For the Week of 3/29/2019
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:
Florida Republicans have once again demonstrated that they are not interested in providing equitable voting access for all citizens. Florida voters sent a clear message in November by passing Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to former felons. Now, Republicans have introduced multiple bills to dampen its intended benefits. One proposal states that those with felony records must pay off “any financial obligation from a felony conviction, even those not directly connected to their original sentence.” Republicans have made it clear that they prioritize their own power over everything else – to the point of refusing to allow those with the right to vote the opportunity to do so. The DLCC will continue to work with Florida Democrats to uphold every Floridian’s constitutional right to vote. More Democrats in state offices across the country will ensure that these unlawful voter suppression tactics will become a relic of the past.
In a major victory for reproductive rights, a federal judge issued a strong rebuke of Republican lawmakers intent on policing women’s bodies. The judge ruled against the North Carolina law, which banned women from getting an abortion after 20 weeks. While Republicans pass dangerously restrictive reproductive legislation, Democrats continue to champion progressive legislation to ensure women’s access to safe reproductive health care. With the help of the DLCC, Democrats across the country are ready to flip even more chambers in the fight to protect women’s rights.
More and more Democratic-led states are pushing back against Trump and Republicans’ repeated attacks on health care. New Jersey is the latest state to create its own health care exchange rather than relying on the federal government, as Republicans in Congress continue undermining the Affordable Care Act. Governor Phil Murphy said the state exchange would “make healthcare more accessible, accountable and more responsive to consumers.” Other Democratic-led states with similar state exchanges include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Democratic lawmakers have proven time and again that they will fight for their constituents to have access to affordable and accessible health care, unlike their Republican counterparts.
Wisconsin Republicans are finally being held accountable for sabotaging the outcome of the November elections that resulted in a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years. After Judge Frank Remington issued a temporary injunction on some of the provisions that were passed last December during the lame-duck session, on Tuesday, another judge blocked the “laws that would shift powers away from [Governor Tony] Evers to the GOP-controlled Wisconsin legislature.” Wisconsin Republicans cannot get away with overriding the will of the voters, and the DLCC is working with Democrats in the state to ensure that they won’t have control of the legislature in the crucial years to come.
After a historic year that saw more than 1,200 Democratic women elected to office, female lawmakers in state legislatures across the country are championing legislation that has been dismissed by legislatures in the past. The New York legislature now has 70 women, the most women in the history of the state. This remarkable achievement is made even more significant by the fact that exactly 100 years ago, New York’s first female legislators arrived at the Capitol. The female lawmakers in office today are carrying on this important legacy. In just two months, women in New York have successfully pushed for legislation on women-centered issues like contraceptive coverage and abortion. It is no coincidence that this has been a truly monumental year for progressive legislation in the New York legislature. With more Democratic women in office, progressive legislation that seeks to protect the most vulnerable among us will continue to move forward.
- 41 states have tried to pass abortion restrictions this year, as Georgia votes on a new ban: Report [ABC News]
- Ohio Senate passes bill requiring women who have abortions to choose burial or cremation for fetal remains [The Hill]
- Undeterred by Medicaid Rulings, Some States Advance Work Requirements [Governing]
- Judge rules North Carolina's 20-week abortion ban is unconstitutional [CBS News]
- Maryland Overrides Governor’s Veto to Approve $15 Minimum Wage [The Hill]
“Their unwillingness to get answers to even basic questions about the technology they voted for is a dereliction of duty to the voters and taxpayers in our state.”
– Sen. Elena Parent (D)
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is getting ready to sign a bill that would replace the current voting system with machines that are considered vulnerable to hacking. Security experts “warn that an intruder can corrupt the machines and alter the barcode-based ballots without voters or election officials realizing it.” Despite repeated warnings from cybersecurity experts and election integrity advocates, Republicans have continued to deny that hacking could pose a grave concern in upcoming elections. By disregarding serious threats, Republicans continue to promote their own interests at the expense of voters.
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