Pluribus AM: Happy Election Day!

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Good morning, it’s Tuesday, November 7, 2023. In today’s edition, voters are voting on Election Day; SCOTUS takes up a new firearms case; California fast-tracks its first new reservoir in 50 years:

Top Stories

ELECTION DAY: Voters are voting in states across the country today, and once again we’re in for close contests. A late poll showed Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) running neck-and-neck with Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) as Trump voters begin flocking to the GOP contender. Republicans are anxious over Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’s unexpectedly close battle with Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D).

In Virginia, our colleague Humberto Sanchez writes both Democrats and Republicans are expressing cautious optimism in the battle for the legislature. Ohio voters are likely to approve a constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights, and an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.

New Jersey Democrats are likely to maintain their advantages in the legislature, while Mississippi Republicans have already guaranteed their own majorities after Democrats failed to field candidates in dozens of races. Read our full preview of everything on the ballot today right here.

GUN POLITICS: The Illinois State Rifle Association will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision backed the state’s assault weapons ban. (St. Louis Public Radio) The Supreme Court hears arguments today over a federal law that prohibits people subject to protective orders from possessing firearms. (Associated Press)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed legislation expanding privacy protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The new laws will allow law enforcement to assist victims, and allow photos and videos of victims to be blurred in public court proceedings. (Detroit Free Press)

MORE: Oregon lawmakers are hearing testimony over proposals to recriminalize some drug possession, after voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to roll back criminal penalties to focus instead on treatment. Legislators have not decided what steps they should take, though law enforcement officials testified Monday that criminalizing possession would help the treatment process. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Twenty five attorneys general are urging the Food and Drug Administration to conduct more rigorous testing on pulse oximeters, which measure someone’s oxygen levels. The devices don’t work as well on darker skin tones, leading to poorer health outcomes. (Stat) Republican attorneys general in Missouri, Idaho and Kansas are suing the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services over rules allowing the abortion drug mifepristone to be shipped to patients nationwide. (Washington Post)

INFRASTRUCTURE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has fast-tracked construction of a $4.5 billion reservoir in rural Glenn and Colusa counties, a facility that will capture water from the Sacramento River during wet years. It’s the state’s first major reservoir project in 50 years. (Sacramento Bee)

In Politics & Business

TRUMP: Former President Donald Trump held tele-town hall get-out-the-vote rallies for Mississippi Gov. Reeves and Kentucky Attorney General Cameron on Monday, hours before the polls opened. Trump won both states in 2020 by wide margins. (Pluribus News)

REPUBLICANS: Five Republicans have qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Miami, while Trump plans to skip the event in favor of a rally in nearby Hialeah. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), former Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy (R) will take the stage; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) missed out on the third debate after qualifying for the first two. (NBC News)

NEVADA: A state judge has rejected proposed ballot language supported by the state’s teacher’s union that would have rejected public funding for a new Major League Baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics. The judge said supporters hadn’t included enough information about the initiative on its petitions. (Nevada Independent)

MISSOURI: The House Ethics Committee will hold hearings over complaints of ethical misconduct filed against Speaker Dean Plocher (R). Several Republican state representatives have called for Plocher to resign after he allegedly threatened to fire legislative staff over a contract he wanted to award to a firm that handles constituent information. Plocher has maintained his innocence. (KCUR)

By The Numbers

$1.35 billion: The amount claimed in residential property and personal motor vehicle insurance losses caused by fires on Maui this summer. More than 6,000 claims have been filed so far. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

198 lbs.: The weight of a Burmese python captured Friday in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve. It’s the second-heaviest python ever captured in the state. (Orlando Sentinel)

Off The Wall

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has sued the state on behalf of a local resident whose application for a vanity plate reading “REZWEED” was denied. The resident in question runs a business that supports selling legal marijuana on Native American reservations. (Associated Press, South Dakota Searchlight)

We love a good vanity license plate controversy.

Here’s your latest chance to show off your punning abilities: Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants your help to name the turkey she will pardon ahead of Thanksgiving. Last year’s winning entry: Mitch E. Gander, which you have to admit is a pretty good one. (MLive)

Quote of the Day

“Does it hurt anything that there’s a telegraph tax if there’s no telegraph? I don’t know.”

Washington Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D), who has introduced legislation to repeal a telegraph tax that has been on the books since the 1920s. The tax hasn’t collected any revenue since at least 2000, according to city officials. (Spokane Spokesman Review)