Pluribus AM: Every vote counts when you lose by 1

Good morning, it’s Monday, December 4, 2023. In today’s edition, California stares into budget abyss; Texas special session wrapping up; candidate who didn’t vote for himself loses by a single vote:

Top Stories

BUDGET: California is projected to see a $58 billion shortfall in revenue collections over the next three fiscal years, a cliff reminiscent of the Great Recession. Higher mortgage rates, less investment in startups and tech firms and fewer IPOs have all contributed to a collapse in revenue. (Sacramento Bee)

California lawmakers have worked hard in recent years to build up a rainy day fund. Their work is about to be put to a serious test.

IMMIGRATION: The Texas Senate has given final approval to legislation appropriating $1.54 billion to build barriers along the border with Mexico. The bill will fund about 40 miles of barrier in Starr, Cameron, Val Verde and Webb counties. (Texas Tribune)

MORE: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Texas to remove a floating barrier in the Rio Grande River, affirming a lower court order requiring Texas to obtain permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to place a barrier in the river. Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said he would seek a rehearing by the full Fifth Circuit. (Texas Tribune)

EDUCATION: The Texas Senate approved a measure spending $800 million on public school security upgrades in a unanimous vote. The state House, which approved its own safety bill, doesn’t plan to take up the bill. House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) told his members the latest special session will wrap up on Tuesday, with no action scheduled on Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) education priorities. (Texas Tribune, Texas Tribune)

GUN POLITICS: Nebraska lawmakers will consider legislation next year to allow more people to carry firearms in schools to boost security. In a hearing held by the legislature’s Education Committee, lawmakers heard proposals to allow trained people to carry firearms and to standardize school maps used by first responders. (Omaha World Herald)

WORKFORCE: Illinois is spending $3 million to recruit and retain substance abuse counselors in the middle of the opioid epidemic. A 2019 report found Illinois had 30 substance abuse disorder providers per 1,000 adults, below the national average — and 56% of those providers are over 50, meaning they are nearing retirement. (Chicago Tribune)

HEALTH CARE: A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers has introduced legislation to eliminate a state law that prevents lawsuits in some cases of medical malpractice. The so-called “free kill” law, the only one of its kind in the nation, prevents family members from suing over medical malpractice deaths if the victim is an unmarried adult. (Florida Politics)

TRANSPORTATION: Alaska Airlines has agreed to buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion, the companies said Sunday. The new company would maintain the Hawaiian brand, if the Biden administration signs off on the merger. The Justice Department is already trying to block JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines. (Associated Press)

In Politics & Business

DEMOCRATS: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) will serve as the next chair of the Democratic Governors Association. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will serve as finance chair, while Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) will serve as vice chair. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Eleven governorships are up for election next year, including open seats in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Washington and Delaware.

FLORIDA: Republican Party chairman Christian Ziegler says he will not resign over allegations of sexual assault. In an email to supporters, Ziegler claimed innocence. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has called on Ziegler to step down. (Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: A group of state Republicans have submitted a request to hold a special meeting of the central committee on Dec. 27 to consider removing party chair Kristina Karamo. The state party had just $35,000 in the bank in August, and a former top member of the budget committee said the party is facing default on a line of credit. (Detroit News)

WISCONSIN: Senate Democrats have chosen Sen. Dianne Hesselbein (D) as their new minority leader. Current leader Melissa Agard (D) is stepping down to run for Dane County Executive. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

By The Numbers

$70.3 million: The amount spent on New Jersey legislative elections this year, the second-most ever spent in state-level elections. Democrats, who added seats to their majorities, outspent Republicans by a substantial margin. (NJ Advance Media)

4.6%: The share of Coloradans who do not have health insurance, the lowest rate ever measured. The rate is down substantially from 2021, when 6.6% of state residents were uninsured. (Colorado Sun)

214: The number of “cold-stunned” turtles treated by the New England Aquarium after they washed ashore in a hypothermic state. Some turtles can be hospitalized for more than a year before they recover. (Boston Globe)

Off The Wall

Damion Green lost his bid for a seat on the Rainier City Council, a small town in Washington State, by a single vote, 247 to 246. The kicker: Green didn’t bother to vote for himself. Green’s opponent, Ryan Roth, said he almost didn’t vote either, but his wife talked him into sending in his ballot. (Seattle Times)

A collision between two semi trucks on Thursday briefly closed a section of Interstate 90, after their cargo — boxes of chocolate and caramel — covered the roadway. Road crews cleaned up the candy; no one was injured. (UPI)

Quote of the Day

“I told my friends, it’s a really good time to be a political eunuch.”

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), on staying out of the daily fray. (Indianapolis Star)