Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of June 2nd, 2016)

State of the States (Week of June 2nd, 2016)

For the Week of June 2nd
TABLE OF CONTENTS
KEY QUOTES
“It's absolutely mind-boggling that the state Legislature hasn't passed the supplemental for Flint. This is an emergency. We have a clearly demarcated population that does not have access to safe drinking water.”
Michigan Pediatrician Dr. Monda Hanna-Attisha  made this statement in an interview before this year's annual Mackinac Policy Conference. The Flint pediatrician discovered high levels of lead in Flint's children and is disappointed that the state's GOP controlled state legislature and executive branch have not passed an aid package for the struggling city, as this legislative season winds down. Hanna-Attisha will use her 10 minutes of speaking time at the conference to talk about the Flint crisis and ask for donations to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund.
“(Voters) don't have to pay a poll tax, they don't have to pass a literacy test...The franchise is a fundamental right. We don't put up obstacles to allow people to vote.”
Illinois state Representative Will Guzzardi (D) and other Illinois Democrats are working to make Illinois the fifth state to allow automatic voter registration. Guzzardi and his allies argue that automatic voter registration will lower the barrier to vote for lower-income citizens or those who live far away from registration centers.
STORIES OF THE WEEK
DLCC Grassroots Victory Program Kicks Off Groundbreaking 2016 Field Efforts
Carolyn Fiddler (The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee)
June 1, 2016
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post kicked off the DLCC’s first Grassroots Victory Program training of 2016 today with a call to action for the field campaign professionals gathered from across the country. The three-day training (June 1-3) assembles field organizers in the nation’s capital to hone skills and reinforce best practices in everything from volunteer recruitment and voter contact techniques to community engagement and candidate management. The innovative curriculum features immersive simulation exercises and provides field organizers with data-driven tools and methods that will push Democratic candidates to victories in close down-ballot races this fall. On-the-ground GVP-trained organizers helped tip the scales in some of the closest races in the country last cycle; in districts where these organizers were deployed in 2014, Democrats won 70 districts by fewer than 1,000 votes, including districts critical to holding Democratic majorities in chambers in Colorado, Iowa, Maine, and Oregon. In 2012, 483 legislative elections nationwide were decided by 500 votes or fewer.
“Grassroots energy must be built from the ground up, and grassroots outreach is essential to down-ballot Democratic victories in November,” said Post. “The 2016 election cycle provides a unique opportunity for Democratic state legislative candidates to win landmark victories, and this week’s GVP training is a key component of DLCC’s path to state-level successes this fall. GVP arms in-state organizers with the techniques and technology needed to run winning grassroots outreach campaigns. Over the next three days, we’ll engage our field teams in intensive, simulation-style trainings and arm organizers with targeting tools needed to make data-driven decisions and implement robust and effective door-to-door voter contact programs.”
Boosting the Farm Teams
Susan Milligan (U.S. News)
May 27, 2016
…In a crazy political year with a reality TV star, a democratic socialist and a former first lady/secretary of state in a nasty battle for the White House – not to mention an increasing number of hot U.S. Senate races that could flip control of the chamber entrusted with confirming Supreme Court nominee – who cares about state legislative candidates?
Both national parties do, even as they wage a high-stakes battle for the presidency and other federal offices. Democrats and Republicans have set up committees solely dedicated to electing more of their own to the 99 state senates, assemblies and houses around the country (Nebraska's legislature is unicameral). ...
Democrats are likely to make some gains, Jacobson says… And Democrats eagerly agree with that assessment.
"It looks great. It looks really, really great," says Carolyn Fiddler, national communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. It's a presidential campaign year, a cycle in which Democrats tend to do better, "and that sort of turnout definitely benefits down-ticket Democrats," she notes. (Republicans, conversely, historically have been more likely to pick up seats in mid-term elections).
Some legislators are retiring, giving an opening to Democratic challengers. And 15 states have various term limits for state legislators, some of whom will feel the impact this year or in 2018. Those states include Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, Maine, Arizona and Florida – all states where seats are in play.
Jacobson's handicapping of the races shows 27 state legislative chambers' control in play, 18 of which are now controlled by Republicans, and nine by Democrats. Jacobson ranks seven of the GOP-run chambers as tossups, and just one Democratic-controlled chamber in danger of flipping.
The DLCC is more bullish: Fiddler says Democrats expect to take back the Colorado senate and both chambers of the Nevada legislature. Democrats stand to pick up seats or regain control also in The Maine senate; both houses in New Hampshire (which has a large number of retirements this year); the New York State senate (which technically is majority Democratic now, but one of the Democratic lawmakers caucuses with the GOP); the West Virginia senate; both Michigan and Florida chambers, where Tea Party-aligned lawmakers are beginning to term-limit out; the New Mexico House, the Minnesota House, the Iowa House and the Washington Senate.
COMING UP...
June 7
Special Election - Mississippi HD-29
Special Election - Ohio CD-08
Presidential Caucus - North Dakota (Democratic)
Presidential Primary - California
Presidential Primary - Montana
Presidential Primary - New Jersey
Presidential Primary - New Mexico
Presidential Primary - South Dakota
LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN
Abortion
US: 14 states have passed laws this year making it harder to get an abortion - The Washington Post
AZ: Both sides declare victory in abortion battle - Arizona Capitol Times
IN: Abortion law raises new questions about fetal burial - Greensburg Daily News
Guns
CA: STATE ASSEMBLY: Stricter penalties for firearm theft passed - The Press Enterprise
Labor
KY: Judge: Bevin's executive order is like a 'neutron bomb' - Lexington Herald Leader
LGBT
KS: Kansas also will challenge Obama transgender directive - The Washington Post
MA: Massachusetts House Overwhelmingly Passes Transgender Rights Bill - CBS Boston
OK: Is Oklahoma trying to be America's least progressive state? - The Guardian
Voting Rights
IL: Illinois could become the fifth state with automatic voter registration - Daily Herald
KS: Thousands of voter in limbo Kansas demands proof they're American - Reuters
LA: House committee OKs use of student IDs for voting - The Advertiser
VA: Virginia black caucus holding Roanoke rally to oppose rights restoration lawsuit - The Roanoke Times
CAMPAIGN UPDATES
AZ: Wife of state senator to run for husband's seat - Arizona Central
KS: Political experts see upcoming legislative races as referendum on Brownback - Lawrence Journal-World
MN: Here's who's running for the Minnesota Legislature - MinnPost
NV: Down the ticket, primary races take shape in Nevada - Las Vegas Sun
VT: Russell Retires, Endorses Howard For House Seat - VTDigger
WA: Handful of races could flip political control of Legislature - The Seattle Times
CONTACT
Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

fiddler@dlcc.org