Spring is in the air -- a season of renewal, allergies, baseball, and PROM! (Nerd or otherwise.)
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.
- 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.
via Stateside Associates, Project Vote.
For the Week of May 2, 2014
|The following 23 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, COLORADO, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, HAWAII, ILLINOIS, IOWA, KANSAS, LOUISIANA, MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OKLAHOMA, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA and VERMONT.|
Also meeting: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUERTO RICO
The American Legislative Exchange Council will hold its Spring Task Force Summit May 1-2 in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Democratic Governors Association will hold its Spring Policy Conference May 6-7 on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing April 28 to discuss S.B. 1000, which requires the labeling of sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Assembly Committee on Higher Education met April 29 to discuss A.B. 2377, which establishes the California Student Loan Refinancing Program, designed to help students and graduates refinance loan debt at more favorable rates.
Voter Registration bill SB 1061 was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee. This bill provides that eligible citizens who are not already registered to vote and who apply for or renew their California driver's license, driver's permit, or state ID will be registered to vote if that person provides written consent. The applicant will not be registered with party affiliation. The DMV would submit an electronic voter registration form to the appropriate elections office.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met April 30 to discuss H.B. 1281, which allows for health insurance coverage of an investigational drug and allows a manufacturer of an investigational drug to make the drug available to eligible patients.
Voting Rights bill HJR 1009 was laid over for a third reading. Under this bill, the Colorado General Assembly urges and requests members of Congress to update the formula in Section 4 of the federal "Voting Rights Act of 1965", as amended, as quickly as possible to ensure Section 5 of the act can be restored and every citizen's voice is heard and every vote is counted.
Same Day Registration bill HB 105 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Administrative Services/elections Committee on April 30 at 2:30 p.m. This bill provides for election day registration for presidential primary, primary, special, and general elections whereas currently the deadline is the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election. Moreover, same day registration at polling places will be permitted with submission of valid government issued identification or other generally accepted proof of identification.
The House Finance and Revenue Committee met April 30 to discuss H.B. 217, which addresses the Delaware Code on personal income tax.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn May 2.
Same Day Registration bill HB 2590 was reported from Conference Committee as amended. This bill allows voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016 and late voter registration, including on Election Day, beginning in 2018.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 1.
The Legislature convened April 30 to consider all of Governor Sam Brownback's (R) vetoes.
Voter Registration bill HB 365 was read by title and referred to the Legislative Bureau. This bill authorizes the secretary of state to enter into certain cooperative agreements with other states or the Electronic Registration Information Center to share voter information and data and requires privacy provisions relative to such information and data.
Youth Voting bill HB 501 was read by title and referred to the Legislative Bureau. This bill allows citizens who are 16 and 17 years of age to preregister to vote. They may not cast ballots until they reach voting age. Driver's license applications made by 16-year-olds would also serve as a voter registration application, unless the applicant declines.
The Legislature convened May 1 to consider all legislation vetoed by Governor Paul LePage (R) and any other measures deemed appropriate.
Voter Registration bill HB 1739 was scheduled to be heard April 28. This bill authorizes an election authority to accept voter registration applications with electronic signatures under certain conditions.
Early Voting bill HB 2271 was scheduled to be heard April 28. This bill would require each election authority to establish one advance voting center in each county for state and federal elections. Advance voting would begin on the third Saturday before Election Day and end on the Tuesdaypreceding the election, excluding Sundays, from 8 a.m. to five p.m. on weekdays and a four-hour period between 8 a.m. and four p.m. on Saturdays.
Voter ID bill HJR 47 was placed on Informal Calendar. This bill submits to the qualified voters of Missouri an amendment to article VIII of the Constitution of Missouri to require photo ID to vote.
The Senate Transportation Committee met April 29 to discuss H.B. 1220, which restricts the addition of corn-based ethanol gasoline additives to no more than 10% of the mixture of gasoline.
The Senate Environmental Conservation Committee met April 29 to discuss S.B. 872, which requires the placement of one recycling receptacle for drink containers for every four waste receptacles on state-owned property.
The General Assembly reconvened April 29.
Same Day Registration bill HB 2196 was referred to the committee on State Government. This bill would allow qualified citizens to register and vote during the early voting period, up to 10 days before Election Day.
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