Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Statehouse edition

Hi, I'm Carolyn Fiddler! You may remember me from such classic missives as "New Hotness" and "The Twelve Days of Session." Today, I'm here to fill you in on end-of-summer statehouse action!

  • When you were in that coma, did you feel your brain getting damaged? A lawmaker in Utah has a fresh new take on why states should reject the Medicaid expansion offered through Obamacare: Untreated illnesses and injuries don't kill people; hospitals kill people. People die in hospitals, so we shouldn't give more people access to hospitals.
    • No, seriously. According to Republican Rep. Mike Kennedy, "Sometimes access to healthcare can be damaging and dangerous. ...I've heard from National Institutes of Health and otherwise that we're killing up  to a million, a million and a half people every year in our hospitals. And it's access to hospitals that's killing those people."
  • The most rewarding part was when he gave me my money. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is headed to northern Kentucky next week as part of his ongoing effort to flip the state House from Democratic to Republican majority control. Paul is headlining a breakfast fundraiser on September 3 for AmeriGOP, a super PAC that's raising money for 10 House races across the state. 
      • Fun fact! Republicans only need to pick up five seats to flip the chamber. The GOP already controls the state Senate (14 D/23 R/1 I).
    • AmeriGOP is headed by (a guy whose actual name is) Dick Knock, a developer who's super jazzed about the possibility of a Republican-controlled legislature passing fun things like "right to work" and anti-choice bills and repealing those pesky prevailing wage laws.
    • Dick Knock's AmeriGOP plans to raise $200,000 to run ads in those 10 House races. As of July 1, the super PAC had raised $44,500 from nine donors.
      • Maybe Dick Knock cares about moving anti-choice and anti-middle class policies forward in the state, but let's not forget the real reason Sen. Rand Paul wants to flip the House: Those pesky Democrats won't pass a law letting him run for Senate and President at the same time. As Speaker Stumbo so eloquently put it, "A man who can't decide which office to run for isn't fit for either office." 
        • Also... Dick Knock. Sorry. I'm still 12, apparently.

  • If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about. But goats are great! I mean, lawmakers in Oregon don't have an annual cow milking competition. No, they compete in the bipartisan "Oregon Legislative Goat Milking Showdown." (The contest started in 2000 between two legislators working to save the state fair.) 
    • Seven lawmakers competed this third milk-off, and the boasts and accusations got pretty serious.
      • According to Sen. Bill "farm boy" Hansell, "It's all in the technique... You got to get the hand motion and the timing." (Still 12!)
      • Sen. Peter Courtney got some practice in before the competition, but he's not sure it went well. "The goats kept giving me this side eye look. Let me put in this way: these goats will not be voting for me after this."
      • Sen. Courtney was also accused of starting a whisper campaign against Rep. Val Hoyle, telling folks she'd been practicing on a rented goat. She insists that this was the "first time [she'd] touched a goat" and compared it to "an awkward first date."
    • Sen. Hansell won the competition, even after being handicapped for his many years of milking experience by being forced to milk a miniature Nigerian goat. "It's harder to milk because I've got big hands and she didn't have big faucets." Goodnight, everybody!

  • Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children? Were you starting to miss fun conspiracy theories like Agenda 21 and whatever Donald Trump mumbled in his sleep last night? Well, pine no more. The newest flavor of birther-type nonsense on the state level is argle bargle AP U.S. History! 
    • Two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee are freaking out about the course's alleged leftist bias (based on a grade-A derp approved by the RNC this summer). State Senators Gresham and Bell allege that AP U.S. History includes "little or no discussion of the founding fathers and the principals of the Declaration of Independence" and throws shade on settlers' explorations and American involvement in WWII and the Cold War.
      • Fun fact! Last year, these two state Senators claimed the state's social studies textbooks were biased, a flipout that resulted in increased control over the textbook board by lawmakers.

  • I am so smart, S-M-R-TLast spring the South Carolina legislature voted to repeal the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. By the time Gov. Haley signed the measure into law on May 30, textbook ordering for the 2014-2015 school year was well under way, and lawmakers didn't approve funding to replace those books until the end of July. School districts have since been scrambling to replace the newly unlawful books with ones with Common Core all scrubbed out. 
    • Two weeks into the school year, history students in Charleston County still don't have textbooksGreat job, lawmakers!
      • Fun fact! Even though crapping all over Common Core is the New Hotness among conservatives on both the state and national levels, the standards themselves were created by the National Governors Association and a nonpartisan association of state education officials. They'd been adopted by 43 states before Republicans suddenly decided they were the WORST THING EVER. (Republicans besides Jeb Bush, that is. Which is why he's boned in 2016.)

  • It's just like I've always said: democracy doesn't work. Oklahoma came within 22 votes of having its first (and possibly the nation's first) transgender lawmaker. Retired police officer and Army veteran Paula Sophia lost to fellow Democrat Jason Dunnington in Tuesday's runoff in HD-88. (No Republican filed to run in the district.)

  • Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter: I had my little redistricting flip-out last week, but this Benjy Sarlin MSNBC piece is just too great to not hype. 
    • 2014 is practically over, and everyone's gushing about 2016, but people who know things about things understand that 2020 is the real hotness, because that's when the lawmakers who draw congressional (and state) maps are elected.
      • tl;dr version: 2010 both sucked and blew for Democrats; state legislative and congressional elections have been rough for Democrats since then because of the terrible maps Republicans drew; Democrats need a smart plan and a boatload of money to win the elections necessary to influence the next redistricting; and the hottest states to in play for the next six years are FloridaMichiganOhio, and Pennsylvania.
        • Fun fact! Before the 2010 elections, Democrats had majorities in the Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Houses. I still get a headache when I think about how much keeping those would have changed things...

  • If they're going to stomp on my dreams, the least I can do is go out in a blaze of sour grapesMontana's Republican Senate Majority Leader couldn't possibly be responsible for illegally coordinating and accepting unlawful corporate contributions from a secretive group, because, you see, when he got caught red-handed doing something extremely illegal, the governor and other state officials were actually conspiring to drive him out of office. 
    • Sen. Wittich insists that the state Commissioner of Political Practices is acting with the "ulterior purpose" of removing him from office, except that the purpose isn't so much "ulterior" as it is exactly what the Commissioner is trying to do, since state law requires Wittich's removal for the alleged misconduct.
      • Wittich was shocked, SHOCKED! when the judge tossed his silly claims out of court on Wednesday.
    • Wittich and eight other Republican lawmakers face civil trials for accepting contributions from a corporation, which is prohibited by state law. Yes, Montana remains a fragile bastion of clean elections laws!
      • You might be wondering, Why on earth should I give half a crap about the state Senate in a place as conservative as Montana? Fair question, but the chamber is more competitive than appearances suggest. 
        • Democrats only need to flip four seats to win the majority (21 D/29 R); 
        • the batch of Senators up this year was last elected in the GOP wave of 2010; and 
        • Sen. John Walsh just dumped nearly $180,000 from his now-useless campaign account into the state Democratic Party and legislative campaign committee.
Epic h/t to Reid Wilson, who saved me some weekly angst by helpfully suggesting an excellent email theme. 

For the Week of August 28, 2014 

The following 5 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, NEW JERSEY, OHIO and SOUTH CAROLINA.


The State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Program Legislative Task Force met August 26 to discuss long-term options for ensuring the fiscal and programmatic stability of the State Employee Health Insurance Plan and the Public School Employee Health Insurance Plan. 

The Joint Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor will meet August 28 to discuss the implementation of the Arkansas Healthcare Independence Act. 


A primary election was held August 26 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The San Jose City Council met August 26 to consider a resolution declaring a citywide water shortage and implementing a Stage 1 water restriction. 


A primary election was held August 26 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The House Study Committee on the Role of the Federal Government in Education met August 25 to discuss common core state standards. 


The Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy will meet August 28 to discuss implementing a state health exchange, the status of the federal health exchange, ACA provisions and consumer choice of healthcare providers. 

The Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services will hold a public hearing August 28 to discuss high-cost management programs for those with high claim costs under a health plan. 


The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing August 28 to discuss proposed rule amendments to water bottling requirements. 


The Health Exchange Advisory Committee met August 26 to receive an enrollment update as well as an update about recent developments regarding the health exchange. 


The Interim Joint Committee on Children, Families, Health and Human Services met August 26 to discuss two bill drafts related to the Montana Prescription Drug Registry fee and prescriptions for minors. 


The Education Study Committee met August 25 - 27 to discuss matters related to early literacy, assessment data and teacher retention. 

The Education Study Committee Charter School Subcommittee will meet August 27 - 28 to discuss the Statewide Cyber Academy Act and cyber/virtual school funding. 


The Human Services Committee will meet August 28 to discuss the use of electronic health records and receive a presentation from the North Dakota Insurance Department about potential changes in insurance coverage relating to behavioral health services. 

A primary runoff election was held August 26 to decide the races from the June 24 primaries where no candidate received a majority of votes, including House and Senate seats. 


The Department of Environmental Quality will accept comments through August 28 regarding proposed rules to adopt revisions to statewide particulate matter standards and the pre-construction permitting program. 


The House Committee on Energy Resources met August 26 to hear testimony about the impact of expanding oil and gas exploration, as well as projected water needs and how those fit with the state water plan. 


A primary election was held August 26 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee held a joint meeting with the Ad-Hoc Wyoming Telecommunications Act Task Force August 26 to discuss carrier of last resort obligations and retail price regulation in the state. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Math Is Hard edition

OK, personal revelation time. I've never really enjoyed math classes all that much. (Well, maybe geometry, because that involves drawing. Bqhatevwr.) But math is super important when it comes to statehouse action... and every other kind of political action, too. Registration, performance index, turnout, demographics, cash on hand, cost per point, spot count... so many numbers. 

But let's keep it simple. Take a break from playing Snake on your TI-84, and let's do some 'rithmetic.

  • 336: The number of congressional districts that will be drawn by state legislators after the 2020 elections. In a few short cycles, lawmakers in 36 states will draw more than three-quarters of the nation's 435 congressional districts. 2021 might feel far away, but that gives Democrats and Republicans just a few cycles to fight for majority control of those 70 legislative chambers.
      • And no, my math isn't off. Nebraska is one of those 36 states, but its legislature is unicameral and nonpartisan.
    • 2: The number of steps in the plan the DLCC announced this week as it unveiled Advantage 2020, its long-term program to help Democrats "win" the next round of redistring. 
1. Cut a hole in the... wait.
    1. Win control of state legislatures.
    2. Draw fair maps.
Shhhh! Top secret plan! 

  • 262: The number of former state legislators currently serving in Congress, which the RSLC helpfully points out in a recent web video touting the organization's importance in party bench-building. 
    • This one's just not going to win them the Oscar, but hey, it's a good reminder that winning state legislative elections isn't all about redistricting. 
  • 27The number of congressional districts still in flux in Florida as a judge considers the hastily redrawn map submitted by statehouse Republicans on Wednesday. (The new map actually only makes changes to seven districts.) 
    • In an animated hearing, the House Minority Leader claimed that Democrats had been shut out of the secret map-drawing meetings, and plaintiffs (accurately, I'd say) claimed the changes to the districts were only cosmetic. 
      • Fun factFlorida voters are already casting absentee ballots for the August 26 primary. 

  • $800,000+: The amount of money (it'll probably be north of $1 million after final finance reports come in, actually) that Virginia Democrats blew on an unwinnable state Senate seat in this week's special election to replace terrible Phil Puckett
    • 31.8: The percentage of the vote Democratic candidate Mike Hymes garnered in SD-38 on Tuesday. 
      • Fun fact! Hymes managed to ever-so-slightly underperform Obama 2012 in this rural district that anyone who can read numbers should have known was completely unwinnable
    • 2: The number of Virginia state Senate districts won by Obama in 2012 that are currently represented by Republicans: SD-7 and SD-10.
      • Flippable in 2015? Maybe. Democrats only need to take one of those to win back effective (because of the tie-breaking Democratic LG) majority control of the chamber.
You know what would help with that? A million dollars.

  • $3,000,000The amount of money Sen. Rand Paul might drop into flipping the Kentucky state House this fall. 
    • Why does Rand Paul care so darn much? Glad you asked! 
      • Current state law prohibits Paul from running simultaneously for two elected offices (say, oh, just guessing here -- Senate and President?), which he really, really wants to do. 
        • State House Democrats stymied his efforts to change the law this year, and Speaker Stumbo doesn't seem likely to change his mind on the issue: "A man who can't decide which office to run for isn't fit for either office." Sick burn, bro
  • Ridiculous amounts of outside money or not, state Republicans aren't in a great position to flip that chamber this fall. 

  • 3: The number of judges on new trial court panels approved this week by North Carolina lawmakers that will henceforth decide the constitutionality of new state laws. 
    • Republican lawmakers got sick of losing the game, so they've changed the rules. 
    • This brand-new, nationally unprecedented judicial system will exist solely to rule on the constitutionality of new state laws and is intended to counter a spate of rulings against Republicans' extreme measures restricting abortion, public school funding, due process for teachers, and elections. So that should go well.

Breaking! 2014 is not 2010! (In case you were wondering.)

For the Week of August 22, 2014 

The following 4 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY and NORTH CAROLINA.
Also meeting: PUERTO RICO


The National Conference of State Legislatures will hold its Legislative Summit August 19-22 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
The National Association of State Election Directors will hold its Summer Meeting August 22-24 in San Francisco, California. 

A primary election was held August 19 for the office of the Governor, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The San Diego City Council met August 18 to consider overriding the mayoral veto of an ordinance relating to the earned sick leave and minimum wage provided to employees working in the City of San Diego. 


The Denver City Council is scheduled met August 18 to consider an ordinance amending city zoning laws to limit and control the cultivation of marijuana for personal use in private homes. 
 The Air Quality Control Commission held a public rulemaking hearing August 21 to discuss proposed rule amendments to stationary source and emission requirements. 

The Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources met August 19 to discuss and hear testimony about regulation of shooting preserves and cervidae farming. 


The K-12 Student Performance and Efficiency Commission met August 19-20 to discuss the Governor's School Efficiency Task Force Final Recommendations, which includes a recommendation to utilize the Library of Kansas' shared statewide database subscription to curriculum, e-books and other resources. 


The Domestic Violence Taskforce met August 22 to examine proposed legislation regarding sentencing recommendations. 


The New York City Committee on Governmental Operations met August 20 to discuss a local law requiring public-facing disclosure of campaign spending.


The House Study Committee on Law Enforcement Perspectives on the Drug Epidemic and its Impact on Families met August 19 to discuss the impact drugs are having on families and communities.   


A special election was held August 19 to fill one vacant seat in the Senate and two vacant seats in the House of Delegates. 

The Freedom of Information Advisory Council met August 19 to discuss exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act that allow for closed meetings within the Legislature; including security plans, trade secrets and medical or health records. 


The Legislative Ethics Boards met August 19 to discuss complaints relating to the determination of reasonable cause by members of the law enforcement community. 


A primary election was held August 19 for the office of the Governor, as well as House and Senate seats.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sowing the Seeds of Law edition

With so much state attention directed at the Show-Me State right now, here's a) a bit more piled on and b) some other fun things to distract you (like the sweet playlist I snuck in below. Bonus).

  • Elemental: Openness and transparency are essential elements of a free society and a functional government. Missouri state Rep. Jeff Roorda seems to think folks can get by just fine with a little less information about things like, say, police shootings. In January, he introduced a bill that would have amended the state's Open Meetings and Records Law to close records of police shootings from public scrutiny and prevent law enforcement agencies from disclosing the names of officers involved in shootings unless the shooter were charged with a crime... at which point it would come up in court proceedings, anyway.
    • Fun fact! Whether it was because Rep. Roorda is a Democrat in a heavily-GOP House or because it's just a terrible idea, the legislation has languished in committee pretty much all year. 
  • And while we're on the Missouri/Ferguson thing, Democratic state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal vented some perfectly understsandable frustration at Gov. Jay Nixon via Twitter on Wednesday night. And you know how eloquent and reserved all of our tweets tend to be when we're ridiculously pissed, so you can probably guess how that went.

    • TL;DR version: Watch for possible Democratic chamber pickups in the Arkansas House, the New Hampshire Senate, and the Washington Senate. 
      • ...and if the DLCC has a really good night, we could see possible flips in majority control in the Iowa House and the Michigan House. 
    • Successes in 2012 mean that Democrats are playing a lot of defense this fall, and the RSLC is hoping to to flip the narrow Democratic majorities in the Iowa Senate, the Colorado Senate, the Nevada Senate, the Kentucky House, and both chambers in West Virginia
      • They're being super optimistic with four of those six chamber goals, and while Republicans talk a good game about picking up majorities in the New Mexico House, the Minnesota House, and both chambers in Maine, we'd be looking at a 2010 redux if any of that comes to pass.

  • Suffer the Children (and lot of other people): Hey, remember that Democratic Virginia state Senator who abruptly resigned because he thought a cushy job on the Tobacco Commission and a judgeship for his daughter were more important than expanding healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of Virginians? Well, the special election to replace him is on Tuesday (8/19). Republican Ben Chafin is almost certain to win the seat, which had been the only state Senate district won by Romney but represented by a Democrat, cementing the GOP's slim majority in the chamber.

  • Change: Controversial Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield will not be returning to the statehouse next year. He (and five other Republican incumbents) lost last Thursday's primary
    • If you're wondering why Campfield's so darn special, you may have forgotten that he was behind the "Don't Say Gay" bill, wanted to cut welfare for parents whose children struggled in school, and compared Obamacare to forced transportation of Jews to concentration camps during the Holocaust. 
      • Oh, and some creative folks in Nashville wrote a musical about him; "Casey Stampfield: The Musical" received rave reviews during its run earlier in the summer (with a special performance on the night of the primary). Too bad there won't be a sequel. Well, kinda.   

  • Change (part 2): On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed off on new congressional district maps that were drawn up "in closed-door meetings between to top GOP legislators attorneys and legislative staff" and look an awful lot like the maps thrown out last month. We'll find out next week if the judge rejects them or just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  • (Methane) Tears Roll Down: Republican (and impressively-mustached) state Sen. Randy Baumgardner weighed in on the Colorado fracking issue, claiming that those who oppose this form of natural gas production are buying into "propaganda." Somehow confusing methane-polluted water with hot springs, Baumgardner shared his historic wisdom: "If you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters ... for warmth in the wintertime." 
    • Fun fact! Hot springs are actually geothermal phenomena, and archaeological evidence indicates that Native Americans indeed convened around hot springs in the western United States. Hot springs are not, however, caused by methane pollution, which would have probably killed said Native Americans.

For the Week of August 14, 2014 

The following 6 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, NEW JERSEY and NORTH CAROLINA.
Also meeting: PUERTO RICO

The National Association of Local Boards of Health will hold its Annual Conference August 13-15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Josh Fisher at
The Southern Governors' Association will hold its Annual Meeting August 14-17 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mark Anderson at
The Southern States Energy Board will hold its Associate Members Summer Meeting August 14 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mark Anderson at
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will hold its Summer Meeting August 16-19 in Louisville, Kentucky. Robert Holden at


The Senate and House Insurance and Commerce committees met August 12 to discuss electric rates impacted by the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule. 

The Assembly Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing August 14 to discuss S.B. 270, which prohibits single-use carryout plastic shopping bags in specific retail establishments.


A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as House and Senate seats. 


The Robert G. Bethell Joint Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight Committee received a presentation August 12 about KanCare, as well as updates about the state's health insurance marketplace. 


A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney Generalas well as House seats. 


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education met August 12 to discuss proposed rule amendments for the creation of the Missouri Advisory Board for Educator Preparation.


The Energy and Transmission Committee will meet August 14 to discuss market opportunities for renewable resources and a bill draft to use oil and gas production tax to fund major improvements and the construction of highway corridors impacted by energy development. 


A primary election was held August 12 for the offices of the Governor and Attorney General, as well as House and Senate seats. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

That Voodoo That You Do edition

Apologies for the hiatus. Last week around this time I was on my way to visit a voodoo priest (and do various other awesome New Orleans-ish things). 
He told me I have an "old soul," but I bet he says that to all the girls.

There's no shortage of magic in statehouses, though, even though some folks are slower to warm to the enchantment than others. (Actual Tuesday headline: D.C.'s Polarization Trickles Down to State CapitalsReally? Someone must have been looking the other way. Like, for years.... or maybe just needs to get on my list.)

Anyway.... Alakazam!
  • Behold the mysterious moving district lines! In possibly the most textbook example of OMGWHYDON'TDEMOCRATSSPENDALLTHEIRMONEYONSTATELEGISLATIVEELECTIONS??!@1!, Florida lawmakers are convening in Tallahassee on Thursday to redraw the state's congressional district lines to comply with a recent ruling that found two districts were drawn illegally. 
    • The process, just like the last round of redistricting in 2011, will be controlled by Republicans, because they have serious majorities in both legislative chambers. 
      • Republicans claim they plan to make as few tweaks as possible, so as to conform with the judge's absurd deadline of August 15. 
    • Fun fact! Some law prof in Chicago claims to have found some legit measurement for the relative degree of congressional gerrymandering among states with eight or more House districts. He says that Florida's 27 districts are the third-most gerrymandered. coming in behind Pennsylvania and Ohio
      • Guess who controlled those legislatures for the last redistricting. Go on. Do it.
  • Presto change-o: Much of the post-primary narrative on Wednesday morning centered around the tea party's failures this year, but the story in the Michigan state House went a little differently. Tea partiers in this potential Democratic pickup chamber did quite well, flipping a couple of incumbents in some cases and holding off more moderate challengers in others. 
    • Unfortunately, most of these tea party pickups were not in competitive seats, so Democrats' lift of flipping the five seats needed to take a majority in the chamber remains just about as heavy as it was before.
      • Additionally, the tea partiers' success was relative; most Republican incumbents kept their more conservative challengers at bay
  • Smoke and mirrors: The RSLC (the group tasked with electing Republicans to state legislatures and other downballot state offices) is going through a rough time, albeit while rolling around in a big pile of money.
    • The Republican State Leadership Committee has been implicated in some potential money laundering in Alabama. Earlier this week, a 2011 document surfaced detailing an investigation into whether RSLC officials had conspired with the head of the Alabama GOP to use the group as a pass-through for potentially toxic Indian tribe donations. 
      • Now, this would all be idle speculation, except for that pesky memo prepared for the RSLC by the BakerHostetler law firm. Now it's just embarrassing in a circumstantial sort of way. Charges? Trials? Doubtful.
      • But the prestige of this whole affair is that the memo was prepared a couple of years ago because of infighting among RSLC leadership, and it likely came to light now because of more of that infighting. Which I'm sure stresses all those folks out while they're rolling around in that $20 million money pile the RSLC plans to raise this cycle.
  • Now you see him, now you don't... oh, wait, there he is againNorth Carolina mega-donor Art Pope, who's been serving as the state's budget director since using his fortune to propel Republicans to statehouse dominance by spending nearly $1.5 million on state campaigns in 2010 and 2012, is quitting his job
    • His role in state government has restrained his involvement in Americans for Prosperity and other conservative advocacy groups, but his departure from the government payroll allows him to escape those shackles. He's like the Houdini of spending ridiculous amounts of money on elections. Or something.
  • Maybe if he'd pulled more coins from behind ears... A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted Missouri mega-donor Rex Sinquefield's work to unseat Republicans who sustained a veto of tax cuts that would probably result in a Kansas-like fiscal disaster for the state. 
    • Well, Sinquefield's Club for Growth dropped nearly $500,000 to take out four state lawmakers... and came away with nothing to show for it in Tuesday's primaries. Three of the four races weren't even close. 
    • Missouri Republicans generally, on the other hand, had a pretty solid night. They won two of the three special elections on Tuesday to fill vacant state House seats, regaining their supermajority in the chamber. 
  • The amazing disappearing ballot box accessWisconsin's (partisan and Republican) Supreme Court upheld the state's photo ID law (passed by the then-newly minted GOP-controlled legislature in 2011 but in legal limbo ever since) late last week. 
    • Fun factWisconsin voters still won't have to show photo ID at the polls this year. In a separate lawsuit, a federal judge struck down the law, and that ruling remains in effect as the case makes its way through the federal appeals process.
  • On Wednesday, the Virginia State Board of Elections voted along party lines to reverse its policy that would have allowed expired -- but otherwise valid -- forms of ID permitted under the state's new photo ID law to be accepted at the polls. Now an otherwise valid form of ID will not be accepted at polling places if it's been expired for more than 12 months.
    • Fun fact! The SBE's partisan decision came at the request of photo ID bill sponsor -- and AG loser -- Sen. Mark Obenshain.

For the Week of August 6, 2014 

The following 4 state legislatures are meeting actively this week: CALIFORNIA, MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY and NORTH CAROLINA.
Also meeting: PUERTO RICO


The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference will hold its Annual Meeting August 3-6 in Baltimore, Maryland. 
The Association of Clean Water Administrators will hold its Annual Meeting August 3-6 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 
The Directors of Health Promotion and Education will hold their annual Member Institute August 4-5 in Denver, Colorado. 
The Council of State Governments will hold its CSG Policy Academy: Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Infrastructure and Smart Grid Implications August 7-8 in Seattle, Washington.
The Council of State Governments will hold its Joint CSG-WEST Annual Conference and CSG National Conference August 9-13 in Anchorage, Alaska. 
The Republican Lieutenant Governors Association will hold its National Meeting August 10-13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


The Senate Committee on Appropriations held a hearing August 4 to consider A.B. 1699, which prohibits the sale of personal care products containing microbeads. 

The Senate Committee on Appropriations met August 4 to discuss A.B. 1558, which requests that the University of California establish the California Health Data Organization which collects data from payers and establishes an all-payer claims database. 

The Senate Committee on Appropriations met August 4 to take up all fiscal bills originating from the Assembly, including A.B. 2200, which establishes the California Cyber Security Commission in the Department of Technology. 

The San Diego City Council will hold a special meeting August 7 to declare an emergency due to a severe shortage of affordable housing. 


A primary election will be held August 9 for the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, as well as House and Senate seats. 


A primary election was held August 5 for the office of the Governor, as well as House seats.

The Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board will meet August 7 to discuss proposed amendments to restructure the state's teacher certification process. 


A primary election was held August 5 for all House and Senate seats. 


A primary election was held August 5 for House and Senate seats. 


The Science, Technology and Telecommunications Interim Committee will meet August 7-8 to hear testimony about shared renewable energy facilities, as well as issues pertaining to gas pipelines.


The Finance Committee met August 5 to hear proposals about tax collections relating to agriculture and draft bills related to the Public Employees Retirement System. 


A primary election will be held August 7 for the office of the Governor, as well as all House seats and odd-numbered Senate districts. 


A special runoff election was held August 5 to replace the seat vacated by Senator Thomas Williams (R). 


The Interim Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Subcommittee met August 5 to discuss the future of Youth Services regarding mental health. 


A primary election was held August 5 for all House seats and select Senate seats.