With so much state attention directed at the Show-Me State right now, here's a) a bit more piled on and b) some other fun things to distract you (like the sweet playlist I snuck in below. Bonus).
- Elemental: Openness and transparency are essential elements of a free society and a functional government. Missouri state Rep. Jeff Roorda seems to think folks can get by just fine with a little less information about things like, say, police shootings. In January, he introduced a bill that would have amended the state's Open Meetings and Records Law to close records of police shootings from public scrutiny and prevent law enforcement agencies from disclosing the names of officers involved in shootings unless the shooter were charged with a crime... at which point it would come up in court proceedings, anyway.
- Fun fact! Whether it was because Rep. Roorda is a Democrat in a heavily-GOP House or because it's just a terrible idea, the legislation has languished in committee pretty much all year.
- And while we're on the Missouri/Ferguson thing, Democratic state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal vented some perfectly understsandable frustration at Gov. Jay Nixon via Twitter on Wednesday night. And you know how eloquent and reserved all of our tweets tend to be when we're ridiculously pissed, so you can probably guess how that went.
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World (or statehouses, at least): There are big things at stake in state legislative elections this fall, and the New York Times is ON IT. No, seriously. Here's a solid overview of the fight in some of the top targeted states this fall.
- TL;DR version: Watch for possible Democratic chamber pickups in the Arkansas House, the New Hampshire Senate, and the Washington Senate.
- ...and if the DLCC has a really good night, we could see possible flips in majority control in the Iowa House and the Michigan House.
- Successes in 2012 mean that Democrats are playing a lot of defense this fall, and the RSLC is hoping to to flip the narrow Democratic majorities in the Iowa Senate, the Colorado Senate, the Nevada Senate, the Kentucky House, and both chambers in West Virginia.
- They're being super optimistic with four of those six chamber goals, and while Republicans talk a good game about picking up majorities in the New Mexico House, the Minnesota House, and both chambers in Maine, we'd be looking at a 2010 redux if any of that comes to pass.
- Suffer the Children (and lot of other people): Hey, remember that Democratic Virginia state Senator who abruptly resigned because he thought a cushy job on the Tobacco Commission and a judgeship for his daughter were more important than expanding healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of Virginians? Well, the special election to replace him is on Tuesday (8/19). Republican Ben Chafin is almost certain to win the seat, which had been the only state Senate district won by Romney but represented by a Democrat, cementing the GOP's slim majority in the chamber.
- Change: Controversial Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield will not be returning to the statehouse next year. He (and five other Republican incumbents) lost last Thursday's primary.
- If you're wondering why Campfield's so darn special, you may have forgotten that he was behind the "Don't Say Gay" bill, wanted to cut welfare for parents whose children struggled in school, and compared Obamacare to forced transportation of Jews to concentration camps during the Holocaust.
- Change (part 2): On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed off on new congressional district maps that were drawn up "in closed-door meetings between to top GOP legislators attorneys and legislative staff" and look an awful lot like the maps thrown out last month. We'll find out next week if the judge rejects them or just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
- Change (part 3): Michigan is set to elect the first Asian American woman to its state legislature. After winning the primary in state Senate District 6 last week, Democrat Stephanie Chang will likely cruise to victory in this Dem-friendly district.
- Everybody Loves A Happy Ending: ...Too bad there's not an ending of any sort in sight for the North Carolina state legislature. The body was expected to adjourn in early July, but it's actually still in session. Because the state House and Senate failed to agree on something as simple as an adjournment resolution, members (GOP Senate candidate and House Speaker Thom Tillis included) have to return to Raleigh for skeleton sessions every four days. Democracy is awesome!
- (Methane) Tears Roll Down: Republican (and impressively-mustached) state Sen. Randy Baumgardner weighed in on the Colorado fracking issue, claiming that those who oppose this form of natural gas production are buying into "propaganda." Somehow confusing methane-polluted water with hot springs, Baumgardner shared his historic wisdom: "If you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters ... for warmth in the wintertime."
- Fun fact! Hot springs are actually geothermal phenomena, and archaeological evidence indicates that Native Americans indeed convened around hot springs in the western United States. Hot springs are not, however, caused by methane pollution, which would have probably killed said Native Americans.
- Year of the (alligator-skinning) Knife: Actually, it's five more years of alligator and crocodile-skin product sales in California. The legislature is on track to approve a five-year continued exemption from the state's ban on the sale of shoes, belts, bags, and other fancy things made with such reptile hide.
For the Week of August 14, 2014
The following 6 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, NEW JERSEY and NORTH CAROLINA.
Also meeting: PUERTO RICO
The National Association of Local Boards of Health will hold its Annual Conference August 13-15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Josh Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Southern Governors' Association will hold its Annual Meeting August 14-17 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mark Anderson at email@example.com
The Southern States Energy Board will hold its Associate Members Summer Meeting August 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will hold its Summer Meeting August 16-19 in Louisville, Kentucky. Robert Holden at email@example.com
The Senate and House Insurance and Commerce committees met August 12 to discuss electric rates impacted by the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule.CALIFORNIA
The Assembly Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing August 14 to discuss S.B. 270, which prohibits single-use carryout plastic shopping bags in specific retail establishments.
A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as House and Senate seats.
The Robert G. Bethell Joint Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight Committee received a presentation August 12 about KanCare, as well as updates about the state's health insurance marketplace.
A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House seats.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education met August 12 to discuss proposed rule amendments for the creation of the Missouri Advisory Board for Educator Preparation.
The Energy and Transmission Committee will meet August 14 to discuss market opportunities for renewable resources and a bill draft to use oil and gas production tax to fund major improvements and the construction of highway corridors impacted by energy development.
A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats.