Pluribus AM: Ohio voters deliver abortion rights win

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, August 9, 2023. In today’s edition, Ohio voters defeat constitutional amendment; Mass. Gov declares immigration emergency; and Tenn. Gov tees up special session on public safety:

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EVENT: Join us Thursday, August 10 at 1 p.m. Eastern for a special chat with National Conference of State Legislatures CEO Tim Storey. We’ll preview NCSL’s annual meeting, happening next week, and we’ll ask Tim what trends he’s seeing in legislatures this year. This event is open to all Pluribus News readers — click here to RSVP.

IMMIGRATION: Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) has declared a state of emergency over the influx of migrant families threatening to overwhelm the state’s shelter system. Healey has asked Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to speed work authorizations for migrants to alleviate the pressure on state resources. (Pluribus News)

Healey is at least the third Democratic governor to declare a state of emergency over migration, after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).

GUN POLITICS: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) outlined 18 areas in public safety he wants the legislature to address during an upcoming special session that follows a mass shooting at a Nashville school earlier this year. Lee has asked the legislature to consider mental health, gun storage and school safety policies, as well as a measure to limit access to firearms for people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC HEALTH: Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) has signed legislation expanding access to opioid reversal medication, developing school curriculum to warn of the dangers of opioids, funding a 988 crisis hotline and increasing staffing for addiction treatment clinics across the state. (KOIN)

EDUCATION: Nevada’s Interim Finance Committee will decide today whether to use federal Covid relief funding for private school scholarships. Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) wants to use the money to maintain existing eligibility standards after his push to expand eligibility ran into Democratic opposition in the legislature. (Associated Press)

MORE: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has approved an emergency request to allow more student teachers to work unsupervised, to address a daunting teacher shortage. (Fargo Forum) Wyoming lawmakers debated a series of draft bills to create education savings accounts or school vouchers. (Casper Star Tribune)

WORKFORCE: West Virginia’s legislature approved $21 million in pay increases for corrections officers. Gov. Jim Justice (R) last year declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard to stem worker attrition at state jails and prisons, where 30% of jobs are vacant. (Associated Press) Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) has called lawmakers into special session to allocate $1 billion for child care services and workforce development programs. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

In Politics & Business

OHIO: Voters delivered a blow to abortion opponents Tuesday by voting down Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment to raise the threshold for future constitutional amendments to 60%. With 95% of the vote counted as of this morning, Issue 1 is losing 43% to 57%.(Pluribus News)

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman, an Issue 1 supporter, said the measure will likely appear on the ballot again in the future. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D) cruised to victory in their respective primaries Tuesday, setting up a contentious fall matchup. (Pluribus News) Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) survived a challenge from conservative former state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), 52%-43%. (Pluribus News)

Local coverage of the coming showdown between Reeves and Presley from SuperTalk, the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Mississippi Today and the Magnolia Tribune.

ARIZONA: Abortion rights advocates will begin collecting signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment to protect reproductive rights. The proposed amendment would guarantee abortion rights until fetal viability, or about 24 weeks. They need to collect 384,000 signatures by July to make the 2024 ballot. (Arizona Republic, Associated Press)

OREGON: Ten Republican and independent state senators who participated in a six-week walkout bringing the chamber to a halt this year are ineligible to run for re-election, Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade (D) said Tuesday, under a voter-approved measure disqualifying lawmakers who receive more than 10 unexcused absences. Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R), who is among the disqualified members, said he and other Republican senators would challenge the ruling in court. (Oregonian)

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday he had suspended Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell (D) from office. DeSantis cited Worrell’s policy of avoiding mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes and drug trafficking cases. (Orlando Sentinel) DeSantis sacked a Tampa state attorney last August.

By The Numbers

$41.5 billion: The amount K-12 students and their families are expected to spend during back-to-school shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation. The average family is expected to spend $890.07 on back-to-school items. (Los Angeles Times)

$90 million: The amount Oregon lawmakers approved earlier this year to pay for cost overruns for a renovation of the state capitol building. The project is now expected to cost $465 million, up from earlier estimates of $375 million. (Associated Press)

18,627: The number of Iowa students who qualified for new education savings accounts, far higher than the 14,000 students who were expected to meet eligibility criteria. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

88,285: The number of first-year in-state applicants who won admission to the University of California system this year, up 3.5% from last year and an all-time high. Nearly two-thirds of applicants got into schools. (Los Angeles Times)

Off The Wall

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor (D) landed an unusual catch on a recent fishing trip off the Florida Keys — a 70-pound block of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1.1 million. The mayor, a former Tampa police chief and narcotics officer, called police to the docks to retrieve the package. (Tampa Bay Times)

Add Illinois to the growing list of states that are considering a new state flag. Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation Tuesday to create a state Flag Commission to explore up to 10 new designs. (KWQC)

Quote of the Day

“The Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek — and I’ve got two.”

Former Louisiana Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D), officially filing paperwork to run for governor. (Associated Press)