Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

The Friday Five - January 11, 2019

The Friday Five - January 11, 2019

For the Week of 1/11/2019

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:

1.    Democrat wins Northern Va. state Senate seat vacated by Jennifer Wexton

Only 45 minutes after polls closed in Virginia last Tuesday, Senator-elect Jennifer Boysko declared victory in the special election for SD-33. The DLCC Spotlight Race candidate and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates defeated her Republican opponent with almost 70 percent of the vote. With Virginia Democrats just two seats away from regaining majorities in both the state House and Senate, Senator-elect Boysko’s victory was critical. The DLCC invested $10,000 to boost Get Out The Vote efforts in the district.

2.    Virginia races will gauge Trump’s appeal in suburbs

Since Trump won the White House, the DLCC and state Democrats have been working in overdrive, flipping over 400 seats from red to blue and regaining majorities in eight chambers. Nowhere was this more evident than in Virginia in 2017, when the DLCC and Virginia Democrats flipped 15 state House seats from red to blue and Virginians elected a Democratic Governor. Now, with Democrats just two seats away from regaining majorities in both the state House and Senate, a special election win already under our belt, and prominent Republican legislators choosing retirement over a tough re-election, the DLCC and Virginia Democrats are ready to deliver another hit to Trump and his Republican Party in November. The DLCC is committed to creating a new trifecta of Democratic power in the commonwealth in 2019 and announced an initial early investment by the DLCC of $1 million last December.

3.    Most Diverse State Legislature In History Begins 2019 Session

Colorado state legislators are back to work in the most diverse legislature in state history. There are more LGBTQ lawmakers, more Latino lawmakers and, in the Colorado House, more women lawmakers than men. Last November the DLCC and Colorado Democrats flipped the state Senate from red to blue, establishing a Democratic trifecta in the state, and House Democrats won their largest majority in more than 80 years. With Democrats in charge of the Colorado Senate, Senate Democrats elected Senator Leroy Garcia as Senate President, making him the first Latino President of the Colorado Senate. These victories brought scores of newcomers to the capital -- a critical step in increasing representation in state government.

4.    Texas Democrats Line Up Pro-LGBT Bills as State Legislature Opening Day Arrives

Ahead of the start of the Texas legislative session this week, state Democrats lined up bills to expand the rights of LGBTQ Texans. Unlike previous sessions, when Republicans’ “bathroom bill” was a legislative priority for the GOP, this year no such bill has yet been filed. Democrats filed legislation seeking to ban “certain discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression” in housing, public accommodations and employment, making it a criminal offense. While Republicans maintain a governing trifecta in the Lone Star State, after the 2018 elections, five LGBTQ lawmakers (all women) now serve in the Texas Legislature, the highest number ever. After picking up 12 seats in the state House and two seats in the state Senate last November, Democrats are nine seats away from regaining the majority in the Texas House and just four seats away in the Senate.

5.   Voting Rights Restored for 1.4 Million Ex-Felons in Florida

A constitutional amendment took effect, Tuesday, that automatically restores the voting rights of some 1.4 million Florida residents with past felony convictions. Floridians passed Amendment 4 last November, with 65 percent of voters supporting the measure to automatically restore the voting rights of former felons who have completed all terms of their sentence and who were not convicted of murder or a felony sex offense. With the Trump administration jeopardizing the accuracy of the 2020 Census and redistricting just around the corner, it is imperative that we elect state legislators who believe in the power of the ballot box and will do everything possible to empower the voice of the American people.

- DLCC and Virginia Senate Democrats Win Special Election [DLCC Press Release]
- These maps shown when each state legislative chamber is up for election [Daily Kos]
- Equal Rights Amendment one step closer in Delaware [WHYY]
- Boysko Wins Wexton Seat [Alexandria Gazette Packet]

"Voting is the constitutional right of every American citizen. Lawmakers should be working to increase access to the voting booth, not inventing ways to keep voters away from the polls. The photo ID requirement prevents the most vulnerable Virginians from voting and silences the voices of those who most need to be heard."
-- Virginia State Delegate Kaye Kory

Earlier this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he is introducing a legislative package that would repeal voter identification requirements and implement no-excuse absentee voting. The package also addresses campaign finance, proposing to limit large campaign contributions, ban contributions made directly by corporations and businesses and ban the use of campaign funds for personal use. With Virginia Democrats only two seats away from regaining majorities in both the Virginia House and Senate, the DLCC is committed to delivering a new trifecta of Democratic power next November to help Gov. Northam and Virginia Democrats keep the Commonwealth moving forward.

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