For the Week of 6/30/2017
DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post takes to Medium to highlight the important connection between statehouses and national elections, and how SCOTUS could impact the fight against GOP gerrymandering. “While state Democrats have already flipped two seats and overperformed in almost every special election since Trump’s inauguration, congressional Democrats in red states are still facing the devastating aftermath of 2010 redistricting. The Red Wave of 2010 gave Republicans statehouse control in Alabama, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and maintained their grip on Florida and Texas. What do these states have in common? They’ve all since had their congressional and legislative maps struck down as unconstitutional.” Read Jessica’s Medium post to learn more about the fight for fair districts and how DLCC is working to rebalance the playing field.
With a wrap on this year’s legislative session, Nevada Democrats have a lot to be proud of. Since Democrats flipped the Nevada Assembly and Senate with monumental wins in 2016, Democrats have moved the state forward on critical issues like equal rights, health care, education, and beyond. While Republicans hold the governorship, state Dems have worked hard to pass progressive legislation that will improve the lives of all Nevadans. Read more about Nevada Democrats’ landmark session in this week’s Medium post.
The Associated Press released a groundbreaking analysis of Republican gerrymandering this week, corroborating Brennan Center’s findings that the “persistent Republican advantage” due to gerrymandering is a “threat to democracy.” One of the most disconcerting findings from AP’s analysis suggests that even if more Democrats had turned out to vote in the 2016 election, it would not have been enough – by skewing district lines, Republicans had already rigged the playing field. Thanks to gerrymandering, the AP “found that Republicans across the country won a greater share of seats than vote totals would suggest.” The analysis comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that the Supreme Court will hear a landmark gerrymandering case out of Wisconsin. While a SCOTUS decision denouncing partisan gerrymandering as unconstitutional will curb Republican gerrymandering, electing Democrats to statehouses nationwide will help to rebalance the redistricting process.
Ohio’s two-year state budget bill has officially passed through the legislature and is on its way to Gov. John Kasich’s desk, despite all House Democrats voting against the bill. One particularly grim aspect of the bill is a new freeze on Medicaid expansion enrollment – which could take coverage away from 500,000 low-income Ohioans. Not only will this freeze devastate people across the state, Democrats worry it will exacerbate Ohio’s opioid crisis. Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes stated, “Any person in Ohio should not continue to suffer because of the poor planning and policy of this body and the one next door…we owe it to them to do something better.” In response to Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes worry that “people will die” without health insurance through Medicaid expandion, Republican Rep. Mike Duffey harshly responded that “the reality is that we will all die at some point." With Republicans holding a three-fifths majority vote, the GOP can overrule gubernatorial vetoes. As state Republicans push a Trumpian agenda, Democratic legislators will continue to resist and work to ensure no constituent is left behind in the fight for health care.
Recently, it seems that wherever reproductive rights are in danger, “handmaids” appear. From Texas to Ohio and Tennessee to Missouri, women are bringing Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel to life – and to their state capitol buildings. The handmaids first appeared in Texas last March when women donned red robes and white bonnets to silently protest two abortion-related bills. Since then, women in five other states have organized similar demonstrations to fight for reproductive rights. In New York, handmaids urged legislators to pass two reproductive health bills that could protect women from potential federal restrictions in the Trump era. One protestor remarked, “We’re trying to pass the Reproductive Health Act in order to at least protect New Yorkers because the federal landscape is very hostile to women’s reproductive rights.” The bill passed the Democratic-led state Assembly, but it is currently held up in the Republican-IDC-controlled New York Senate. As the handmaids take on D.C. to protest Republicans’ detrimental health care bill, state Democrats will continue to fight to protect women’s health programs and their right to reproductive choice.