Friday, August 22, 2014

Math Is Hard edition

OK, personal revelation time. I've never really enjoyed math classes all that much. (Well, maybe geometry, because that involves drawing. Bqhatevwr.) But math is super important when it comes to statehouse action... and every other kind of political action, too. Registration, performance index, turnout, demographics, cash on hand, cost per point, spot count... so many numbers. 

But let's keep it simple. Take a break from playing Snake on your TI-84, and let's do some 'rithmetic.

  • 336: The number of congressional districts that will be drawn by state legislators after the 2020 elections. In a few short cycles, lawmakers in 36 states will draw more than three-quarters of the nation's 435 congressional districts. 2021 might feel far away, but that gives Democrats and Republicans just a few cycles to fight for majority control of those 70 legislative chambers.
      • And no, my math isn't off. Nebraska is one of those 36 states, but its legislature is unicameral and nonpartisan.
    • 2: The number of steps in the plan the DLCC announced this week as it unveiled Advantage 2020, its long-term program to help Democrats "win" the next round of redistring. 
1. Cut a hole in the... wait.
    1. Win control of state legislatures.
    2. Draw fair maps.
Shhhh! Top secret plan! 

  • 262: The number of former state legislators currently serving in Congress, which the RSLC helpfully points out in a recent web video touting the organization's importance in party bench-building. 
    • This one's just not going to win them the Oscar, but hey, it's a good reminder that winning state legislative elections isn't all about redistricting. 
  • 27The number of congressional districts still in flux in Florida as a judge considers the hastily redrawn map submitted by statehouse Republicans on Wednesday. (The new map actually only makes changes to seven districts.) 
    • In an animated hearing, the House Minority Leader claimed that Democrats had been shut out of the secret map-drawing meetings, and plaintiffs (accurately, I'd say) claimed the changes to the districts were only cosmetic. 
      • Fun factFlorida voters are already casting absentee ballots for the August 26 primary. 

  • $800,000+: The amount of money (it'll probably be north of $1 million after final finance reports come in, actually) that Virginia Democrats blew on an unwinnable state Senate seat in this week's special election to replace terrible Phil Puckett
    • 31.8: The percentage of the vote Democratic candidate Mike Hymes garnered in SD-38 on Tuesday. 
      • Fun fact! Hymes managed to ever-so-slightly underperform Obama 2012 in this rural district that anyone who can read numbers should have known was completely unwinnable
    • 2: The number of Virginia state Senate districts won by Obama in 2012 that are currently represented by Republicans: SD-7 and SD-10.
      • Flippable in 2015? Maybe. Democrats only need to take one of those to win back effective (because of the tie-breaking Democratic LG) majority control of the chamber.
You know what would help with that? A million dollars.

  • $3,000,000The amount of money Sen. Rand Paul might drop into flipping the Kentucky state House this fall. 
    • Why does Rand Paul care so darn much? Glad you asked! 
      • Current state law prohibits Paul from running simultaneously for two elected offices (say, oh, just guessing here -- Senate and President?), which he really, really wants to do. 
        • State House Democrats stymied his efforts to change the law this year, and Speaker Stumbo doesn't seem likely to change his mind on the issue: "A man who can't decide which office to run for isn't fit for either office." Sick burn, bro
  • Ridiculous amounts of outside money or not, state Republicans aren't in a great position to flip that chamber this fall. 

  • 3: The number of judges on new trial court panels approved this week by North Carolina lawmakers that will henceforth decide the constitutionality of new state laws. 
    • Republican lawmakers got sick of losing the game, so they've changed the rules. 
    • This brand-new, nationally unprecedented judicial system will exist solely to rule on the constitutionality of new state laws and is intended to counter a spate of rulings against Republicans' extreme measures restricting abortion, public school funding, due process for teachers, and elections. So that should go well.

Breaking! 2014 is not 2010! (In case you were wondering.)

For the Week of August 22, 2014 

The following 4 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY and NORTH CAROLINA.
Also meeting: PUERTO RICO


The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Legislative Summit August 19-22 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
The National Association of State Election Directors will hold its Summer Meeting August 22-24 in San Francisco, California. 

A primary election was held August 19 for the office of the Governor, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The San Diego City Council met August 18 to consider overriding the mayoral veto of an ordinance relating to the earned sick leave and minimum wage provided to employees working in the City of San Diego. 


The Denver City Council is scheduled met August 18 to consider an ordinance amending city zoning laws to limit and control the cultivation of marijuana for personal use in private homes. 
 The Air Quality Control Commission held a public rulemaking hearing August 21 to discuss proposed rule amendments to stationary source and emission requirements. 

The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources met August 19 to discuss and hear testimony about regulation of shooting preserves and cervidae farming. 


The K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission met August 19-20 to discuss the Governor's School Efficiency Task Force Final Recommendations, which includes a recommendation to utilize the Library of Kansas' shared statewide database subscription to curriculum, e-books and other resources. 


The Domestic Violence Taskforce met August 22 to examine proposed legislation regarding sentencing recommendations. 


The New York City Committee on Governmental Operations met August 20 to discuss a local law requiring public-facing disclosure of campaign spending.


The House Study Committee on Law Enforcement Perspectives on the Drug Epidemic and its Impact on Families met August 19 to discuss the impact drugs are having on families and communities.   


A special election was held August 19 to fill one vacant seat in the Senate and two vacant seats in the House of Delegates. 

The Freedom of Information Advisory Council met August 19 to discuss exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act that allow for closed meetings within the Legislature; including security plans, trade secrets and medical or health records. 


The Legislative Ethics Boards met August 19 to discuss complaints relating to the determination of reasonable cause by members of the law enforcement community. 


A primary election was held August 19 for the office of the Governor, as well as House and Senate seats.

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