Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of August 3rd, 2016)

State of the States (Week of August 3rd, 2016)

For the Week of August 3rd

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

“Governor Pence signed a law that lets individuals and businesses deny services to LGBTQ Americans, and he used religion as a weapon to discriminate, and the state lost millions of dollars as a results. As a lesbian, that hurts me. As a person of faith, that offends me. And as a legislator working hard to create jobs, that baffles me.”

Nevada state Senator Pat Spearman (D) underscored the harmful repercussions that stem from Republican anti-LGBTQ legislation during her fiery address on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention. Senator Spearman, who is black, a veteran, a minister, and a proud member of the LGBTQ community, shared with the audience her fear of being discharged from the military if anyone found out her sexual orientation. The Senator praised the abolishment of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the other legislative advancements Democrats have worked to achieve in an effort to protect the LGBTQ community and promote equality. Senator Spearman warned that Trump and Pence would “strip away the progress we have fought so hard to win,” and urged Democrats to unify up and down the ballot to protect equal rights.

"I'm surprised because if the Republicans want to align themselves with Donald Trump, it's really to the benefit of the Democratic candidate because New York is not a state that's going to sanction that kind of behavior."

New York state Senator Michael Gianaris (D) predicted that New York Democratic candidates will come out on top this election cycle after Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and other Senate Republicans embraced Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee. With a presidential race to spur turnout and Trump's bigoted and controversial rhetoric encouraging even more Democrats to register and turn out to vote, New York Senate Democrats are ready to take the majority this November.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

6 Major GOP Voting Restrictions Have Been Blocked in 2 Weeks

Ari Berman, (The Nation)
August 1, 2016

In the past 10 days, courts have issued six major decisions against GOP-backed voting restrictions in five different states.

On Friday, an array of new voting restrictions were struck down in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas. This followed rulings the previous week softening voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin and striking down Michigan’s ban on straight-ticket voting. When you include a court decision in Ohio from May reinstating a week of early voting and same-day registration, anti-voting laws in six states have been blocked so far in 2016. ...

In Wisconsin, a federal district court overturned harsh residency requirements and restrictions on early voting and casting absentee ballots, and said the state must accept student IDs to vote. A week earlier, another federal court said that those who are unable to obtain a voter ID could instead vote by signing an affidavit.

In Kansas, a federal district court ruled that the state’s burdensome proof of citizenship law for voter registration couldn’t prevent 17,500 people from voting in federal elections.

In Texas, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the state’s strict voter-ID law, which it said had a “discriminatory effect on minorities’ voting rights.” Like in Wisconsin, the court said those without strict ID needed to be able to vote.

In Michigan, a federal court overturned the state’s ban on straight-ticket voting, which it said would lead to longer lines at the polls and disproportionately harm African-American voters.

In North Carolina, the court said that Republicans targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision” and that the evidence was “as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times.”

Just hours later, in Wisconsin, a court used almost exactly the same language, writing that the state eliminated early-voting hours on nights and weekends to “suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.” Judge James Peterson said, “The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.”

In 2012, 10 major voting restrictions were blocked in court before the election, eliminating major impediments to the ballot box that millions of voters faced. We could be seeing a similar trend in 2016. “The recent decisions show that courts understand that these laws are designed to and have the effect of suppressing minority participation,” says Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “It feels like momentum is still on our side.”

However, seventeen states still have new voting restrictions in place for the first time this year and this is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act—making it the first election in 50 years without the full protections of the law. ...

UPDATE: North Dakota’s voter-ID law was blocked by a federal court yesterday for discriminating against Native American voters, making it the 6th state where courts have ruled against GOP voting restrictions in the past two weeks.

[Read More]

Ohio abortion restrictions unconstitutional, state appellate court rules

Robert Higgs, (Cleveland.com)
July 29, 2016

A state appellate court on Friday agreed with a Lucas County judge that regulations governing an abortion clinic, and the way Ohio enacted them, are unconstitutional.

The 3-0 ruling in favor of the Capital Care Network means that the last open abortion clinic in Toledo can remain open. ...

The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals found that the state law requiring abortion clinics to have a written transfer agreement with local hospitals created an undue burden on a woman's right to have access to an abortion.

That burden, the court said, clearly outweighs the "virtually non-existent health benefits" created by the regulations. As part of its analysis, the court applied the standards set in a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which overturned some Texas regulations on a clinic.

The requirement for the transfer agreement also represents an unconstitutional delegation of authority by the state, the court held, because whether a clinic can comply with the state's regulation hinges on the decisions of an outside party.

Lastly, the court found the enactment of the regulations for the written transfer agreement unconstitutional because they violated the Ohio Constitution's requirement that legislation be confined to a single subject. The regulations were included in the state budget enacted in 2013.

[Read More]

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

I'm Speaking at the DNC!

Matt Negrin, Sasha Issenberg, & Griffin Hammond, (Bloomberg Politics)
August 1, 2016

Take a look behind the scenes of the DNC with Bloomberg Politics and watch Minnesota state Representative Peggy Flanagan prepare to address Democrats in Philadelphia!

COMING UP

August 4

Primary Election - Tennessee

August 9

Primary Election - Connecticut
Primary Election - Minnesota
Primary Election - Vermont
Primary Election - Wisconsin

August 13

Primary Election - Hawaii

August 16

Primary Election - Alaska
Primary Election - Wyoming

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

AZ: No Arizona Planned Parenthood cuts for now - Arizona Daily Star
FL: Florida's new abortion law will remain blocked for now - Associated Press
ID: Idaho posts free ultrasound list for women seeking abortions - Idaho Statesman
IL: Rauner signs bill altering health care 'right of conscience' law - State Journal-Register
IN: State doesn’t plan appeal of abortion law ruling - Indianapolis Business Journal
OH: Ohio abortion restrictions unconstitutional, state appellate court rules - Cleveland.com

Guns

CA: Supporters of California gun control initiative have big fundraising lead over opponents - Los Angeles Times
ME: Effort to require background checks for Maine private gun sales gets big donation - Portland Press Herald
TX: Texas will allow guns on campus starting August 1, here's how they think it will work - Associated Press

Health Care

AK: Will Alaska or Colorado go single-payer? - The Huffington Post
CA: New vaccination law takes effect - San Diego Union-Tribune
CO: Will Alaska or Colorado go single-payer? - The Huffington Post
IL: Illinois now has nation's most comprehensive birth-control law, advocates say - State Journal-Register
NJ: Only 5 states allow physician-assisted suicide. Could N.J. be the 6th? - NJ.com

Labor

CA: 6 things to look for when the Legislature returns - The Sacramento Bee
MI: Paid sick time law proposed for November 2018 ballot in Michigan - Detroit Free Press
NH: New law protects workplace flexibility requests - New Hampshire Business Review
WA: Judge rules tens of thousands of names of state workers must be released to Freedom Foundation - Q13 FOX
U.S.: Nurses and Doctors Are Fighting Back Against Corporate Healthcare by Unionizing - The Nation

LGBT

CA: Bill would prevent LGBT discrimination at religious schools - The Washington Post
IL: Illinois governor signs pension bill for LGBT retirees - Windy City Times
MA: Ex-MassGOP rep to lead push of state transgender law repeal, ballot question - Boston Herald
MS: Federal judge refuses to stay his ruling against Mississippi's anti-LGBT law - Metro Weekly
NC: McCrory lets HB 2 funding bill become law without his signature - Metro Weekly
TX: NBA, NCAA Moves Could Be Game-Changers for Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas - Texas Observer

Voting Rights

AZ: Ballot harvesting ban won't be enforced this year - Arizona Capitol Times
KS: Judge orders all votes by federal registrants to be counted in Kansas primary - Topeka Capital-Journal
MI: Officials ask to delay ruling on straight-ticket voting - Detroit News
NC: NC will defend voter ID without attorney general - News & Observer
NC: The 'smoking gun' proving North Carolina Republicans tried to disenfranchise black voters - The Washington Post
NC: Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Requirement - The New York Times
ND: Federal Judge Bars North Dakota from Enforcing Restrictive Voter ID Law - The New York Times
OH: Ohio election roll purge challenged by voting rights advocates - WKYC
OH: Ohio's multimillion-dollar voting rights battle could prove even more costly for taxpayers - Cleveland.com
RI: Rhode Islanders can now register to vote online - WPRI
TN: Democrats call for changes to Tennessee voter ID law - The Tennessean
WI: Judge strikes down Wisconsin voter ID, early voting laws - Journal Sentinel
U.S.: 6 Major GOP Voting Restrictions Have Been Blocked in 2 Weeks - The Nation
US: Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge minority Voters From Rolls - The New York Times

DLCC at the DNC

DLCC Board members and state legislators from seven states had the opportunity to address Democrats during last week's Democratic National Convention. These legislators are leading the charge to promote state progress and enact policies that move America forward.

CA Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León: Dem Convention: Speaker Kevin de León touts immigration as Key issue - NBC News
CO House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran: Colorado's Crisanta Duran at DNC: "In America we don't define our value by our net worth" - Denver Post
GA House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams: Democrat Stacey Abrams Says Georgia Delegation Will return from Philly read to turn the state - CBS Atlanta
GA Rep. Park Cannon: Watch queer Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon's Democratic convention address - Georgia Voice
MN Rep. Peggy Flanagan: Peggy Flanagan, White Earth, addresses DNC - Indian Country Today Media Network
NV Senator Pat Spearman: Nevada lawmaker addresses LGBTQ rights, jabs Trump - Las Vegas Sun
NV Senator Ruben Kihuen: Nevada's Kihuen says Trump stokes fear of immigrants - Las Vegas Sun
OR Speaker of the House Tina Kotek: Oregon's Tina Kotek speaks in support of Hillary Clinton at the DNC - The Oregonian
TN Rep. Raumesh Akbari: Memphis Rep. Akbari: Clinton, a 'bad sister,' will fight for young people - The Tennessean

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

AL: Alabama Republicans pick Mac McCutcheon as new House speaker - AL.com
AZ: Ballot harvesting ban won’t be enforced this year - Arizona Capitol Times
AR: House district sets 2nd Nov. 8 vote for Lampkin seat - ArkansasOnline
CA: Supporters of California gun control initiative have big fundraising lead over opponents - Los Angeles Times
FL: Florida Chamber of Commerce unveils latest round of endorsements - Florida Politics
FL: Dana Young holds narrow lead over Bob Buesing in SD 18 - Florida Politics
GA: Two Latino women seeking election to the Georgia General Assembly - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
IL: GOP selects replacement for Illinois lawmaker who resigned - State Journal-Register
KS: Moderate Republicans cruise to victories in Kansas primaries - Kansas City Star
ME: Effort to require background checks for Maine private gun sales gets big donation - Portland Press Herald
MI: Election results for Michigan's legislative seats - MLive
MN: Money flows into competitive Minnesota legislative races - Star Tribune
MO: Bill Eigel, Andrew Koenig win key GOP state Senate primaries - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
MO: Missouri GOP House candidates funded by anti-labor donor David Humphreys defeat two incumbents - Kansas City Star
NV: Democrats widen Nevada registration advantage to 72,000 - Associated Press
NM: Incumbents lead fundraising for hotly contested NM state house - New Mexico In Depth
NY: SD-37: Latimer Formally Launches Re-Election Bid - NY State of Politics
NY: New York Democrats See Opportunity With State Republicans' Embrace of Trump - TWC News
NC: Court ruling on voter ID bill could affect North Carolina races - News & Observer
TN: Education PACs stoke state races - Memphis Commercial Appeal
TX: Independent Wins Race to Temporarily Fill McClendon Seat - The Texas Tribune
UT: Utah businessman set to join state Senate in August - The Salt Lake Tribune

CONTACT

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