Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of June 15th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of June 15th, 2016)

For the Week of June 15th

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

“If the Dems start trying to muck us up, then I’ll do the same.”

Kansas state Representative John Whitmer (R) is threatening to introduce legislation restricting the rights of transgender students if House Democrats try to amend a school finance bill. The legislation would echo North Carolina's controversial HB2 and will prevent students from using school bathrooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates. Whitmer has not said whether or not he will introduce the legislation during the House's special session; instead he will use the threat of the bill to play political games with the rights of Kansas students.

"The Women's division is open to all biological females ages 18 and over. Sorry fellers, 'identifying' as a female won't get you into this contest; Obama has no control over this event."

Tennessee state Representative Andy Holt (R) tacked this bigoted remark onto an invitation to his upcoming campaign event, the "1st Annual Holt's Hog-fest & Turkey Shoot Fundraiser." Holt is getting backlash for what he plans to give away as a door prize at the Hog-Fest: two AR-15 assault rifles, the same model used in the extremely recent Orlando mass shooting and other U.S. mass shootings. While Holt originally planned to only give away one assault weapon, he decided to "double down" after Orlando. Not only is his callous attitude toward these military weapons unhealthy, his anti-LGBT rhetoric and insensitive approach to this past weekend's attack is dangerous.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Hundreds of bills to curb LGBT rights preceded Orlando attack. Is there a link?

Curtis Tate & Anna Douglas (McClatchy DC)
June 13, 2016

In the six months before the weekend massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, more than 200 bills had been introduced at the state and local levels to restrict the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

While other motives may have inspired the attack, which killed 49 people, advocates say the rate of hate crimes against LGBT people goes up when there is a debate over their rights. ...

David Dinielli, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, said LGBT people have been targeted for hate crimes in extreme numbers and rates. The rates go up when there is a debate about the rights of LGBT people, he said, especially when the rhetoric is false.

Dinielli said that religious liberty, safety and privacy have become the weapons of choice for lawmakers determined to undercut the legal victories LGBT people have achieved, including gay marriage and transgender rights. ...

Also in North Carolina, Republican state Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam said HB2 is in no way a law that promotes violence against LGBT people. Critics of HB2 who say the law is discriminatory against LGBT people are wrong, Stam said. ...

The gay club that Mateen targeted had nothing to do with rhetoric surrounding laws like HB2, Stam said. Mateen’s motives, Stam said, appear to be tied to his religious leanings and views on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

In Mississippi, sponsors of House Bill 1523, which gives businesses and other organizations the right to refuse marriage-related services to members of the LGBT community, said Monday that the law has nothing to do with the shootings in Orlando.

“It does not promote discrimination,” said Rep. Randy Boyd, a Republican from North Mississippi. “It just protects Christians from being forced to do something that they don’t believe in.

“This shooting was done by a Muslim because they hate homosexuals,” Boyd said. “We don’t hate homosexuals. We don't like what they’re doing. But we’re not out to get them or kill them or anything like that. We love the sinner, hate the sin.”

[Read More]

Down and Out and Voteless in Ohio

The Editorial Board (The New York Times)
June 13, 2016

The attempts by Republican lawmakers to suppress the turnout of Democratic-leaning voters in the 2016 election have reached shameless levels in Ohio — a swing state where it turns out that even homeless citizens have been blocked from exercising their right to vote.

Thanks to a timely ruling last week from a federal district judge, Algenon Marbley, the obstacles to minorities at the polling booth come November may be less formidable than they might have been, though the state plans to appeal and problems remain. The judge struck down a 2014 Republican-sponsored state law that, among other things, required that absentee ballots be thrown out for essentially trivial mistakes. This, the judge ruled, discriminated against minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act, including homeless people disqualified for not providing precise addresses.

Other changes in the 2014 law shortened the period during which voters could correct such errors and barred election clerks from helping someone confused by the forms, unless the voter was physically disabled. ...

Last month, a different federal judge ruled unconstitutional another Ohio law that cut back early voting opportunities for citizens. Furious statehouse Republicans have denied any scheme to suppress Democratic voters, and Ohio’s secretary of state, Jon Husted, arguing that the decisions will produce “chaos,” said the state will appeal.

But Judge Marbley saw an unmistakably clear and politically motivated pattern of suppression. “The Republican-controlled General Assembly’s frenetic pace of introducing such legislation reflects questionable motives, given the wealth of other problems facing the state which actually needed solutions,” he declared.

[Read More]

COMING UP

June 28

Primary Election - Colorado
Primary Election - New York
Primary Election - Oklahoma
Primary Election - Utah

August 2

Primary Election - Kansas
Primary Election - Mississippi
Primary Election - Missouri
Primary Election - Washington
Special Election - Texas HD-120

August 4

Primary Election - Tennessee

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

IN: Judge: Indiana abortion law may infringe on women's rights - The Associated Press
KS: Kansas drops Planned Parenthood providers from funds cutoff - Associated Press
TX: Understanding one of the most critical Supreme Court cases of the year: HB2 and the fate of abortion access in Texas - Salon

Guns

AL: Alabama 2nd Amendment advocated urge state to follow Idaho's lead, move to permitless concealed carry - Yellow Hammer News
CA: After Orlando, California lawmakers push for action on gun control - Los Angeles Times
GA: A post-Orlando push to ban assault rifles in Georgia - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
FL: Pulse shooting renews lawmakers' gun debate - Orlando Sentinel
NC: NC lawmakers push to loosen state’s gun regulations - WNCN
TN: Amid controversy, Tennessee Representative defends AR-15 giveaway - FOX17 Nashville

Health Care

CA: CA opens Affordable Care Act door to unlawful immigrants - CalWatchdog
DE: Senate OKs bill to provide dental care to Medicaid users - delawareonline
NY: Nurses Unions, Patient Rights Groups And Lawmakers Representing Tens Of Thousands Of New Yorkers Call On The New York State Senate To Pass The Safe Staffing For Quality Care Act - PR Newswire

Labor

NJ: What's next for N.J. public worker pensions? - NJ.com

LGBT

KS: Lawmaker: Bathroom bill ready if Democrats ‘muck us up’ during special session - The Wichita Eagle
KS: Kansas education board votes to ignore transgender decree - KWWL
PA: LGBT community mourns those killed in Orlando, asks state legislature to approve anti-discrimination protections - PennLive
WV: Orlando nightclub shooting sheds light on West Virginia hate crime law - WSAZ
U.S.: ACLU: Orlando shooting a powerful reminder to tone down gay rhetoric - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Voting Rights

KS: Kris Kobach knuckles under to court in major victory for thousands of Kansas voters - Kansas City Star
OH: Down and Out and Voteless in Ohio - New York Times
VA: Voting rights restoration case to go before Virginia Supreme Court - The Roanoke Times

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

AR: Democrats take exception to Gov. Hutchinson's boasts - Arkansas Times
GA: Brookhaven's Taylor Bennett in for a fight in swing district - Better Georgia
ID: Nate secretly records conversation with Hill - Post Register
KS: Political Anger Inspires More Competition in Kansas Elections - Independent Voter Project
ME: LePage factors in GOP legislative primaries - Bangor Daily News
MA: Few challengers for Central Mass. incumbents - Telegram
NV: Mixed results for GOP, Reid’s Democratic picks prevail in Nevada primary election - Las Vegas Sun
NV: GOP strategist contacted FBI while under police investigation in extortion case - Las Vegas Review-Journal
ND: Burgum wins ND governor primary; farming measure defeated - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
SC: Incumbents largely survive primary night in South Carolina - ABC News 4
SC: Hill avoids runoff with Bowen in House District 8 race - Independent Mail

CONTACT

Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

fiddler@dlcc.org