Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of March 28th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of March 28th, 2016)

The Week of March 28th, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

"To show you how much socialism has invaded our country, we are offering this bill."

-Arizona state Sen. Don Shooter (R), introducing a Republican-backed referendum to raise the minimum wage by a paltry $1.45 per hour by 2020... in an effort to strangle a proposed ballot initiative to raise the wage by $6.95 per hour. The GOP-backed measure would also ban localities from raising the wage on their own.

"Every gay person that I've known that has chosen that lifestyle were drugged up, irresponsible, overgrown children who drifted from one party to work to the next party, or public drama queens."

-Newly-minted Montana Republican candidate Brian Kenat (R), the sole challenger to Democratic Rep. Kelly McCarthy in HD-49, in a Facebook post earlier this year. As though attempting to prove that hate doesn't discriminate, Kenat added in an earlier post that "We've got enough Mexican restaurants!!"

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Maine Democrat Triumphant in Special Election

Victory Continues Trend of 2016 Cycle Successes

March 29, 2016 (DLCC.org)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Executive Director Jessica Post lauded tonight’s Democratic special election win in the Maine state Senate. On Tuesday, Maine Democrat Susan Deschambault won the special election in Senate District 32 with 57 percent of the vote. This victory comes on the heels of a series of special election successes in Kentucky and strong Democratic performances in competitive regions in last fall’s legislative general elections in Virginia and New Jersey.

“Congratulations to Senator-elect Deschambault on her victory in tonight’s special election,” said Post. “This latest win continues a clear pattern of Democratic successes that will continue into the fall – not just in state legislative elections, but all the way to the top of the ballot. Voters in Maine and across the country want government that reflects the American ideals of opportunity and freedom, and when voters bring those demands to the ballot box, Democrats win.

“As a former prison social worker and retired SEIU member, Sen.-elect Deschambault reflects not only the high quality of Democratic legislative candidates this year, but also the values Democrats represent,” Post continued. “Republican Gov. Paul LePage continues to push his extreme agenda – to the point that he even endorsed Donald Trump for president last month. But with this win, Mainers are demonstrating they’re ready to elect a Democratic Senate to keep Gov. LePage and his pro-Trump values in check.”

Senate District 32 encompasses parts of York County, including the towns of Biddeford, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport. The Maine Senate presents a prime opportunity to flip a chamber from a Republican to Democratic majority in November, and winning this seat was crucial to that effort.

This victory is just the latest in a series of Democratic successes in recent special and general state legislative elections. Last summer, Democrats won key special elections in previously-Republican suburban districts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Democrats went on to pick up seats in the Louisiana Senate, Virginia House, and New Jersey Assembly in last November’s general elections. On March 8, Democrats won three of four pivotal Kentucky House special elections, picking up a seat and increasing our majority. Also on March 8, Democrats flipped a Republican-leaning House seat in New Hampshire, where Democrats anticipate picking up majorities in both legislative chambers this fall.

[Read more]

How North Carolina’s controversial ‘bathroom bill’ could backfire on Republicans

Amber Phillips (Washington Post)
March 24, 2016

In a matter of hours, North Carolina became ground zero for the increasingly heated battle over gay and transgender rights -- not unlike Indiana's time in the spotlight last year.

And just like in Indiana, you could make the argument that the law North Carolina Republicans passed in just 12 hours on Wednesday could play right into Democrats' hands for the state's contested statewide races -- especially the 2016 governor's race.

In a dramatic special session Wednesday, North Carolina became the first state in the nation to require transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender they were born with rather than the one they identify with.

Lawmakers passed it in response to a nondiscrimination ordinance adopted last month by Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city and the state's commercial hub. Incensed state Senate Democrats walked out of the vote in protest, but Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who originally opposed the special session, signed the bill into law late Wednesday, saying it was necessary to protect North Carolinian families concerned about their privacy and safety.

So-called "bathroom bills" are a major flash point in the ongoing debate about LGBT rights since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year. South Dakota's Republican governor vetoed one earlier this month, and other states are considering their own.

[Read more]

COMING UP...

April 5

Special Election - California HD-31

April 9

Special Election - Louisiana HD-29

April 12

Special Election - Alabama HD-80

April 19

Special Election - New York SD-09
Special Election - New York HD-59
Special Election - New York HD-62
Special Election - New York HD-65

April 26

Special Election - Georgia HD-162 (runoff)
Special Election - Pennsylvania SD-09

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

AZ: House votes to restrict medication abortions to first seven weeks - Arizona Capitol Times

OK: Petition making abortion illegal will not proceed, state Supreme Court rules - Tulsa World

WI: Brad Schimel asks U.S. high court to reinstate abortion requirement - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Education

OK: No substitute: Oklahoma's schools are relying more heavily on substitutes amid teacher shortage, chronic absences - Tulsa World

Gun Safety

VA: National gun control groups target Virginia in state-by-state push - Daily Press

Health Care

KY: New Ky benefits system disrupting aid for many - Louisville Courier-Journal

US: SCOTUS Asks Objectors To Contraceptive Opt-Out: Show Us Better Alternatives - Talking Points Memo

Labor

AZ: Arizona Republicans want minimum wage hike, sort of - Arizona Republic

US: Supreme Court deadlock gives win to unions in fee case - Associated Press

LGBT

GA: Nathan Deal vetoes Georgia’s ‘religious liberty’ bill - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NC: AG Cooper: HB2 'a national embarrassment' - WRAL News

MO: ‘Religious freedom’ amendment backers say Missouri House must pass it as is - Missourinet

Redistricting

NC: You can’t make this up: Gerrymandered congressional map splits campus at nation’s largest HBCU - NC Policy Watch

TX: More Congressional seats are likely on the way - Houston Chronicle

Voting Rights

AZ: There Were 5-Hour Lines to Vote in Arizona Because the Supreme Court Gutted the Voting Rights Act - The Nation

TX: Appeals court sets May 24 re-hearing in Texas voter ID case - San Antonio Express-News

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

FL: Democrat Wheeler files for House District 21 - Gainesville Sun

GA: Special Georgia House District 162 election goes to runoff - Savannah Morning News

IN: State Senate candidate owes $14,000 in property taxes - Northwest Indiana Times

ME: Deschambault wins Senate District 32 special election - Portland Press Herald

MN: Nienow loses GOP endorsement in 4th term bid - Minnesota Public Radio

NC: Special session likely to boost legislators in contested races - Raleigh News & Observer

NY: Unpredictable battle for Orthodox Jewish votes in crucial Long Island Senate race - Politico New York

NY: Gipson to launch state Senate bid next month - The Journal News

EXTREME VOICES

AL: Hear the sexually charged recording at heart of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley scandal - Birmingham News

GA: Kansas senator compares long-term contraceptive use to eugenics - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

MO: Missouri senator says Illinois woes tied to gay rights - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

MT: Bigotry Defines New Crop of GOP Candidates for Legislature. Here’s the latest. - MT Cowgirl Blog

CONTACT

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