For the Week of 3/15/2019
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:
It’s been a tough few weeks for Republicans in Georgia, who will finally have to answer for their widespread voter suppression tactics in the 2018 election. In addition to a pending investigation from congressional Democrats, the American Civil Liberties Union is now suing four of the largest counties for “failing to provide adequate resources at the polls in 2018,” which created an “undue burden” on voting rights. In the days after the election, reports circulated that voters in Atlanta and in Gwinnett County had to wait in line for hours, and many people did not get to vote at all. With help from the DLCC, Georgia Democrats were able to break the Republican supermajority in the Senate in 2017. The DLCC will continue this fight to reclaim both chambers in 2020. Electing more state Democrats is the only way to protect Americans’ voting rights from the perennial threat of Republicans’ voter suppression tactics.
While Democratic-led states work to overturn archaic voter restrictions, Republican-led states are moving in the opposite direction. Iowa Republicans want to make election laws even more restrictive by closing polls an hour earlier and banning early voting from state-owned buildings and public universities. Their bill would also make it more difficult for veterans and voters with disabilities to make it to the polls. Iowa Republicans could learn from Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Mexico who have recently expanded “pro-voter” measures. The DLCC is dedicated to electing more Democratic lawmakers in critical races who will fight for the sacred right to vote.
With a new trifecta of Democratic power, Democrats in Nevada join other progressive states in fighting against President Trump’s disastrous environmental policies. Nevada is now the 23rd Democratic-led state in the U.S. Climate Alliance. These states have pledged to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025. A separate bill introduced in the legislature aims to establish greenhouse gas emissions goals for the state, along with an annual assessment of emissions. The DLCC continues to train and support candidates who will fight for the well-being of our environment. With more Democrats in office, future generations will be able to thrive in a healthier world.
Despite the fact that there is on average, one mass shooting for each day in America, Republican lawmakers continue to pass dangerously lenient gun laws. Kentucky is the latest Republican-controlled state to pass a permitless gun carry law – on the anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland – which “would allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training.” Additionally, the law eliminates previous training requirements for gun owners. Across the aisle, Democratic lawmakers have prioritized gun safety in the aftermath of some of the country’s deadliest mass shootings. With the help of the DLCC, more Democrats will be elected this year and in 2020 to turn the tide against gun violence.
Republican state lawmakers have no limits when it comes to attacking women’s reproductive rights. In the latest show of Republican extremism, nearly a dozen circuit court judges – including four who were appointed by President Trump – ruled that the GOP can defund Planned Parenthood services and clinics across the state. $1.5 million in annual funding from the state health department, primarily used for breast cancer and cervical screening, STI prevention, and sex education, is on the line. President and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Southwest Ohio Kersha Deibel said, “This law would have an outsized impact on groups who have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality care…. Blocking access for Ohio’s underserved is unethical and downright dangerous for Ohio.” While Republicans try to block women’s health care access, Democrats in states like New York have enacted laws to protect this fundamental right.
- Massachusetts House votes to ban conversion therapy for minors [MassLive]
- [Washington] House approves minimum wage parity for disabled workers [AP]
- Upset With Dems' Rapid Lawmaking, Colorado Republicans Try To Gum Up The Works [Colorado Public Radio]
- State legislation to curb abortion rights is surging. What's next? [NBC News]
- Maryland school funding legislation calls for $1 billion over two years [Baltimore Sun]
“With the halfway mark of the session behind us, I was excited to get to work today. But instead we are reading a 2,000 page at length that eliminates obsolete provisions. And by we, I mean the non-partisan staff. The party who made the motion is down to 4 members on floor.”
– Sen. Kerry Donovan
While Colorado Democrats are hard at work passing major legislation, their Republican counterparts are more interested in throwing temper tantrums. The DLCC continues to work with state Democrats who will actually put the work in to pass substantive legislation.
3/19/19: Minnesota HD-11B & Iowa SD-30 Special Elections
3/26/19: South Carolina SD-6 Special Election
4/2/19: Pennsylvania SD-37 Special Election
* Check out a full list of upcoming state legislative special elections on our website