Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fool Me Twice edition

Whatever your opinion on the lamb-ishness of March's departure, April is upon is, and with April come showers, O'Neils, and, of course, fools. So many fools.
  • Personal space invaders! On the heels of signing legislation prohibiting early voting on weekends, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker this morning signed a bill that allows election observers to stand as close as three feet away from where voters register and receive ballots. Walker also signed a bill requiring registrars to collect data on how voters prove residency, which will make it super easy for Republicans in the legislature to figure out what kind of ID to outlaw next.
  • Your pregnancy is the result of rape or incest? LOL Also in Mississippi, lawmakers have approved a 20-week abortion ban that doesn't include exceptions for rape or incest. The bill's author blamed peer pressure for this intrusion into a woman's health and rights, since alllllllll the other southeastern states have this ban, Mom. Gov. Bryant will sign the bill in an attempt to look cool in front of the other governors -- and he'll look even cooler by spending lots of dough on designer lawsuits when he has to defend the ban in court.
  • More anti-choice hijinksTonight the Alabama Senate gave final approval to a measure extending the waiting period for abortions in that state from 24 to 48 hours.
  • Whateva, unanimous legislature, I do what I wantMaine Gov. Paul LePage pulled a great April Fools Day prank when he vetoed two bills that had passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously, except the joke was that he was actually seriously vetoing them. LePage cranked the hilarity up a notch when he vetoed a bill strengthening child abuse prevention programs on the same day he proclaimed April to be Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.  
    • Theory: In the mid-1990s, the South Park creators traveled to the future and then based Cartman on Gov. LePage
  • Tom Jones is running for state rep! It's not unusual for a citizen to express disgust with the lack of civility in politics, but former Wyoming lawmaker Tom Jones (okay, not that Tom Jones) is taking action by declaring his intent to unseat state GOP Rep. Lynn Hutchings. She's a lady, and she gained some notoriety in 2013 for accusing gays and lesbians of "carpet-bagging on our civil rights movement" and insisting that homosexuality "is but a choice" during debates on same-sex marriage and civil union bills. Perhaps after the August 19 primary, a new GOP contender for for House District 42 will be what's new, pussycat
  • You know what's hilarious? Nepotism and pushing legislation that will unavoidably benefit your son Also hilarious: I feel the need to write about my favorite (only) law-school-classmate-turned-state-legislator again this week. Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz, W&M Law Class of 2007 (Go Tribe!), just happens to be the son of state Sen. Don Gaetz. So crazy. It's even crazier that Sen. Gaetz is pushing a law that would allow attorneys in public records lawsuits to get paid more.
    • Pop quiz! What kind of lawsuits does Sen. Gaetz's son, Matt Gaetz, specialize in?If you guessed "public records lawsuits," I owe you a cookie.
      • Fun fact! Rep. Matt Gaetz, an attorney specializing in suing for public records access, is behind that bill that would impede the media's ability to access (and scrutinize) public records indicating the application of the state's terrifying "stand your ground" law. 
  • Speaking of holdovers from last week: That lawmaker who tried to crush an 8-year-old girl's dream of establishing the Columbian mammoth as the official state fossil of South Carolina decided to maybe not be a douche, after all. Bafflingly, the proposal's fate remains uncertain. 
  • Whither the Rooster UFC? 
    1. Louisiana's ban on cockfighting has loopholes (apparently, it's too specific: applies to chickens but makes no reference to gamefowl, roosters, or other birds). 
    2. At least one person elected to make laws for a state believes chicken boxing to be a "legitimate sport." He claims to have "15th generation" fighting chickens in his district. 
    3. A "53-year veteran cockfighter" testified against a bill to close the ban's loopholes and insisted that the sport isn't cruel, because the first rule of chicken fight club is that you do not talk about chicken fight club. 
      • "God put the fight in the chicken, not man." -- Actual thing this guy said out loud around other people. 
        • And lest you accuse me of some sort of cultural elitism, I'll have you know my family raised chickens. I've watched chickens hatch. I've fed chickens. I've collected chicken eggs. I've helped my dad butcher chickens. At no point did a chicken ever strike me as... pugilistic.
  • Not actually funny at all. A so-called "right to work" union-busting ballot measure continues to slog forward in Missouri. If it passes, the proposal will bypass a certain gubernatorial veto and go straight to voters in the fall.

For the Week of April 2, 2014 




The National Association of County and City Health Officials will hold its 2014 Preparedness Summit April 1-4 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The National Association of Attorneys General will hold its Southern Region Meeting April 1-2 in Savannah, Georgia.


The House Energy Committee will hold a hearing April 2 to discuss H.B. 340, which relates to electrical transmission facilities in the Railbelt area. 


The Senate Environmental Quality Committee held a hearing April 1 to discuss S.B. 1204, which establishes the Clean Truck and Bus Program. 

The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing April 2 to discuss S.B. 949, which establishes the Distinguished After School Health (DASH) Recognition Program. 

Voter Registration bill SB 1061 was amended and is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing on April 8 at 1:30 p.m. This bill would provide that eligible citizens who are not already registered to vote and who apply for or renew their California driver's license, driver's permit, or state ID will be automatically registered to vote if the person provides written consent. The applicant will not be registered with party affiliation. 
Conduct of Elections bill HJR 1009 was laid over to April 8, 2014. Under this bill, the Colorado General Assembly urges and requests members of Congress to update the formula in Section 4 of the federal "Voting Rights Act of 1965", as amended, as quickly as possible to ensure Section 5 of the act can be restored and every citizen's voice is heard and every vote is counted.
The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee met March 31 to discuss H.B. 1191, which expands Florida's "Do Not Call" list to include a text message from a solicitor.
Early Voting bill HB 1307 was referred to Ethics and Elections Subcommittee; Local and Federal Affairs Committee; State Affairs Committee. The bill would delete the enumerated list of locations allowed to be designated as early voting sites and would allow the Supervisor of Elections to designate any location as an early voting site.

Voter Registration bill SB 784 was scheduled to be heard by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on March 31 at 4:00 p.m. The committee substitute under consideration requires the Department of State to develop an online voter registration system for applicants to submit both first-time voter registration applications and updates to existing voter registration records. Absentee ballot requests by online registrants would be required to give the reason meeting the exception. 

The Senate Public Safety and Military Affairs Committee met April 1 to discuss S.C.R. 149, which requests Hawaii's congressional delegation introduce legislation to establish food labeling requirements pertaining to genetically modified organisms. 

The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee held a hearing April 1 to vote on H.B. 1814, which authorizes employers to pay wages via a pay card. 

Election Day Registration bill HB 2590 was amended. This bill allows for "late registration." An eligible citizen may register to vote before Election Day at any absentee polling place or on Election Day at the polling place for the county in which the citizen lives.

Youth Voting bill SCR 41 is scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Judiciary and Labor on April 1 at 10:30 a.m. This bill urges the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Human Services to assist with increasing voter registration among young adults.


The Department of Environmental Management will accept comments through April 4 regarding revisions to the drinking water standards and rules. The revisions are being discussed in anticipation of U.S. EPA updates to the 1989 Total Coliform Rule.

Omnibus election bill SB 385 was signed by the governor. This bill makes various changes to the election laws. Among other things, the bill makes even-numbered-year list maintenance based on address confirmations mandatory, and requires county voter registration offices to cancel voter registration records of individuals who the local health department identifies as deceased. In addition, the bill changes the rules regarding obtaining information from voter registration agencies, makes changes to the process by which voters are placed on the inactive list due to change of address, and makes changes to the online voter registration process related to the verification of data with the bureau of motor vehicles. It also establishes small precinct committees to address potential elimination of precincts with fewer than 500 active voters. 
Voter Registration bill SF 2288 was re-referred to Finance. This bill would allow citizens to register to vote or request an absentee ballot online using a website operated by the secretary of state no later than 11:59 p.m. on the 21st day before Election Day.
The State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn sine die April 6.
Voter ID bill HB 1073 was scheduled to be heard March 31 by the Senate Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee. This bill would require all voters to show government-issued photo ID to vote. It would become effective upon voter approval of a constitutional amendment that authorizes the General Assembly to enact photo voter ID requirements. Under this bill, a voter may vote a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit if the voter does not possess a required form of ID due to physical or mental disability; is unable to pay for documents necessary to obtain required ID; has religious objection to being photographed; or was born before January 1, 1949. 
Election Day Registration bill LB 565 was "Advanced to Enrollment and Review Initial." This bill establishes that person would not be permitted to register to vote and to apply for or vote a ballot to vote early on the same day.

Voter Registration
 bill LB 661 was signed by the governor. This bill requires the secretary of state and the Department of Motor Vehicles to develop and implement a registration application process to allow citizens to register to vote or update voter registration records electronically through the secretary's Web site. Citizens with a valid Nebraska driver's license or state ID may use the application process to register to vote using their signature on file with the DMV. Anyone who knowingly submits a false application is guilty of a Class IV felony.
The House Environment and Agriculture Committee met April 1 to discuss S.B. 141, which establishes the Granite State farm to plate program and Granite State farm to plate Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will support the work of existing farm-to-school programs to increase the purchase of local foods by schools. 
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a hearing April 2 to discuss S.B. 1268, which implements certification and background check requirements for health insurance navigators. 
The State Legislature met March 31 to consider gubernatorial vetoes. 
The Senate Judiciary Committee met April 1 to discuss S.B. 1967, which prohibits a person from making a bad faith assertion of patent infringement. 
The House Civil Justice Committee met April 1 to discuss H.B. 1779, which addresses unmanned aircraft. 
The State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn April 3.

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