Oregon and Connecticut have joined the fray of statehouses in session at the moment. Next week, Wyoming will begin churning legislative fodder for our perusal (and, admittedly, potential entertainment). Of these chambers, however, only the Oregon Senate (16 D/14 R) is remotely competitive this fall.
But there's a veritable rogue's gallery of legislatures already compelling us to tune in!
- Reruns already? In Colorado, Republicans are trying to undo the same-day voter registration law Democratic majorities passed through the legislature last year. GOPers claim they're concerned about "fraud." Yet somehow, same-day voter registration seems to be working out just fine in states like Maine, Idaho, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Wisconsin... and those are only the states that have been doing it for over 20 years. New Hampshire, Montana, Iowa, Connecticut, and California haven't had their same-day voter registration laws on the books for quite as long, but they seem to have avoided anarchy or monarchy or whatever whatever it is Colorado Republicans are so paranoid about. Maybe it's all that legal pot...
- Speaking of substances... Lawmakers in Georgia are debating measures that would allow bars more "freedom" when St. Patrick's Day falls on or near a Sunday. (By the by, I prefer my "freedom" neat.)
- Holy constitutional convention! Georgia has also just become the first state to pass a resolution calling for a Convention of the States... Because if it allows Obamacare to be constitutional, it clearly needs to be fixed, or something. And direct election of Senators is just so hackneyed. Yawn.
- THIS is the weapon of the enemy. Kansas lawmakers rewrote their gun laws last year to make them some of the most... permissive in the country. In fact, the state enacted what's believed to be the first law in the nation banning the use of tax dollars on "publicity or propaganda" on gun issues. But now some legislators want to go a little further and strip cities and counties of any authority to regulate guns.
- Holy time warp! Nixon impeached? Missouri Republicans must be nostalgic for headlines from 40 years ago. Republican Rep. Mike Moon plans to file an article of impeachment against Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon over his alleged failure to set special elections quickly enough to satisfy the lawmaker's tastes. Rep. Moon isn't alone in his retro craze -- last fall, another Republican lawmaker threatened to file articles of impeachment over Gov. Nixon's decision to allow same-sex couples legally married outside of the Show-Me State to file joint tax returns.
- Holy hand slap! It's amazing that Missouri lawmakers will have any time at all for impeachment proceedings, what with all the time they're spending with things like establishing the high-five as the official state greeting.
- A shocking twist! I can't believe I'm the only one who was surprised that Maine Gov. Paul LePage's State of the State address last night wasn't just a dramatic reading of his enemies list. The GOP governor, up for reelection this year, declined to further push his child-labor proposals when he discussed economic development. He did, however, find common ground with Democratic majorities in the legislature when he discussed the state's drug epidemic, which probably means supporters of marijuana legalization should focus their efforts elsewhere for the time being.
- Tune in next week! An Indiana Senate committee will hold a hearing on the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage next Monday, February 10. The ban passed the state House last week.
The following 38 state legislatures are actively meeting this week: ALABAMA, ALASKA, ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, COLORADO, GEORGIA, HAWAII, IDAHO, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, KANSAS, KENTUCKY, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MISSISSIPPI, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, NEW YORK, OHIO, OREGON, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, SOUTH DAKOTA, TENNESSEE, UTAH, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA and WISCONSIN.
Also meeting: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUERTO RICO
The National Association of State Energy Officials holds its 2014 Energy Outlook Conference February 4-7 at The Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will hold its Winter Committee Meetings February 9-12 at The Renaissance Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold its Winter Conference February 12-15 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The General Assembly is scheduled to convene its 2014 Legislative Session February 5.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) will deliver his State of the State address February 5.
The House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee will meet February 6 to discuss H.B. 1134, which concerns the registration of health care insurance navigators and H.B. 1126, which provides that a patient must be notified of their breast tissue classification.
The Human Relations and Aging Committee met February 3 to vote on H.B. 290, which would allow employees to use sick leave for the care of immediate family members.
A special run-off election was held February 4 for House Districts 2 and 22. House District 2 was vacated by Jay Neal (R) and House District 22 was vacated by Calvin Hill (R). Both seats remained in Republican hands.
The Senate Committee on Energy and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection met February 4 to discuss S.B. 2932, which establishes energy storage portfolio standards and the reduction of fossil fuel usage.
The Senate Technology and the Arts and Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committees will meet February 6 to discuss S.B. 2474, which establishes the Hawaii Cybersecurity, Economic, Education and Infrastructure Security Council within the Office of Information Technology.
The Senate Judiciary Committee met February 4 to discuss L.D. 1660, which pertains to patent trolls.
The House Ways and Means Committee will meet February 5 to discuss H.B. 76 which prohibits the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and H.B. 117, which convenes a panel to discuss alternative education assessments.
The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee will meet February 5 to discuss S.B. 251, which will ban the use of trans-fats in prepared food at public schools and universities.
The House Environment and Agriculture Committee held executive sessions February 4 to make recommendations on multiple bills which will exempt products made in the state from federal regulations as long as they remain in the state. The Committee also held an executive session on H.B. 1287, which requires mandatory deposits on beverage containers.
The Legislature convened its 2014 Legislative Session February 3.
The Senate Agricultural Subcommittee will meet February 6 to discuss H.B. 3987, which would increase the standards for labeling seafood products sold in the state.
Governor Bill Haslam (R) delivered his State of the State Address February 3.
The Insurance and Banking Committee met February 4 to discuss H.B. 937, which would allow the state to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and H.B. 1265, which would require health insurance policies to cover screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.