Pluribus AM: Texas spends millions on border security; abortions resume in Ariz.; and no more vulgar license plates in Maine

Good morning, it’s Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. In today’s edition, Texas spends millions on border security; abortions resume in Ariz.; and no more ^#%$ swear words on Maine license plates:

Top Stories

TEXAS: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Thursday he will pull $359 million from the state’s prison system budget to fund Operation Lone Star border security programs for the next 10 months. Texas has spent $4 billion stationing National Guard members and troopers at the border. The state will also spend $15 million on a new elementary school in Uvalde after the May shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. (Texas Tribune)

VIRGINIA: Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will ask legislators to approve a budget amendment funding a program to provide high school graduates with a credential or an associate degree, he said Thursday. Youngkin said expanding the program would require additional community college instructors. (Cardinal News)

KENTUCKY: Gov. Andy Beshear (D) will ask lawmakers to reopen the state budget during their short session next year to add a 5% pay raise for school staff, universal pre-K, teacher student loan forgiveness and social and mental health services. Republicans have attacked Beshear over learning loss reported during the pandemic. (Kentucky Fried Politics)

ARIZONA: Planned Parenthood Arizona said it would resume performing abortions in several clinics for the first time since late August after the state reached a deal to delay enforcement of an 1864 ban. Planned Parenthood is operating under new state law that bars abortions after 15 weeks. (Arizona Republic)

MISSOURI: State officials will pay $1.9 million for an app that would let teachers and school administrators send a 911 distress call, meant to reduce police response times in active shooter situations. Police took 14 minutes to respond to an active shooter situation on Monday, in which a teacher, a student and the 19-year old gunman were killed. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

GEORGIA: The Atlanta Board of Education is working on new rules to protect teachers accused of violating a state law taking effect next year that would prohibit classroom assertions that the nation is fundamentally racist. The school board is considering due process language allowing teachers to present a defense and to call witnesses. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

ILLINOIS: State Rep. Amy Elik (R) has introduced legislation to make stockpiling catalytic converters a felony. The bill would punish recyclable metal dealers or others who fail to record the purchase of 100 or more catalytic converters. (River Bender) State Farm said Illinois has the nation’s third-worst incidence of catalytic converter theft, behind only California and Texas. (Capitol Fax)

NEBRASKA: Drought conditions have cost corn, soybean and wheat farmers almost $2 billion this year. Commodity prices are up, but yields are down; parts of at least half of Nebraska’s 93 counties are in “extreme drought” conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. (Nebraska Examiner)

In Politics

TURNOUT: Slow mail-in ballot returns in some of Ohio’s biggest cities are causing concern among Democrats. (Cleveland Plain Dealer) More than 800,000 North Carolinians have voted so far. Among those voters, 39% are Democrats and 31% are Republicans. (Raleigh News & Observer) More than 103,000 Vermonters have cast ballots, down from the 2020 pace but already higher than in 2018 totals, before the state adopted universal mail-in voting. (VT Digger) New Mexico turnout is about on par with 2018 after a fast start. (Albuquerque Journal)

PENNSYLVANIA GOV: Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) holds a 56%-33% lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) in a new Franklin & Marshall College poll. Shapiro led by 13 points in the school’s September poll. (PoliticsPA) This one doesn’t square with other Pennsylvania polls, which show Shapiro ahead — but not by that much.

MASSACHUSETTS GOV: Attorney General Maura Healey (D) leads former state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R) 61%-33%, a new UMass Amherst poll finds. The poll shows another impending sweep for Democrats — their candidates lead races for lieutenant governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer and Auditor by wide margins. 

ARIZONA: Lions of Liberty, a conservative group that embraces conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections, has ended its surveillance of outdoor ballot drop boxes in Yavapai County after a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the League of Women Voters. The lawsuit calls surveillance voter intimidation. (Arizona Republic)

NEVADA: Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) ordered Nye County elections administrators to stop hand-counting ballots, a process that violates state law. (Nevada Independent) Don’t miss the Associated Press dispatch from inside the room where hand-counts — and many, many recounts — took place.

By The Numbers

$980 million: Total cannabis sales in Arizona over the first eight months of the year, according to the state Department of Revenue. Sales are on pace to rival the $1.4 billion in pot products sold by Copper State retailers last year. (AZ Mirror)

Off The Wall

Georgia state Rep. Deborah Silcox (R) is apparently attacking her opponent for … having kids? In a new mailer spotlighted by Atlanta Journal Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein, Silcox touts her “Ability … for Full-Time Service.” “Only Deborah Silcox can give the job of Representative her full attention because her adult kids are grown and her law practice doesn’t require her full-time attention,” the mailer says. Silcox’s opponent, Kelly Coffman, has three kids.

Kansas state Rep. Steven Johnson (R), running for state Treasurer, is running a new advertisement attacking incumbent Lynn Rogers (D) of supporting a 2017 tax hike he calls “the largest tax increase in Kansas history.” The twist: Johnson voted for the same bill. (Kansas City Star)

Quote of the Day

“What I would say to those who want to engage in objectionable or questionable speech: Get a bumper sticker.”

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D), after the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles began enforcing a ban on foul language on state license plates. (Associated Press) We’re going to need a list of retracted plates, please.