Pluribus AM: OH considers election reform; MN makes housing push; certification drama in AZ, PA
Good morning, it’s Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. In today’s edition, Ohio legislators consider election reform; Minn. lawmakers plan housing push; certification drama in Ariz. and Penn.:
OHIO: Lawmakers return to a lame duck session this week to consider election reform legislation that would prohibit governments from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters and establish a new photo ID requirement to vote. The measure would also eliminate early voting. The legislature will also consider a bill to bar shuttering gun stores in an emergency. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
CONNECTICUT: Legislators meeting in special session extended a gas tax holiday and approved new funding for free public buses. The measure, which passed with only a few dissenting votes, also committed another $35 million in state funding for winter heating assistance programs. (CT Mirror)
MINNESOTA: Gov. Tim Walz’s (D) administration will propose big spending on a new housing plan, state Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho said. Details are scarce, but Ho said she expected a proposal that would be roughly the size of a $1 billion package Walz offered last year. Housing infrastructure bonds require only a simple majority vote of the legislature. (MinnPost)
MICHIGAN: The incoming Democratic legislature plans to regulate public charter schools, and to repeal a law requiring students to repeat third grade if they can’t read up to state standards. Charter school enrollment grew each year during the pandemic. (Center Square)
SOUTH CAROLINA: Closing arguments are scheduled today in a lawsuit over state congressional district maps that the NAACP said were drawn to reduce the political influence of Black voters. The Republican-controlled legislature drew a map that elected six Republicans and one Democrat to Congress, adding new Republican voters to a Charleston-based district that Democrats won in 2018 but lost in 2020. (Associated Press)
RHODE ISLAND: Secretary of State-elect Gregg Amore (D) plans to ask the legislature to allow same-day voter registration, joining 22 other states that allow it. Amore named LeeAnn Byrne, deputy chief of staff to state Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), as his new chief of staff. (Providence Journal)
VIRGINIA: State Delegate Timothy Anderson (R) has introduced a new constitutional amendment removing an outdated ban on same-sex marriage from the state constitution. Amending the state constitution is a two-year long process; a previous effort was interrupted when Republicans in the House of Delegates killed the bill in committee. (WRIC)
DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING: Attorneys general in seven states and the Federal Trade Commission have settled with Google and iHeartMedia over what they call deceptive radio advertisements about a Google cellphone that was not yet available to the general public. The settlement bars Google from making misleading claims about its products for 20 years. (Associated Press)
ARIZONA: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) and a group of retirees both filed lawsuits seeking to compel Cochise County officials to certify midterm election results after the Board of Supervisors refused to do so on Monday. (Arizona Republic) Hobbs’s office has warned that failure to certify the results would exclude Cochise County’s vote from the state canvass — which would cost Republicans a seat in Congress.
MICHIGAN: The Board of State Canvassers voted unanimously Monday to certify midterm election results in the face of opposition from some losing Republicans. (Detroit News)
PENNSYLVANIA: Luzerne County’s Board of Elections has deadlocked over whether to certify midterm election results after paper shortages caused problems on Election Day. Board member Daniel Schramm, a Democrat who abstained from the vote, said he had received assurances that few if any voters had been unable to cast a ballot, and that he would vote to certify results at a new meeting tomorrow. (Associated Press)
OHIO: Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou said he would run to head the state Republican Party, as current chair Bob Paduchik steps aside. State party vice chair Bryan Williams will not run. (Statehouse News Bureau) Supporters of legal marijuana will try to get another initiative on the ballot in 2023. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Ohio voters rejected a legalization measure in 2015.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Supporters of a ballot measure to end a sales tax on food have submitted new language that allows taxes on alcohol, tobacco and prepared food, while exempting other groceries. They hope to qualify the measure for the 2024 election. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) pledged to repeal the sales tax on food during the upcoming legislative session. (South Dakota Searchlight)
PEOPLE: Nevada Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo (R) has chosen former state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R) as his chief of staff. Kieckhefer will quit his job as a Nevada Gaming Commissioner to take the post. (Nevada Independent)
By The Numbers
30%: The expected increase in electric bills New Yorkers are likely to pay this winter, as natural gas prices continue to rise. The state’s electric grid operator said it would have plenty of power to go around, even at peak demand. (State of Politics)
38: Years since Mauna Loa last erupted. A new eruption does not yet threaten towns, but the USGS has warned the 200,000 residents of Hawaii’s Big Island to be prepared. Lava is shooting 100 to 200 feet into the air from three fissures that are more than a mile long. (Associated Press)
1.5 million: The number of Netflix subscribers who still get DVDs by mail, all of whom are in the U.S. Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings has said the company might close the service next year. (Associated Press)
Off The Wall
Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder has been charged with illegally hunting waterfowl in Dorchester County. Officers found Bartenfelder and his son hunting near a suspected baiting pond on Thanksgiving. (Baltimore Banner)
“Scientists revive 48,500-year-old ‘zombie virus’ buried in ice” (Bloomberg) Not now, scientists. Not now.
Quote of the Day
“Well, this really has been a record in terms of the number of recounts that we’ve had to do.”
— New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, after his office conducted 28 recounts of close races for state representative and other offices. One race in Rochester remains tied; a revote is likely. (WMUR)
Update: An earlier version of this post included an incorrect number of members of Congress in the South Carolina delegation. There are seven members, not six.