sick leave each year, up from the current three-day requirement. Workers will begin accruing the extra days on Jan. 1, 2024. (Sacramento Bee)

DIGITAL PRIVACY: A federal judge has thrown out an adult entertainment group’s challenge to a new Louisiana law that requires sexually explicit websites to verify the age of users. Judge Susie Morgan ruled the lawsuit names the wrong defendants. Opponents of the law plan to appeal. (Associated Press)

A similar lawsuit successfully blocked a Texas law, while a suit challenging Utah’s version of the age-verification law failed.

In Politics & Business

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) leads Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) by a 51%-43% margin in a new Mason-Dixon Poll conducted for the Magnolia Tribune. Reeves leads 47%-42% among independents, and he holds a 28-point edge among men. Women favor Presley 53%-41%. (Magnolia Tribune) Reeves and Presley will debate for the first time on Nov. 1, just days before voters head to the polls. The two sides have been negotiating for weeks over potential debates. (Supertalk)

TEXAS: House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) expects to be challenged for his job when lawmakers return to special session on Monday, as House Republicans face backlash for impeaching Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). Phelan is likely to survive a challenge, observers said. (KXAN)

OREGON: State Sen. Art Robinson (R) will not seek re-election after his application to make the ballot was rejected by the Secretary of State’s office. Robinson was among the Republican senators who accrued more than ten unexcused absences from the legislature this year during a long walk-out. Robinson’s son will run for his seat. (KDRV)

OHIO: The state House held its first hearing on legislation to limit participation in primary elections to party members. The bill requires voters to select a party at least 30 days before a primary in order to participate. (Ohio Capital Journal)

DELAWARE: Gov. John Carney (D) can’t run for a third term in office, so he’s considering a bid for mayor of Wilmington. Carney’s office released a statement confirming his interest in the job hours after Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said he will not seek another term in 2024. (Delaware Public Media)

By The Numbers

$9 million: The estimated economic impact of season two of “Coach Prime,” the Amazon Prime Video series that follows University of Colorado head coach Deion Sanders. The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media has approved a $500,000 tax incentive for the show. (Denver Post)

More than 3,300: The number of books that have been banned in school districts across the country, according to PEN America, a 33% increase over last year. (NC Newsline)

Off The Wall

Buffalo Bills fans, rejoice. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has ordered the state Liquor Authority to extend the deadline for bars and restaurants to apply for a permit to serve liquor beginning at 8 a.m. this Sunday, when the Bills meet the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The Bills and Jags kick off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at 9:30 a.m. ET. (State of Politics)

Maine’s Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over whether a ban on Sunday hunting violates the state constitution’s guarantee of a right to food. The hunting ban has been in place for 140 years; voters approved the new right to food amendment in 2021. (Portland Press Herald)

New Jersey Assembly candidate Joseph Viso (R) pleaded guilty in 2009 to smearing fecal matter on the doors of a children’s day care center in East Rutherford following a neighborhood dispute with the owner. Viso said he apologized and cleaned up the mess; he was fined $250 in the incident. (New Jersey Globe)

Quote of the Day

“We have a Speaker of the House, so we’re way ahead of where the federal government is.”

Texas state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R), who says he has “zero faith” in the federal government to act on artificial intelligence legislation. (Pluribus News)