Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Cruellest Month edition

*This missive is guaranteed cruelty-free. Unless you think lame jokes are cruel... in which case, you probably would have unsubscribed long ago.

Some lawmakers continue to enjoy their spring breaks, but plenty of legislators stuck around to go wild in statehouses this week.
  • It was all a dream about Tennessee: If Gov. Haslam doesn't veto them before next week, two bills of widely varying consequence will become law.
    • As amended, HB 2410 would prohibit UN observers from monitoring elections in the state. I know we're all super relieved to have that taken care of.
    • That nasty bill that turns pregnancy into a criminal liability has fallen out of the headlines a bit, but unless the governor vetoes it by Monday, it'll jump straight into state code. SB 1391 could land a woman in jail for up to 15 years if she becomes pregnant while addicted to drugs or takes narcotics (even legal ones prescribed by a doctor) during her pregnancy. Will Tennessee nab the dubious distinction of being the first state to subject women to criminal charges for being pregnant while using drugs? We'll know soon enough.
  • Nixon impeached? (Seriously, this just wouldn't be as much, um, fun if the governor of Missouri had a different name.) Earlier today, a House committee began its first hearing on a GOP lawmaker's article of impeachment of Gov. Nixon for allowing married same-sex couples to file joint state tax returns. Other Republicans think Nixon should be impeached for not calling special elections quickly enough and something something guns, but those guys haven't gotten much bandwidth so far.
    • Better luck next week! The impeachment hearings resume next Wednesday.
  • Conventional wisdomArizona Senate President Andy Biggs won't allow his GOP-controlled chamber to vote on a resolution calling for an Article V "convention of states" to amend -- or potentially rewrite -- the U.S. Constitution, and Sarah Palin is super sore about it. Biggs has historically opposed such measures out of a perfectly reasonable fear of a "runaway convention," in which delegates stray beyond stated goals of imposing federal fiscal restraint and amend our foundational document into something wacky and unrecognizable. 
    • Palin may be on her way to becoming something of a spokesperson for the conservative push trigger a Constitutional Convention from the state legislative level; just last week, she was promoting the notion on Fox News
    • Also, depending on whose count you believe, the Article Vers have either reached the 34-state threshold for triggering a Convention of States, or maybe they're only at 24 or so. It all hinges on whether take-backsies on state applications are allowed. 
  • ALLOW ALL THE GUNSGeorgia Gov. Deal just signed the "guns everywhere" bill, so now folks can carry their beloved firearms into schools, bars, government buildings and churches. Gov. Deal says detractors should just be happy that the legislation wasn't as bad as it could have been; meanwhile, the NRA called the measure "the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history." Super.
  • BREAKING: Women who are not Alison Lundergan Grimes are running for things in Kentucky, too: The Bluegrass State's House is near the top of my Chamber Watch List this fall, and it should totally be on yours, too, because I just know I'm not the only person who keeps that sort of thing... Anyway, at 54 D/46 R, state Democrats are working hard to defend their House majority, and eight women candidates trained in the Emerge Kentucky program may be the key to keeping that chamber in Democratic hands. 
    • Not-so-fun fact! At 18.1%, the percentage of women in the Kentucky legislature lags behind the national average of 24.2%, which is already pretty lame.
  • Winning, sort of, a little: Today marked the annual gathering known as Veto Session in Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe saw all four of his vetoes sustained. However, rancor over the budget impasse resulting from House Republicans' intractability on Medicaid expansion colored the day's proceedings, and the Commonwealth still has no budget as the end of the fiscal year draws ever nearer. 
    • Could Virginia be facing its own government shutdown? Possibly, but it would be unprecedented, and this isn't the first time budget negotiations have gone into nth overtime. No reason to worry until, say, June 4 or so.
  • Argle bargle propaganda bargle: The Connecticut Senate has passed a measure requiring the state's public schools to include the history of the labor movement in American history curriculum. The bill faces as uncertain future in the House as Session hurtles towards its conclusion, but if the right-wing blogs haven't started freaking out over this already, someone should probably go ahead and notify them, just out of courtesy.
  • Leftovers
    • Lawmakers in Louisiana have shelved a proposal to make the Bible the official state book amid concerns the resulting debate was becoming a "distraction."
    • Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman, candidate for WI-06 and enemy of weekends and equal pay, now wants to capitalize on the Supreme Court's recent decision on affirmative action by outlawing it in his state. 
    • The candidate filing deadline period in Michigan has come and gone. Here's an unofficial list of who's on the ballot. (The state House [50 D/59 R/1 I), like the Kentucky House, is near the top of my Chamber Watch List.)

For the Week of April 23, 2014 



The National Rifle Association will hold its Annual Meeting April 25-27 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The National Association of State Budget Officers will hold its Spring Meeting April 24-26 in Savannah, Georgia.


The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing April 22 to discuss S.B. 1381, which requires the labeling of genetically engineered food. 
The Legislature will hold a special session April 24 to create a new reserve fund policy to be placed on the November ballot.
Voter Registration bill SB 1061 was heard by the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee on April 22. This bill provides 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 registered to vote if that person provides written consent. The applicant will not be registered with party affiliation. The DMV would submit an electronic voter registration form to the appropriate elections office.


Conduct of Elections bill SB 161 was read a second time in the House and passed with amendments.This bill makes "various corrections, clarifications, and alterations" to the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act of 2013.
Conduct of Elections bill AB 5480 was tabled for the calendar. The bill requires municipalities to ensure internet and electronic mail access for registrars of voters; modifies the list of violations for which the State Elections Enforcement Commission can levy $2,000 penalties; and requires municipalities to post the requirements for voter identification where the official checkers are located in a polling place. 

Governor Dan Malloy's (D) Common Core Task Force will meet April 23 to develop recommendations on how best to implement the Common Core education standards. 

A special election will be held April 24 for House district 94. 


Conference committees met April 21 to discuss bills addressing alternative fuel vehicles, climate change, building codes and marina development. 

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing April 22 to discuss H.B. 1403, which will raise the minimum wage to $9.00 over two years and index it to changes in the Consumer Price Index. 

Deceptive Practices bill HB 452 was scheduled to be heard by the Senate Conference Committee on April 21. This bill "deems any person who provides false information regarding the details of voting guilty of an election fraud."

Same Day Registration bill HB 2590 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Conference Committee on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. 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.

The House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure will meetApril 22 to discuss H.B. 887, which provides that it is unlawful for any employer to refuse to hire; discharge; discriminate; segregate; limit; or classify employees or applicants for employment due to an individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Jessa Hauck at

The State Board of Certified Public Accountants will meet April 23 to discuss revisions to its continuing professional education rules. David Owens at
The Conference Committee for H.F. 3172 will meet April 22 to discuss the Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill.Christopher Mitton at
Voter Registration bill HB 1739 was read a third time and passed. This bill authorizes an election authority to accept voter registration applications with electronic signatures under certain conditions.

Early Voting bill HB 2271 was read a third time and passed. This bill would require each election authority to establish one advance voting center in each county for state and federal elections. Advance voting would begin on the third Saturday before Election Day and end on the Tuesday preceding the election, excluding Sundays, from 8 a.m. to five p.m. on weekdays and a four-hour period between 8 a.m. and four p.m. on Saturdays.

Voter ID bill HJR 47 was reported Do Pass. This bill submits to the qualified voters of Missouri an amendment to article VIII of the Constitution of Missouri to require photo ID to vote.

The House Judiciary Committee met April 22 to consider S.B. 303, which prohibits a person from making a bad faith assertion of patent infringement, and establishes a private right of action for violations. 

Voter Registration bill HB 466 passed with amendments. This bill permits voters registering at the polling place on the date of a state general election to prove qualifications by swearing to a statement on the voter registration form.
Voter ID bill SB 1284 passed the Rules Committee. provides that an expired driver license or expired passport cannot be used for identification purposes when voting.
Early Voting/Same Day Registration bill HB 2196 was filed. This bill would provide for Same Day Registration and early in-person voting.
The General Assembly recessed for Spring Break April 21.
Voter Registration bill HB 7601 is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Judiciary on April 29. This bill requires the state board of elections to establish and maintain a system for online voter registration.
The General Assembly will convene April 23 to consider Governor Terry McAuliffe's (D) vetoes. 

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