For the Week of 3/22/2019
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:
State lawmakers in Republican-controlled states across the country will stop at nothing to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Kentucky is the latest state to enact restrictive abortion measures, with a “fetal heartbeat” law, but it faces a challenge from the ACLU on behalf of the only abortion clinic in the state. A handful of other Republican states, including Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee have passed or are considering similar legislation to place undue restrictions on women. With Republicans in state legislatures posing a grave risk to women’s health, the DLCC will continue to support Democrats who will fight for women in the most at-risk states to ensure that their reproductive rights are upheld.
While the Trump Administration puts our nation’s waterways at risk by allowing petroleum exploration and extraction along the coastlines, the Oregon legislature is acting to protect them. With an expanded Democratic majority in both chambers, Oregon just approved a 10-year offshore drilling ban that would apply to state and federal waters. Democratic lawmakers in California, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey have enacted similar bans in response to the federal government’s blatant disregard for the environmental threats facing the planet. The DLCC is hard at work helping to elect Democrats who will step up to protect our environment.
A month after Texas Republicans wrongfully flagged tens of thousands of voters for citizenship review, they continue to pass legislation that obstructs voters' rights. An "election integrity" bill introduced this week "would raise criminal penalties for certain election-related offenses," including making it a misdemeanor to block a sidewalk, walkway, or parking lot within 1,000 feet of a polling place. As one local official testified, "One thousand feet could be across the street, in a neighboring lot" – in other words, this is just another attempt by the Texas GOP to intimidate people from voting. With the help of the DLCC, Democrats across the country are fighting back against harmful voter suppression tactics like these in Texas.
It should come as no surprise that almost all the states with the strictest photo ID laws are led by Republicans. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee have the most stringent voter ID laws in the country. In 2016, a circuit court blocked a restrictive Kansas law that required voters to bring documents proving their citizenship before registering to vote, calling it “a mass denial of a fundamental constitutional right.” Now, a federal appeals court is set to consider the law’s constitutionality. Republicans continue to falsely raise alarms over fraudulent voting because they know their power is slipping away as they are voted out in droves. Democrats across the country, meanwhile, continue to win elections because voters know which party will uphold their constitutional right to vote.
With a new Democratic majority in the Senate, Colorado will become the 16th Democratic-led state to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors, joining New York, California, Oregon, Maryland, and Vermont, to name a few. Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor elected in the country, will sign the bill into law, which bans a practice that has a history of traumatizing members of the LGBTQ community. Electing more Democrats to office ensures that these prejudiced practices will not be tolerated in a modern, progressive society.
- What the “wave of women” elected in 2018 looks like in the 2019 Texas Legislature [Texas Tribune]
- GOP won more seats in 2018 than suggested by vote share [AP]
- Judge restores Wisconsin governor’s powers, strikes down GOP laws [NPR]
- Florida felon voting rights imperiled amid GOP opposition [Politico]
- Abortion would automatically be illegal in these states if Roe v. Wade is overturned [CBS News]
“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.
3/26/19: South Carolina SD-6 Special Election
3/30/19: Louisiana HD-17, HD-18, HD-62 Runoff Elections
4/2/19: Pennsylvania SD-37 Special Election
* Check out a full list of upcoming state legislative special elections on our website