Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of April 11th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of April 11th, 2016)

The Week of April 11th

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

"La persona debió haber sido registrada al menos 15 días antes de le elección."

-An official Spanish-language voter registration guide produced by Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office, telling voters they have until 15 days before Election Day to register to vote. The English-language version correctly states that Kansans must be registered 21 days before Election Day, not 15.

"They [transgender people] not only want to be confused about their own identity, but they want the rest of us to be confused with them... They’re making us into liars."

-Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R), in a Daily Show segment about the recent surge of Republican-backed anti-LGBT legislation around the country.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

In Victory for Unions, Law on Dues Is Struck Down in Wisconsin

Monica Davey and Julie Bosman (New York Times)
April 8, 2016

A Wisconsin law barring unions from requiring workers in the private sector to pay the equivalent of union dues was struck down late Friday after a judge deemed it a violation of the state’s Constitution.

Democrats and union leaders in the industrial Midwest, a region where organized labor has been weakened by a series of new laws in recent years, cheered the ruling, but its fate almost immediately seemed uncertain. Republican leaders in Wisconsin, where a conservative bloc holds a majority on a sharply divided State Supreme Court, pledged to appeal the lower court’s ruling and said they felt confident that the law would ultimately stand.

The law, which was pressed through Wisconsin’s legislature in March 2015 by Republican leaders and signed by Gov. Scott Walker as he was preparing to run for president. It made Wisconsin the 25th state to adopt such legislation, following closely behind Indiana and Michigan. In Wisconsin, the law went into effect immediately, over the objections of labor leaders, who argued that the measure was meant to weaken their power and would lower workers’ wages.

In his ruling, Judge C. William Foust of Dane County Circuit Court agreed with three unions that had contested the measure, saying that the law amounted to a taking of their property without just compensation. The unions — local chapters of the International Association of Machinists, United Steelworkers and the A.F.L-C.I.O. — contended that the law added up to a seizure of their property since they were now required to provide union benefits like collective bargaining to workers who opted not to pay the equivalent of dues....

Carolyn Fiddler, the national communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said that while she considered the ruling a “positive move for working families in Wisconsin,” the conservative state Supreme Court was likely to uphold the law.

“It seems extraordinarily unlikely that this ruling will stand in the long term,” she said. “Higher courts will probably negate this in some fashion. It seems likely that Scott Walker’s anti-union Wisconsin will effectively remain in existence in the long term.”

[Read more]

Reaping as they sowed: How the culture wars are smiting the GOP

Harold Meyerson (Reuters)
April 8, 2016

In 2004, Republicans viewed the specter of gay marriage as a political gift from the gods....

But that was oh, so then.

If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s become hi-definition clear in the past few weeks that the culture wars, long a powerful wedge that Republicans wielded against the Democrats, have now become a dagger that cleaves GOP ranks down the middle.

In one GOP-controlled state after another, legislatures have enacted measures that enabled businesses to discriminate against same-sex marriage partners or against gays and lesbians generally, only to face ferocious opposition from that pillar of Republican rectitude, American business. In many cases, opposition is so fierce it has led a number of Republican governors to veto the measures.

In Georgia last month, Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to provide services to soon-to-be newlyweds if they were of the same sex, after coming under pressure from the state’s business establishment — including such iconic Georgia institutions as Coca-Cola. Republican governors have vetoed similar legislation in Arizona, Indiana and Arkansas (where Wal-Mart’s opposition clearly made a difference).

In North Carolina, however, similar legislation zipped through the legislature and received the signature of Governor Pat McCrory in just 48 hours, which gave businesses no time to mount an opposition. After the fact, more than 120 major corporations, including the Bank of America, the state’s largest employer, voiced their displeasure. PayPal, which had just announced an expansion in the state, cancelled it on Tuesday — and the 400 new jobs it would have created.

The wedge of the culture wars still cuts deep, but for Republicans, it’s been turned inward. Moreover, Donald Trump has risen to the top of this year’s GOP presidential candidate heap without placing any emphasis on the kind of culture-war issues that excite evangelicals. His recent floundering on abortion makes clear he’s barely given the issue any thought.

How did the Republicans get into this fix?

[Read more]

COMING UP...

April 12

Special Election - Alabama HD-80

April 19

Special Election - New York SD-09
Special Election - New York HD-59
Special Election - New York HD-62
Special Election - New York HD-65

April 26

Special Election - Connecticut HD-75
Special Election - Georgia HD-162 (runoff)
Special Election - Pennsylvania SD-09

May 7

Special Election - Texas HD-120
Special Election - Texas HD-139

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

AZ: AZ Senate advances bill to cut Planned Parenthood funding - Arizona Daily Star

CO: An attempt to investigate Planned Parenthood fetal-tissue sales fails - Colorado Independent

IN: Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue Indiana over new abortion law - Associated Press

MO: State Lawmakers Just Threatened To Throw A Planned Parenthood Employee In Jail - Think Progress

Economy

KS: New jobs report shows more growth in Missouri than Kansas - WDAF News

Labor

WI: Dane County judge strikes down Right to Work law - Wisconsin State Journal

US: Statehouses try to fend off local minimum wage increases - Economist

Health Care

WA: Another Reason to Take Back the State Senate: Republicans Killed Two Important Bills for Women this Session - The Stranger

Leadership

MN: Mr. Nice Guy? - MinnPost

LGBT

MS: Why Mississippi’s New Anti-LGBT Law Is the Most Dangerous One To Be Passed Yet - The Nation

NC: Law on discrimination, bathrooms aids campaign fundraising - Washington Post

NC: Head of LGBT rights group named to legislature - News & Observer

Redistricting

NC: Trial on NC legislative districts begins; expected to last a week - Charlotte Observer

US: Major redistricting lawsuit could spell the end of unfair partisan gerrymanders - Daily Kos Elections

Voting Rights

KS: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office's Spanish-language voter guides list incorrect information on registering to vote - Phoenix New Times

MO: Democrats stall voter ID bill in the Missouri Senate again, vote delayed once more - St. Louis Post‑Dispatch

WI: WI Republican Legislators Were “Giddy” About Suppressing Minority and Student Votes - Election Law Blog

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

CA: Arambula wins 31st Assembly District showdown - Fresno Bee

FL: Hispanics seeking citizenship in Tampa to vote against Trump - Tampa Tribune

FL: Money Flies into Competitive Senate Races - Sunshine State News

IN: Indiana Senate leaders targeted in GOP primary - Indianapolis Star

LA: Runoff set for House race to replace Ronnie Edwards - KATC News

MA: Westfield's John Velis set to kick-off 2016 reelection campaign - Westfield Republican

MI: Gov. Snyder sets elections to fill Virgil Smith's Senate seat - Detroit Free Press

MT: Campaign finance ruling could have 'ramifications nationwide' - Helena Air

NY: SD-9: Kaminsky Has $296K In The Bank - NY State of Politics

NY: Mel Brooks makes robocall on behalf of Long Island great nephew running for state senate - New York Daily News

US: Yes, ‘Citizens United’ gives Republicans an electoral edge. Here’s proof. - Washington Post

EXTREME VOICES

AZ: Reporter Banned From Arizona House Floor After Publishing Revealing Feature About Speaker - Think Progress

CO: State Rep. says transgender people ‘making us into liars' - KUSA News

NC: North Carolina’s bathroom law just keeps on backfiring on Pat McCrory - Washington Post

CONTACT

Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
fiddler@dlcc.org