Pluribus AM: The ridiculous amount we spend on pet costumes

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, October 31, 2023. Happy Halloween! In today’s edition, UAW strike at an end; Minnesota nixes degree requirements for state workers; the jaw-dropping amount Americans spend on pet costumes:

Top Stories

LABOR: General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract agreement, bringing to an end the six-week strike. The deal, mirroring last week’s agreement with Ford, will raise wages 25% over the course of the contract and raise starting pay to more than $30 an hour. (Detroit Free Press)

WORKFORCE: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an executive order Monday eliminating college degree requirements for most state jobs. Walz cited surveys of state workers showing most are unhappy with their lack of career advancement opportunities. Minnesota follows Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah and Alaska in cutting degree requirements. (Pluribus News)

ABORTION: A Kansas district court judge has blocked a new state law limiting medication abortions and an older law requiring patients to wait 24 hours before ending a pregnancy. The laws will remain on hold through a trial set for June 2024. (Associated Press)

GUN POLITICS: A U.S. District Court judge has blocked California laws banning gun shows at county fairs. Judge Mark Holcomb ruled the law violates the rights of buyers and sellers for transactions that would be legal in other settings. (Associated Press) The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals halted a lower court ruling overturning California’s ban on assault weapons. (Los Angeles Times)

TECHNOLOGY: Ohio Republicans have introduced legislation to require adult entertainment websites to verify user ages. The measure would charge sexually explicit websites with a third-degree felony for failing to verify user ages. A federal judge has blocked a similar law in Texas, and laws in Arkansas and Utah are being challenged in court. (NewsNation)

BUDGET: California’s budget deficit is likely to grow larger than forecast next year as tax revenue dips below projections. Estimates suggested California would pull in $42 billion in October, after a six-month delay in tax filing because of winter storms; the state had collected just $18 billion through Oct. 25. (Sacramento Bee)

In Politics & Business

PENNSYLVANIA: Outside groups have spent more than $17 million on the Supreme Court battle between Dan McCaffery (D) and Carolyn Carluccio (R). The two sides have spent more than $12 million since Sept. 18 alone. Democrats hold five of seven seats on the high court. (Associated Press)

ALABAMA: Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R) has resigned from the legislature to take a top post at the Business Council of Alabama. Republicans elected state Sen. Steve Livingston (R) to take his place in leadership. (

CALIFORNIA: Supporters of legal sports gambling have proposed two ballot initiatives to give tribal governments sole control over such wagers. But the sponsors apparently didn’t coordinate with tribal governments before filing the measures. “This thing is so dead,” wrote Victor Rocha, chairman of the Indian Gaming Association. (Sacramento Bee)

Rival sports betting measures on the California ballot in 2022 failed by overwhelming margins.

UTAH: State Rep. Phil Lyman (R) will challenge Gov. Spencer Cox (R) in next year’s Republican primary. Lyman has support from the far-right Utah Patriots militia group. He was pardoned by former President Donald Trump in 2020 after he was convicted of leading an illegal ATV protest on federal land. (Salt Lake Tribune)

TEXAS: Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) will go on trial on securities fraud charges on April 15, a state district court judge said Monday. Paxton was indicted on the charges eight years ago. (Texas Tribune)

CRIME BLOTTER: A federal judge has ordered Alabama Rep. John Rogers (D) to jail after prosecutors allege he violated his bond agreement by FaceTiming a witness in his upcoming trial on bribery charges. In a radio interview before he was sent to jail, Rogers blamed “an erroneous phone call made by someone.” (

By The Numbers

870,000: The number of state and local government jobs that remained vacant in August, up from 812,000 the month prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Pluribus News)

$700 million: The amount Americans are expected to spend on pet costumes this Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation. All told, the group expects the average shopper to spend $108 on candy, costumes and decorations. (Maine Public Radio)

The NRF’s top costumes of the year: Spiderman, a princess, a ghost, any superhero, a witch, Batman, Barbie, a zombie, Mario and Wednesday Addams.

Off The Wall

Pennsylvania lawmakers should think twice before they challenge the ruling of House Parliamentarian David Brogan. Besides being an expert on parliamentary procedure, Brogan is also a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

North Dakota residents have until Nov. 20 to submit names in the Department of Transportation’s annual name-a-plow contest. (Fargo Forum) Last year’s winners included Scoop Dogg, Big Leplowski, Sleetwood Mac and CtrlSaltDelete.

Quote of the Day

“The law is the law. There’s no gender to it. And whoever’s in those positions, it’s about enforcing and interpreting the law the way it’s written.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R), who appointed Judge Ginger Hooch to the state Supreme Court. Missouri is now one of 11 states where women hold a majority of Supreme Court seats. (Kansas City Star)