Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The R is for Robert edition

... in R. Creigh Deeds, that is.

By now, the tragedy that befell Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds and his family is old news. And to many, especially outside the Commonwealth, Sen. Deeds is mostly just that-guy-in-Virginia-who-lost-so-badly-to-Bob-McDonnell-in-2009. 

But he's a lot more than that to many, many people, including little ol' me. He's actually a big part of the reason I send these emails. (Then-Delegate) Creigh Deeds' earnestness and graciousness helped a scrawny college kid understand how politics can -- and should -- be used as an instrument to improve people's lives. He's on an important list of folks -- one that includes C. Richard CranwellAlbert PollardAlan DiamonsteinLindsey Reynolds, Jeff Schapiro, Bob Lewis, to name a few -- who inspired me to do what I've been doing pretty much ever since that one crazy summer internship in Richmond.

OK, thanks for enduring my sentimentality. There's a world outside of Virginia, and big things are happening there, too.

Department of Loose ThreadsLast week, I told you about a scary 20-week abortion ban ballot measure in New Mexico and a hot state Senate election in Iowa
  • The Albuquerque abortion ban ballot measure was defeated in an election with higher turnout than October's mayoral race. The measure, which would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks without exceptions for rape or incest, lost handily -- 55.26% of ABQ voters cast their ballots against it. Opponents of the ban invested in TV ads and early voting efforts and out-raised and out-spent anti-choice groups supporting the measure. 
  • The state Senate special election in Iowa, however, didn't swing progressives' way. Republican Julian Garrett defeated Democrat Mark Davitt with 59.8% of the vote.  This was a disappointing outcome in a special election that could have shored up Democrats' current one-seat majority in the Iowa Senate in advance of the 2014 elections, in which half of the chamber will be running in their redrawn districts for the first time, but the status quo of Democratic majority control of the chamber endures through the next legislative session, at least.
  • Speaking of the Ohio state Senate, the GOP-controlled chamber just voted to eliminate an entire week of early voting in the state. By wiping out the "golden week," voters will lose the window during which they could register and cast ballots at the same time.
  • In Missouri, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some Republican legislators were totally going to have a meeting to discuss Medicaid expansion, except the lawmakers weren't fans of where the Governor planned to hold the meeting, so everyone just stayed home.
  • In Maine, Gov. LePage pretty much just won't let his executive staff go to legislative committee hearings any more, accusing legislative Democrats of making his people wait around too long and then asking them too many questions, or something.
  • In North Carolina, taxpayers are footing massive bills for the attorneys hired by GOP lawmakers to craft and defend the state's notorious new election law. By the by, a Democrat currently occupies the AG post in the state, and he's really not so fond of these repressive measures.
And to come full circle -- back to Virginia, and the state Senate specifically -- Democrats have selected Delegate Lynwood Lewis as their nominee in the special election to replace LG-elect Ralph Northam. Republicans will select their nominee in a firehouse primary tomorrow. Gov. McDonnell has not yet set a special election date (and he won't until after Sen. Northam officially resigns, which he likely won't do until after the State Board of Elections certifies the November 5 results next week). 

For the Week of November 20, 2013

The following 4 state legislatures are actively meeting this week:MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY, OHIO and PENNSYLVANIA



The Republican Governors Association will hold its Annual Conference November 20-22 in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

The National Lieutenant Governors Association will hold its Executive Committee and New Elect Meeting November 20-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  


The Joint Committee on Energy will meet November 20 to discuss the economic importance of the Fayetteville Shale. 


A special election was held November 19 for Assembly District 45. 


The last day of formal sessions for 2013 is November 20, though the General Court may continue to meet in informal session until the 2014 legislative session begins. 


The Assembly Higher Education Committee met November 18 to discuss A.B. 4444, which requires study of a Pay Forward, Pay Back pilot program in the state, which would allow students to pay back a percentage of their income after graduation to pay for student debt. 

The Assembly Labor Committee will meet November 21 to examine the implementation of the Wage Theft Prevention Act and review challenges faced by employees since it was enacted.

The Assembly Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection will hold a public hearing November 22 to review private company privacy policies and data collection efforts.


The House State and Local Government Committee met November 19 to discuss H.B. 321 and H.B. 323, bills which streamline public records publication through a new state government website.  


The Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee hosted a forum November 18 to discuss mitigating the risks of water contamination by using aquatically non-toxic solvents for hydraulic fracturing.

The House Consumer Affairs Committee met November 19 to discuss H.B. 1608, which provides new regulations for broadband access across the state. 


A special election will be held November 21 for House District 91. 


The Board of Education will meet November 22 to review amendments to rules addressing degree requirements for teachers. 


The Health Care Task Force will meet November 21 to be briefed by a panel of participants about the operation of the federal Health Insurance Marketplace launched October and about the state's operation of Avenue H as an Affordable Care Act compliant Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). 


The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources held a hearing November 19 to discuss the handling and disposal of hydraulic fracturing fluids. 


Special elections were held November 19 for Assembly Districts 21 and 69.

The Assembly Select Committee on Common Core Standards met November 19 to review the implementation of the Common Core Standards.

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