Violets are blue
I love statehouse action
And maybe you do, too!
Or maybe not. Maybe you didn't open the email. Maybe you got bored at 'Violets.'
But if you like your love notes scribbled on the back of floor calendars and your sweet nothings in Joint Resolution form, you've come to the right place!
- You give love a bad name: Colorado state Senator Bernie Herpin doesn't seem to care who was shot through the heart (or elsewhere) in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting -- or at least he didn't seem to at a Wednesday hearing on a bill to overturn the state's new ban on magazines of 15 rounds or more. Sen. Herpin, elected in last summer in an ultra-low turnout recall election, claimed that it might have been "a good thing" that the theater shooter had a 100-round magazine when he opened fire and murdered 12 people.
- Let them eat chocolates! Or maybe Maine Gov. Paul LePage thought the kids could stand to lose a few. On Tuesday, the state Senate overrode Gov. LePage's veto of a bill that would require schools in low-income communities to run summer nutrition programs for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. (He probably thinks those kids should be working, not eating.)
- Love in the time of elections: On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down Kentucky's constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. Will this become an election issue as Democrats seek to hold on to their majority in the state House (54 D/46 R)? A recent poll found that 55% of voters in the state oppose same-sex marriage -- down 10% from a PPP poll from last spring. If opinions are shifting this quickly on the issue, it could cut either way in the fall.
- Love is a battlefield: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is publicly backing a state Senate bill that would do away with all permits and training currently required to carry a firearm. Anyone not forbidden by law from possessing a gun would be able to carry one, concealed or openly, without a lick of training or experience. Oh, and they could carry their guns into bars, too. Killer idea.
- Can't buy me love: Republicans in the Michigan legislature have shocked no one by scoffing at the notion of raising the state's $7.40/hour minimum wage. Voters may, however, get decide for themselves on a hike to $9.50/hour via a ballot measure this fall... which may also boost turnout as Democrats work to take back the the state House (50 D/59 R/1 I).
- Commitment issues: Despite the fact that both chambers of the Missouri legislature have significant GOP majorities, famous birther and House Speaker Tim Jones is struggling to consolidate Republican support for his pet issue in this year's session: putting a so-called "right to work" measure on the ballot this fall (passing legislation is a non-starter -- Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is sure to veto it). Republican members' view range from "is it worth the bloody battle?" to "I might as well not run." Speaker Jones' own Speaker Pro Tem isn't with him, citing a desire to "focus on the areas where there is more agreement and we can carry a message together as a party."
- Paradise by the dashboard light: Workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee are in the final days of a two-year organization campaign, and state Republicans are going all-in to attack... the company. Volkswagen has opted to stay neutral as the plant's workers seek to form a union, prompting everyone from GOP Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker to Grover Norquist to Republican state lawmakers to attack the carmaker. GOP legislators are accusing Volkswagen of actively promoting the unionization campaign (because that makes sense... wait, no.) and are threatening to block the kinds of tax incentives for future expansion that have benefited the job-creating, tax base-strengthening, economy-boosting plant over the past three years.
- Lust for life: Looks like death row inmates in Wyoming won't be facing down a firing squad, after all. Executionees in Missouri, however, might still get their chance. Meanwhile, Washington's governor has declared a moratorium on the death penalty.
- Choice in the matter: Ohio Republicans are still trying to get rid of the state's "golden week," that magical span of time in which folks can register to vote and cast their ballot on the same day. The most recent attempt passed a House committee on Tuesday.
For the Week of February 12, 2014
The following 41 state legislatures are actively meeting this week: ALABAMA, ALASKA, ARKANSAS, ARIZONA,CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, COLORADO, GEORGIA, HAWAII, IDAHO, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, KANSAS, KENTUCKY, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MISSISSIPPI, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, NEW YORK, OHIO, OKLAHOMA, OREGON, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, SOUTH DAKOTA, TENNESSEE, UTAH, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN and WYOMING.
Also meeting: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUERTO RICO
The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold their Annual Winter Conference February 12-15 at The JW Marriott, in Washington, D.C.
The National Association of State Election Directors will hold their Annual Winter Meeting February 13-15 at The JW Marriott, in Washington, D.C.
The State Legislature convened a 30-day Fiscal Session on February 10.
Same Day Registration bill AB 843 was filed with the Chief Clerk. This bill would additionally require that a registrant provide proof of residency in order for a conditional voter registration to be deemed effective. Driver's license, student ID, tribal ID, or signed oaths from a fellow registered voter are considered sufficient proof of residency.
The House Judiciary Committee met February 11 to discuss H.B. 1127, which addresses credit report use.
The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee met February 10 during an interim committee week to discuss S.B. 638, which would prohibit organizations that have broken charitable-solicitation laws in other states from a presence in the state.
Voter Registration bill HB 942 was first read in the House. This bill would provide online voter registration through the secretary of state's Web site. An applicant would be able to register to vote online by executing a computerized mark in the signature field or on and after July 1, 2015, submitting an electronic copy of his or her signature.
The House Labor and Public Employment Committee met February 11 to discuss several measures concerning raising the minimum wage.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will meet February 12 to discuss the expungement of court and criminal records and to what extent an employer can utilize a criminal record in the hiring decision making process.
The Senate Finance Committee will meet February 13 to discuss several measures concerning raising the minimum wage.
The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee met February 11 to discuss H.B. 1220, which would mandate 10% ethanol levels in gasoline.
The House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held a hearing February 11 to discuss H.B. 1403, which would raise the state's minimum wage to $9.00 over the next two years.
The House Voter and Elections Committee met February 11 to discuss H.J.R. 9, which proposes a constitutional amendment to increases the state's base minimum wage of $7.50 per hour based on yearly inflation.
The Senate Health Care and Human Services Committee met February 11 to discuss S.B. 1543, which prohibits employers from reducing a full-time employee's hours for the sole purpose of preventing the employee's eligibility for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The House Consumer and Human Resources Committee will meet February 12 to discuss H.B. 1694, which would increase minimum wage for employees to $8.25 per hour if they are not offered health benefits through their employer.
Governor Matt Mead (R) delivered his State of the State address on February 10.
The State Legislature convened February 10 for a Budget Session.
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