Pluribus AM: Infrastructure cash on its way; gun rights lawsuits hit blue states; new polls in SD, TX, GA, NV

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. In today’s edition, infrastructure cash heads to the states; SCOTUS unleashes wave of gun rights lawsuits; and new polls in S.D., Ga., Texas and Nev.:

Top Stories

INFRASTRUCTURE: The Biden administration has released $60 billion in funding for roads, bridges and other transportation projects, up $15.4 billion over last year’s allocation. A bridge repair and replacement fund will grow 391% over last year, the administration said. California will receive $5.6 billion in funding, and $5.4 billion is headed to Texas. All told, 22 states will receive more than $1 billion. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: Attorney General William Tong (D) said Tuesday he would hire a special counsel for reproductive rights, and that his office would launch a hotline to offer legal advice for those seeking an abortion. (CT Mirror) Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed an executive order barring health care providers from sharing abortion records with other states. Hawaii was the first state to legalize abortion, in 1970. (Center Square)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Seven lawmakers want the legislature to return on Nov. 3, just days before the midterm elections, for a special session to repeal a sales tax on groceries. The state House passed a measure repealing the tax earlier this year, but the state Senate rejected it by a wide margin. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said two weeks ago she would back a repeal. (Fargo Forum)

NEW YORK: State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D) has proposed a measure barring digital advertising aimed at children and data collection on younger users. Gounardes’s bill would require tech companies to make the highest privacy settings the default on children’s accounts. (New York State of Politics) This is the low-hanging fruit tech companies will face in next year’s legislative sessions.

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a measure Tuesday establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. High school graduates who qualify will be eligible for scholarships of $2,750 per year at community colleges, $4,000 a year at private colleges or universities, or $5,500 a year at public universities. The legislature budgeted $250 million for the program. (MLive)

OHIO: Honda has committed $3.5 billion to a new electric vehicle battery plant in Fayette County, southwest of Columbus. The car maker said it would create 2,200 new jobs. Honda will spend another $700 million to upgrade plants in Marysville, East Liberty and Anna. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CHESAPEAKE BAY: Leaders in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are acknowledging they will not meet a 2025 federal deadline to clean up the bay. The bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year includes another $450 million for cleanup over the next five years. (Maryland Matters)

FIREARMS: The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a New York gun rights case earlier this year has set off a wave of litigation targeting gun safety measures in blue states. At least five judges have cited the decision, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, to block existing gun safety laws. Gun rights groups have challenged laws in California, New Jersey, Delaware, Colorado and Connecticut in recent months. (Pluribus News)

In Politics

SOUTH DAKOTA: Gov. Kristi Noem (R) leads state Sen. Jamie Smith (D) by a slim 45%-41% margin, according to a new South Dakota State University poll. Recall that Noem won a surprisingly close election in 2018, when she beat state Sen. Billie Sutton 51%-48%. South Dakota hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since Gov. Richard Kneip (D) won re-election in 1974, the longest streak of one-party control in the nation.

GEORGIA: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) 51%-41%, according to a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll. It’s a slightly wider margin than Kemp’s 50%-42% edge in the paper’s September survey. Kemp’s job approval rating stands at 54%. Republicans lead in contests for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State, too.

TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is leading ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) 49%-45% in a new Marist poll. Both Abbott’s (43%-46%) and O’Rourke’s (39%-44%) favorable ratings are underwater. 

NEVADA: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) and Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) are virtually tied, 44%-43%, in a new Suffolk poll conducted for USA Today. Sisolak’s favorable rating is upside down, 42%-46%, while Lombardo’s is barely in positive territory, 44%-43%. 

OREGON: The three leading contenders for governor have raised a combined $47 million, the most ever raised and spent on a race in Oregon. Four years ago, Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Republican Knute Buehler raised a total of $37.8 million for the whole cycle. (Oregonian)

ARIZONA: Officials in Cochise County are pushing for a hand count of all votes cast in this year’s elections, as well as a machine tally, to allay voter fears. County Supervisor Becky Judd (R) called the county’s election system “already perfect.” Deputy County Attorney Christine Roberts “repeatedly told the three-member board they have no authority to run a hand count under state law.” (Arizona Republic)

By The Numbers

More than 150,000: The number of Michiganders who have already cast absentee ballots this year, according to the Secretary of State’s office. More than 1.6 million voters have requested absentee ballots, far more than the 1.16 million who got mail-in ballots in the 2018 midterm elections. (Associated Press) Take this to the bank: Turnout is going to be extremely high this year.

Off The Wall

Michigan is the only state in the nation without a statewide septic code. Researchers estimate up to 20% of Michigan’s septic systems have failed and are leaking into groundwater and waterways. State Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R) has introduced legislation to require septic system inspections when real estate changes hands. (MLive) So many jokes we could make here, but this is a family publication.

Congratulations to Bear 747, the winner of Katmai National Park’s annual Fat Bear contest. Bear 747 “nearly didn’t make it to the final because of an unprecedented case of voter fraud in the semi-finals.” Park officials discarded thousands of spam votes cast for a different bear. (BBC)

Quote of the Day

“We’re running as a ticket whether we like it or not.”

— Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones (R), the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, on his running mate, Gov. Brian Kemp (R). Jones was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Kemp very much was not.