Friday, October 4, 2013

That right turn at Albuquerque edition

Even as the federal government ground to a halt this week, statehouse action slowed not one iota. Far away from the DC drama, some big things are going down.

  • In New Mexico, Albuquerque is ground zero for the next battle in the war on women's choice. Supporters of a 20-week abortion ban ballot measure have successfully triggered a special election on November 19. If it passes, it will be the country's first municipal abortion ban, and the stage will be set for copycat efforts by anti-choice activists across the country. 
While November 19 is a little ways off yet, a critical precursor to that election takes place next Tuesday. On October 8, Albuquerque will hold elections for mayor and various city council seats. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the runoff of date is.... any guesses? Anyone? Bueller?... You nailed it! November 19! So next Tuesday's election determines whether the abortion ban has the ballot all to itself on November 19 or if it will share space with candidates for municipal offices -- the difference between a very low-turnout election and an ultra low-turnout election. But, as Colorado's recalls starkly reminded usturnout matters. 

BTW, you can read all about the ABCs of ABQ's proposed 20-week abortion ban here.  It's good stuff. There are pretty charts and fun tables. 

  • In Virginia, the state Democratic Party is suing Gov. McDonnell, the state Board of Elections, and still-AG Ken Cuccinelli to stop  planned pre-election purge of 57,000 voters based on an interstate database that claims those voters have registered in multiple states.
  • Meanwhile, in Florida Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner is touring the state to discuss an upcoming attempt to purge non-citizens from Florida's voter rolls. Detzner vowed that his department “won’t make the same mistakes” that were made during the last purge that led to lawsuits saying it targeted Hispanics, Haitians and other minority groups.
  • Ohio Republicans have introduced a series of bills that would restrict ballot-box access by implementing voter ID to the state (H.B No. 269), as well as cutting the number of days voters can vote early (from 35 to 17 days) (H.B. No. 250) and limiting the hours voters can vote early to weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (H.B. No. 263). 
Enough for now. Go hug your favorite furloughed federal employee.

For the Week of October 4, 2013

The following 5 state legislatures are actively meeting this week:MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, NEW JERSEY, OREGON and PENNSYLVANIA. 


The National Association of Counties will hold its Premier Corporate Forum October 3-5 in La Jolla, California. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Executive Committee and Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee October 3-5 in Portland, Oregon. 


The Natural Resource Agency will hold public workshops September 30 and October 2 to discuss the 2013 Climate Adaptation Strategy. 

Filing bills for the 2014 legislative session

Voter Registration bill SB 150 was referred to Ethics and Elections; Judiciary; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations. This bill would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to automatically register to vote or update voter registration records of eligible individuals. It requires the DMV to notify individuals that the applying for or renewing an identification card or requesting a change-of-address on an existing identification card also allows the state to register eligible individuals to vote. Applicants may decline voter registration options. 


The Interim Study Committee on Common Core Educational Standards met October 1 to discuss the costs of implementing the Common Core Standards. 


The Joint Subcommittee on Student Loans and Debt held two hearings September 30 to discuss higher education loans.
Filing bills for the 2014 legislative session
Voter Registration bill HB 466 is scheduled to be heard by the House Election Law Committee on October 3, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 306, LOB.  This bill eliminates the qualified voter and domicile affidavits and permits voters to prove qualifications by swearing to a statement on the voter registration form. 


The Legislative Assembly convened a special session September 30 to discuss pension reforms and taxes. 


The House Education Committee met October 2 to discuss H.B. 1512 and H.B. 1623, similar pieces of legislation designed to reform teacher training programs. 


A special election was held October 1 to fill the vacant seat in Senate District 42. 


The Senate Education Committee will meet October 3 to discuss S.B. 184, which expands the definition of "bullying" in the Department of Public Instruction's model policy to include bullying by electronic means.