Thursday, May 30, 2013

Achtung Baby! edition

So Congress names post offices, and state legislatures ... well, they do other stuff.

LIke adjourn! Joining the sine die list this week are:
  • Alabama: Legislators decided that loosening campaign finance restrictions on corporate campaign contributions would be a good idea if they also increased transparency at the same time. The GOP majorities also passed an education scheme that funnels taxpayer money to private and religious schools, and they loosened restrictions on guns. 
  • Iowa: Not to diminish the EPIC ACHIEVEMENT of post office naming or anything, but it seems having a House with a GOP majority and a Senate with Democratic majority can actually result in a lot of stuff getting done. The divided legislature had to go into extra innings to do it, but lawmakers expanded Medicaid and passed a bipartisan tax-relief plan. The extended session wasn't without its fair share of drama -- an early dust-up over proposed abortion restrictions was described as "an ideological train wreck in the House Republican caucus" -- but the legislature, in the end, took care of the business of governing their state. 
  • Minnesota: The Democrats seemed eager to capitalize on the legislative majorities they won in last fall's elections as they pushed through several agenda items, including same-sex marriage, no-excuse in-person early voting, and allowing in-home daycare and healthcare workers to unionize. They also raised the cigarette tax and increased taxes on top earners to fund education and job-creation initiatives while closing a budget hole. However, bills aimed at raising the state's minimum wage and tightening gun restrictions ultimately failed.  
Meanwhile, in states still toiling away at the business of governing, 
  • In Virginia, Steve Martin is standing by some pretty terrible things he said. No, not that Steve Martin. State Sen. Stephen Martin, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican LG nomination earlier this month, doubled down on remarks he made last week alleging that Planned Parenthood has caused more deaths among African Americans than the Klu Klux Klan. He is, however, totally sorry that he falsely claimed that the KKK was created by the Democratic Party. He said it himself: "My integrity is important and I always strive to be accurate." In related news, irony is on life support in the Commonwealth.
  • In Arizona last week, some folks freaked out because an atheist Representative gave the opening, ah, "prayer" for the House Session one day by sharing some thoughts on his "secular humanist tradition," and a fellow legislator sought to somehow compensate by offering an extra prayer as "repentance" for this godless heathen of a colleague's transgression the day before. Additionally, Gov. Jan Brewer is sticking to her guns when it comes to her threat to veto everything that comes across her desk until the legislature agrees to expand Medicaid... Or Until the End of the World, whichever comes first, I guess. 
  • A Democratic Senator in Michigan has introduced a bill that would end the state's ban on same-sex marriage. It's So Cruel, but with a legislature dominated by the GOP and a Republican occupying the Governor's mansion, this measure may well go nowhere.
Bill of the Week: Lawmakers in Kansas are addressing a growing threat within our armed forces. No, they're not taking action on rampant sexual assault within the ranks. Rather, they're concerned that soldiers lack sufficient access to rifle scopes bearing Bible verses. The state Senate has already passed a resolution addressing this alleged discrimination against Christians, and the House is rushing to not be out-religioned by their colleagues in the upper chamber.
  • Also in Kansas, a Republican Senator has shown himself to be something of a logic Acrobat. Sen. Melcher fears that a rather popular proposal to cut the state's tax on groceries is actually an insidious form of "social engineering." He believes that reducing the grocery tax would cause people to buy fewer non-edible goods because they'd spend all their money on that low-tax food, and also that people would eat more. So according to Sen. Melcher, low taxes = more fatties. Democracy!  
Legislator of the Week Runner-upKentucky state Representative might have been thinking about riding her wild horses before she was pulled over for driving 109 miles per hour. She says she won't contest the ticket, though, because no One is above the law.

Legislator of the Week: This week's winner is a Republican from Nebraska who serves in the state's unicameral, ostensibly nonpartisan state Legislature. Senator Kintner sat down for an interview with a local reporter this week, and he shared his views on women. Apparently, we move In Mysterious Ways

Biggest mystery? Women. No one understands them. They don't even understand themselves. Books and books and books have been written about it, and no one understands it.
Men are very easy to understand. Very basic, very simple.

Maybe that explains

I was single for 47 years. I was good at it.

Also, Sen. Kintner's approach to his diet sounds rather... aerobic. 

There's not much about food that escapes me. I like to eat.

I'm sorry about the running gag. OK, half sorry. At least a third sorry. Here's some gag-free stuff.

For the Week of May 29, 2013



The Republican State Leadership Committee will hold its Future Majority Project Summit May 29-30 in Austin, Texas.

The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Executive Committee and LSCC May 30-June 1 in Boston, Massachusetts. 

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee will hold its Southern Leadership Conference June 2-3 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. 


The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public hearing May 30 to discuss proposed amendments to its hydraulic fracturing rules. 


The House Tax Policy Committee will meet May 29 to discuss H.B. 4234, which exempts from the sales tax the agreed upon value of motor vehicles used as part payment of the purchase price of another titled motor vehicle. 

Patricia Willis won the special election held on May 28 for House District 95. Special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan.


The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 30


The Department of Environmental Services will hold a public hearing May 30 to discuss proposed revisions to the fuel specifications provisions of the state air regulations. 


The Senate Environmental Conservation Committee will meet May 30 to discuss S.B. 4709, which prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of business transaction paper containing bisphenol A (BPA). 

The House Public Utilities Committee will meet May 29 to discuss H.B. 136, which authorizes the Third Frontier Commission to award grants related to the establishment and operation of data centers and the development of a high speed fiber optic network in the state. 


The House Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency Committee will hold a work session May 28 to vote on S.B. 683, which prohibits practitioners from limiting referrals of patients to health care entities in which the practitioner has a financial interest or employment relationship. 


The House Sales and Income Tax Subcommittee will meet May 29 to discuss H.B. 3116, which taxes services at the rate of 6%.


The Legislature will adjourn sine die and convene a special session May 27. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Ounce of Convention is Worth a Pound of Cure edition

Virginia politics enjoyed a big weekend as the state GOP's nominating convention produced some surprising results. Virtual unknown E.W. Jackson emerged from repeated rounds of balloting as the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor. The party's nominee for Attorney General, on the other hand, was almost a foregone conclusion after Cuccinelli endorsed state Sen. Mark Obenshain before balloting began. Jackson's inflammatory statements have been generating headlines, and since the outcome of the LG race will determine which party has effective majority control of the state Senate for the next two years, this candidate and this contest deserve a great deal of scrutiny. 

But let's not neglect the Republican AG nominee. From Jim Gilmore to Mark Earley to Jerry Kilgore to Bob McDonnell to Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorneys General have a tendency to run for Governor. As the son of a U.S. Senate candidate, there's no reason to think Sen. Obenshain's ambition is any less lofty. 

So who is this Obenshain guy? Since state legislators are kind of my thing, I thought I'd take a look at some of the bills he's sponsored over the course of his Senate tenure. His legislation that would require women to report miscarriages to the police has received some scrutiny, but there's so much more to Sen. Obenshain than that. 
  • Sen. Obenshain attempted to force political parties to bear the costs of primary elections, a move which would place great pressure on Virginia's parties to select candidates through the kind of conventions that led to his AG nomination. (He introduced this bill long before the Virginia GOP announced it would ditch the primary and nominate its 2013 candidates via convention.)
Obenshain and Cuccinelli are cut from the same cloth. It's a good bet that four years of Obenshain would look a lot like a continuation of Cuccinelli's tenure as AG.

In Sine Die news, 
  • Arkansas lawmakers formally wrapped up their legislative session last week. The newly-minted Republican majorities had quite a busy few months, during which they took every opportunity to flex their conservative muscles. Right-wing agenda items that met with success this session included voter ID and extreme abortion bans. They also managed to expand Medicaid, if in a sorta weird way. Next year's fiscal session may be a tad more tame, but a good bit of havoc can be wreaked with purse strings, too, so we shall see. 
And in other news, 
  • Minnesota lawmakers went ahead and passed that bill that opens absentee voting to all those eligible.
  • Vermont has become the first state to legalize so-called "assisted suicide" through legislative action. The bill makes it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal doses of a medication to a terminally ill patient (who must request and administer it themselves). 
  • Utah state Senator is messing with Texas (by competing with them for Beretta, which is threatening to bolt Maryland because of its new gun control laws).
Bill of the Week: Honors go to an especially bold Utah law that was just blocked by a federal court. The law, passed and signed earlier this year, prevents some federal officials (specifically, Bureau of Land Management rangers and Forest Service officers) from enforcing state, local, or federally assimilated laws anywhere in Utah. Nullification is alive and well in the states; more on that to come in future editions.

Other, less sexy stuff below.

For the Week of May 22, 2013


The Democratic Governors Association will hold its Spring Policy Conference May 22-23 in National Harbor, Maryland.

The United States Conference of Mayors will hold its Mayors Innovation Summit May 22-24 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 20. 


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 23.

The Air Resources Board will hold a public workshop May 20 to discuss amendments to the zero emission vehicle rules and the plug-in hybrid test procedures. Comments will also be accepted. 

The Senate Committee on Appropriations will hold a meeting May 22 to discuss S.B. 622, which levies a tax on bottled sweetened beverages. 


Youth Voting bill HB 226 was sent to the governor. This bill allows a citizen who is 17 years of age and who will be 18 years of age on the date of the general election to be deemed competent to execute and attest to any voter registration forms. 


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 20. 


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 20. 


Conduct of Elections bill AB 48 was read a second time in the Senate. This bill makes several changes to election law in Nevada. Among other provision, this bill makes it a category B felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years for knowingly voting under another person's name or voting when not qualified to vote. 


The Senate Transportation Committee will meet May 20 to hear testimony on S.B. 2531, which replaces the motor fuels tax with a vehicle miles traveled tax for passenger vehicles. 


The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will meet May 21 to discuss S.B. 1987, which prohibits smoking on the grounds of general hospitals and residential health care facilities.

Omnibus bill SB 5446 was referred to the Senate Elections Committee. This bill relates to voting rights expansion, voter registration on election day, expansion of the use of and requirements for absentee voting, creation of a real-time state-wide voter registration database, special ballots for election employees, etc.


Conduct of Elections bill HB 311 was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. This bill would repeal the literacy test for voters.

The Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education will hold a public hearing May 20 to discuss S.B. 666, which allows a virtual public charter school to receive funding for supplemental online courses. 

The House Business and Transportation Committee will hold a work session May 21 to vote on H.B. 2950, which allows employees to take family leave in the event of the death of a family member. 

Voter Registration bill HB 3521 is scheduled to be heard May 22 by the House Rules Committee at 3:00 p.m. This bill directs the secretary to register to vote each non-registered person who is qualified to vote and to notify such individuals how to cancel registration and how to adopt or change political party affiliation. This bill directs qualified voter registration agencies to provide the secretary of state with age, residence, and citizenship data and digital signature of each person who meets qualifications set by the secretary of state. This bill increases the maximum number of electors in a precinct from 5,000 to 10,000. 


The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee will hold a hearing May 23 to discuss S.B. 148, which allows authorities to place a preemptive security freeze on protected consumers' credit reports.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vote or Sine Die edition

While I was at the beach, some more legislatures wrapped up their sessions. What havoc did they wreak? Well, let's see...
  • Florida: With GOP supermajorities busted for the first time since... well, a while, a general air of cooperation seemed to prevail in this year's legislature. Public education got more funding, and public workers and teachers got raises, but the still heavily-GOP chambers failed to expand Medicaid. (Fun fact: One of my law school colleagues ended up getting himself elected to the Florida House. He threw some extremely serious parties back in the day.)
  • Hawaii: Although efforts to raise the minimum wage failed in the final hours bill negotiations, the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature passed legislation to start a new loan program for solar panels and other green energy equipment and advanced a constitutional amendment for state-funded preschool. They even passed a bill requiring superPACs to disclose their top three donors in campaign ads. 
  • North Dakota: In a nutshell, the legislature ensured that little kids will get milk at snacktime, possibly from a shared cow, and speeding fines will remain wicked cheap. Oh, and they did everything they could think of to make obtaining a safe, legal abortion nearly impossible in their state (court challenges are already getting under way). 
  • Colorado: These folks were busy. They taxed and regulated recreational pot, and they provided for increased mental health resources, They approved same-sex civil unions, passed gun-control laws,  and established same-day voter registration and a comprehensive vote-by mail system.
In other voting news, 
  • Alabama is on its way to lopping a week off the length of time during which folks can register to vote. 
  • Legalizing same-sex marriage was pretty cool, but Minnesota also is on its way to passing a measure to allow voters to cast in-person absentee ballots without giving a reason. 
  • Not wanting to be shown up by the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Delaware legislature is following its passage of a same-sex marriage bill with a measure that would allow Election Day and online voter registration.
  • In New Jersey, Gov. Christie vetoed a bill that would have created a 15-day early voting period. 
  • An Oregon measure that would result in the automatic registration of eligible voters continues to inch forward.

And even though it's not over until June, I kind of wish North Carolina's legislative session would wrap up. They're moving all kinds of nonsense through there (local reports indicate that ALEC still holds a lot of sway in the state, despite past controversy). For example,
  • bill (that passed committee just this morning and is headed to the House floor) allowing private employers to refuse to cover contraception in health insurance plans.
  • bill requiring that sex ed instruction include teaching young women that abortions lead to subsequent premature births.
  • bill requiring minors to obtain written parental permission before receiving birth control, STD treatment, mental illness, or substance abuse treatment. 
  • bill ending the requirement that utility companies use solar and other alternative energy sources, because climate change is a myth and who needs the Outer Banks anyway, right? 
And now, because YOLO (You Only Legislate Once), my Bill of the Week is actually a pair of measures moving in New York and Connecticut to legalize mixed martial arts (UFC and the like) in those states. If these bills pass, MMA will be legal in all fifty states.  In case you're into that. (Don't judge.)

Less sexy stuff below.

For the Week of May 15, 2013


Women in Government will hold its Annual Western Regional Conference May 16-18 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The National Association of Medicaid Directors will host its Spring Membership Meeting May 19-21 in Westminster, Colorado. 


Voter ID bill SB 81 was indefinitely postponed.  This bill would allow a qualified voter to sign an affidavit affirming his or her identity if the elector does not have valid photo identification. Existing Alabama law would require voters to show valid photo ID to vote in person, effective in the first statewide primary in 2014. 


The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a public hearing May 16 to discuss proposed amendments to the state air quality control rules. 


The Senate Appropriations Committee met May 13 to discuss S.B. 700, which requires a retail establishment to collect a charge of $0.05 for each single-use carryout bag provided to a customer. 

The Department of Conservation will hold a public workshop May 16 to discuss the development of draft hydraulic fracturing rules. 


The Board of Pharmacy will hold a hearing May 15 to discuss proposed amendments to the definition of compounding. 


Omnibus bill HB 7013 was sent to the governor. Among several other provisions, this bill allows the supervisor of elections to offer early voting before the official early voting period, at the supervisor's discretion, on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, or 2nd day before a state or federal election, for at least 6 hours but not more than 12 hours per day at each site, up to a maximum of 14 days of early voting. Early voting currently begins on the 10th day before an election and ends on the third day before Election Day. 


Youth Voting bill HB 105 was scheduled to be heard May 14. This bill requires public universities to send students an email on voter registration during even-numbered general election years. The bill establishes requirements concerning the content of the message and when it should be sent. The bill requires the Board of Higher Education to issue a notice to each public institution of higher learning of the requirements concerning the electronic message in August of each even-numbered year during which a general election is held. This bill amends the Board of Higher Education Act. The bill provides that the Board of Higher Education shall include specified information concerning college voter registration on its Internet website. 


Voter Registration bill HB 341 passed the House as amended. Among many provisions, this bill provides for the voluntary registration of entities that conduct voter registration drives; provides that eligibility of applicants who submit applications through voter registration agencies must be processed like voter registration cards delivered by mail, "which procedures include an initial verification mailing." 


The Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a hearing May 14 to discuss H.B. 2081, which provides for the establishment and operation of a cancer drug repository program. 

The Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing May 16 to discuss proposed amendments to a hazardous waste rule. 


The Assembly Taxation Committee met May 14 to consider A.B. 498, which creates the Nevada Entertainment and Admissions Tax and imposes it on admission to any place of amusement, sport, recreation or other entertainment where an admission charge is collected.

Voter Registration bill AB 440 was heard May 14 by the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections at 9:00 a.m. This bill extends the period in which a person may register to vote for primary, primary city, general and general city elections until the last day of early voting for those elections, which is the Friday before the election. This bill also allows a person to register to vote by computer after the fifth Sunday before the election. Additionally, this bill extends the period in which a person may register to vote for all elections except otherwise specified recall and special elections until the fourth day before the election. These changes take effect onJanuary 1, 2014 


The Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission will meet May 17 to consider S.B. 792, which requires health insurers to cover comprehensive ultrasound breast screenings, if a mammogram demonstrates certain dense breast tissue, and also requires mammogram reports to contain information on breast density. 


The House Judiciary Committee will meet May 14 to consider H.B. 3514, which places limitations on the use of unmanned aircraft by law enforcement agencies.


The Legislature convened a special session May 13. 


The Joint Judiciary Interim Committee met May 13 to discuss a draft measure to create a uniform schedule of misdemeanors in the state.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Good Day to Sine Die edition

Nothing gold can stay, and so many state legislative sessions are drawing -- or have already drawn -- to a close. 
Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming are all effectively done with their lawmaking for the year, and this week HawaiiNorth Dakota, and Florida will all be gavelled into memory. Iowa's session was supposed to end this week, too, but lawmakers will continue to work even after their paychecks stop coming this Friday to resolve the pressing policy issues that remain.

So what havoc has been wrought thus far this year? Some highlights:
  • Alaska: Republicans had "trifecta" control for the first time in years, and they used their new power to push through huge tax breaks for oil companies. But they failed to come to an agreement on a multiyear education funding package. 
  • Georgia: The successful big bills of the session included juvenile justice reform, ethic reform, and.... coin operated video game regulation. Big Buck Hunter needs oversight, or something.
  • Idaho: State lawmakers passed measures creating a health exchange under Obamacare, but they failed to expand Medicaid. They also legalized the sale of beer kegs smaller than five gallons, and they told Turkey to stop using the name of their fair state on Turkish products. Seriously, a Turkish company tried to trademark "Idaho." For some reason.
  • Indiana: Republican supermajorities succeeded in further expanding the state's voucher program to funnel more public dollars to private schools, and they passed a 5 percent income tax cut (Gov. Pence pushed hard for 10). They failed, however, to pass bills requiring welfare recipients to take drug tests and prohibiting animal rights activists from surreptitiously recording videos at farms (Undercover Hoss?).
  • Kentucky: The GOP-majority Senate and Democratic-majority House came together to pass items including a regulatory framework for hemp growing (should the federal ban be lifted) and reforms to liquor laws that, among other things, finally permit the sale of alcohol on Election Day. (Bourbon and voting, like peas and carrots.) Gov. Beshear likely will call the legislature back into special session later this year to revisit redistricting, which has remained an issue in the state since the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected the 2012 maps in a lawsuit brought by the House GOP and a lone Democratic Senator.
  • Maryland: Gov. O'Malley and the Democratic majorities in the legislature were busy this year. They passed gun control laws, a gas tax hike to find transportation, and repealed the death penalty. Maybe they're planning a moon mission next year.
  • Mississippi: GOP majorities in the state failed to fund Medicaid, passed a bill prohibiting localities from limiting sizes of soft drinks or requiring restaurants to post nutrition info (yes, it becomes law in the most obese state in the nation July 1), passed a likely-unconstitutional law aimed at permitting student-led prayer and other religious expressions at public school events (think football games and morning announcements), and enabled privatization of functions normally handled by the state Department of Human Services. 
  • Montana: The GOP-controlled legislature failed to expand Medicaid, but they expanded wolf hunting, and they reformed education funding, too. They bypassed Gov. Bullock's likely veto on measures to end Election Day voter registration by sending it to the 2014 ballot. Gov. Bullock says he signed a law requiring minors to get parental consent before obtaining an abortion so it can be challenged in court. Seems like undue hardship to me, but I'm just a lady and can't think on weekends and holidays (seeSouth Dakota, below), so what do I know?
  • New Mexico: The Democratic legislature passed and Republican Governor signed a law exemptingspacecraft parts suppliers from liability lawsuits. Some other stuff got passed, too. The Governor vetoed a bill that would have helped families of gay soldiers and signed an identical bill that applied to straight soldiers' spouses. 
  • South Dakota: The GOP governing trifecta made it legal to arm teachers in classrooms and told ladies that weekends and holidays don't count when they're waiting to obtain an abortion.
  • Tennessee: The legislature had their shortest session in about 20 years, but during that short time, theypassed bills that prohibit animal rights activists from surreptitiously recording videos at farms, arm teachers in schools, and allow college student groups to discriminate. But they did it efficiently.
  • Washington: Although lawmakers have to return soon for a special session to take care of little leftovers like the state budget, transportation issues, and education funding. But during their regular session they did manage to protect workers from being social media-stalked by their bosses. So that's good.
  • West Virginia: Lawmakers passed measures aimed at improving the state's public education system and to ease prison overcrowding. I feel like these issues could be connected somehow...
  • Wyoming: You can now totally speed while passing a vehicle on a two-lane highway, because I know you weren't before, and  you can shoot just two extra elk per season, but you'll get reimbursed when the state vet says you have to put down your cow. Moo-lah! (Sorry.)
In other news, 
  • A so-called "right to work" push was resurrected by Ohio House Republicans, but if you blinked, youmissed it. Senate Republicans drove a stake through its heart just a few hours later. 
  • Nebraska's governor just signed a bill reducing the number of early voting days.
  • GOP lawmakers in South Carolina are trying to reduce the number of days during which voters can cast ballots by eliminating their month-long in-person absentee voting window and replacing it with a nine day early voting period. Sneaky!
Bill of the Week: The honor goes a just-vetoed bill in Arizona that would have made gold and silver legal tender in the state, just in case our economy and entire civilization collapses, or something. I know these legal tender bills have been popping up all over the country for the past three years, but they crack me up every time.

Less sexy stuff below.

For the Week of May 2, 2013


The American Legislative Exchange Council will hold its Spring Task Force Summit May 2-3 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Spring Forum May 2-4 in Denver, Colorado. 


List Maintenance bill HB 460 was engrossed. This bill would require a county board of registrars to notify all persons who are purged from the voter registration list at the time their name is removed from the list.


The Board of Marital and Family Therapy will hold a public board meeting May 3 to discuss possible rules amendments concerning the practice of cyber therapy.


Felon Voting Rights bill AB 149 was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations. This bill requires each county jail and state prison to provide each inmate with a voter registration form and most recent version of the secretary of state's voting rights guide for incarcerated persons. 

Voter Registration bill AB 1170 was scheduled to be read a first time. This bill would require county elections officials to cancel the voter registrations of voters who fail to respond to an address verification mailing sent between the date of the mailing and the two federal elections after the date of the mailing. Address verification mailings are sent in response to change-of-address data received from the United States Postal Service or consumer credit reportage agency. 

Voter Registration bill SB 44 was read a second time. This bill requires all state Web sites to include a link to electronic voter registration. 


The House Judiciary Committee will meet April 30 to discuss S.B. 123, which provides that a pardon issued by Governor John Hickenlooper (D) waives all collateral consequences associated with each conviction for which the person received a pardon, unless that pardon limits the scope regarding collateral consequences.

Youth Voting bill HB 1135 was signed by the Speaker of the House. This bill would allow 17-year-old citizens who will be 18 by the next election to preregister to vote. 

Omnibus Election bill HB 1303 was referred to the to Legislative Council. This bill provides same day registration at a voting center. Additionally, this bill provides mail ballot elections; requires county clerks to establish a minimum number of voter service and polling centers; and reduces the residency requirement to register to vote from 30 days to 22 days. It repeals the category of voter inactivity that is triggered by a voter's failure to vote and makes all such voters active. This bill creates the Colorado voter access and modernized elections commission to evaluate and implement the bill and assess systems used in these state for voting and registration. 


Early Voting bill SB 4 was reported out of the Legislative Commissioners' Office. This bill would provide for early voting for regular state elections and ensure that no voter stands in line for longer than 15 minutes before being permitted to cast his or her ballot. 

Voter ID bill SB 777 was reported out of the Legislative Commissioners' Office. This bill would allow "poll workers to identify voters by using the bar code on the back of their state issued driver's license or identification card, provided, if a voter does not have a state issued identification or driver's license or for whatever reason the barcode cannot be read, the poll worker shall employ the manual method of looking up the voter on the voter rolls." 


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 2.  


The Senate Transportation Committee will meet April 30 to consider H.B. 1247, which outlines the communication devices allowed to be used by drivers while operating a motor vehicle.


Omnibus Election bill SB 518 was signed by the Speaker. Among many other changes, this bill makes changes concerning standards for the selection of polling places, and the procedures for providing proof of identification and the processing of absentee ballot applications. Absentee voting begins 28 days (rather than 29 days) before the election and a county resolution to establish satellite offices expires on the January 1 following its adoption. This bill establishes penalties for certain election law violations, and amends the definition of "electioneering" within the polling place and chute. 

Omnibus Election bill SB 519 was signed by the President Pro Tempore. Under this omnibus bill, establishes at 10-day turnaround period to submit completed applications. If a person receives a completed application that the person believes is fraudulent, he or she must submit it to the county election board within 10 days with a sworn statement. 


The Joint Committee on Public Health will meet April 30 to discuss H.B. 1948, which provides that the examination of birth records may not be permitted except upon request from specified individuals.

A special primary election will be held April 30 for Senate District 1.

The Joint Health Care Financing Committee will hold a hearing April 30 to discuss S.B. 519, which requires comparable access to behavioral health services in the MassHealth program.


The House Tax Policy Committee will meet May 1 to consider H.B. 4202, which subjects online retailers to the state sales tax.


Voter ID bill HB 589 passed the House and was first read in the Senate. This bill would require voters to provide photo identification before voting a regular ballot. Those without ID may vote a provisional ballot, but must later show ID to the county board before the convening of the election canvas. 

List Maintenance bill HB 734 is scheduled to be heard May 1 by the House Elections Committee at 1:00 p.m. This bill would require the state board of elections to enter into data sharing agreements with other states regarding information on voting records and voter registration. 


The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die May 3.


Voter ID bill SB 125 was signed by the governor. This bill specifies voter ID requirements to allow for any government-issued photo ID to be used for voting purposes, particularly government employee cards. It removes the option of using a library card to vote. 


The Department of Ecology will hold a Puget Sound Stormwater Working Group stakeholder workshop May 1 to discuss work plan implementation and source identification.