Pluribus AM: Dems up pressure on Biden over migrants

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, October 3, 2023. In today’s edition, Dems pressure Biden on migrant costs; N.C. governor vetoes nuclear bill; Oregon voters get rare chance to recall a sitting legislator:

Top Stories

IMMIGRATION: In a letter to the Biden administration, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said the influx of asylum-seekers arriving in his state is “overwhelming” the state’s ability to provide aid. Pritzker wants the White House to appoint a single person to oversee border control efforts. (Chicago Tribune)

The amount of pressure on the Biden administration coming from Democratic governors continues to build. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) have also continued pressing Biden to act on work authorizations.

ENERGY: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed legislation that would have included nuclear energy in the state’s definition of clean energy, allowing utilities to to use nuclear power to meet carbon-free energy goals. The state’s existing renewable energy portfolio standard explicitly bars nuclear power from being used to meet goals. Duke Energy is interested in building small modular reactors as part of their transition away from coal. (Pluribus News, Raleigh News & Observer)

ENVIRONMENT: Thirty-three states introduced about 200 pieces of legislation dealing with so-called “forever” PFAS chemicals this year. As of last month, 25 states have adopted 131 policies to address elements of PFAS products, banning their use in everything from indoor and outdoor furniture to cosmetics, children’s products and dental floss. (Portland Press Herald)

EDUCATION: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is moving forward with major changes to the state education system while litigation continues. The state Department of Education now no longer exists, replaced by the Department of Education and Workforce. A budget bill DeWine signed this year puts the department under the control of the governor’s office, rather than the Board of Education. Board of Education members filed suit in September to block the changes. (Ohio Capital Journal)

PUBLIC HEALTH: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed legislation repealing penalties on doctors who spread Covid-19 misinformation. A conservative civil liberties group had challenged the law, alleging it violated physicians’ free speech rights. (Sacramento Bee)

ABORTION: Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell (D) has launched a reproductive justice unit, appointing a longtime abortion rights advocate as the new director. The unit will protect and expand access to abortion and reproductive care, along with gender-affirming care and postpartum maternal health. (Boston Globe)

TAXES: Oklahoma legislators return to special session today to consider reducing or eliminating state income taxes. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) wants a big tax cut, but Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat (R) says he doesn’t see a clear path forward. (McCarville Report)

In Politics & Business

OREGON: Voters cast ballots by mail Tuesday in a rare recall election targeting a state representative. Rep. Paul Holvey (D), who represents a heavily Democratic Eugene-area district, angered a local labor group by opposing a measure to facilitate cannabis industry unions. He’s just the 40th state legislator in American history, and the first since 2018, to face a recall. (Pluribus News)

VIRGINIA: Conservative billionaire Thomas Peterffy has written a third $1 million check to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) Spirit of Virginia PAC ahead of this year’s legislative elections. Peterffy has said he wants Youngkin to run for president. (WRIC)

The clock is ticking if Youngkin is really entertaining a late bid: Filing deadlines in Nevada and New Hampshire are October 16 and October 23, respectively — weeks before Virginia’s legislative elections.

OHIO: State Republicans have introduced legislation to make school board candidates declare a party affiliation. The sponsor, state Rep. Mike Loychik (R), says doing so would give voters more information about a candidate’s platform. (Columbus Dispatch)

WISCONSIN: Elias Law Group, the national Democratic law firm, has sued over Wisconsin law that requires a witness to sign a voter’s absentee ballot envelope. The suit alleges the law violates the Voting Rights Act. A state review after the 2020 elections found nearly 7% of absentee ballots were missing at least part of a witness certificate. (Associated Press)

PEOPLE: North Dakota Sen. Doug Larsen (R), his wife and two sons were killed in a plane crash Sunday in Utah, North Dakota officials confirmed Monday. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff from an airfield near Moab. Larsen joined the Senate in 2021, after 29 years in the North Dakota National Guard. (Associated Press) Our condolences to the North Dakota political family.

By The Numbers

$12.8 million: The estimated cost of ongoing renovations at Minnesota’s governor’s residence, after workers found key parts of the building in worse shape than expected. The new estimates are more than $5 million higher than initially expected. (MPR News)

$100,000: The amount paid for the oldest known pair of Levi’s jeans, dating back to at least 1873, by an anonymous donor at an annual vintage fashion festival in Durango, Colo. The jeans are the first known pair that include metal rivets to prevent wear. (Denver Post)

Off The Wall

Texas state Rep. Frederick Frazier (R) was indicted more than a year ago on felony charges of impersonating a public servant, but the case has yet to go to trial because of the legislative session and three special sessions called by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The sessions have allowed Frazier to ask for legislative continuances, which delays court cases until the legislature is done with its business. Frazier, a Dallas police officer, allegedly impersonated a code enforcement employee to instruct people to remove his opponent’s campaign signs. (Texas Tribune)

An audit of the Sheriff’s Department in Ray County, Mo., found officials spent more than $5,500 in taxpayer money on beer, cigarettes, 15 televisions … and 76 hams. The office also failed to transfer about $3,000 in permit and registry fees to the county treasurer, and it’s unclear where that money went. (Kansas City Star)

Rye whiskey is now Maryland’s official state spirit, after lawmakers approved a bill bestowing the honor earlier this year. Rye distilling in Maryland goes back to the 1700s, but state farmers curtailed growing rye wheat during Prohibition. It’s made a big comeback in recent years. (WYPR)

When Congress avoided a government shutdown this weekend, they saved Fat Bear Week, the annual National Park Service celebration of bulky ursines in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve. The bears are downing about 100,000 calories a day to prepare for winter. The Washington Post has a handy rundown of this year’s competitors.

Quote of the Day

“I have been driving in Newport and just held my breath because it was just so strong.”

Newport, Minn., Mayor Laurie Elliott, on the smell caused by a hog-rendering plant that operates in nearby South St. Paul. The legislature approved an “odor management” policy this year that gives state regulators the power to intervene when people complain about bad smells in the Twin Cities area. (MinnPost)

Here’s a photo of someone using a Field Olfactometer, which looks like a telescope for your nose.