Monday, May 15, 2017

Oye Comey Va edition

lol jk no Comey news here. Until he decides to run for a state legislative seat somewhere. Which he won't. So here's some other news. And puns. And a personal update.
Evil Ways: Despite the best efforts of North Carolina Republicans, SCOTUS just delivered a pretty epic victory for voting rights advocates.
  • This morning, the Court rejected an appeal from the state GOP to reinstate the state's draconian 2013 voting law, which was struck down by a federal court last summer (when judges famously asserted that its voter-suppression provisions "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision").  
  • In case you were wondering just how awful this voting law was, here's a quick trip down memory lane. In addition to establishing one of the strictest voter ID requirements in the nation, the measure
    • Cut early voting from 17 days to 10 days
    • Eliminated straight ticket party voting
    • Ended same-day registration during early voting
    • Banned paid voter registration drives
    • Prohibited localities from extending hours due to long lines
    • Ended pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds
    • Authorized expanded party-appointed “poll observers” and made it easier for observers to challenge voters
    • Increased the maximum campaign contribution in the state to $5000
    • Weakened disclosure requirements for IE committees. 
Now if state courts would just once again reject North Carolina Republicans' retread of an effort to rig state and local election boards to keep voter-suppression advocates and policies in place...
  • Oh, and because GOP lawmakers in North Carolina keep finding new ways to be awful:
    • In the wee hours of Friday morning, Senate Republicans retaliated against Democrats' repeated attempts to get their spending priorities included in the state budget by stripping education funding from Democrats' districts -- to the tune of $1 million from programs that disproportionately benefit minority and low-income students. 
  • Seriously, these people are the worst. But until SCOTUS weighs in on a ruling that mandates new districts and new elections for state lawmakers, North Carolina GOPers will continue to sit safely in their illegally racially gerrymandered districts. 


Everything's Coming Our Way: Democrats overperformed in YET ANOTHER special election last week -- in Oklahoma.  
  • …and by "overperformed," I mean came within 56 votes of winning. 
  • This district supported Trump last November 73-23. This week, the Republican in this state House race turned a 50-point margin into a 2-point win.   
    • The contest for House District 28 pitted a Democratic prosecutor and former state trooper against a Republican oil executive. The state GOP's failure to fund education and creation of a budgetary crisis were major issues in this small, mostly under-the-radar election (just over 2400 votes were cast). 

Shape Shifter: And finally, a bit of personal news: I'll be leaving DLCC in a couple of weeks for bigger adventures -- stay tuned for news on my next move! You'll always be able to reach me at my gmail address, though, and I'll remain your most persistent, insightful, punniest source for state political news on Earth (ours, anyway. On Earth-61, I'm Batman). 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Democrats went down to Georgia (and Alabama and Virginia and Connecticut and Delaware and Iowa and Pennsylvania and...)

And take it from this Fiddler, they’re looking for elections to win.

…sorry.

Oh hey there was a special election in Georgia last night.

No, I don’t mean the 6th congressional district. I mean the 32nd state Senate district.

Fun fact! Most of GA SD32 falls within GA06.
  • The race was crowded, with three Democrats and five Republicans in the running. And it’s a ridiculously Republican seat. Georgia GOP lawmakers gerrymandered the heck out of it.
  • But Democrat Christine Triebsch came in first, with 24% of the vote. She’ll face Republican Kay Kirkpatrick in a special election on May 16 (Georgia separates their state and federal runoffs).
But wait, there’s more!
  • A special election for Alabama House District 67 was also held last night. Democrat Prince Chestnut won that contest against an Independent opponent with 94.9% of the vote.
 So, just to recap the special election results since Trump’s election in November:
  • Of the 15 contested state legislative elections held over the past five months, Democrats have won nine of them (not counting GA SD32 here, since, while the Democrat won the most votes, it’s going to a runoff). 
  • Of the six state legislative contests Democrats lost, they outperformed Hillary’s numbers in four of them.
So if once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action…
Whether we’re talking Democratic wins or Democratic overperformances, Republicans have plenty to be scared of.

And I know I talk about Virginia¸ like, all the time, but there was an election in the Commonwealth last night, too!

…for Circuit Court Clerk in Prince William County.

Why all the hubbub? Two reasons: 

1. Democrat Jacqueline Smith defeated Republican Jackson Miller fairly handily (53.9% to 46%), despite the fact that he’d outraised her 6-to-1. Prince William County, a historically Republican but increasingly swing-y DC outer suburb, is home to several key state House pickup targets for Democrats this fall.

Which brings us to point

2. Jackson Miller is currently the Virginia House of Delegates Republican Whip, 4th in the GOP hierarchy, and happens to represent a district Hillary won with 54.2% of the vote. But instead of joining several of his Republican colleagues in similar situations and retiring, he decided to hedge his bets by filing to both run for reelection to the House and for Clerk of Court.

Oops.

Miller’s performance last night bodes ill for his fate in November… and for the fate of other Republicans representing Prince William County.

(This is the part where I remind you that Virginia Democrats are having their best state House recruitment year in memory – on top of the retirement of multiple Republicans in swing districts, Dems are running candidates in 83 of the House of Delegates’ 100 districts (so far – Democrats still have almost two months to file to run in the remaining seats!).

In sum,
  • Democratic performance in special elections since November has been strong, 
  • GOP victories in elections since November have been feeble, 
  • Democratic candidate recruitment has been going incredibly well, and 
  • DLCC's own grassroots fundraising is breaking records.


State legislative Democrats are leading the way for the Democratic Party's success this cycle.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Equal Pay Day Tripper

Today marks the day women finally catch up to amount of money men in the same job were paid in 2016. It’s a sad thing to still have to recognize, but facts are facts: women still aren’t earning as much as our male counterparts.

·         Or, as Florida Democratic House Leader Janet Cruz put it, “I want my whole damn dollar.” Amen.

Democrats in almost 40 states have introduced bills aiming to remedy this equal pay disparity. Republicans remain reluctant to get on board – both at the state and federal levels.

But nevermind equal pay – what about equal attention?

That’s all Minnesota Democratic House Leader Melissa Hortman asked of her colleagues on Monday when, upon noticing that a group of white male legislators were hanging out in a meeting room instead of listening to the floor speeches women lawmakers were giving against a bill intended to crack down on protests.

So Leader Hortman moved to force the absent group of “100 percent white male” state lawmakers return to the House floor to hear debate on this important bill.

“I’m a white male,” state Rep. Bob Dettmer (R) said. “I respect everybody. But I really believe the comments that were made by the minority leader were really not appropriate. Minority leader, would you apologize to the body?” 
To borrow a phrase… nevertheless, she persisted.
Representative Dettmer, I'm glad you asked me to yield. I have no intention of apologizing. I am so tired of watching Rep. Susan Allen give an amazing speech, Rep. Peggy Flanagan give an amazing speech, watching Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn give an amazing speech, Rep. Rena Moran give the most heartfelt, incredible speech I've heard on this House floor…, watching Rep. Ilhan Omar give an amazing speech... and looking around, to see, where are my colleagues? And I went in the retiring room, and I saw where a bunch of my colleagues were. And I'm really tired of watching women of color, in particular, being ignored. So, I'm not sorry." 

That thump you heard from up north on Monday afternoon was the sound of a mic dropping.

And how about those Tar Heels? [[ducks]]

In news less directly related to women, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature still just can’t get past the fact that the state’s voters replaced their GOP governor with a Democrat last fall.
First, statehouse Republicans passed a bunch of bills directly aimed at usurping Democratic Gov. McCory’s authority over election boards.
  • Previously, the NC State Board of Elections consisted of five members appointed by the governor. The law GOPers passed in December expanded the board to eight members, four of which are appointed by the governor, two “of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates” and two of the “party with the second highest number of registered affiliates.” So, under a Democratic governor, we were at 2 D/2 R.

  • The House and Senate each got to appoint two members, one from each party. Again, 2 D/2 R. So instead of the 3-2 split the board would have had under a Democratic governor, this expanded board was split evenly, 4 D/4 R
    • But in deciding disputes and resolving issues, a simple majority of five of the eight votes of this new board won’t get you squat. According to this law, “a majority vote for action shall require six of the eight members.”
      • …which is basically a recipe for perpetual gridlock and inaction.
    • The chairmanship of the Board would have flipped parties each year. Based on current party registration numbers, a Democrat would’ve chaired the board in odd years, and a Republican would’ve held the reigns in even years.

Fun fact! With the exception of a handful of school boards and municipalities, ALL ELECTIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE HELD IN EVEN YEARS.

·         Additionally, under a Democratic governor, local electoral boards should be 2 D/1 R. This law split them at 2 D/2 R.
o   This is an especially big deal in light of the outsized role local election boards played in voter suppression attempts in the 2016 election.

But on March 17, a state court ruled that the laws that undercut the Democratic governor’s authority over election boards (again, the same ones Republicans used to disenfranchise voters last fall) violated the state’s separation-of-powers provision.

But North Carolina Republicans just can’t get past their apparently terminal case of sore-loseritis.
Today, Republicans in the House Elections Committee approved a measure that does the same thing to the partisan makeup of electoral boards as the law tossed by the court a little over two weeks ago. The bill is being fast-tracked to the House floor for a full vote.  

I wonder why Republicans are so scared of Democratic-majority election boards that won’t suppress voting rights?




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Everything You Wanted To Know About The NC GOP's Sore Loser Power Grab But Didn't Know To Ask Because It's Kind Of Insane

North Carolina Republicans have an emergency on their hands. They’ve come down with a terrible case of SoreLoseritis and should really seek help immediately.

Instead, though, GOP lawmakers called an “emergency” special session – the fourth special session just this year (one of the previous ones was used to pass the infamous HB2) – with no express purpose, but with the rather obvious purpose of depriving the Democratic governor-elect of as much power as possible.

Yesterday the North Carolina legislature convened to ostensibly consider disaster relief funding legislation, but now we know what Republican legislators were really up to all along: Bringing their posse to town so they could call special session #4 and execute a naked and sweeping partisan power grab before the Democrat who had the temerity to win more votes than his Republican opponent takes office and denies the GOP complete control of state government.

North Carolina Republicans went to disgusting lengths to suppress votes in an attempt to ensure GOP wins at every level of the ballot in November. But despite their most appalling efforts, Democrat Roy Cooper ousted incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Evidently this was just too much for Republican lawmakers to cope with. So rather than gracefully accepting the will of the state’s voters, they’re doing just about everything they can think of to undermine gubernatorial authority instead.

A handful of bills dropped tonight. One is clearly a skeleton, filed just so amendments can get pinned to it tomorrow morning.

But SB4? Oh, it’s a doozy.

I encourage you to read it yourself, but here’s the quick and dirty:

  •       Currently the NC State Board of Elections consists of five members appointed by the governor. This bill expands the board to eight members, four of which are appointed by the governor, two “of the political party with the highest number of registered affiliates” and two of the “party with the second highest number of registered affiliates.” So, under a Democratic governor, we’re at 2 D/2 R.


  • ·     The House and Senate each get to appoint two members, one from each party. Again, 2 D/2 R. So instead of the 3-2 split the board would have had under a Democratic governor, this expanded board will be split evenly, 4 D/4 R

o   But in deciding disputes and resolving issues, a simple majority of five of the eight votes of this new board won’t get you squat. According to this bill, “a majority vote for action shall require six of the eight members.”
§  …which is basically a recipe for perpetual gridlock and inaction.
o   The chairmanship of the Board will flip parties each year. Based on current party registration numbers, a Democrat will get to chair the board in odd years, and a Republican will have the reigns in even years.

Fun fact! With the exception of the court-ordered special legislative elections in 2017 and a handful of school boards and municipalities, ALL ELECTIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE HELD IN EVEN YEARS.

o   The bill also appears to undermine a good chunk of the Secretary of State’s current authority.
Surprise! The SoS who just won reelection is a Democrat.

o   Additionally, under a Democratic governor, local electoral boards should be 2 D/1 R. This legislation would split them at 2 D/2 R.
§  This is an especially big deal in light of the outsized role local election boards played in voter suppression attempts in the 2016 election.

  •         The measure also explicitly prohibits the State Board of Elections from having anything whatsoever to do with redistricting, whether it’s drafting the new maps after a Census or revising unconstitutional maps thrown out by courts. The GOP-controlled legislature wants to make it crystal clear that only their grubby hands get to touch the redistricting pens.


  •         Currently, judges run for election to the North Carolina Supreme Court without party labels. This bill makes elections to the state’s highest court partisan.

o   This follows speculation that the GOP lost its effective majority on the state Supreme Court in November because the Democratic challenger who won wasn’t labeled by party on the ballot.

  • ·      SB4 changes the appeals process through which the Republican-controlled legislature’s bills may be appealed to the now Democratic-majority state Supreme Court. The option to bypass the Court of Appeals and appeal potentially unconstitutional or federally preempted laws directly to the SCONC is currently available in some cases. This bill removes the option for that streamlined procedure and adds a required layer to the process.


But wait! What about other “emergency” bills that have been filed for this “emergency” special session?

  • ·      Well, let’s take a look at HB17, which cuts the number of gubernatorial appointments from 1500 to 300.

Fun fact! When McCrory was first elected, replacing Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, the GOP-controlled legislature expanded the number of gubernatorial appointments from 500 to 1500!

  • ·     HB17 also imposes the requirement that cabinet appointments be “subject to senatorial advice and consent.”

o   Because he’s a Democrat, North Carolina Republicans are requiring, for the first time ever, that Cooper’s appointees be confirmed by the GOP-controlled state Senate. This should go well!


Session convenes at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

To Boldly Gavel edition

Statehouses... The final frontier.

These are the voyages of state legislators. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new laws, to seek out new statutes and new regulations, to boldly pass laws that no one has passed before (unless they're ALEC shell bills, in which case they pop up basically everywhere).

The Wrath of Con(stitution): While Election 2016 delivered Republicans a net loss of legislative majorities, the fact that they grabbed control of a couple of chambers for the first time in quite a while gives them an opportunity to wreak legit havoc
  • Article V of the Constitution is a real Final Frontier (...sorry) of fundamental governmental change. 
  • Conservative activists who see the traditional method of amending the Constitution as just too darn hard, I guess (nevermind that it's worked just fine 27 times over the past 200+ years) started a push a few years ago to change our founding document by the other means provided for in Article V: two-thirds of state legislatures can request Congress call a constitutional convention of states.
    • Republicans have effective majority control of both chambers in 33 states -- just one shy of the 34 that need to pass resolutions calling for that Article V convention. 
  • An older movement has been pushing an Article V convention for almost 40 years with the sole purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment, but the modern "movement" (the Convention of States, a smokescreen/outgrowth of the right-wing Citizens for Self-Governance) seeks more sweeping changes, from congressional term limits to "restraints on federal power," code for enshrining an ultra-conservative agenda in our fundamental governing document. 
...well, you get it. Ultimately, the point here is that 
  1. This organization has a sweeping, ultra-conservative agenda, and
  2. The fact that there's no precedent and no prescribed rules for an Article V convention means that pretty much anything is possible if a bunch of Republican delegates (from all these GOP-controlled states that made it possible to call the convention) get together and, ahem, revise the U.S. Constitution to conform to their partisan beliefs.

The Session on the Edge of ForeverNorth Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has finally conceded the gubernatorial election to Democrat Roy Cooper, but he may be going out in a blaze of sour grapes.
  • North Carolina Republicans don't handle loss especially graciously. 
    • Exhibit A: Gov. McCrory contesting his narrow-but-clear defeat for almost a month.  
  • Late last week, McCrory called a special legislative session for December 13, ostensibly to deal with disaster relief funding following Hurricane Matthew and wildfires. But word on the street in Raleigh is that Republicans plan to use the session to pack the state Supreme Court with two additional justices -- which would be appointed by GOP lame duck Gov. McCrory and wouldn't stand for election until 2018. 
Rewind: It didn't get quite so much attention, but McCrory wasn't the only North Carolina Republican to go down last month: 
    • GOP Justice Bob Edmunds lost (by more than nine percentage points) to Democratic Judge Mike Morgan in a contest that tilted the balance of power on the state Supreme Court from three Democrats/four Republicans to four Democrats/three Republicans.  
  • A chief justice and six associate justices have comprised SCONC since 1936, but the state's Constitution allows the legislature to expand the court to eight associate justices. Which they could totally do during that December 13 special session.
    • With GOP majorities in both legislative chambers and a Republican governor for just a little while longer, this court-packing scheme faces no practical obstacles. 
Fun fact! The last time Gov. McCrory called a special session, Republican lawmakers used it to ram HB2 down the state's throat. 
  • GOP lawmakers have every reason to want a Republican-majority Supreme Court to uphold their unpopular and destructive policies, especially as they face a Democratic governor in the years to come. 
    • And with someone as shameless as Donald Trump as the head of their party, why wouldn't North Carolina Republicans go all in on this unprecedented power grab?
The Ungerrymandered CountryNorth Carolina Republicans also are tasked with remedying their unconstitutional racial gerrymandering by redrawing state legislative district lines by March 15, 2017, and legislative elections will be held in the new districts in November. 
  • But don't go getting excited about the fact that the state will have a Democratic governor on this one; North Carolina is one of a handful of states in which the governor has zero authority to veto maps or in any way affect the redistricting process. 

Amok Line: Speaking of redistricting, two racial gerrymandering cases were argued before SCOTUS yesterday. The Virginia case concerns 12 House of Delegates districts into which GOP lawmakers packed African Americans, thus diminishing their voting power; another North Carolina case concerns two congressional districts with the same issue. 

Fun fact! Since Virginia holds state legislative elections in odd-numbered years, a ruling in the case may come too late for maps to be redrawn for this election cycle (primaries are typically in June).
  • And let's not forget that the clock is ticking in Wisconsin. When a panel of federal judges ruled on November 21 that extreme partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts violated the U.S. Constitution, they didn't order any immediate changes; rather, they invited ideas for remedies from lawyers and plaintiffs over the subsequent 30 days. 
    • While that deadline hits just a little before Christmas (and Hanukkah this year!), it's unclear how long it'll take those judges to turn those ideas into solutions. 
Also, this is totally getting appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, so there's that.

The Dooms(election)day Machine: For the third election in a row, Democratic candidates for the Michigan state House received more votes statewide then Republican House candidates; however, Democrats remain in the minority in the chamber. 
Just, you know, FYI.

The Lame Duck in the Dark: While we're talking about Michigan, the artificial GOP House majority is fast-tracking a new voter suppression measure through the chamber during their notorious lame-duck session (Republicans have previously used the less-scrutinized period between Election Day and the New Year to ram through so-called "right to work" legislation and eliminate straight-ticket voting [since reinstated by court order]). 
Fun fact! In 2016, 18,339 Michiganders without strict photo ID used the affidavit option to cast ballots — which, incidentally, is 8,000 votes greater than Trump’s margin of victory in the state.
  • Republicans have also pulled their little trick of adding an appropriation to the bill to make it referendum-proof (they did the same thing to their straight-ticket voting measure last year, since voters had already repealed such a law at the ballot box).
    • The legislation is awaiting final passage in the GOP-controlled House before moving to the GOP-controlled Senate. 



The following 2 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: NEW JERSEY and OHIO.

Also meeting: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA and PUERTO RICO.
Groups

The Republican State Leadership Committee will hold its Annual Retreat December 4-6 in Newport Beach, California. 

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators will hold its National Summit of Hispanic State Legislators December 6-9 in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Capitol Forum December 6-9 in Washington, D.C. 

The Democratic Attorneys General Association will hold its Holiday Party December 8 in Washington, D.C. 

The Council of State Governments will hold its National Conference December 8-11 in Williamsburg, Virginia. 



FLORIDA

The Department of Environmental Protection will meet December 7 and December 9 to discuss rules concerning consumptive uses of water. 

MASSASCHUSETTS

The Board of Physician Assistant Examiners will accept comments until December 6 regarding proposed amendments to regulations regarding physician assistant licensure and education, including scope of practice standards and allowed procedures. 

MINNESOTA

The Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission will meet December 6 to finalize the priorities for the final report due December 31 regarding the health care workforce and primary care workforce. 

The Department of Commerce will accept comments until December 8 regarding drafted amendments to rules governing the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. 

MONTANA

The Department of Labor and Industry will accept comments until December 9 regarding proposed amendments to rules concerning prevailing wage rates to adopt updated rates and make other changes. 

NEW JERSEY

The Senate Labor Committee held a public hearing December 5 regarding A.B. 2517, which grants preference to employers who focus on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to provide greater access to workforce development funds. 

WASHINGTON

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner will hold a public hearing December 6 regarding proposed amendments requiring insurers to develop processes through which enrollees are given access to prescription drugs not covered by their health insurance plans. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Know What You Did Last Session edition

The heat's broken, and while it'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail, let's enjoy some refreshing statehouse action on the patio while we can.

Wipe Out: Two Republican-appointed federal judges in Ohio have re-eradicated the state's "Golden Week," the period during which voters can register and vote early at the same time. 
  • Some history:
    • Ohio lawmakers expanded the state's early voting period, including the week-long overlap of registering and casting ballots, in 2005 as a means of avoiding the epic lines, complications, and logistical issues Ohio voters notoriously endured in the 2004 election. 
    • The GOP-controlled legislature eliminated Golden Week in 2014, shortening the state's early voting period from 35 days to 29.
  • Fast forward to May, when a U.S. District Court judge found the GOP-controlled legislature's law eliminating the Golden Week to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act. 
    • Minority voters were especially likely to register and vote during this overlap period, and while Ohio's early voting period remained among the most extensive in the country, the District Court judge ruled that the reduction disproportionately affected African Americans.
Fun fact! African American voters took advantage of "golden week" 3½ times as often as white voters in 2008, and more than 5 times as often in 2012.
  • But two white judges declared in their majority ruling on Tuesday that the 29-day early in-person voting period was "really quite generous," so maybe minority voters in Ohio are supposed to be grateful for only having their voting rights partially eroded, or something...? 

Elsewhere...

Primary season is finally gasping its last in key states across the country. Voters in Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, and beyond have waited in sweaty lines in recent weeks to cast their ballots. 


Summer Nights Lake(Michigan)side: After Michigan's August 2 primary, Democrats' chances of picking up the nine House seats needed to break the GOP's stranglehold on state government went from optimistic long shot to… well, just optimistic. Here's why:
  • Because of term limits, Republicans have more open House seats than Democrats -- 25 to 13, respectively. 
  • Democrats' recruiting efforts this year were highly successful, and a quality crop of candidates emerged in many of those open seats.
  • Some of the tea party Republicans who won their primaries in more moderate districts created opportunities for Democrats to pick up seats that might not otherwise have been in play. 
Additionally, polling is revealing serious trouble in terms of top-of-ticket drag for down-ballot Michigan Republicans.
    • Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's approval rating is at an all-time low (39.7 percent, specifically). 
      • Even among base Republicans, 25 percent disapprove of his performance. 
      • Only 38 percent of Michigan voters say the state is on the "right track."
    • Hillary Clinton has a narrow lead in the traditional Republican strongholds of west and southwest Michigan, which could put even "safe" GOP House seats in those areas in play.
    • If a recent court decision overturning the GOP-supported ban on straight-ticket voting in the state survives a last-ditch attempt at an emergency appeal, Trump's unpopularity spells even bigger problems for down-ballot Republicans. 

Summer schooled: To get even nerdier about the situation in Michigan (I know, I know, you're shocked), based on an April interview, House GOPers could be screwed despite their best efforts to gerrymander themselves into a decade-long majority. The whole bit is worth a listen, and it doesn't take into account current polls and primary results, but the salient part of the conversation goes thusly:
  • Former Michigan GOP House staffer Brian Began, the main architect of the current state House district maps, claims Republicans’ best case scenario is to only lose one seat this fall, but they'll "probably" lose "five to six at least." 
  • According to his his consulting firm colleague Adrian Hemond, the maps were designed to sustain a Republican House majority through three presidential cycles -- but this was reliant on the top of the ticket garnering at least 47% of the vote statewide
  • Especially in light of Trump's poor performance among minorities and women in many competitive districts, Hemond thinks Trump won't come close to hitting 47%, putting several otherwise “safe” state legislative districts in play.
And while we're talking about Michigan, here's some good news, everyone!
  • Muslims in Michigan -- and beyond -- who are troubled by Donald Trump's hateful rhetoric are taking some comfort in the sweeping primary victory of Abdullah Hammoud, an Muslim Democrat running for the state House.
    • He'll face WWE wrestler Rhino, aka Terrance Guido Gerin, in November. 
Fun fact! Democrat George Darany won his last election in this seat (HD15) with 67.5% of the vote (he's term-limited out this year), so Hammoud's election prospects are pretty rosy.



Granite State grooveNew Hampshire won't hold its primary elections until September 13, but Democrats are already "outhustling" their GOP counterparts. 
  • Democrats are fielding candidates in 361 of the state's 400 House districts. Republican have at least one candidate in just 335. 
  • Republicans were already struggling with the retirement of more than 60 incumbents. 
  • Additionally, both the Democratic state House and Senate campaign committees are reporting strong fundraising numbers this summer and entered August with record-breaking cash on hand amounts


Summertime Blue(berrie)sMaine's primary elections are a couple of months behind us now, so campaigns are in full swing -- and state Democrats are steamrolling their opponents in fundraising. 
Watch for Maine Democrats to win a majority in the state Senate and expand their caucus in the House this fall.


Cruel Summer ...for GOP state legislators, anyway. Republican lawmakers continue to freak out about the impact of Trump's candidacy on state legislative races. Some greatest hits:
  • The prospect of a Trump presidency "scares the bejeebies" out of Georgia Republican state Rep. Alan Peake. He worries that Trump-ian policies will lead his party towards "extinction." 
    • ...but he's still going to support Trump in November, so talk is awfully cheap. 
Oof.
Welp, that's enough good news for one week. 

Also, here. You're welcome. 




The following 2 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: ALABAMA and CALIFORNIA.

Also meeting: GUAM and UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS.

Groups

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation will hold its National Speakers Conference August 24-27 in Burlington, Vermont. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will hold its Summer Meeting August 26-29 in San Diego, California. 

NEW MEXICO

The Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee will met August 22-23 to discuss and receive presentations regarding electric cooperative broadband development, projects within the Department of Information Technology, public-private partnerships for infrastructure development, policy issues for remote piloted aircraft, Education Networks of America and the state’s business climate for technology enterprise. 

The Legislative Health and Human Services Committee met August 23 to receive an analysis of the proposal to increase the liquor excise tax.

OKLAHOMA

A primary runoff election was held August 23 for House and Senate seats where no candidate received more than 50% of votes cast in the primary election. (Check out results here.)

VERMONT

The Agency of Natural Resources held public hearings August 22 and 24 regarding proposed amendments to state water quality standards. 


WISCONSIN

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing August 25 regarding proposed amendments to air pollution control rules.