Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Magic 8 Ball edition

The summer vacation lull may be setting in for some, but there ain't no rest for the wicked serious fights for state legislative chamber control this fall... and beyond. 
  • What does the future hold? The summer will continue to be speckled with primaries, like last night's -- some of which actually may have determined the fate of millions of Iowans.
    • Republicans have controlled both the Iowa governor's mansion and the state House since 2010, and the teeny tiny one-seat Democratic majority in the Iowa state Senate (26 D/24 R) has been the only thing standing between Iowans and the waves of new conservative laws like those seen in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana ("right to work," anti-choice, anti-public school, and voting restriction measures are just a few off the top of my head).
  • And while a certain former hog castrator (and current state lawmaker) got most of the attention last night, the downballot primary results are far more critical for the average Iowan. 
  • Voters went to the polls on Tuesday in Mississippi, Alabama, California, New Jersey, South Dakota and Montana, too, but those state legislatures aren't competitive and/or have no real impact on congressional redistricting and/or aren't even up this year.
  • Yeah, that's right. I said the R word. Because the fight for 2020 has already begun. If progressives want to meaningfully impact the district lines drawn by state lawmakers in 2021, the herculean labor of creating, maintaining, and expanding Democratic majorities in legislative chambers by -- and through -- the 2020 elections started yesterday. If you're not already at this party, you're late.  
  • Voters in New Mexico went to the polls, too, and they get their own set of bullets, since 
    • the House is fairly competitive (37 D/33 R), 
    • the legislature will draw the new district lines after the 2020 Census, and 
    • the state has more than one congressional seat.
      • Outlook goodIn-state observers say chamber control will come down to ten key districts, which are currently evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Expect both parties to make it seriously rain in state legislative races here. Despite a strong Republican running at the top of the ticket, Democrats have a good chance of keeping their majority in this chamber. 
  • Concentrate and ask again: While legislative elections in Montana don't matter a whit in terms of congressional redistricting, the battle for control of the state Senate (21 D/29 R) is a real thing. Democrats are fielding candidates in each and every one of 125 legislative seats on the ballot this fall, and Tuesday's GOP primaries were defined by the ongoing war between the party's conservatives and moderates (although most incumbents on either end of that mini-spectrum survived). The director of the state's Democratic legislative campaign committee says the most recent round of redistricting made November's elections "either party's game." Fall sleeper state!
  • Ask again later: Next week, I'll take a peek at how primaries in Maine and Nevada affect the outlook for those states' legislative chambers. 
    • South Carolina and North Dakota hold their primaries next Tuesday, too, but things like chamber competitiveness and redistricting impact make those states way less cool. 
      • Virginia will hold its primary on June 10, too, but y'all of course know that the Commonwealth holds its state elections in odd years, so we'll start caring about that stuff again in 2015.
  • Speaking of Virginia...
    • Reply hazy try again: Despite reports of a possible compromise proposal, there's no real movement in the General Assembly budget impasse. House Republicans still hate the idea of poor people getting health insurance because OMG OBAMACARE, and they're willing to shut down state government to prove it. With less than a month to go until the Commonwealth budgets up or closes down, Republican lawmakers show signs of digging in their heels even further, somehow. So expect some hot developments soon. 
      • Maybe. 
      • Or maybe next month my mom and dad don't get the retirement checks they earned by teaching in Virginia's public schools for several decades. No one's quite sure how a government shutdown would work south of the Potomac, but I can guarantee it'll make a lot of people really, really mad. Including me.
Whatever, back to redistricting.
  • Cannot predict now: In Florida, that awesome trial over the constitutionality of the state's congressional district boundaries wrapped up after two super fun weeks. 
    • The Tallahassee judge presiding over the case could take several weeks render a decision. If he rules that the maps violate new state constitutional amendments by intentionally being drawn to help one party over the other (in this case, Republicans), the judge may order the legislature to re-draw the state's 27 congressional districts. Or he could require a court-overseen process. Or he could throw a map into a woodchipper and see what gets spit out (okay, probably not). No one knows. The ruling may not directly affect the 2014 elections, but whatever happens in this case will have an epic impact on the state's politics -- and Congress -- for years to come. Stay tuned!
  • Better not tell you nowSo there's an awful new anti-abortion bill that's just popped up in Ohio. SB 351 would make it illegal for all insurance covering Ohioans to cover abortions -- even in cases of incest, rape, or when the mother's life is in danger.
    • The bill would also ban state employee insurance plans and Medicaid from covering "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum." The sponsor claims he plans to clarify via amendment that this won't apply to birth control pills, but he fully intends it to apply to IUDs. Because science is hard, I guess, and women parts are weird and hard to understand.
      • Also, while the bill bans abortions to protect the life of the mother, it allows them in cases of ectopic (tubal) pregnancies. Um... thanks? 

For the Week of June 4, 2014 




The National Association of Attorneys General will hold its Summer Meeting June 2-5 in Mackinac Island, Michigan. 

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee will hold its Southern Leadership Conference June 8-9 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. 

Primary elections were held June 3 for the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats.

Primary elections were held June 3 for the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats. 
The Senate Environmental Quality Committee will hold a hearing June 4 to discuss A.B. 1846, which addresses damages for attempting to redeem ineligible beverage containers. 

The House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee will meet June 4 to discuss H.B. 161, which requires individual, group and blanket health insurers to provide notice of cancellation or nonrenewal of health insurance coverage due to nonpayment of premiums and to retain proof of mailing of such notices for a one-year period. 


Primary elections were held June 3 for the offices of the Governor and Secretary of State, as well as House and Senate seats. 

The Legislature adjourned sine die June 2. 


Primary elections were held June 3 for all House seats and select Senate seats. 


The Board of Education will hold a public workshop June 4 to discuss revisions to the Core Curriculum Content Standards.


Primary elections were held June 3 for the office of the Governor, as well as House seats. 


The Senate Labor Committee meet June 3 to discuss S.B. 1701, which prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to disclose login information for personal accounts through an electronic communication device. 


The House Insurance Committee met June 3 to discuss H.B. 351, which prohibits health insurance corporations from providing coverage for abortion services under any policy, contract or agreement that is issued. 


The General Assembly reconvened June 2. 


The Legislature is scheduled to recess June 5. 


Primary elections were held June 3 for the office of the Governor, as well as House and Senate seats. 

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