Some lawmakers continue to enjoy their spring breaks, but plenty of legislators stuck around to go wild in statehouses this week.
- It was all a dream about Tennessee: If Gov. Haslam doesn't veto them before next week, two bills of widely varying consequence will become law.
- As amended, HB 2410 would prohibit UN observers from monitoring elections in the state. I know we're all super relieved to have that taken care of.
- That nasty bill that turns pregnancy into a criminal liability has fallen out of the headlines a bit, but unless the governor vetoes it by Monday, it'll jump straight into state code. SB 1391 could land a woman in jail for up to 15 years if she becomes pregnant while addicted to drugs or takes narcotics (even legal ones prescribed by a doctor) during her pregnancy. Will Tennessee nab the dubious distinction of being the first state to subject women to criminal charges for being pregnant while using drugs? We'll know soon enough.
- Nixon impeached? (Seriously, this just wouldn't be as much, um, fun if the governor of Missouri had a different name.) Earlier today, a House committee began its first hearing on a GOP lawmaker's article of impeachment of Gov. Nixon for allowing married same-sex couples to file joint state tax returns. Other Republicans think Nixon should be impeached for not calling special elections quickly enough and something something guns, but those guys haven't gotten much bandwidth so far.
- Better luck next week! The impeachment hearings resume next Wednesday.
- Conventional wisdom: Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs won't allow his GOP-controlled chamber to vote on a resolution calling for an Article V "convention of states" to amend -- or potentially rewrite -- the U.S. Constitution, and Sarah Palin is super sore about it. Biggs has historically opposed such measures out of a perfectly reasonable fear of a "runaway convention," in which delegates stray beyond stated goals of imposing federal fiscal restraint and amend our foundational document into something wacky and unrecognizable.
- Palin may be on her way to becoming something of a spokesperson for the conservative push trigger a Constitutional Convention from the state legislative level; just last week, she was promoting the notion on Fox News.
- Also, depending on whose count you believe, the Article Vers have either reached the 34-state threshold for triggering a Convention of States, or maybe they're only at 24 or so. It all hinges on whether take-backsies on state applications are allowed.
- ALLOW ALL THE GUNS: Georgia Gov. Deal just signed the "guns everywhere" bill, so now folks can carry their beloved firearms into schools, bars, government buildings and churches. Gov. Deal says detractors should just be happy that the legislation wasn't as bad as it could have been; meanwhile, the NRA called the measure "the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history." Super.
- BREAKING: Women who are not Alison Lundergan Grimes are running for things in Kentucky, too: The Bluegrass State's House is near the top of my Chamber Watch List this fall, and it should totally be on yours, too, because I just know I'm not the only person who keeps that sort of thing... Anyway, at 54 D/46 R, state Democrats are working hard to defend their House majority, and eight women candidates trained in the Emerge Kentucky program may be the key to keeping that chamber in Democratic hands.
- Not-so-fun fact! At 18.1%, the percentage of women in the Kentucky legislature lags behind the national average of 24.2%, which is already pretty lame.
- Winning, sort of, a little: Today marked the annual gathering known as Veto Session in Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe saw all four of his vetoes sustained. However, rancor over the budget impasse resulting from House Republicans' intractability on Medicaid expansion colored the day's proceedings, and the Commonwealth still has no budget as the end of the fiscal year draws ever nearer.
- Could Virginia be facing its own government shutdown? Possibly, but it would be unprecedented, and this isn't the first time budget negotiations have gone into nth overtime. No reason to worry until, say, June 4 or so.
- Argle bargle propaganda bargle: The Connecticut Senate has passed a measure requiring the state's public schools to include the history of the labor movement in American history curriculum. The bill faces as uncertain future in the House as Session hurtles towards its conclusion, but if the right-wing blogs haven't started freaking out over this already, someone should probably go ahead and notify them, just out of courtesy.
- Lawmakers in Louisiana have shelved a proposal to make the Bible the official state book amid concerns the resulting debate was becoming a "distraction."
- The candidate filing deadline period in Michigan has come and gone. Here's an unofficial list of who's on the ballot. (The state House [50 D/59 R/1 I), like the Kentucky House, is near the top of my Chamber Watch List.)
For the Week of April 23, 2014