Pluribus AM: Wildfire smoke scrambles Northeast; Va. leaves greenhouse gas compact; Colo. Gov. nixes local growth limits

Good morning, it’s Thursday, June 8, 2023. In today’s edition, wildfire smoke covers the Northeast; Va. leaves greenhouse gas compact; Colo. Gov nixes local growth limits to spur housing:

Top Stories

ENVIRONMENT: Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board voted Wednesday to leave the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of Northeastern states that use quarterly auctions to sell carbon dioxide allowances. The exit fulfills a key campaign promise Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) made two years ago, though environmental groups protested that the move would increase emissions and costs for consumers. (Pluribus News)

WILDFIRES: Smoke from Canadian wildfires that settled over the Eastern Seaboard was expected to make Wednesday one of the two worst days of pollution in American history — following Tuesday, the fourth-worst. (Heatmap) Air quality indexes topped 400 in Syracuse, New York City and the Lehigh Valley, well into the hazardous category. (Associated Press) New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the state would make 1 million N95 masks available to New Yorkers. New York is offering aid to Canadian officials fighting the fires. (State of Politics) New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) shuttered state offices early Wednesday. (NJ Advance Media)

HEALTH CARE: Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has signed legislation capping the out-of-pocket costs of prescription insulin at $35 per month. Nebraska becomes the 24th state, plus Washington, D.C., to cap insulin costs. (KLKN) Wisconsin legislators on Wednesday voted to block implementation of a new meningitis vaccine requirement for 7th graders. The measure also makes it easier for parents to get an exemption from a chicken pox vaccine for K-6 students. (Associated Press) New York legislators approved a bill requiring drug makers to notify the public of price increases for medications they sell. (State of Politics)

IMMIGRATION: The Texas Senate approved bills creating a border police force, making it a state crime to cross the border from Medico illegally, and raising minimum penalties for human smugglers. The bills have little chance of becoming law, though, because the Texas House has already recessed from its special session. (Texas Tribune) Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed legislation preventing county jails from holding people over suspected civil immigration violations. (Denver Post)

MORE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defended sending migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to California during a meeting with sheriffs near the Arizona border. Florida officials claim the three dozen migrants they sent to Sacramento this month went willingly. (Associated Press)

HOUSING: Colorado Gov. Polis has signed a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing population and residential growth limits and repealing existing growth caps in Lakewood, Boulder and Golden. Cities and towns opposed the legislation, arguing it stymies local control and could harm water supplies. (Colorado Sun)

CHINA: The Louisiana legislature has approved a bill barring the Chinese government and Chinese citizens from purchasing land in the state, along with governments of Iran, Venezuela and others defined in federal code as “foreign adversaries.” The bill was amended to allow those living in the United States legally to buy or lease property. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

LGBTQ RIGHTS: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has signed legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors and preventing transgender girls and women from participating on female sports teams. The care bill also bans Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care for adults. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Connecticut legislators have approved a bill creating guidelines for social media companies to process a minor’s personal data and standards for consumer health data. The bill gives social media platforms 15 days to unpublish data from a minor’s deleted account. (Inside Investigator)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Rhode Island’s House gave final approval to a measure requiring mandatory minimum 10-year sentences for first-degree sexual assault and five-year terms for second-degree sexual assault. (Providence Journal)

In Politics & Business

NEVADA: The executive director of the Nevada Commission on Ethics has recommended a $1.7 million ethics penalty, and possible censure, for Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) for wearing his badge and uniform as Clark County Sheriff in campaign photos and social media posts during his campaign last year. Lombardo’s attorneys say there is no state law barring a sheriff from wearing a badge and uniform in campaign materials. (Associated Press)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: State Rep. Shaun Filiault left the Democratic Party to register as an independent on Wednesday, upset with Democratic objections to his negotiating techniques. Filiault agreed to move a proposed constitutional amendment related to the state’s presidential primary in hopes of winning Senate Republican votes for his bill to end so-called “gay panic” defenses. (Boston Globe)

ARIZONA: Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) is asking a judge to reject a lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party that seeks to block the No Labels Party from running candidates in the 2024 elections. Democrats say the No Labels petitions have legal flaws that should block them from the ballot. (Arizona Capitol Times)

OREGON: The U.S. Justice Department has ordered five state agencies to turn over records related to former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D) and the cannabis company for which she worked on the side as part of an ongoing grand jury investigation. (Oregonian)

IOWA: Senate Democrats on Wednesday ousted Minority Leader Zach Wahls (D) in favor of state Sen. Pam Jochum (D). The caucus did not offer an explanation for the leadership change. (Des Moines Register)

NORTH CAROLINA: The North Carolina General Assembly has given final approval to a bill authorizing regulated sports and horse-race wagering statewide. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is expected to sign the bill. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

$10 billion: The amount cyber criminals stole from U.S. citizens and entities last year, according to FBI officials, an “unprecedented” amount. (Boston Herald)

$88,000: The amount Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey’s inaugural fundraising committee has raised since February — even though Healey was inaugurated in January. Healey’s political advisors say the money is coming from pre-inaugural pledges that had not yet been paid. (Boston Globe)

Off The Wall

Nebraska has a new representative in Statuary Hall — Willa Cather, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who wrote about life on the Great Plains around the turn of the 20th Century. Cather replaces former Agriculture Secretary Sterling Morton; she’s the 12th woman to be represented in Statuary Hall. (Nebraska Examiner)

Maryland has become the first state to allow drivers to carry their digital licenses in both Google and Apple Wallets. The digital IDs can be used at TSA checkpoints at BWI and DCA — but they can’t be used everywhere, so don’t chuck those old-fashioned physical IDs just yet. (Baltimore Sun)

Quote of the Day

“The last day’s interesting, right? Everybody’s equal.”

Connecticut House Speaker Matt Ritter (D), on the sprint to finish legislative work before sine die. (CT Mirror)