Pluribus AM: Legislative plans come into view; Calif. faces budget deficit; Pa. Dems flip state House

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. In today’s edition, early hints at next year’s legislative agendas; Calif. faces huge budget deficit; Pa. Dems flip the state House:

Top Stories

INFRASTRUCTURE: The bipartisan infrastructure law passed last year has already pumped $185 billion into about 7,000 projects across the country, White House senior advisor Mitch Landrieu told us yesterday. But that’s only year one — legislators returning to session next year will have the chance to compete for billions more in funding. (Pluribus News)

CALIFORNIA: The state could face a $25 billion budget deficit next year as economic growth wanes and revenues slump, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said in a report released Wednesday. California has the budget reserves to cover most of the expected shortfall. But the report projected revenue losses through at least FY 2027. (Pluribus News) Anybody else remember Jerry Brown’s scary budget charts?

The California Air Resources Board has released a scoping plan that would make the state carbon neutral by 2045. The plan envisions a 35-fold increase in the number of zero-emission vehicles and a four-fold increase in wind and solar power production. (Los Angeles Times)

CONNECTICUT: Secretary of State-elect Stephanie Thomas (D) said she favors adding between three and five days of early voting after voters approved a ballot measure allowing votes to be cast before Election Day. Thomas will craft recommendations for the legislature to consider when she takes office. (Connecticut Public Radio)

IOWA: House Speaker Pat Grassley (R) has announced the formation of a new Education Reform Committee to address what he called “significant reforms to our educational system.” Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has long pushed vouchers that would help pay for private school tuition. Grassley will chair the committee himself. (Iowa Starting Line, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

MINNESOTA: House Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) says she thinks she has the votes to codify abortion rights in state law after Democrats won full control of the legislature and the governor’s office. Abortion rights are currently protected under a 1995 state Supreme Court decision. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will prioritize new bills promoting secure firearm storage, a so-called “red flag” law and closing a loophole that allows people to buy long guns from private sellers without a background check. Democrats plan to repeal the 2012 Right-to-Work law, and Whitmer said she would work with Republicans to exempt more senior income from taxes. (BridgeMI)

OHIO: A state House committee has advanced a new measure that would prohibit gender-altering surgeries for those under the age of 18. The new bill allows puberty-blocking drugs and hormone therapies for minors who have undergone two years of counseling. It also drops a provision that would have required school officials to report children who may be transgender to their parents. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ILLINOIS: The state Senate has given final approval to a measure that would divest state funds from Russian and Belarussian assets. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has asked the state employee pension systems to review portfolios for possible divestment opportunities. (Center Square)

GEORGIA: State House Speaker David Ralston (R) died Wednesday after an extended illness, just days after he said he would step down from leadership over health concerns. Ralston, 68, had the longest tenure of any serving House speaker in the nation. (Atlanta Journal Constitution) Our condolences to Ralston’s family.

In Politics

PENNSYLVANIA: Democrats have won control of the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years, after a candidate in Montgomery County overtook state Rep. Todd Stephens (R) by 37 votes. With one more race to be finalized, Democrats are set to hold at least 102 of 203 seats. (Pluribus News)

OREGON: Republicans have regained enough seats to deny Democrats a supermajority in both the state House and Senate. Republicans netted at least two seats in the House and one in the Senate. Four races remain outstanding. (Oregonian)

CALIFORNIA: Rep. Karen Bass (D) defeated businessman Rick Caruso (D), making her the first woman to win election as mayor of Los Angeles. With 75% of the vote in, Bass led Caruso 53%-47%. Caruso spent more than $100 million on his campaign. He conceded late Wednesday. (Los Angeles Times)

OHIO: State Rep. Derek Merrin (R) will be the next Speaker of the Ohio State House after he won an endorsement from fellow Republicans. Merrin, 36, will have just two years in the Speaker’s chair before he faces term limits. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MONTANA: State Sen. Jason Ellsworth (R) has been elected to serve as the next Senate president. Sen. Ken Bogner (R) will serve as president pro tempore, and Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick (R) will be majority leader. State Rep. Matt Regier (R) will be the next House Speaker. (Daily Montanan)

MISSISSIPPI: House Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White (R) will run to replace Speaker Philip Gunn (R) when Gunn retires after the 2023 elections. (Supertalk)

WISCONSIN: Assembly Republicans have booted state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R) from closed caucus meetings because they no longer trust her, Caucus chair Rob Summerfield (R) said in a letter to Brandtjen. Brandtjen embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections and supported a Trump-backed opponent who challenged Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R). (WisPolitics)

NEVADA: Republican strategist Ryan Erwin will chair Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo’s (R) transition team, Lombardo said Wednesday. The team also includes the chair of the Nevada State Bank, Nevada Gaming Commissioner Ben Kieckhefer, Senate Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert (R) and Assembly Minority Leader P.K. O’Neil (R). (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

ALABAMA: Secretary of State-elect Wes Allen (R) says he will pull Alabama out of the Electronic Registration Information Center, a multi-state group that centralizes voter data, because of its connections to billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Outgoing Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said the ERIC system has helped Alabama prevent voter fraud. (, Yellowhammer News)

By The Numbers

$610 million: Rhode Island’s projected budget surplus for the current fiscal year, according to state budget director Joe Codega. The state finished last year with a surplus of $480 million. (WPRI)

8,500: The number of new ambulances emergency service providers across the country ordered last year, up about a third over typical years. The rush to buy new ambulances came as those providers were flush with federal stimulus dollars. Manufacturers cannot build new ambulances fast enough to meet demand. (Colorado Sun)

Off The Wall

Republican Marie Hopkins showed up on the doorstep of her opponent, Rhode Island state Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson (D), on the evening before Election Day to deliver a hand-written thank-you note and a cigar. Vella-Wilkinson shared the happy story on her Facebook page, thanking Hopkins for running a good race. (WPRI) Vella-Wilkinson won by 37 votes; the race is headed for a recount.

Goonies never say die — even if the price of the Victorian home used in the movie shot in Astoria, Ore., hits the market at an eye-popping $1.65 million. The current owner has had to put up no-trespassing signs to dissuade fans from stomping around the property. (Oregonian)

Quote of the Day

“There’s really no Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole. You just have to fill the damn pothole.”

— White House senior advisor and infrastructure czar Mitch Landrieu. (Pluribus News)