Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time of the Season edition

What, you thought I took this week off? Nonsense. Statehouse action takes no holidays. 
(Okay, I do, but not this week.)

Besides, there's crucial Tony the Truck Stop Tiger news. I can't make you wait for that until next week. It just wouldn't be fair. 
  • Under the radar like Red October: In Florida, the trial over the state's congressional district lines continues. Plaintiffs (including the League of Women Voters and other groups) are trying to prove legislators violated the state's new Fair Districts constitutional provisions while allowing Republican consultants to conduct a "shadow" redistricting process. 
    • Earlier this week, a top state GOP campaign consultant admitted  that parts of the maps he drew were submitted to the legislature and ultimately became law. The consultant claims he gave his maps to another GOP operative, and somehow maybe those maps got into the hands of a member of the FSU College Republicans, who maybe submitted them to the legislature (and got a sweet job at GOP consulting firm when he graduated)... 
      • Unless the consultants were lying about the college kid and just submitted the maps themselves. Because that college kid swears he never saw any maps, man.
    • In another fun wrinkle, the state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that hundreds of pages of redistricting-related documents produced by GOP consulting firm Data Targeting, Inc. had to be shared with the plaintiffs in the case. The firm had attempted to keep those documents on the down low by claiming they contained trade secrets.
    • The trial should wrap up next week. If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the state's 27 congressional districts will have to be redrawnWhatever, no big deal.
  • Remember November: Once upon a time in 2000, the Tennessee state Supreme Court found that language the state's Constitution provides women an even stronger right to obtain an abortion than the wording of the U;S. Constitution. Fourteen years later, state lawmakers are hoping voters will deprive women of those extra rights via ballot measure this November, because what makes them so special, anyway? 
    • My favorite part of the new constitutional language? The part where it specifically gives legislators the right to restrict abortions required to save the life of the mother or those resulting from rape or incest. That's just awesome.
  • Expiration date: Three Republican senators in North Carolina must really hate running for reelection. Last week they introduced a bill that would extend legislators' terms from two years to four and would term-limit all lawmakers to just four of those four-year terms. 
    • But maybe they just fear getting burned out from so much extreme legislating. North Carolina's legislative session basically just started, but already 
  • May dazed: The Michigan GOP's preemptive strike against a turnout-driving ballot measure to raise the minimum wage was victorious this week. On Tuesday night, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a Republican-sponsored measure that will bump the rate to $9.25 per hour by 2018. 
    • The push to place a measure on the November ballot raising the hourly minimum wage to $10.10 continues, but the GOP move may have successfully undermined the petition drive by changing the legislative language the measure seeks to amend.
  • It's spring, and love is in the airInfamous Virginia state Senator Dick Black (R-Plastic Fetus) wrote a super-gracious thank-you note to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad back in April for saving some Christians or something. Never mind all those other folks killed in the conflict, including the 1400 or so killed by Assad's chemical weapons attack last August, or that the U.S. wants the dude gone... Just check the "yes" box if you like him back, Bashar.
    • Meanwhile, in South Carolina, medically accurate information about love and related physical activities will continue to not be taught in school sex ed classes, because everyone knows that storks bring babies and a GOP state senator killed a bill that would require schools to inform their students otherwise. 
      • Fun fact! South Carolina has the 11th-highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.
  • Oktoberfest: In a straightforward effort to lure San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co.'s investment in a planned expansion to the Palmetto State, the South Carolina legislature has passed a measure loosening restrictions in existing beer law. The current system is some wacky three-tiered nonsense that requires most producers to sell their products through wholesalers. Hooray beer!
Want to be #richforever? Don't become a state legislator

For the Week of May 29, 2014 




The Democratic Municipal Officials will hold its Advisory Board Retreat May 29-30 in Evanston, Illinois. 

The Council of State Governments will hold its CSG Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy Academy May 29-31 in Washington, D.C. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Executive Committee and Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee meeting May 29-31 in Anchorage, Alaska. 


May 30 is the last day for bills to be passed out of the chamber of origin, as per Joint Rule 61(b)(11). 


The Common Core Task Force, established by Governor Dan Malloy (D), met May 28 to develop recommendations on how best to implement the Common Core education standards. 


The Senate Executive Committee met May 27-28 to discuss H.B. 3814, which creates the Minimum Wage Referendum Act. 

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 31.  


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 30. 


The House Committee on Commerce met May 27 to hear S.B. 506, which prohibits state contractors from collecting personally identifiable information. 


The Board of Teaching will meet May 30 to discuss proposed rules relating to approval requirements for teacher preparation institutions and programs. 


The House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn sine die May 30. 

A conference committee met May 28 to discuss S.B. 355, which prohibits an educational institution from accessing a student or prospective student's social media account.


The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee met May 27 to hear H.B. 506, which addresses emission standards for coal and natural gas electric generation units.


The House Interim Committee on Energy and Environment will meet May 30 to hear informational testimony about green energy technology in public buildings. 


A primary runoff election was held May 27 to decide the Republican and Democratic races from the March 4 primaries where no candidate received a majority of votes, including the Republican primaries for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

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