For some folks, it's time to don fancy duds and pretend you're too cool to care about going to the big dance... But we all know that everyone's sitting by the phone, either waiting for the cool kid to call or trying to work up the guts to start dialing. Metaphorically. Probably.
But statehouses aren't sitting idly by while you're partying. They're making their own fun.
- It's like senior prom was just yesterday. Or less than a decade ago: Millennials are getting elected to state legislatures, including Oregon's. And apparently they're prone to "fit[s] of millennial pique." Hope it's not catching.
- This year's theme is Springtime in Venice...with Zombies: A Florida state Senator was just trying to make a point when he tried to tweak a bill that allows folks without permits to carry concealed weapons during states of emergency. State Sen. Dwight Bullard thinks that a crisis is the last instance in which unlicensed people should be running around with concealed guns, so he tried to amend the bill title to reflect such an absurd notion. The bill easily passed the House last month, but it has just died in the Senate, so An act relating to the zombie apocalypse will not be hitting Gov. Scott's desk this year.
- Ditching your date: The Michigan GOP is trying to pull pretty much the same trick as Missouri Republicans are with their nine-day early voting amendment, but with the minimum wage. In the face of a potentially turnout-motivating November ballot measure to raise the state's hourly minimum wage to $10.10, a Republican state Senator is pushing a bill to raise the wage to $8.15.
- This stratagem is an echo of one that Republicans used to keep a minimum wage increase off the ballot in 2006, but with one key difference: the 2006 bill actually gave workers a greater increase than the ballot measure would have, so even Democrats who wanted the ballot box boost had to vote for it.
- Supporters of the minimum wage initiative have until May 28 to collect 258,088 valid signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.
- Speaking of that sneaky limited early voting constitutional amendment in Missouri, the measure is currently awaiting a hearing in a state Senate committee.
- This shindig is LAME: The Missouri House's impeachment hearings, part 2, wrapped up Wednesday without votes on any of the multiple articles of impeachment filed against Gov. Jay Nixon by GOP lawmakers. This week's hearing related to failing to call special elections quickly enough for one legislator's satisfaction and to failing to fire some people who broke state law by scanning personal documents into state computers.
- Pre-party: North Carolina's legislative session doesn't start until May 14, but Rev. William Barber II, architect of last year's momentous Moral Monday protests against extreme actions taken by the GOP-controlled legislature, is gearing up to bring his rallies to Raleigh again. State lawmakers will be under intense scrutiny as they move their agenda forward this spring.
- Rejection, part 1: Maine Gov. Paul LePage gleefully vetoed 48 bills this week, bringing his first-term total to a record-breaking 181. While Democrats have majorities in both legislative chambers, vetoes can only be overridden by a supermajority vote. Republicans joined with Democrats to rebuke 15 of those vetoes.
- LePage's vetoes of two measures that would have expanded Medicaid were sustained, as was his veto of expanded funding for family planning services for low-income women (funding that's been cut over the past three years).
- Fun fact! Just hours after LePage's veto of the family planning funding bill, new data surfaced revealing that unplanned births had cost the state $18 million in 2010.
- Rejection, part 2: Voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania found themselves spurned by courts this week.
- A federal judge struck down Wisconsin's 2011 law requiring state-issued photo identification to vote, which never even went into effect before it became tied up in lawsuits. The ruling also effectively rendered the legislature impotent to pass a replacement measure in time for the 2014 election.
- A state court in Pennsylvania entered a permanent injunction against that state's 2012 voter ID law, rendering it unenforceable (unless the PA Supreme Court steps in).
- Spiking the punch: Action is still pending on a Louisiana Senate bill that would allow Tony the Truck Stop Tiger to remain at the Tiger Truck Stop (I mean, where else would a truck stop tiger be?). The state senator representing the truck stop is pushing an exemption to a law prohibiting the ownership of big exotic cats. Senate Bill 250 would prevent the state from removing Tony from his owner and his big metal truck stop cage.
- Much of the floor debate centered around public safety and how maybe truck stop staff aren't really ready to deal with a tiger jailbreak.
- One staffer's quoted response when asked what first action he would take in the event of an escape, answered, "Rescue everybody."
- The same employee, asked what to do if he couldn't find the tiger, answered: "'Good question,'" then added, "Somebody's gonna have to find him."
- The bill failed once, but it will be reconsidered and voted on again on Monday. I know the suspense is keeping us all in a chain-link prison of anticipation.
For the Week of May 2, 2014