For the Week of 2/1/2019
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
Democrats' gains in state legislatures didn't end with last November's elections. Five lawmakers from suburban districts in three different states announced they would be leaving the Republican Party and joining Democrats across the aisle. Since Trump was elected, eight Republican state legislators have switched their party affiliation to Democrat, while four other legislators switched from Republican to Independent. Notably, three Kansas women legislators were so off put by Republicans’ extremism and detrimental policies, that they left the powerful Republican majority to join Democrats in the minority. Republican extremism has already repelled voters – and now its own members are walking away, saying they can ‘no longer stomach’ remaining part of the problem. When asked about this phenomenon, DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post stated: “We are an inclusive party, bounded by the belief that elected officials are responsible for delivering the best representation possible for those they were elected to serve…we are proud that we can provide a home for legislators who put people before party.”
Back with a new trifecta of Democratic power, New York is once again leading the pack in passing ground-breaking legislation. This week New York lawmakers approved the “most comprehensive set of gun bills in the state in six years, including measures that would ban bump stocks, prohibit teachers from carrying guns in schools and extend the waiting period for gun buyers who do not pass an instant background check.” After the DLCC helped New York Democrats flip the state Senate from red to blue last November, Democratic lawmakers have wasted no time in passing legislation to move the Empire State forward. Congratulations to DLCC Board member and New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on this legislative achievement – and the many more to come.
North Carolina is one of just 12 states that has not expanded its Medicaid program. But DLCC Board member and Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue and North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation to change that. North Carolina Democrats introduced legislation this week to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 670,000 North Carolinians. Last November, the DLCC helped North Carolina Democrats pick up 10 seats in the state House and six seats in the state Senate, breaking Republicans’ supermajorities in both chambers.
New Hampshire Democrats are getting straight to work after the DLCC and state Democrats flipped both legislative chambers from red to blue last November. This week state Democrats began their legislative push for a statewide paid family leave program. The plan includes 12 weeks of paid leave at up to 60% of a worker’s salary. Employees could use the benefit for the birth or adoption of a child, to take care of a sick family member, or to manage their own serious illness. In the past, state Republicans blocked similar measures to help working families; but now, with Democrats leading the New Hampshire legislature, addressing the needs of Granite State families is a top priority.
The DLCC and state Democrats are fighting back against the harmful voting laws put in place by Republicans these past eight years. Since 2010, all but a few of the 25 Republican-controlled states enacted laws to make it more difficult for their constituents - most often those from minority communities - to make their voices heard at the ballot box. By imposing strict voter ID requirements, slashing the voter rolls, and rolling back early voting periods, state Republicans have disenfranchised those they were elected to serve. But last November, the DLCC and state Democrats flipped over 400 seats from red to blue and established eight new Democratic majorities in legislative chambers from coast to coast. Now, Democrats in New Mexico, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and beyond have the support they need to fight for the rights of their constituents. With critical post-2020 redistricting on the horizon, the DLCC is dedicated to electing more Democratic lawmakers who will protect the sacred right to vote and uphold our democratic process
- DLCC Report: How we won in 2018 [Medium]
"Morally, the party is not going where my compass resides…I’m looking forward to being in a party that represents the ideals that I do, including Medicaid expansion and funding our K-12 schools."
-- Kansas state Senator Barbara Bollier
In December, Kansas state Senator Barbara Bollier left the Republican Party behind and joined the Democratic Party. Heading into this year’s legislative session, she is feeling a sense of relief, stating: “I don't have that pit in my stomach…That stress of knowing I don't agree with so many of the policies" brought forward by Republicans. Since November 2016, eight Republican state legislators have switched their party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. The DLCC is proud these legislators are standing up to ensure their constituents’ best interests are represented in legislatures, and we welcome them to our party.
2/5/19: Minnesota SD-11 Special Election
3/5/19: Rhode Island HD-68 Special Election
3/12/19: Pennsylvania HD-114 Special Election
4/2/19: Pennsylvania SD-37 Special Election