While I'm waiting for the Democracy Alliance folks to call me so we can chat about their excellent plan to get involved in state legislative politics, here's the latest stuff they ought to care about. Or at least feign polite interest in.
- Old and busted: As legislative sessions adjourn and primaries come and go, downballot electoral landscapes are taking shape. National Republicans are rattling their sabers rather publicly over the prospects of picking up majorities in the West Virginia House (53 D/47 R), the Maine Senate (19 D/15 R/1 U), and the New Mexico House (37 D/33 R).
- Actually, they're rattling those sabers a little too publicly. The real 'holds' for Democrats this cycle are the Colorado Senate (18 D/17 R), the Nevada Senate (11 D/10 R), the Kentucky House (54 D/46 R), and the Iowa Senate (26 D/24 R). I mean, duh.
- Hey, at least the RSLC isn't still trying to claim they'll take the New Mexico Senate (25 D/17 R), which doesn't even have elections this year.
- Impeachment: Not just for Nixon any more: Last week wrapped up the second of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's two impeachment hearings. (Nothing happened.) Now Pennsylvania Republicans are getting a piece of that hot action. A House committee (chaired by the infamous Daryl Metcalfe) began impeachment hearings to address Attorney General Kathleen Kane's "misbehavior in office," by which he pretty much means he's super mad because Kane refused to defend a legal challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban.
- The hearing itself was waaaaay more interesting than the Nixon affair, though.
- First, Kane totally didn't even get invited to the party, so that was kind of awkward.
- Next, a Democratic lawmaker just stood around yelling at Rep. Metcalfe to adjourn the meeting. When Metcalfe brought in guards to haul him out, the guy yelled something about a "kangaroo court," which was actually way less meaningful than all the Democratic committee members just walking out of the room, which they totally did.
- When they finally had the place to themselves, the Republicans and conservatives present to testify against Kane got to partying so hard they didn't even vote on the articles of impeachment. Which means they get to do the whole thing again. Fun!
- What, you thought they were going to buy you ice cream? Yesterday, the Missouri legislature overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a controversial tax cut that will benefit the wealthiest Missourians the most and puts priorities like education funding and the state's AAA credit rating at risk. The deciding veto override vote in the state House came from Rep. Keith English -- a Democrat. Today, his caucus booted him from all of his committees.
- The Show Me (why I need more time to make a decision because I have lady parts) State: Also, the Missouri Senate is debating a bill that would add the state to a short list (with Utah and South Dakota) of those mandating a 72-hour "waiting period" between a woman's visit to her doctor and a scheduled abortion. You know, because women just aren't capable of making major decisions on our own time. (State law already mandates a 24-hour delay.) Democrats tried (and failed) to at least add an exception for rape victims, but the legislation is almost certainly on its way to the governor's desk as is.
- Fun fact! Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will probably veto this piece of garbage.
- Not-so-fun fact: The massive GOP majorities in the legislature could override that veto.
- Making lemons into non-supermajority-ade: Indiana Democrats made national headlines in 2011 and 2012 when they walked out of the state House (denying Republicans the quorum needed to convene session) to protest anti-public education, anti-teacher, and anti-union bills. Then the 2012 elections gave the GOP supermajorities in both chambers, so no Democratic lawmakers needed to actually be present, ever, at all, to govern the state. But since so few Democrats faced contests in Tuesday's primaries, one of the state's political experts thinks they're in a solid spot to take the three House seats and four Senate seats needed to crack the GOP stranglehold on state government. So, hey, that's nice.
- Meanwhile, the GOP caucuses in the legislature are on their way to becoming even more conservative. Two Republicans lost their primaries on Tuesday after being targeted for their votes against HJR3, the proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, conservative groups helped the House member who authored that marriage ban survive a primary challenge amid an ethics controversy.
- Heads, I win. Tails... Republicans in the Wisconsin House and Senate are totally plotting to hold a lame-duck session after the November elections to re-pass the voter ID legislation killed by a federal judge last week. That way, even if Democrats take out Walker and/or win a majority in the state Senate, the sore losers have a chance to bury turds in the sandbox before the new kids come to play. Metaphorically. Hopefully.
- Bigoted, self-righteous Tennessee lawmaker is bigoted, self-righteous: That's really about it. He said something terrible about the Holocaust because Obamacare. (He's the guy behind that "Don't Say Gay" bill, too.)
- After 41 years in office, state senator said he should have known better when it came to this: Headline letdown of the day. (Nope. Not even a little salacious. Or the beginning of his new hit single. Or even interesting.)
For the Week of May 7, 2014
|The following 19 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, COLORADO, DELAWARE, ILLINOIS, LOUISIANA, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, OKLAHOMA, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA and VERMONT.
Also meeting: DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUERTO RICO
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers will hold its Mid-Year Conference May 6-9 in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association will hold its Spring Policy Conference May 7-8 in Seattle, Washington.
The Senate Committee on Judiciary met May 6 to discuss S.B. 849, which authorizes a personal representative of a decedent to access the electronic mail account of the decedent, or to access copies of the content of the account.
The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn May 7.
The Common Core Task Force, established by Governor Dan Malloy (D), will meet May 7 to develop recommendations on how best to implement the Common Core education standards.
The Pollution Control Board will meet May 7 to discuss proposed amendments that conform regulations to the recently adopted federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee held a hearing May 5 to discuss H.B. 1937, which limits the liability of landowners who host aviation activities on their property.
The Senate Economic Growth Committee met May 5 to hear S.B. 1349, which addresses public utilities and storm response.
The Senate Health Committee met May 5 to discuss S.B. 3094, which requires that every cafeteria owned, leased or operated by the state list the gluten content in the foods served in the cafeteria.
A special election will be held May 10 in Senate District 4.