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Evening Wrap

Your daily analysis of trending topics in state government. The snark is nonpartisan.

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New exceptional heights

Donald Trump on Monday reported to court in New York for jury selection in his first trial, elevating American exceptionalism to new heights by cementing his place in history as the first former president to face criminal prosecution. Trump did not appear bowed by the weight of the moment. Mostly, he seemed annoyed — and tired, to the point of dozing off at least twice, our national bureau reported.

...A LOT of things

It’s been nearly two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, which is another way of saying that it’s been two years since reproductive rights took center stage in American politics.

This but also that

An Arizona appeals court on Tuesday declined to grant a new trial to Abe Hamadeh, a Republican seeking to overturn his 2022 loss in the state attorney general race while also running for Congress, the Arizona Mirror reported. (Abe Hamadeh gets more done before 9 a.m. than most people do all day!) 

I didn't say it was a fun society

Nebraska lawmakers on Tuesday night advanced a proposal to divert $10 million in public money to private school scholarships, voting 31-12 to move the bill forward after four hours of debate and a narrowly averted filibuster. The measure, if approved, would likely replace a 2023 law granting dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to private school scholarships, which public school advocates said was a blatant attempt to circumvent a voter referendum that could repeal the policy, the Nebraska Examiner reported.

Pyramid scheme

When Michael Whatley assumed control of the Republican National Committee last month, his marching orders were clear: Renew the party’s focus on “election integrity” — or, in GOP terms, file more lawsuits, install more right-wing election observers, and broadcast Donald Trump’s continued (and thoroughly debunked) claims of election fraud. Whatley, a hardcore election denier, was game. Within days, he’d outlined those priorities for RNC staffers in a three-page memo that emphasized voter outreach, ballot harvesting “where legal,” litigation over post-2020 election policies, and a push to hire and train slews of poll watchers. 

No glasses needed

Fear not, newsletter fam: You can look directly at everything in this message.

News and more news

So much to talk about, guys. Let’s dive in.

A Nebraska-shaped pie. A rectangle, basically.

The Nebraska legislature on Wednesday blocked a proposal to change the way the state awards its Electoral College votes, resisting pressure from Donald Trump to embrace a winner-take-all system that would have likely helped him in November. The measure, tacked on to an unrelated bill, required 23 votes to pass. It received just eight, per the Nebraska Examiner.

Grumble-pause-grumble

If you’re a politician hoping to do some good in the world (hello, beautiful unicorn), there is no shortage of issues to tackle. Can I interest you in the astronomical cost of housing? How about wage stagnation? Perhaps you’re more concerned about the ongoing climate crisis or the gun violence epidemic? Maybe you’d prefer to roll everything together, focus on the cumulative impact our prolonged inaction is having on kids and teens? Take! Your! Pick!

Obvious, in retrospect

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday ruled 6-1 that privacy protections in the state constitution do not extend to abortion, a stunning reversal of its own decades-old precedent that will allow a six-week ban to take effect on May 1, the Florida Phoenix reported. The decision stemmed from a 2022 lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of a 15-week ban approved by lawmakers following the demise of Roe v. Wade, a seismic shift the justices said affected the breadth of abortion protections in Florida.

Vice squad

A proposal to regulate hemp under the same framework as more-potent marijuana could force Missouri convenience stores and gas stations to pull most Delta-8 drinks and edibles from shelves, though officials said the full impact of the legislation is still unknown, the Missouri Independent reported

The best laid plans

Scheduling is for suckers in Idaho, where lawmakers continued to squabble over a major transportation bill on Thursday — a full six days past the legislature’s slated adjournment date, the Idaho Capital Sun reported.