Pluribus AM: State spending soars, election reform in OH, Cassidy won’t run for LA GOV

Good morning, it’s Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. In today’s edition, state spending soars; new election reform in Ohio; Cassidy won’t run for La. Gov:

Top Stories

SPENDING: State general fund spending increased by 18% in FY 2022, the largest increase in the 36 years the National Association of State Budget Officers have been keeping track. Much of the increase was fueled by pandemic-era federal stimulus and recovery programs. (Pluribus News) California accounted for much of the increase; general fund spending increased $80 billion, almost 50%, in the last fiscal year alone.

ABORTION: Kentucky legislators will consider adding more exceptions to the state’s ban on abortions after voters blocked a constitutional amendment to specifically exclude the right to an abortion. (Lexington Herald Leader) Georgia Republicans won’t take up another abortion bill until the state Supreme Court rules on a challenge to the state’s 2019 law barring most abortions after cardiac activity is detected. A Fulton County judge blocked the law this week. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

OHIO: Republicans are reviving an election overhaul measure that would require a photo identification to vote, end curbside voting and strip the Bureau of Motor Vehicles of the ability to update voter registration information. Voters would have to request absentee ballots at least seven days before an election, rather than three days as allowed under current law. (Columbus Dispatch) 

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) has proposed increasing the threshold for adoption of voter-approved constitutional amendments to 60%. LaRose says the constitution, at 67,000 words, is far too long. (Columbus Dispatch, Center Square) Why that one matters: Abortion rights advocates are expected to try to place an initiative affirming the right to the procedure on the ballot in 2024. 

VIRGINIA: The state Board of Education on Thursday rejected a revised version of K-12 history standards developed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration. The Department of Education plans to revise errors, including one that dubbed Native Americans the country’s “first immigrants.” (Richmond Times Dispatch) The draft includes new references to Ronald Reagan, but none to Barack Obama.

NEW YORK: Criminal justice reformers are advancing bills to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, allow for resentencing in some cases and allow prisoners to earn time for early release. The proposals come after Republicans hammered Democrats over cashless bail in the midterm elections. (State of Politics)

FLORIDA: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a temporary injunction blocking the “Stop WOKE Act” that gave students the ability to sue over curriculum about race, gender or national origin. The ACLU and other groups said the law violated the 1st and 14th Amendments. The injunction applies only to university-level instruction; Walker declined to stop enforcement in K-12 classrooms. (Florida Politics, Orlando Sentinel)

MISSISSIPPI: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has signed three bills passed in a special session two weeks ago to provide incentives for a $2.5 billion expansion of a Steel Dynamics campus in Columbus. The project is expected to create 1,000 jobs at average salaries of $93,000. (Supertalk)

CONNECTICUT: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) will call a special session by the end of the month to increase funding for pandemic worker bonuses and heating oil assistance and to extend a gas tax holiday that has been in effect since April. Democratic leaders said they had reached agreement on a lame duck agenda. (CT Mirror)

In Politics

LOUISIANA: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) will not run for governor in 2023, he said in a statement Friday morning. (Twitter) So that leaves only Sen. John Kennedy (R), Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) and about 1,000 other candidates.

REPUBLICANS: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will be the next chair of the Republican Governors Association. Reynolds’s former chief of staff, Sara Craig Gongol, was named the RGA’s executive director earlier this week. (Des Moines Register)

ARIZONA: Former television broadcaster Kari Lake (R) says she is assembling a team of lawyers to contest her loss to Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs (D). Lake was at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday. (Los Angeles Times) Democratic Attorney General candidate Kris Mayes leads Republican Abe Hamadeh by just 143 votes out of 2.5 million cast. About 11,000 votes remain to be counted. (AZ Mirror)

MAINE: Democrats have nominated state Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D) to serve as the next Speaker of the House, the first Black person to run the chamber. Ross is the daughter of Gerald Talbot, the first Black person to serve in Maine’s legislature. State Rep. Maureen Terry (D) will serve as majority leader. (Bangor Daily News)

FLORIDA: House Speaker-designate Paul Renner (R) has named Rep. Chuck Clemons (R) as the Speaker Pro Tempore and Rep. Michael Grant (R) as Majority Leader. (Florida Politics)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democrats elected state Rep. Matt Wilhelm (D) as House Minority Leader, displacing former Speaker Steve Shurtleff (D). (WMUR)

KENTUCKY: House Speaker David Osborne (R) has been renominated for a third term, which isn’t news in itself, except for the fact that Osborne is now the longest-serving Republican speaker in the 230-year history of the Kentucky State House. (Kentucky Fried Politics)

By The Numbers

$1 billion: The amount of legal recreational marijuana Arizonans had purchased through the end of September, on pace to smash the 2021 record. Sales are declining, however, led by a steep drop in the medical marijuana market. (AZ Mirror)

$4.84 million: The combined spending by Oregon state Rep. Mark Meek (D) and state Sen. Bill Kennemer (R) on a competitive Senate seat in Clackamas County, the most expensive legislative race in Oregon history by a country mile. Meek leads Kennemer by 373 votes, or about 0.6%. (Willamette Week)

Off The Wall

Votes are still being counted in a close race between Alaska state Rep. Neal Foster (D) and Independence Party candidate Tyler Ivanoff. The winner will represent a district along the coast of the Bering Sea that is the size of Uruguay. (Anchorage Daily News)

Texas state Rep. Jared Patterson (R) has filed legislation that would put Austin under state oversight, an arrangement similar to Washington, D.C. (KXAN) This bill isn’t going to pass, but Texas Republicans have spent years taking power away from the state’s most liberal city.

Quote of the Day

“I’m sure there’s more than one.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), asked whether there were any Republican governors thinking of running for president. (NBC News)