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. 

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