Pluribus AM: After Ohio, abortion fight goes national

Good morning, it’s Friday, November 10, 2023. In today’s edition, abortion rights advocates aim for 2024 ballots; Illinois House votes to lift nuke moratorium; New Hampshire candidates finish race tied — again:

Top Stories

ABORTION: Abortion rights advocates are aiming to secure ballot access for initiatives and constitutional amendments in next year’s presidential contests. Potential ballot measures are collecting signatures or navigating the legal process in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington. (Pluribus News)

ELECTIONS: Suspicious letters, some containing fentanyl, showed up at elections offices in at least five states this week. After offices were evacuated in Washington State, authorities found similar letters sent to elections offices in Georgia, Nevada, California and Oregon. No one has been injured. (Associated Press)

MORE: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) will sign legislation allowing clerks to begin processing absentee ballots before Election Day, a measure approved by the Republican-led legislature on Thursday. Election clerks have asked for the legislation to help them count ballots faster. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

LABOR: The Culinary Workers Union reached a labor agreement with Wynn Resorts early Friday, the last major Las Vegas casino company to strike a deal with workers hours before they were set to strike. The union reached a new contract agreement with MGM Resorts and Caesars earlier this week. The union said workers were in store for historic wage increases. (Associated Press) California scientists will hold a rolling three-day strike next week, the first-ever strike by civil servants in the state. (Sacramento Bee)

ENERGY: The Illinois House approved a measure lifting a moratorium on nuclear energy in a broad bipartisan vote. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has signaled he supports the measure after the bill’s chief sponsor added new inspection requirements. (Chicago Tribune)

HEALTH CARE: The Michigan House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill rescinding a 1995 law that prevents lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers. The bill passed in a broad bipartisan vote; the Senate must agree to amendments before it goes to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). (Michigan Advance) Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R) says she will make growing the state’s health care workforce a priority in next year’s session. (Florida Politics)

TAXES: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has called lawmakers back to special session to cap property taxes. Voters this week rejected Proposition HH, which would have capped taxes while allowing the state to keep some additional tax revenue under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. (Colorado Public Radio, Denver Post)

Polis announced the special session by using a baseball bat to break a glass case, a dramatic stunt that “didn’t get any laughs from the assembled press,” according to CPR’s report.

WORKFORCE: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has signed an executive order granting paid parental leave to the state’s 70,000 employees. Employees will be eligible for up to six weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

In Politics & Business

OHIO: A proposed constitutional amendment to change the way Ohio draws its legislative and congressional district lines will begin collecting signatures after Attorney General Dave Yost (R) approved ballot language. The amendment had been delayed for about a week because of a typo. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

NORTH CAROLINA: State Auditor Beth Wood (D) will resign from office, two days after she was indicted on charges that she misused a state-owned vehicle for personal errands. Wood had already said she would not seek re-election; on Thursday, she said she would resign effective Dec. 15. (Associated Press)

MISSOURI: House Speaker Dean Plocher (R), fending off ethics investigations, has hired former Speaker Rod Jetton (R) as his new chief of staff. Jetton was charged with felony assault and investigated over bribery allegations after leaving office in 2009. (Missouri Independent, Associated Press) The House Ethics Committee will hold another hearing on an ethics complaint made against Plocher. (St. Louis Public Radio)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Secretary of State David Scanlan will announce the date of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary next week. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

PEOPLE: Former New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D) has died at 83. Hevesi resigned from office in 2006 as part of a plea agreement over using state employees to care for his wife. He later served 20 months in prison for a pay-to-play scheme involving the state pension fund. (State of Politics)

By The Numbers

8 billion: The world’s population as of Sept. 26, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The world’s population has grown by two billion since the turn of the century. But there are signs population growth is slowing: Three-quarters of the world now lives in countries where fertility rates are below the minimum required to replace the existing population. (Associated Press)

$139 million: The size of Indiana’s revenue shortfall in October, 9% below expectations. Indiana is now running below year-to-date revenue projections by about 1%. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)

$18.1 billion: The amount Michigan spent battling the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the state’s auditor general. More than $17.6 billion of that total came from the federal government. (MLive)

Off The Wall

Rochester, N.H., city council candidates David Walker (R) and Chuck Grassie (D) finished their race with 409 votes each — the second time the two men have finished in a tie in a political contest. They each won 970 votes in a November 2022 election for a seat in the state House. The Rochester City Council voted to determine the winner using bingo balls. (WMUR)

Oregon has become the first state to allow perspective lawyers to gain access to the state bar without passing the bar exam. The state bar can now license law school graduates who submit a portfolio of their work practicing law for an independent evaluation, after the state Supreme Court approved a Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination plan. (Salem Reporter)

Quote of the Day

“In this country, we accept the results of elections. We certainly accept the results of Issue 1 in Ohio as well as Issue 2.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), pushing back on some legislative Republicans who suggested making changes to or blocking voter-approved measures on abortion and legal marijuana. (Columbus Dispatch)