Good morning, it’s Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. In today’s edition, Calif. gun laws challenged in court; abortion rights initiative coming to Okla.; and Alaska gets (another) bipartisan majority:
VOTER FRAUD: New state law enforcement units in Florida, Georgia and Virginia meant to find and prosecute cases of voter fraud have found no evidence of systemic problems in the 2022 Midterm Elections. Georgia’s Bureau of Investigations has not initiated any investigations; Virginia’s Attorney General’s office wouldn’t say if it had launched any investigations. (Associated Press)
GUN CONTROL: Hearings begin today in San Diego over California gun laws barring homemade firearms, banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines and blocking young people from buying guns. The California Rifle and Pistol Association brought the challenge after the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen earlier this year. (Los Angeles Times)
OKLAHOMA: Supporters of abortion rights are preparing to gather signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment establishing a right to reproductive freedom. The proposed amendment is awaiting legal approval from the Secretary of State’s office; if backers can gather 172,993 legal signatures, the measure would go before voters on March 7, when voters will also decide on a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. (Tulsa World)
TEXAS: School choice legislation is likely to pass in the upcoming session after years of debate. State Sen.-elect Mayes Middleton (R) has filed a measure that would provide $10,000 a year for students who opt out of public education in order to attend another school. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) have both made school choice a priority for the coming session. (Texas Tribune)
ILLINOIS: Legislators return to Springfield on Tuesday to consider amendments to the SAFE-T Act, the justice reform package that would eliminate cash bail by Jan. 1. Democrats in the majority have said they do not plan major changes to the bill. A group of state’s attorneys are suing to block the law from taking effect in a case scheduled to be heard Dec. 7. (Center Square)
WASHINGTON: Lawmakers return to Olympia this week for preliminary hearings on bills to be considered in the early days of session next year. Legislators plan to hold hearings on bills tacking crime rates and addressing carbon pricing and the shortage of workers facing the state ferry system. (Everett Herald)
UTAH: A district court judge has declined to throw out a lawsuit challenging congressional district lines that plaintiffs say violate the state constitution. Lawmakers are appealing to the Utah Supreme Court. Utah voters approved an independent redistricting commission in 2018, though legislators rewrote the law in 2020 to give the commission an advisory role only. (Salt Lake Tribune)
CALIFORNIA: The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $1 billion electric vehicle charging project in which most of the money will be earmarked for midsize- and heavy-duty trucks. About two-thirds of the money will be spent on underserved low-income and tribal communities. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
CONNECTICUT: The first recreational marijuana businesses are set to open in the next few months. The state is close to reaching 250,000 square feet of pot production space, the amount required by law to begin recreational sales. More than 40 growers and retails have won provisional licenses from the Department of Consumer Protection. (CT Mirror)
MICHIGAN: The state Senate has approved a bill allowing restaurants to sell cocktails to go on a permanent basis. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a law allowing cocktails to go during the early days of the pandemic. (MLive) Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., now allow restaurants to sell booze to go.
REDISTRICTING: The number of state legislative districts where minorities make up a majority of the population has dropped substantially after the last redistricting process, despite the fact that minority communities accounted for all the population growth in the United States over the last decade. Read our exclusive report here.
ALASKA: A bipartisan group of nine Democrats and eight Republicans will form a majority coalition to run the upper chamber, headed by state Sen. Gary Stevens (R). The state House has been governed by a bipartisan coalition for the last two sessions. (KTUU, Anchorage Daily News) We’ve said it before, Alaska has the nation’s most complicated, and most interesting, coalition politics.
PENNSYLVANIA: Democrats captured a majority in the state House in the midterm elections, but they’re going to lose it for at least a few weeks until three special elections are held. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D) died suddenly a month before the election. State Rep. Summer Lee (D) will resign to take a seat she won in Congress, and state Rep. Austin Davis (D) will quit to become lieutenant governor. All three represented heavily Democratic districts that will need to hold special elections to fill the vacancies. (Spotlight PA)
MONTANA: The decennial redistricting process begins today when the five-member Districting and Apportionment Commission begins a four-day work session to redraw legislative boundary lines. Commissioners will draw 100 House districts and then decide which to pair together to make the 50 state Senate districts. (Missoulian)
MISSOURI: Gov. Mike Parson (R) appointed Andrew Bailey, his general counsel, to serve as Attorney General last week, hours after we told you Bailey was the front-runner for the job. Bailey pledged to run for a full term in 2024. (Center Square, St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Bailey replaces Eric Schmitt (R), who will resign after winning a seat in the U.S. Senate.
MICHIGAN: Ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), who served as ambassador to the Netherlands after leaving Congress, will run to chair the Michigan Republican Party, challenging 2022 Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno (R). (Detroit News)
ARIZONA: Six counties that have yet to certify midterm election results face a deadline to do so today. Republican supervisors in Mohave County and Cochise County voted not to certify results in protest of vote-counting problems in Maricopa County. State Elections Director Kori Lorick said that Cochise County’s vote count would not be included in a statewide canvass on Dec. 5 if supervisors do not certify the results. That could flip a U.S. House seat to Democrats. (Associated Press)
WISCONSIN: The Green Party will be on the ballot in 2024 after Secretary of State candidate Sharyl McFarland won 1.6% of the vote in November’s midterm elections. The Green Party’s presidential nominee was not on the ballot during the 2020 presidential election, when President Biden carried the state by just 11,000 votes. (WisPolitics)
By The Numbers
29th: The highest rank Ohio Rep.-elect Jim Thomas (R) achieved in the world tennis tour during his professional career. Thomas ousted state Rep. Thomas West (D) in November’s general election. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
1.31%: The share global macadamia nut exports that come from the United States. Hawaiian Host, the largest macadamia nut producer in Hawaii, says it will stop buying nuts from the Big Island because of a problem with a 50-year old boiler. The company gets most of its nuts from South Africa and Kenya. (Civil Beat)
Off The Wall
Only two New Jersey governors — James Florio and Jim McGreevey — have lived full-time at Drumthwacket, the state’s official governor’s mansion, since it reopened after renovations in 1982. Well, three, if you count John Bennett III, who spend all 84 hours of his tenure as acting governor at Drumthwacket. (New Jersey Globe) Coolest name of any governor’s mansion in America.
Quote of the Day
“I’m not the most technology-oriented guy, so I might have to get somebody to help me figure out how to put an app on my phone and use it.”
— Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), asked whether he would make any wagers now that mobile sports betting is legal in his state. (Baltimore Banner)