Pluribus AM: Wes Moore can shotgun a beer

Good morning, it’s Monday, January 29, 2024. In today’s edition, states race to ban election deepfakes; Utah set to bar DEI at colleges; North Carolina nixes high-cost weight loss drugs:

Top Stories

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Legislation to ban AI-created deepfakes related to elections has been introduced in 27 states, and 19 of those bills were introduced in January alone. California, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Washington already have laws on the books. The democracy advocacy group Public Citizen has been pushing model legislation around the country. (Pluribus News)

The Joe Biden deepfake robocall that dropped during the New Hampshire primary last week should be a warning to everyone.

MORE: The South Dakota Senate unanimously voted to ban deepfake child pornography and to increase penalties for possession, distribution and manufacturing those images. The bill sets minimum sentences for those convicted of related crimes. (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

DEI: The Utah legislature has approved a bill to prohibit diversity training, hiring and inclusion programs at universities and in state government. The bill would bar universities from having offices dedicated to promoting diversity. Utah’s bill follows similar measures in Florida, Texas and other states. (Associated Press)

HEALTH CARE: The board of the North Carolina State Health Plan voted Thursday to end all coverage of medications for weight loss, including GLP-1 drugs that have skyrocketed in popularity. Medications like Wegovy now cost the state more than $100 million annually, about 10% of what the entire system spends on prescriptions. (New York Times)

Keep an eye on this. The skyrocketing popularity of these drugs is already costing states much more than they anticipated.

MORE: The Florida Senate will consider legislation today to prohibit insurers from charging out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary diagnostic and supplemental breast examinations. The bill goes beyond free mammograms to include MRIs, ultrasounds and other procedures necessary to diagnose breast cancer. (Florida Politics)

HOUSING: Florida lawmakers are considering a prohibition on cities and counties allowing public camping as a way to combat homelessness. The bill, which cleared one subcommittee last week, would allow residents and businesses to sue governments that permit public camping. (Orlando Sentinel)

EDUCATION: Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow schools to teach up to two hours per week of faith-based education. The bill would allow religious instruction off of school property, at no cost to the taxpayer. (WFYI)

TAXES: Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed legislation creating a flat income tax. House Speaker Dan Hawkins (R) said his chamber would attempt to override Kelly’s veto. Kelly has proposed an alternate tax plan that would reduce income, sales and property taxes. (Kansas Reflector, KCUR)

In Politics & Business

TRUMP: The Illinois Board of Elections will consider whether former President Donald Trump should remain on the ballot in the face of legal challenges. A retired Republican judge recommended Trump be removed from the ballot for engaging in insurrection, though he said the decision should be left to the courts. (Associated Press)

MORE: The Georgia Senate voted Friday to create a special committee to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis misspent state tax money during her prosecution of Trump. The committee cannot directly sanction Willis. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: The independent redistricting commission has sent 14 proposed configurations of Detroit-area legislative district maps to attorneys for analysis. The commission had to redraw the maps after a court determined the existing lines violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting Black voters’ political power. (Bridge MI)

ARIZONA: State Republicans on Saturday elected activist Gina Swoboda as the new party chair, days after former chairman Jeff DeWit resigned. Swoboda had worked as director of operations for Trump’s campaign in 2020. (Associated Press, Arizona Republic)

NEBRASKA: A feud has erupted between members of Congress and the state Republican Party. The party voted this weekend to endorse Republican challengers to U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts (R) and U.S. Reps. Don Bacon (R) and Adrian Smith (R). None of the state’s five Republican members of Congress sought the party’s endorsement. (Nebraska Examiner)

NEW YORK: The U.S. Justice Department concluded former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sexually harassed more than a dozen state employees during his time in office. In a settlement with the DOJ, the state agreed to set up a process to allow employees to file complaints against senior officials. (Los Angeles Times)

By The Numbers

100: The number of identified victims of the wildfire that swept through Lahaina, Hawaii, in August. On Friday, state officials identified the final victim, though three others remain missing and unaccounted for. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

48,596: The number of emergency room visits to treat dog bites in California in 2022, up 70% over 2005. There’s been a spike in visits since the pandemic, when many people adopted new pets. (Los Angeles Times)

2,800: The number of migrant children who have enrolled in Denver Public Schools this year. At times, the school district has added as many as 300 new students a week. (Denver Post)

Off The Wall

Who’s that chugging beer outside M&T Bank Stadium before yesterday’s AFC Championship Game? Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D), who shotgunned a beer before crushing the can to the delight of his constituents. (Baltimore Banner Sports)

You, too, can look as sharp as former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (D), who is auctioning off a portion of his wardrobe to benefit San Francisco Bay Goodwill. Items up for bid include a Salvatore Ferragamo pea coat, a silk blazer and a hoodie with the mayor’s face plastered on it. The auction lasts until Wednesday. (Los Angeles Times)

In his 2008 memoir, Brown claimed to have “spent more time in the closet than any straight man in San Francisco, but that’s just to choose my wardrobe.”

Quote of the Day

“This audio took approximately three minutes to make.”

Michigan Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D), on a deepfake of President Biden’s voice endorsing her bill to ban deepfakes. (Pluribus News)