Monday, May 15, 2017

Oye Comey Va edition

lol jk no Comey news here. Until he decides to run for a state legislative seat somewhere. Which he won't. So here's some other news. And puns. And a personal update.
Evil Ways: Despite the best efforts of North Carolina Republicans, SCOTUS just delivered a pretty epic victory for voting rights advocates.
  • This morning, the Court rejected an appeal from the state GOP to reinstate the state's draconian 2013 voting law, which was struck down by a federal court last summer (when judges famously asserted that its voter-suppression provisions "target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision").  
  • In case you were wondering just how awful this voting law was, here's a quick trip down memory lane. In addition to establishing one of the strictest voter ID requirements in the nation, the measure
    • Cut early voting from 17 days to 10 days
    • Eliminated straight ticket party voting
    • Ended same-day registration during early voting
    • Banned paid voter registration drives
    • Prohibited localities from extending hours due to long lines
    • Ended pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds
    • Authorized expanded party-appointed “poll observers” and made it easier for observers to challenge voters
    • Increased the maximum campaign contribution in the state to $5000
    • Weakened disclosure requirements for IE committees. 
Now if state courts would just once again reject North Carolina Republicans' retread of an effort to rig state and local election boards to keep voter-suppression advocates and policies in place...
  • Oh, and because GOP lawmakers in North Carolina keep finding new ways to be awful:
    • In the wee hours of Friday morning, Senate Republicans retaliated against Democrats' repeated attempts to get their spending priorities included in the state budget by stripping education funding from Democrats' districts -- to the tune of $1 million from programs that disproportionately benefit minority and low-income students. 
  • Seriously, these people are the worst. But until SCOTUS weighs in on a ruling that mandates new districts and new elections for state lawmakers, North Carolina GOPers will continue to sit safely in their illegally racially gerrymandered districts. 

Everything's Coming Our Way: Democrats overperformed in YET ANOTHER special election last week -- in Oklahoma.  
  • …and by "overperformed," I mean came within 56 votes of winning. 
  • This district supported Trump last November 73-23. This week, the Republican in this state House race turned a 50-point margin into a 2-point win.   
    • The contest for House District 28 pitted a Democratic prosecutor and former state trooper against a Republican oil executive. The state GOP's failure to fund education and creation of a budgetary crisis were major issues in this small, mostly under-the-radar election (just over 2400 votes were cast). 

Shape Shifter: And finally, a bit of personal news: I'll be leaving DLCC in a couple of weeks for bigger adventures -- stay tuned for news on my next move! You'll always be able to reach me at my gmail address, though, and I'll remain your most persistent, insightful, punniest source for state political news on Earth (ours, anyway. On Earth-61, I'm Batman).