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Good morning, it’s Monday, December 18, 2023. In today’s edition, Youngkin proposes TikTok ban for minors; Arizona Gov calls out National Guard to help at border; Kentucky, Pennsylvania move criminal justice bills:
SOCIAL MEDIA: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will introduce legislation to restrict minors from TikTok, the popular social media company. The ban is part of Youngkin’s Right Help, Right Now plan to overhaul his state’s youth mental health system. Youngkin has also asked lawmakers to bar social media companies from targeting youth for advertising purposes. (Pluribus News)
IMMIGRATION: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has deployed members of the National Guard to the southern border to assist law enforcement agencies dealing with a surge of migrants. Hobbs said the Biden administration “has refused to deliver desperately needed resources to Arizona’s border.” (Arizona Republic)
ABORTION: The Ohio Supreme Court has dismissed Attorney General Dave Yost’s (R) efforts to reinstate an abortion ban, after voters approved a constitutional amendment affirming abortion rights. The ban has been on hold since September 2022, when a Hamilton County judge issued a temporary stay. (Columbus Dispatch)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he has not yet decided whether to sign or veto legislation restricting gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The House and Senate approved the measure, which also requires mental health counselors to get parental consent to treat minors for gender dysmorphia, last week. (Columbus Dispatch)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Kentucky legislators held their first hearings on a sweeping anti-crime bill that implements a three-strikes law for violent felonies, regulations on bail bond organizations and greater authority for individuals and businesses to “use a reasonable amount of force” to protect themselves. (Kentucky Lantern)
MORE: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) on Friday signed legislation reforming the probation system by decreasing terms and limiting prison sentences for technical, nonviolent probation violations. The law also creates incentives for those on probation to pursue education or maintain employment. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
HOUSING: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) is threatening to force owners of short-term vacation rentals on Maui to convert into long-term housing to make space for residents impacted by August wildfires. As of last week, nearly 6,300 residents displaced by the fires were still living in hotels. (Associated Press)
WATER: California’s State Water Resources Control Board is expected to approve new rules Tuesday allowing water suppliers to build advanced treatment plants to turn wastewater into clean drinking water. It’s likely to take years for any of the plants to come online, but three water districts in Southern California are planning investments in new facilities. (Los Angeles Times)
In Politics & Business
WHITE HOUSE: The first ballots of the 2024 presidential election are being cast, as New Hampshire makes absentee ballots available ahead of the Jan. 23 first-in-the-nation primary. (WMUR)
Voters are voting!
PENNSYLVANIA: The state House is once again divided evenly between the two parties, after state Rep, John Galloway (D) resigned to take a magisterial district judgeship in his home county. House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D) has called a special election to fill Galloway’s heavily Democratic seat for Feb. 13. The House is not scheduled to meet again until March 18. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)
FLORIDA: State Republican Party officials voted Sunday to strip chairman Christian Ziegler of his authority and to reduce his salary to $1 as they move toward ousting him from power. The GOP executive board has set a Jan. 8 meeting to remove Ziegler from office after he was accused of sexual assault. Ziegler has denied wrongdoing. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
NORTH DAKOTA: Republican activists are planning a ballot measure that would require election workers to count all ballots cast in North Dakota by hand. Secretary of State Michael Howe (R) opposes the measure, which he said would introduce human error into elections administration. (Associated Press)
Supporters would have to gather 31,164 valid signatures by Feb. 12 to qualify the measure for the June 11 primary ballot.
AIRLINES: The U.S. Department of Transportation has fined Southwest Airlines $140 million over last winter’s computer meltdown that left hundreds of thousands of people stranded. It’s the largest fine ever levied against an airline over consumer protection violations — by a factor of 30. The previous record was a $4.5 million fine levied against Air Canada in 2021. (New York Times)
PEOPLE: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is recovering after successful outpatient surgery to fix an irregular heart beat. McMaster, 76, was under anesthesia for less than two hours for the procedure. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette (R) didn’t have to take any executive action in his absence. (South Carolina Daily Gazette)
By The Numbers
653,000: The number of people experiencing homelessness in an annual point-in-time count compiled by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, up 12% from last year as pandemic-era assistance programs ended. It’s the highest number of people experiencing homelessness since HUD began keeping track in 2007. (Associated Press)
More than 71,000: The number of Colorado residents who have applied for the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, up 12% over last year’s record number of applications. Applicants must earn less than 60% of the state’s median income, or $3,081 per month for one person and $5,926 for a family of four. (Colorado Sun)
15: The number of Missouri lawmakers seeking higher office in 2024, including both House Speaker Dean Plocher (R) and Senate President Caleb Rowden (R). (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Off The Wall
The town of North Liberty, Iowa, has seven new snowplows, named by listeners of the local pop music station. Among them: Taylor Drift, Aaron Burrrr, Frostin’ Powers and the Penn Street Pulverizer. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
The Taylor Swift puns are getting out of control.
Americans are on track to bet more than $100 billion on sports this year, cracking the nine-figure barrier for the first time in history. Americans wagered $79 billion through the first nine months of the year, up 33% over last year, according to the American Gaming Association. (Vegas Inc)
Quote of the Day
“A month and a half, especially during the holidays, goes really, really fast.”
— Jaime Smith, communications director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), on preparations Inslee’s office is making to welcome a new governor in 2025. Inslee is not seeking re-election next year. His office has asked for $2.76 million to budget for the transition. (Washington State Standard)