North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) office said the state Capitol was flying the Tennessee flag for a movie shoot, WRAL reports.
Michigan state Rep. Matt Maddock (R), who’s been at the center of efforts to question the 2020 election, introduced a bill that would require “fact checkers” to register with the state, the Detroit News reports.
Fact checkers found to be in violation of the registry requirements could be fined $1,000 per day of violation.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) joked during a meeting with President Biden and other governors that state residents should “go get vaccinated so you’re alive to vote against me in the next election,” The Hill reports.
Said Walz: “My message to folks is there’s a lot of good reasons to get vaccinated, but for some of them, you know, if you need another one, go get vaccinated so you’re alive to vote against me in the next election. I don’t care. I just want to get it done.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) “plans a $100 billion economy recovery package, with the centerpiece a proposal to give $11.9 billion of direct cash payments to Californians,” Bloomberg reports.
“The plan would expand on a previous program distributing $600 checks to qualifying low-income residents by extending eligibility to the middle class. Two out of three Californians would receive a check of at least $600, and families with kids will get an additional $500.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) has assigned protection to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) after death threats amid the latest election “audit” by state senate Republicans, KNXV reports.
Arizona Republic: “The ongoing spectacle of the Arizona ballot audit is raising political pressure, but it’s some Republicans who are feeling the squeeze.”
New York Times: “Norwegian Cruise Line is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida ports after the state enacted legislation that prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination against Covid-19 in exchange for services. The company will offer trips with limited capacity and require all guests and crew members to be vaccinated on bookings through at least the end of October.”
“The state attorney general’s office has expanded its investigation of sexual-harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo to look at whether one of his top advisers linked access to Covid-19 vaccines to support for the governor,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Investigators have interviewed at least three Democratic county executives who said they were surprised to receive calls from Larry Schwartz, a volunteer adviser who oversaw vaccine distribution for the state, asking whether they would be calling for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation.”
Ben Jacobs: “It may seem counterintuitive, but the debate over Puerto Rico’s status has become a primarily intra-Democratic fight, one that doesn’t fall along neat ideological lines and divides the four Democrats of Puerto Rican heritage within the caucus.”
“The debate isn’t just about politics. There are key questions of identity too. After all, Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking island with a national identity (including its own Olympic team). Its independence movement was suppressed in the late 1940s … This history weighs on advocates of independence, but they also use it to bolster their argument … But more than identity, the island is also in crisis.”
“Missouri state lawmakers voted on Thursday to pass a bill that would create Rush Limbaugh Day in honor of the late conservative radio show host,” The Hill reports.
Associated Press: “Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts ramped up his crusade for the meat industry on Wednesday by endorsing a new ‘beef passport’ program to promote meat eating, a few weeks after he blasted Colorado’s governor for a resolution encouraging its residents to eat less.”
“The Nebraska Beef Passport, managed by the Nebraska Beef Council, features 40 restaurants throughout the state that offer the meat on their menus. It’s modeled after the state-run Nebraska Passport Program, a popular yearly initiative where visitors travel to different businesses, museums, parks and other attractions to collect stamps which they can send in for prizes.”
Playbook: “A ‘support group’ of former DeSantis staffers meets regularly to trade war stories about their hardship working for the governor. The turnover in his office and among his campaign advisers is well known among Republicans: In three of his five full years in Congress, he ranked in at least the 70th percentile in terms of highest turnover in a House office, according to data compiled by Legistorm. In the governor’s office, he has only two staffers who started with him when he was a junior member of Congress.”
“Within six months of taking office as governor in 2019, DeSantis fired five staffers. One was a 23-year-old scheduler who’d been with him since the beginning of his gubernatorial race. Shortly after she was sent packing, an unnamed member of DeSantis’ administration was quoted in a Florida blog trashing her performance. A month later, his deputy chief of staff left, prompting Florida reporters to press him about the rapid churn in his operation.”
“Another story relayed to us by five former staffers: At the beginning of his administration, DeSantis directed the Florida Republican Party leader to fire a party official who had cancer — on that person’s first week back from surgery.”
During a press conference outlining his plan to end most COVID-19 restrictions, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) spoke out about the politicization around masks, saying “it cost lives,” WCCO reports.
Said Walz: “I just want to note on this. The politicization around masks, I think history is going to write as one of the worst things that’s happened to this country. I think it cost lives. I think it’s stupid. It’s the least intrusive thing we can do.”
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Colorado state Rep. Richard Holtorf (R) is drawing fire after referring to a colleague as “Buckwheat” during a House session, KDVR reports.
Holtorf was talking about military rules of engagement and the law of proportionality, when he apparently responded to another legislator and said: “I’m getting there. Don’t worry Buckwheat. I’m getting there.”
He later added: “That’s an endearing term, by the way.”
“The harassment began soon after a report by a 19-year-old intern, who alleged an Idaho lawmaker raped her, became public,” the AP reports.
“One state representative sought a copy of the police report and made inquiries into how the young woman herself could be referred for criminal charges for reporting the alleged rape.”
“Another shared links to a far-right blog post that included the intern’s name, photo and personal details about her life with thousands of people in a newsletter and on social media.”
“And members of a far-right, anti-government activist group tried to follow and harass the young woman after she was called to testify in a legislative public ethics hearing.”
“A limited version of the picnic was held last year but the political speaking and games were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The picnic traditionally kicks off the fall political campaign in Kentucky.”
On the same day a distracted driving bill was introduced, Ohio state Sen. Andrew Brenner (R) participated in a government video meeting while driving, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Said Brenner: “I wasn’t distracted. I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it… I’ve actually been on other calls, numerous calls, while driving. Phone calls for the most part but on video calls, I’m not paying attention to the video. To me, it’s like a phone call.”
Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson (R) condemned the “deranged rantings” of Rep. Mark Samsel (R), caught on video talking to high school students about religion, sex and suicide, the Kansas City Star reports.
“In videos taken by students and shared with The Star, Samsel is seen talking about lesbians, suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible. He tells students they have permission to kick one person ‘in the balls’ and another video shows him standing over a student on the ground, asking, ‘Did it hurt?'”
An additional video shows Samsel calling Masterson “the devil.”