Pluribus AM: Dems acknowledge polls moving right; red states investigate ESG banks; new polls in OR, MA, NV

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Good morning, it’s Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. In today’s edition, Dems acknowledge polls moving right; GOP states investigate ESG banks; new polls in Nev., Ore., Mass.:

Top Stories

DEMOCRATS: Democratic Governors Association chair/North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) acknowledged polling is shifting toward Republicans in the final weeks ahead of the midterm elections. In an exclusive event with Pluribus News, Cooper said the party is looking to make gains in gubernatorial contests in states like Massachusetts, Maryland and even Oklahoma. But, he said: “Historically, we’re swimming upstream.” (Pluribus News)

BANKING: Republican attorneys general in 19 states will investigate Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo over their membership in the Net-Zero Banking Alliance group that adheres to United Nations goals of eliminating carbon emissions by 2050 using environmental, social and governance investing strategies. (Center Square)

FLORIDA: Teachers who violate Florida’s new parental rights bill, dubbed by opponents the “don’t say gay” measure, could lose their license under new rules approved by the state Board of Education on Wednesday. The Board also approved a rule requiring school boards and charter schools to notify parents about policies involving bathroom and locker room access. (Pensacola News Journal)

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) administration said it will release records relating to flights that carried undocumented immigrants from Texas to Massachusetts by Dec. 1. The Florida Center for Government Accountability had sued to get access to the records. (Politico)

RHODE ISLAND: The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has filed notice that it will appeal a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to strike down the state’s truck tolling system. The system, in place since 2018, has collected about $101 million so far. The Authority will appeal the case to the First Circuit. (Providence Journal)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said a coming increase in the state’s minimum wage is probably not sustainable for businesses. She asked the Republican-controlled legislature to work with her on a plan to phase in the wage hike, rather than allow a quick increase. (Crain’s Detroit) The minimum wage of $9.87 an hour is scheduled to rise to $10.10 in January, and to $12 an hour in February.

NEW JERSEY: Attorney General Matthew Platkin filed suit this week against Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and the American Petroleum Institute, alleging they deceived the public for decades about the impact fossil fuels have on the climate. Platkin announced the suit at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, which was inundated during Superstorm Sandy almost 10 years ago. (Associated Press)

UTAH: The Health and Human Services Interim Committee has advanced a proposal barring gender-affirming surgeries on minors. The bill does not bar the use of hormone therapy or puberty blockers, a provision that died in this year’s session. Arizona, Alabama and Arkansas currently ban such surgeries on minors. (Salt Lake Tribune)

HAWAII: The Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct has recommended lawmakers ban fundraising during the legislative session. Lawmakers will consider the proposal when session starts in January. The legislature has previously banned fundraising events during session, but collecting checks is still allowed. (Civil Beat)

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) has signed a technology-sharing agreement with Israel that will allow the state to use new desalinization techniques. In exchange, Hawaii will teach Israel about protecting marine environments in the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

In Politics

TURNOUT: Signs of record-level turnout are mounting ahead of the midterms. More voters cast ballots in the first two days of Georgia’s early voting than at the same point in the 2020 presidential race. Nearly twice as many Michiganders have requested absentee ballots as in 2018. And strategists for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) say they expect as many as 10.6 million voters to show up, two million more than in 2018. (Pluribus News)

DEMOCRATS: The super PAC Forward Majority is pouring $20 million into legislative districts across the country, mostly into Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona, all states where Republicans hold legislative majorities. The money comes a month after the States Project, another Democratic group, said it would put $60 million toward legislative candidates in several states. (New York Times)

NEVADA: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) are tied, 48%-48%, in a new CBS News/YouGov survey. Sisolak’s job approval stands at 53%, while 47% disapprove. 

OREGON: A new poll from Hoffman Research Group, a Republican firm, finds former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R) virtually tied with former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), 37%-35%. Former state Sen. Betsy Johnson (I) stands at 17%. (RealClearPolitics) Kotek’s campaign is touting an internal poll that shows her on the high side of a tied race. (Oregonian)

MASSACHUSETTS: Attorney General Maura Healey (D) leads former state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) 53%-23% in a new MassINC poll. The survey shows Question 1, a measure creating a surtax on incomes over $1 million, leading 59%-31%. Question 4, a measure to grant driver’s licenses to those without legal status, leads by a narrower 49%-37% margin.

FLORIDA: Ex-Rep. Charlie Crist’s (R) campaign manager is out just 20 days before the election. A spokesperson for Crist’s campaign says manager Austin Durrer is leaving to focus on a family matter. Sydney Throop, a longtime Crist aide, will take over the campaign. Polls show Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leading. (Florida Politics)

By The Numbers

$450 million: The amount of money South Carolina lawmakers have allowed the utility company Santee Cooper to borrow to fund upcoming capital spending plans. Santee Cooper is already $6.8 billion in debt. Critics call the plan, approved by the Joint Bond Review Committee, a taxpayer-funded bailout. (Charleston Post and Courier, FITSNews)

Off The Wall

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) has endorsed state Auditor candidate Anthony Amore (R) — in song: “If you need someone in place who will stop all the waste, that’s Amore. If you hire a smart guy he’ll make a bigger pie, that’s Amore,” Weld sang. (MassLive)

Speaking of Massachusetts, the Podokesaurus holyokensis, a swift-footed lizard discovered by a Mount Holyoke College professor in 1910, is now the official state dinosaur, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker (R). (Boston Globe)

The office of Maine’s Attorney General is suing the state Department of Health and Human Services over access to records. The Department is represented by … the office of Maine’s Attorney General. Deputy Attorney General Christopher Taub told legislators it wouldn’t be the first time that attorneys in the same office represent opposing sides in the same case. (Portland Press Herald)

Quote of the Day

“You’ve all voted for this and this curriculum before. You’re hearing the curriculum is absolutely no different. So, what is the hold up now?”

— New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), urging three Republican members of the state Executive Council to approve a $682,000 contract to teach basic sex education meant to reduce teen pregnancies. The councillors said they have new concerns about parental rights. (WMUR)