Pluribus AM: Still counting in NV, AZ; new legislative leaders take office; UT gets a new flag
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Good morning and happy Veteran’s Day, it’s Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. In today’s edition, voters approve billions in transportation funding; Calif. sues over PFAS; and new legislative leaders take office:
UNCALLED RACES: They’re still counting in Arizona, where Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) leads former television broadcaster Kari Lake (R) 50.7%-49.3% with 82% in. That’s a margin of 27,000 votes. In Nevada, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s (R) lead over Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has shrunk to 29,000 votes, 49.7%-46.6%. Nevada has counted 90% of its ballots.
TRANSPORTATION: Voters on Tuesday approved state and local ballot measures that will generate about $20 billion in revenue for transportation improvements, according to tracking by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. About 88% of the 380 ballot measures passed across 18 states, and another two dozen are still up in the air. Texas voters approved 114 measures worth about $13 billion. (Pluribus News)
MASSACHUSETTS: Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Thursday signed the $3.76 billion economic development bill that will spend hundreds of millions on affordable housing, hospitals and businesses hit by the pandemic. Baker line-item vetoed $1 million earmarked for a public awareness campaign on crisis pregnancy centers. (CommonWealth, WBUR)
CALIFORNIA: Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) will sue 18 chemical companies over polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, alleging the companies covered up their harmful effects and environmental damage. The suit seeks damages to clean out drinking and well water and to pay for health care related to the chemicals. (California Globe)
MICHIGAN: Top state Democrats will move to repeal Right-to-Work legislation when they take over the legislature next year. The legislation, signed by ex-Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in 2013, led to massive protests in Lansing. Democrats will control the legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since 1984. (BridgeMI)
KENTUCKY: Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled in favor of Republicans Thursday when he threw out a suit challenging state legislative district lines enacted this year. Wingate wrote that the maps amounted to a political gerrymander, but he said that isn’t prohibited under the state constitution. (Kentucky Fried Politics)
NEBRASKA: The Department of Health and Human Services is preparing to distribute $66 million in incentives to build up the child care workforce. Funds will include worker stipends and student loan repayments. The legislature is expected to consider proposals to attract more child care workers in next year’s session. (Nebraska Examiner)
MONTANA: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) said Thursday he will submit a budget proposal to the legislature that includes $1 billion in income and property tax cuts. He will propose a new child tax credit of up to $1,200 per child, and money to increase housing development. (Montana Free Press)
MARYLAND: The state Health Department is earmarking $25 million in federal funding to help hospitals deal with a surge of RSV cases. The virus is responsible for 57% of new hospitalizations in Maryland. (WYPR)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Attorney General Karl Racine (D) has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, owner Dan Snyder and the NFL over a long-running league investigation into the team’s workplace atmosphere. The lawsuit seeks millions in penalties and the release of the NFL’s investigation. (Washington Post)
CALIFORNIA: Assembly Democrats have agreed on a transition plan after months of jockeying between Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) and Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D). Rendon will oversee the beginning of the session before Rivas takes over in June. Assemblyman Evan Low (D) briefly made a bid for the powerful post. (Los Angeles Times)
IOWA: Senate Republicans have chosen Sen. Amy Sinclair (R) as the new Iowa Senate president after the incumbent, Sen. Jake Chapman (R), lost his re-election bid on Tuesday. Chapman was drawn into a district with fellow Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott (D). Iowa Republicans maintained their supermajority in the Senate. (Des Moines Register)
MICHIGAN: Democrats have chosen Rep. Joe Tate (D) as their new speaker, the first Black man to run the state House. Sen. Winnie Brinks (D) will serve as Senate Majority Leader, the first woman to hold that job. (MLive) Tate was an offensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the St. Louis Rams and the Atlanta Falcons during his two years in the NFL.
An internal memo from the Michigan Republican Party blames gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon for the party’s losses in the legislature. (Detroit News)
ALABAMA: House Republicans have chosen Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R) as their next speaker, after his predecessor Mac McCutcheon (R) did not seek a new term. Speaking to reporters after the vote, Ledbetter said education would be his top priority this year. (AL.com) Echoing Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) focus on education in an interview she gave the other day.
ARKANSAS: Senate Republicans chose Sen. Bart Hester (R) as the new Senate President Pro Tempore. The Senate also voted to strip Sen. Alan Clark (R) of his seniority and his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee after Clark filed a frivolous ethics complaint against a Democratic senator. (Talk Business & Politics)
MINNESOTA: The Senate DFL Caucus has chosen state Sen. Kari Dziedzic (D) as the new majority leader. Dziedzic was the surprise winner over state Sen. Erin Murphy (D), who had been considered the favorite. Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (D) will be Senate president, the first Black man to hold the job. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
RHODE ISLAND: Democrats have chosen state Sen. Ryan Pearson (D) as their new majority leader. Pearson, 34, was first elected in 2012. (WPRI) Which makes us feel old.
ALASKA: Republicans are virtually certain to hold the most seats in the House and Senate, but it’s not clear they can cobble together a majority to back a new leadership team. The state House has been controlled by a coalition of Democrats, independents and a few moderate Republicans since 2017. (Alaska Beacon) Chaos ahead in Juneau, again.
By The Numbers
$0: The amount in state taxes that the winner of this month’s record-setting Powerball jackpot will have to pay. The ticket was sold in Los Angeles County. California is one of two states — along with Delaware — that does not tax lottery winnings. If the winner had earned the $997.6 million lump-sum payout as ordinary income, he or she would have owed about $132.7 million in taxes. (Pluribus News)
Off The Wall
Utah is getting a new state flag — if the legislature approves. The new design, chosen by the Utah State Flag Commission, features a beehive in a gold hexagon and bands of blue, white and red. More than 44,000 residents submitted feedback on 20 semifinalist designs. (KSL)
Nebraska legislators are choosing a new clerk after the retirement of Patrick O’Donnell, who held the job for decades. But five of the nine members of the committee who will choose O’Donnell’s replacement won’t be in office when the final hiring decision is made. State Sen. Dan Hughes called the situation “awkward.” (Nebraska Examiner)
Quote of the Day
“The kind of money they spent and the results they got are just terrible.”
— Veteran gambling industry lobbyist Bill Pascrell III, on the failure of two California initiatives that would have legalized sports betting. (CalMatters) Supporters and opponents spent more than $600 million on the measures, which both failed miserably.