Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of June 22nd, 2016)

State of the States (Week of June 22nd, 2016)

For the Week of June 22nd

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

“It means that Democrats are working very hard to represent all folks – the disabled, the disenfranchised, Latinos, Muslims, African-Americans – and at the same time the Republican Party has chosen a person who values not any of those groups and who values bigotry, intolerance, the things that I think are very anti-American.”

Nevada state Senate candidate Devon Reese (D) made these remarks in a press conference at Washoe County Democratic headquarters where he and other Democratic candidates for office called out Nevada Republicans for their stance on a number of issues, as well as their support for presidential nominee Donald Trump. With the majority of Republicans statewide announcing their support for Trump after he secured the nomination, Reese said that the party's decision to fall in line behind the top-of-the-ticket Republican candidate was "unethical" given trump's divisive rhetoric. Reese will be facing Republican Heidi Gansert, former chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, in the general election for state Senate district 15.

“Just at a time when the population was registering and participating at the same levels as white voters, the legislature swooped in and cut this back.”

Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project for the ACLU , made this remark regarding North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law which is now being considered by a federal appeals court. Opponents of the law, including the ACLU and the Obama administration, want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to reverse a previous ruling that upheld the state’s law that eliminated same-day voter registration, shortened early voting by a week, and ended out-of-precinct voting. In court filings, the Obama administration said the law was passed to “preserve partisan political control” and to minimize voting by black residents. North Carolina's Republican legislature passes these new voting rules in 2013 just weeks after the Supreme Court removed the requirement that certain states recieve pre-approval before changing election laws. Judges remarked on the timing of the legislation and seem sympathtic to the bill's opponents. Depending on the timing of the court's decision, the ruling could affect the coming November presidential election.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Republicans and Democrats see presidential race as key to shaking up state Legislature

Hank Stephenson & Ben Giles (Arizona Capitol Times)
June 20, 2016

With Donald Trump atop the November ballot, Arizona politicos say all bets are off in the down-ballot races, where the ripples from the “Trump effect” could turn into giant waves that wipe out the status quo at the Capitol.

Insiders in both political parties agree that, love him or hate him, Trump will likely drive voter turnout in November, and that a strong showing of pro-Trump or anti-Trump voters could turn previously uncompetitive state legislative districts into real battlegrounds.

Republicans say this year they may see a wave akin to 2010, when Republicans took a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate.

Democrats, on the other hand, argue that this could finally be the year where they take back the Senate, and at least significantly increase their numbers in the House.

But Pima County Republican Party Chairman Bill Beard was perhaps the most realistic when describing how the “Trump effect” will affect down-ballot races for the Legislature.

“Anybody that goes into their political analysis of what that means down ballot, their guess is probably as good as the drunk passed out on the corner. You’ll get wiser political analysis from the drunk,” he said.

Still, each side is reading into the situation what they want to happen.

And with pie-in-the-sky hopes, both Republicans and Democrats see a rare opportunity to significantly sway the balance of power at the state Capitol. ...

The politics of a presidential election year, particularly with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in the mix, have local and national Democrats hoping to turn the state Senate from red to blue.

Arizona was among two states that the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee had set as long-term targets for flipping the Senate from Republican to Democrat, but DLCC officials are rethinking that strategy, according to Carolyn Fiddler, spokeswoman for the DLCC.

While it’s unclear what resources will be made available by the DLCC in each state, Fiddler said Arizona and Florida, which had been targeted to flip by 2020, are now each considered in play in the 2016 election cycle.

In Arizona, that’s primarily because of Trump, Fiddler said.

“There’s a lot of anti-Trump backlash,” she said. “He uses a lot of extremist language, and frankly racist language, when it comes to many communities, including but not limited to the Latino community, and that is definitely starting a backlash.”

Democrats see a chance to pick up Senate seats in only a handful of districts, but they only need four seats to take a majority in the upper chamber.

[Read More]

After Mass Shootings, It’s Often Easier to Buy a Gun

Neil Irwin (The New York Times)
June 14, 2016

Lots of gun laws are proposed in the aftermath of an attack, new research shows. But in terms of what actually is enacted, the results aren’t what you might expect.

In states where a mass shooting happened, 15 percent more gun-related bills were introduced in state legislatures, three Harvard Business School professors found in a working paper published last month. But in states with legislatures that were led by Democrats or divided between the parties, a mass shooting wasn’t followed by any statistically significant increase in gun laws enacted.

It was different in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. After a mass shooting, the number of laws passed to loosen gun restrictions rose by 75 percent. In other words, in places where mass shootings lead to any legislative changes at all, it tends to be in the direction of guns becoming more easily available, like lowering the minimum age to buy a handgun to 18 from 21 or eliminating a waiting period for a gun purchase. ...

It’s easy to see why laws in Republican-controlled statehouses enacted in the aftermath of a mass shooting tended to loosen gun restrictions. Gun advocates and many conservative politicians have argued that more widespread availability of firearms is a key to stopping mass shootings. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, embraced just that message in the aftermath of the Orlando, Fla., attack. ...

“Many legislatures are not even in session when shootings happen,” Mr. Poliquin said. “Florida is currently out of session and won’t reconvene until March 2017 unless there is a special session. Will the people who are angry about easy access to guns still be angry next March?”

And given that both houses of Florida’s legislature have Republican majorities, any changes could well cut toward greater access to firearms, if the lessons from this research do turn out to apply.

[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

FL: State Asks Judge To Let Abortion Law Take Effect - CBS Miami
PA: PA governor promises abortion bill veto - The Morning Call
PA: Pennsylvania House starts debating abortion restriction bill - WTAE

Guns

CO: Concealed carry applications skyrocket in Colorado - The Denver Post
FL: The Septuagenarian NRA Uber-Lobbyist Behind Florida’s Weak Gun Laws - The Daily Beast
FL: Florida LWV wants Legislature to convene special session to address gun control issues - Florida Politics
FL: Florida Lawmaker Wants to Give Away an AR-15 - The New York Times
FL: Editorial: NRA still owns Congress, Florida Legislature - Tampa Bay Times
IN: State Rep: Indiana 'blew it' in James Howell case - WHAS 11
IA: Gun debate looms over 2017 Iowa legislative session - The Des Moines Register
NJ: NJ Legislators Target Administration's Efforts to Relax Gun Control Laws - NJ Spotlight
U.S.: Inside the Bloomberg-backed gun-control group’s effort to defeat the NRA - The Washington Post
U.S.: After Mass Shootings, It’s Often Easier to Buy a Gun - The New York Times

Health Care

MT: Montana nurses back legislation that would make assaulting healthcare workers a felony - KRTV

Labor

AZ: Regina Romero: Why I'm suing Arizona to help low-wage workers - Arizona Daily Star
MI: Michigan teachers unions explore possible merger - Crain's Detroit Business
MI: Michigan governor signs $617 million Detroit schools bailout - WALB
MN: Program targets teacher scarcities with loan relief - Minnesota Daily
NM: Group turns in petition signatures for paid sick day initiative - KRQE

LGBT

CA: Faith-based colleges say anti-discrimination bill would infringe on their religious freedom - Los Angeles Times
FL: Orlando mass shooting, aftermath rattle Florida’s gay-rights fault lines - Bradenton Herald
FL: LGBT rights activists want Florida Gov. Rick Scott to sign anti-discrimination rules after Orlando shootings - Tampa Bay Times
GA: Atlanta businesses chart own course on bathroom issue - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
NC: North Carolina LGBT Law Protesters Reunite for Orlando - ABC News
NC: Gov. Pat McCrory’s office blasts CMS transgender policy as 'breaking state law' - The Charlotte Observer
VA: Va. transgender bathroom case headed back to district court as Supreme Court considers appeal - Richmond Times-Dispatch

Voting Rights

AZ: Judge may rule on claims of Arizona voter suppression - Arizona Capitol Times
IL: Redistricting reform heads to court as Madigan forces try to block it from ballot - Chicago Tribune
KS: Kansas voting rules confusing for upcoming elections - The Hutchinson News
NC: Appeals court considers North Carolina’s controversial voting rules - The Washington Post

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

AL: Beyond Mike Hubbard: How Deep Does Corruption in Alabama Go? - New Republic
AL: Impeachment Investigation of Alabama Governor Begins - Associated Press
AL: Special primary election to replace Mike Hubbard set for Sept. 13 - AL.com
AZ: Republicans and Democrats see presidential race as key to shaking up state Legislature - Arizona Capitol Times
CO: Key primaries foreshadow Colorado legislature’s balance of power - The Denver Post
GA: Kenneth Zachary to seek state House District 151 seat as Democrats’ ‘backup plan’ - Albany Herald
ID: Democrat Kahn says Barbieri is beatable - The Spokesman-Review
ME: Can Republicans unite after divisive Maine Senate primary? - Bangor Daily News
ME: Clean Elections was a big winner in Maine’s primaries - Bangor Daily News
NV: Washoe Dems criticize GOP as general election season begins - Reno Gazette-Journal
VA: 1st Senate district race will be contested, as GOP and independent candidates declare - Daily Press
WI: Wisconsin Senate leader urges GOP to rally behind Trump - Associated Press

CONTACT

Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

fiddler@dlcc.org