Pluribus AM: Election Day in August

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, August 8, 2023. In today’s edition, voters head to the polls in Ohio and Mississippi; Georgia lawmakers plan social media restrictions; Missouri lawmakers beat up Illinois on the ballfield:

Top Stories

ELECTIONS: Voters head to the polls in Mississippi and Ohio today. In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) will cruise to their respective nominations in the race for governor. In Ohio, voters will decide on Issue 1, the question of whether to raise the threshold for future constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%.

In Ohio, nearly 700,000 voters cast early ballots, either in person or by mail, according to the Secretary of State’s office. That’s more voters than the total number who voted in last year’s August primary elections. (Ohio Capital Journal)

Check with us after polls close tonight for the latest coverage.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones (R) and Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R) will propose legislation requiring minors to have a parent’s explicit permission to create a social media account. They said Georgia’s law would be modeled on Louisiana’s version, which passed in June. (Associated Press)

Our colleague Austin Jenkins wrote about that Louisiana bill when it passed a few months ago. We’ve dropped the paywall on that story, available right here.

EDUCATION: A new Indiana law taking effect this week will require school districts to provide written notice to parents within five days if their students ask to be called by anything other than their official name. The law, signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), does not require parents to consent to the name change request. (Northwest Indiana Times)

MORE: Connecticut will spend $16 million in federal funds to expand free school meals to students who qualify for reduced-price meals, though the free lunches will not extend to all students. Legislators did not advance a $90 million plan to extend meals to all students. (Hartford Courant)

ENERGY: Georgia officials are considering deploying hydrogen fueling stations to power commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers and large trucks. The “hydrogen highway” would connect a Hyundai electric vehicle plant with the Port of Savannah along Interstate 16. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ENVIRONMENT: Republican legislative leaders in Arizona held an emergency joint committee meeting Monday to formally oppose the creation of a new national monument near the Grand Canyon that President Biden plans to designate today. The monument will prevent uranium mining in areas considered sacred by eight Native American tribes. (Arizona Republic)

MORE: Attorneys general in Iowa and Nebraska are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to try to force it to issue final rules allowing the year-round sale of gasoline blended with ethanol. The EPA has proposed allowing year-round sales in eight states beginning in 2024. (Des Moines Register)

GUN POLITICS: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) plans to sign legislation banning firearm advertisements meant to appeal to children, militants or others who might later use weapons illegally. The bill allows the state to pursue legal action against the firearms industry. (Chicago Sun-Times) A federal judge in Colorado has blocked a new law raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, a day before it was supposed to take effect. (Colorado Sun)

ABORTION: Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) has filed a motion seeking to expedite a decision in his challenge to the state’s abortion ban, less than a week after liberals reclaimed control of the state Supreme Court. The case is currently before a Dane County Circuit Court judge, though it is almost certain to be appealed to the high court. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

VIRGINIA: Our colleague Humberto Sanchez checked in on Virginia’s critical legislative races ahead of November’s elections. About 11 seats in the narrowly divided House and Senate are competitive — three in the Northern Virginia suburbs, two in the Piedmont, four in Hampton Roads and two near Richmond. Read his full report here.

NORTH CAROLINA: U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R) will run for Attorney General, he said last week. The Club for Growth and the Republican Attorneys General Association said they would support his campaign. Incumbent Josh Stein (D) is running for governor. (Carolina Journal)

The last time a Republican won election to become North Carolina’s Attorney General: 1896.

MISSOURI: Anti-abortion rights activists have filed new legal challenges against a ballot measure meant to legalize abortion in Missouri. The plaintiffs challenged a cost estimate that voters would see alongside the measure; they argue the estimate should include lost tax revenue and the potential loss of Medicaid funding. (Associated Press)

KANSAS: Gov. Laura Kelly (D) will launch a new political action committee to help elect moderate Republicans and Democrats in the 2024 elections. A handful of moderate Republicans have stood with Kelly on veto votes, even though Republicans hold supermajorities in the House and Senate. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

ARIZONA: Former state Rep. Mark Finchem (R) has paid $49,000 in sanctions over legal challenges to the 2022 elections, in which he lost a race for Secretary of State by 120,000 votes. The money will cover attorneys fees incurred by Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) and Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), who had served as Fontes’s predecessor. (Arizona Republic)

By The Numbers

9: The number of federal judges appointed by former President Donald Trump who had worked in the Texas Attorney General’s office under John Cornyn, Greg Abbott or Ken Paxton. A tenth former Texas AG employee, Ted Cruz, is now Cornyn’s colleague in the U.S. Senate. (Texas Tribune)

7: The number of states that have passed legislation since 2021 lowering the age at which waiters and servers can serve alcohol. Servers as young as 16 can serve booze in West Virginia and Iowa. (Idaho Capital Sun)

10-2: The score of the annual Bi-State Softball Showdown, in which lawmakers from Missouri square off against their colleagues in Illinois. Missouri won, for the second year in a row. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Off The Wall

For the second time in less than two weeks, law enforcement officers found a dead body on the grounds of the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. Public safety officials are investigating the cause of the two deaths, which come in the midst of an historic heat wave gripping the Valley. (Arizona Republic)

Florida school districts are spending tens of thousands of dollars to comply with a new state law that requires campuses to digitally chronicle books on shelves. Contracts show districts have spent between $34,000 and $135,000 on outside firms to catalogue their books for websites that parents can search. (Politico)

Quote of the Day

“There’s always places to spend money in a small community.”

Mary “Sissie” Sullivan, the chairwoman of the board of Popple River, Wis., population 43. The town will receive a 5,070% funding increase under new shared revenue rules approved by the legislature this year. Under previous rules, the town received $606 in state funding every year; next year, it will receive $31,329. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)