Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of January 25th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of January 25th, 2016)

The Week of January 25th, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

"It seemed kind of insane for her to say that, especially on the record, to constituents."

-Eastern Washington high school student Alex Rubino, who was visiting the state capitol as part of Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day, reacting to state Rep. Mary Dye (R), who "asked if the students were virgins and suggested one was not."

"Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?"

-Kansas state Sen. Laura Kelly (D), reacting to the unilateral decision by Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairman Mitch Holmes (R) to impose a dress code on women - and only women - seeking to testify. Rule #2 of Holmes' 11-point code of conduct "explicitly prohibits women from wearing skimpy skirts or blouses with plunging necklines;" reportedly, the only guidance offered to men is that they should be "professional."

STORIES OF THE WEEK

DLCC Condemns Mississippi GOP’s Subversion of Democracy, Rule of Law

Republican Lawmakers Ignore State Law to Overturn Election Outcome

January 20, 2016 (DLCC.org)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post denounced Republicans in the Mississippi House for revoking the victory of Democratic state Rep. Bo Eaton in House District 79. The HD 79 election resulted in a tie in November, and in accordance with state law, the candidates drew straws to determine the winner. Rep. Eaton won the draw, but his GOP opponent claimed the final vote tally was incorrect and appealed the draw to the Republican-controlled state House. Today, the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn the Democrat’s victory and seat loser Mark Tullos.

“Mississippi state law delivered a clear winner in the 79th House District, and Republicans in the legislature should value upholding their state’s laws above their own partisan interests,” said Post. “By overturning the legal outcome of this House race – a process overseen by their own Republican governor and Republican secretary of state -- the GOP casts doubt on the fair administration of all Mississippi elections henceforth.

“Mississippi’s Republican House members should have followed the example of their colleagues in the upper chamber and honored the outcome of this election,” continued Post. “Failure to do so indicates the House GOP’s disregard for basic electoral fairness and the equitable application of state law. Mississippians deserve better.”

In the GOP-controlled state Senate, Republicans bowed to fairness and democracy on Monday by supporting Democratic Senator-elect Bob Dearing and dismissing the desperate appeal of the GOP incumbent. Dearing won SD 37 by 64 votes.

[Read more]

Anti-abortion activists indicted in Texas for Planned Parenthood video

By Jon Herskovitz (Reuters)
January 26, 2016

Two anti-abortion activists behind the filming of videos on fetal tissue procurement by Planned Parenthood were indicted by a Texas grand jury on Monday, while clearing the women's health group of any wrong-doing.

The videos released last summer led Texas and other Republican-controlled states to try to halt funding for local Planned Parenthood operations, with Republicans in the U.S. Congress also pushing for a funding cut.

The grand jury reviewed the case for more than two months and its decision was a result of a probe launched last year under Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, who accused Planned Parenthood of the "gruesome harvesting of baby body parts."

"After a lengthy and thorough investigation by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston Police Department, a Harris County grand jury took no action Monday against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast," the Harris County District Attorney's office said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood has denied the accusation and called the probe politically motivated.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted by the grand jury for tampering with a governmental record, said prosecutors for the county in which Houston is located. The felony charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

[Read more]

COMING UP...

January 26

Special Election - Texas HD-118

February 1

Iowa Precinct Caucuses

February 2

Special Election - Connecticut HD-121

February 9

Special Election - Minnesota SD-35
Special Election - Minnesota HD-50B

February 16

Special Election - Alabama HD-05
Special Election - Georgia HD-58

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

ND: U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review North Dakota’s fetal heartbeat abortion ban - Bismark Tribune

US: GOPers: Texas grand jury failed in Planned Parenthood case - CNN

Education

AL: Sen. Del Marsh bill would end tenure system for future teachers - AL.com

Energy

NV: Ballot measure would restore old rooftop solar rates - Las Vegas Sun

Health Care

VT: Vermont proposes all-payer health care model - Vermont Press Bureau

Labor

WV: Pro 'Right to Work' Politicians in West Virginia Attack Working People on the State Senate Floor - AFL-CIO

Redistricting

VA: AG Herring asks Supreme Court to uphold new congressional districts - Richmond Times-Dispatch

Voting Rights

AZ: Democrats: Ballot-collecting bill an effort to suppress voters - Arizona Republic

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

AZ: Proposals seek to upend Arizona election system - Arizona Republic

FL: New Senate maps will shake up House campaigns - Politico Florida

KY: Fields set for 4 state House seats in crucial special elections March 8 - Lexington Herald-Leader

MS: Eaton camp points to Gunn challenge, claims hypocrisy - Jackson Clarion-Ledger

MS: Bryant sets state Senate special election for March 8 - Biloxi Sun Herald

NV: Reno lawyer announces state senate candidacy - Reno Gazette-Journal

TX: Runoff Tuesday in Texas House Special Election - Texas Tribune

EXTREME VOICES

IN: Lawmaker invokes Jared Fogle, killers and fat people in discussing LGBT rights - Indianapolis Star

KS: Kansas Senate chairman's rules block female witnesses in revealing attire - Topeka Capital‑Journal

TN: Tennessean investigation finds inappropriate text messages - The Tennessean

WA: Sen. Pam Roach booted off sex-trafficking panel for ‘victim-blaming,’ other insults - Seattle Times

WA: State lawmaker in Olympia asks visiting teens if they’re virgins - Seattle Times

CONTACT

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