Pluribus AM: CVS agrees to opioid settlement; Miss. holds special session; another flood of new polls

Thanks for reading Pluribus AM. Tomorrow, we launch our new newsletter, Pluribus Stated, which spotlights our own original reporting on the trends we’re seeing in state legislatures. Subscribe here.

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. In today’s edition, infrastructure money flows to airports; Miss. holds special session; another flood of new polls:

Top Stories

INFRASTRUCTURE: Federal money is flowing to airports across the nation after years of neglect. The bipartisan infrastructure law earmarked $25 billion over five years for air transportation projects, including $5 billion for air traffic facilities and $5 billion for airport terminals. The FAA estimates there is a $43.6 billion backlog in airport safety and modernization projects. (Pluribus News)

OPIOIDS: CVS Health has agreed in principle to settle lawsuits over how it handled opioid prescriptions linked to the overdose epidemic. The Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain would be the first to settle; it will pay $4.9 billion over 10 years to state and local governments, and $130 million to Native American tribes, if the deal is accepted. (Associated Press)

COLORADO RIVER: Water managers are seeking permission to release less water from Lake Powell than planned next year to ensure the Glen Canyon Dam can continue producing power. The Bureau of Reclamation is also considering releasing less water from Lake Mead to keep levels at Hoover Dam high enough to continue generating power. (Colorado Sun)

MISSISSIPPI: Lawmakers meet today to consider an economic development program that Gov. Tate Reeves (R) called the largest in state history. Reeves has declined to name the company involved, which wants to secure 2,000 acres of land in Lowndes County, south of Tupelo. He said the $2.5 billion project would create 1,000 jobs with an average salary of $93,000 a year. (Pluribus News,

PENNSYLVANIA: The state Supreme Court has barred elections officials from counting mail-in or absentee ballots that lack accurate, handwritten dates on return envelopes. In a unanimous ruling, justices ordered county boards of election to segregate and preserve those ballots. The court split 3-3 on whether making dates mandatory would violate provisions of the Voting Rights Act. (Associated Press, PoliticsPA)

ARIZONA: U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi granted an emergency order banning far-right groups from taking photos of voters within 75 feet of ballot drop boxes, and of posting identifying images or information about voters online. Liburdi had previously declined to prohibit those groups from monitoring drop boxes altogether. (Arizona Republic) 

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration will appeal a Leon Circuit Court judge’s ruling ordering the release of records related to flights that sent undocumented migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in September. Documents already released show the state paid $1.56 million for the flight. (Florida Politics)

CALIFORNIA: Wildfires, drought and extreme heat are accelerating and compounding in California, according to a new report from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Annual air temperatures have increased by 2.5 degrees since 1895, and at a faster rate beginning in the 1980s. The last 22 years have been the driest period in a millennium. (Los Angeles Times)

LEGAL: Former Connecticut state Rep. Michael DiMassa (D) pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he stole $1.2 million in pandemic relief money awarded to the city of West Haven. DiMassa faces 41 to 51 months in prison. (Hartford Courant) Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and his longtime associate Michael McClain have pleaded not guilty to bribery and corruption charges related to Commonwealth Edison and AT&T. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

In Politics

TURNOUT: More than 1.1 million Michiganders have cast a ballot already, up 60% from 2018 before rules allowing no-excuse absentee voting took effect. (BridgeMI) More people are returning absentee ballots in Connecticut than in 2018, but the pace lags behind 2020. (CTExaminer) Early vote turnout is down in Texas. About 2.7 million voters have cast ballots, down from 3.3 million at the same point in 2018. (Texas Tribune)

KANSAS GOV: Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has a slight lead over Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), 46%-43%, in a new Emerson College poll for The Hill. Independent Dennis Pyle takes 5%. Among Kansas voters, 53% see Kelly favorably. A reminder that independent and third-party candidates poll better than they tend to finish on Election Day.

NEVADA GOV: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) leads Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) 49%-45% in a Siena College poll for The New York Times. Lombardo and Sisolak are virtually tied at 43% each in a Suffolk University poll for USA Today, with two minor party candidates at 3% and 2%. Susquehanna has Lombardo up, within the margin of error, 45%-43%, and the two minor party candidates are at 2% each. Reminder, Nevada has a “none of these candidates” option on their ballots.

WISCONSIN GOV: A new Fox News poll shows businessman Tim Michels (R) and Gov. Tony Evers (D) statistically tied, 47%-46%. Evers’s job approval rating stands at 49%, while 47% disapprove.

ARIZONA GOV: Former television broadcaster Kari Lake (R) is statistically tied with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), 47%-46%, in a new Fox News poll. Lake and Hobbs are tied at 48%-48% in a Siena College poll for The New York Times. Those results are closer than other public surveys that show Lake with a substantial lead.

GEORGIA GOV: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) 50%-45% in a Siena College poll for The New York Times.

NEW YORK GOV: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is getting some better polling results lately. A new Emerson College poll for Pix11 and The Hill shows her leading Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) 52%-44%. Male voters are split between the two candidates, while women back Hochul 56%-40%.

PENNSYLVANIA GOV: Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) maintains his lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), 54%-40%, in a new Muhlenberg College poll for the Allentown Morning Call. Siena College, in a poll for The New York Times, has Shapiro up 53%-40%.

NEW HAMPSHIRE GOV: No change here, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) leads state Sen. Tom Sherman (D) 55%-37% in a new St. Anselm College poll. Almost two-thirds of voters, 62%, say they see Sununu favorably.

By The Numbers

1,003,384: The number of residents of Delaware as of July 2021, according to new Census Bureau estimates. It’s the first time the First State has had more than a million residents. (Wilmington News Journal)

$50 million: The tax revenue Hawaii would earn if marijuana were legalized for recreational use, according to the state Tax Department. The department issued the report to the Dual Use of Cannabis Task Force, created by Gov. David Ige (D) and the state legislature to study the impacts of legal pot. (Hawaii News Now)

Off The Wall

When Phillies fans bet on the World Series this year, Pennsylvania will benefit from the tax revenue. Astros fans betting on their team won’t be adding to Texas coffers at all — because sports betting, and most other forms of gambling, remain illegal under the Texas constitution. (Pluribus News)

Quote of the Day

“It was every where contended that no christian [sic] ought to go for me, because I belonged to no church, was suspected of being a deist, and had talked about fighting a duel.”

Abraham Lincoln, complaining about his political frustrations in a letter to friend Martin Morris as he campaigned for a seat in Congress. The 1843 letter is on display for the first time at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. (NPR Illinois)