Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

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

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


For the Week of September 28th
TABLE OF CONTENTS

KEY QUOTES

“We are in the midst of an unconstitutional budget crisis. The governor and House Republicans should be focused on working toward a plan to get us out of this mess…Instead, they’re going to run up the tab on taxpayers by focusing on issues better suited for a regular session, while distracting the public and the media from their reckless approach to budgeting.”

New Mexico state Representative Antonio "Moe" Maestas (D) criticized GOP Governor Martinez and state Republicans for their attempt to divert attention from the GOP's disastrous mismanagement of the state's economy by shifting the agenda for the upcoming special legislative session to crime and punishment. In a Facebook post discussing items to be addressed during the special session, Martinez neglected to mention the half a billion dollar budget shortfall, and instead wrote that she will ask legislators to reinstate the death penalty and reconsider a "three-strikes" law that would mandate a life sentence for those who commit three crimes on a "certain list." Her proposal drew immediate criticism from opponents of the death penalty, including the Catholic Church. Republicans used the same ploy during a regular session earlier this year and failed to pass many of their biggest crime bills. Critics accuse Martinez of appropriating recent local tragedies for political gain before the November election, while others rebuke her decision to inevitably extend the special session by adding hot-button items to the agenda, costing taxpayers even more money.

“There’s a reaction throughout the state after two years of the Republican control of the legislature that is not favorable.”

West Virginia state Representative Stephen Skinner (D) was optimistic about Democrats' odds of flipping control of the state Senate in a statement to Huffington Post in a piece outlining DLCC's plan for statehouse victories this November. With Republicans barely holding on to their 18-16 majority in the Senate and blowback from recent GOP legislation (like the enactment of "right-to-work" legislation meant to gut organizing rights) becoming more apparent, Democrats will aim to capitalize on Republican weakness at the state level to flip the chamber.

STORY OF THE WEEK

Some Good News For Dems For A Change: Trump Could Cost GOP A Ton Of State Legislatures

Ryan Grim, Paul Blumenthal, Michael McAuliff (The Huffington Post)
September 24, 2016

Over the past few years, major donors, national Democrats, the White House and state officials have begun organizing to win back state houses that have been dominated by Republicans since 2010.

And even as the presidential race tightens nationally, Democrats are increasingly confident the party will be able flip a significant number of state legislative chambers, riding a wave of disgust with GOP nominee Donald Trump. At least 14 state House or Senate chambers are well within reach, according to a Democratic memo circulated this week.

Presidential election years are better for Democrats, as the party’s voters tend to sit out midterm cycles, when Republicans rack up big wins down-ballot at the state level. And 2014, with ISIS sweeping across the Middle East and the country panic-stricken over Ebola, was a particularly bad year for Democrats, meaning a sizable number of blue seats are now in Republican hands, ripe for retaking.

As Congress has become snarled in dysfunction, power has shifted laterally to the White House and the Supreme Court, and has devolved downward to states. Republicans have made major gains there, and have enacted an often-times extreme conservative agenda that voters are now reacting against. (In Kansas and Louisiana in particular, where the most extreme experiments played out, the states have become utter basket cases ? so much so that Louisiana recently elected a Democratic governor.)

State-level races are also gaining importance with the approach of 2020, when elections will determine who draws future district lines based on the next census. In 2010, the tea party wave delivered most of the country’s state legislatures to Republicans, who used the wins to gerrymander state-level and congressional districts. Those districts mean it’s much more difficult for Democrats to take back the U.S. House. In 2012, for instance, more people voted for Democratic congressional candidates than Republican ones, but Republicans still comfortably control the House.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which coordinates state-level efforts, sees prime opportunities in the following 14 states. At the same time, Democrats are playing defense in some places, in danger of losing their control of the Kentucky House and the Iowa Senate.

[Read More]

[Read DLCC's Memo: Inside DLCC's Plan for November Statehouse Victories]

COMING UP

Voter Registration Deadlines, State by State - The New York Times

When does early voting start in every state? - POLITICO

November 8 -

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

Abortion

TX: Texas Won't Budge on Fetus Burial Rule - Texas Tribune

Guns

CA: Brown signs bill requiring guns to be locked when left in cars - SF Gate
NV: Breaking through the noise in the background checks initiative - Reno Gazette-Journal
WA: Backers of Gun Violence Restraining Order Initiative Say Similar Connecticut Law Has Saved Dozens of Lives - The Stranger
WA: Spokane Valley could become a Second Amendment sanctuary city under councilman’s proposal - The Spokesman-Review

Health Care

AR: Arkansas Medicaid rolls top 317,000 in August - Arkansas Online
AR: Arkansas lawmakers OK mental health Medicaid cap - Associated Press
AR: Poll: Arkansas voters split on medical marijuana proposals - Talk Business & Politics
CA: California Governor Signs Bill to Disaggregate Asian-American Health Data - NBC News
CA: Governor Brown Just Signed a Major PrEP Education Bill - Frontiers Media
CO: Amendment 69 in Colorado: Everything you need to know about statewide health care system ColoradoCare - The Denver Post
FL: Poll: 73% of voters support medical marijuana ballot initiative - Saint Peters Blog
NJ: Tucker, Caputo, Giblin, Mosquera & Jimenez Bill to Create Public Awareness Campaign on Child Car Safety Approved by Assembly Committee - New Jersey Assembly Democrats
TX: Reasons for Texas' surge in pregnancy-related deaths cloaked in secrecy, bad data - Dallas News

Labor

CO: Amendment 70 in Colorado: Everything you need to know about proposed minimum wage hike - The Denver Post
WI: Court throws out suit over Wisconsin 'right-to-work' law - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

LGBT

CA: Governor Brown Just Signed a Major PrEP Education Bill - Frontiers Media
CA: California bans government travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people - Los Angeles Times
NC: Big investors join list of heavyweights against North Carolina 'bathroom bill' - The Guardian
NC: McCrory, Cooper spar over HB2 repeal - News & Observer
NC: Lawsuit challenging NC magistrate law on gay marriage dismissed - News & Observer
NC: Charlotte loses NAIA Cross Country Championships over House Bill 2 - The Charlotte Observer
PA: 'Stop erasing us': Pennsylvania bisexuals face ignorance, discrimination - PennLive
TX: Texas Association of Business Comes Out Against Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bills’ - The Texas Observer

Voting Rights

AZ: Arizona Democrats seek 1-day extension of voter-registration deadline - The Arizona Republic
GA: Georgia agrees to add thousands to voter rolls ahead of Nov. election - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
IL: Judge’s Ruling Reduces Election Day Registration In Illinois - Illinois Public Media News
KS: Voting rights group says 6,570 Kansas registrations purged - Associated Press
KS: Kobach ordered to tell Kansas voters that their fall ballots will count - Associated Press
MO: Opponents of Amendment 6 join forces to defeat photo voter ID - The Missouri Times
OH: Voting rolls may not be restored despite court ruling - Dayton Daily News
OH: How many were removed from Ohio's voter rolls? It's a mess - Cincinnati.com
SC: Furman students sue county over voter registration - Greenville Online
TX: Judge Orders Texas to Rewrite Voter ID Education Materials - The Texas Tribune
TX: Texas appeals voter ID ruling to the Supreme Court - Dallas News
VA: Appeals court to hear challenge to Virginia’s voter-identification law - The Washington Post

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

AZ: Ducey aims to maintain legislative majority with IE - Arizona Capitol Times
AZ: Taxes, education dominate battle for open Senate seat in LD18 - Arizona Capitol Times
CA: How Latino voters and legislators are changing California politics - Los Angeles Times
CA: Donald Trump takes center stage in a Santa Clarita Assembly race attack ad - Los Angeles Times
CO: The big spending is on for state House and Senate races - Colorado Independent
CO: JeffCo’s House District 23 has first open seat in 14 years - Colorado Independent
CT: GOP candidate Chris Diorio quits targeted state House race - CT Mirror Times
DE: Women make gains in Delaware politics - Delaware Online
FL: Tampa Bay Senate candidate Bob Buesing releases first TV ad - Tampa Bay Times
FL: Ben Diamond puts up first TV of general election campaign for HD 68 - Florida Politics
FL: Environmental group targets Dana Young in wake of Mosaic sinkhole incident - Florida Politics
IL: Absentee voting begins in Missouri, early voting in Illinois starts Thursday - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
IA: Latino Voter Outreach Trying To Boost Rolls By 10,000 - Iowa Public Radio
IN: Voter registration reaches Hoosier high - Indy Star
MA: Baker Calls threat allegations 'unbelievably disturbing' - Boston Globe
MI: Absentee voting becomes Michigan’s latest battleground - Detroit News
MN: These races could decide which party takes control of the Legislature - MPR News
MN: Both sides spending heavily for control of Minnesota state government - Star Tribune
MO: Absentee voting begins in Missouri, early voting in Illinois starts Thursday - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ND: Democrat state Senate candidate Fielding drops out - The Dickinson Press
NM: Voter registration surges after statewide mailing - KRQE
NV: Field of candidates for open legislative seats finalized before special session - Las Vegas Sun
NY: SD-7: Haber Releases First TV Ad - NY State of Politics
NY: NYSUT Endorsement Could Have Major Impact In SD-60 - NY State of Politics
OH: Black lawmakers tour Ohio to encourage voters to get to the polls - The Columbus Dispatch
TN: Tennessee House majority leader says 'timing was right' to step down - Times Free Press
TN: Democrats hope for political gains after Jeremy Durham scandal - The Tennessean
TX: Austin Democrats line up to replace Dawnna Dukes in Texas House - Austin American-Statesman
TX: Texas has added more than 1 million new voters since 2012 - Dallas News
WI: Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee Purchases TV Time - Star Tribune

CONTACT

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