For the Week of 5/5/2017
While President Trump was unable to deliver on many of his campaign promises in his first 100 Days, statehouse Democrats across the country did deliver on their promise to fight back against Trump’s GOP. As Trump continues to govern by Executive Order and House Republicans pass their heinous Trumpcare bill, Democratic legislators have been working to pass responsible legislation on a wide range of issues to safeguard their constituents’ rights and interests. To mark Trump’s 100 Days, DLCC highlighted the accomplishments of our Board members and Democratic legislators across the country on their work to protect health care, reproductive rights, public education, the environment, and more.
As Texas Republicans continue to push anti-LGBT legislation, DLCC Board member Rep. Eric Johnson is working to expand protections for the LGBT community. Rep. Johnson’s bill seeks to update state law to protect all Texans, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, from employment discrimination. Despite the economic and reputational harm from North Carolina’s HB2, more state Republicans are falling in line behind Texas’s own “bathroom bill.” Rep. Johnson distinguished the opposing goals of the legislation: "Making people feel like they are part of society,” he said of his bill. “Trying to help people live the American dream and live their lives and the bathroom bill is about trying to make people feel miserable."
Two important pieces of legislation sponsored by DLCC Board member and Florida House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz are headed to Governor Scott’s desk. Both bills were unanimously passed by the state House and will provide important health care and voting rights protections. One bill will allow patients to better synchronize their prescriptions plans, an important step in combating medication nonadherence and poor health. The second bill will require the Supervisor of Elections to notify voters if their signature was rejected. This will give Floridians a chance to correct the problem and ensure their vote is counted. “The right to vote is one of the fundamental pillars of our democracy,” said Leader Cruz. “Passing this bill gives Floridians the chance to fix problems with their signature and ensures their voice is heard at the ballot box. I’m pleased that all of my colleagues in the House, as well as the Senate, joined me to pass this much-needed legislation.”
In a pre-election strategy memo obtained by The Washington Post, Virginia Republicans lay out their fears that changing demographics and “Democrats’ recent streak of statewide victories” could signal the beginning of the end for the Virginia GOP. State Republicans’ letter to high-dollar donors suggests the party is in full panic mode ahead of the 2017 elections, as state Democrats tout record-breaking levels of candidate recruitment and enthusiasm in the Trump era. Gaining ground in the Virginia House of Delegates this cycle is a crucial part of DLCC’s multi-cycle strategy to combat Republican gerrymandering ahead of 2021 redistricting. While Republicans are running their lowest number of candidates in recent memory, Democrats are running our highest number of candidates and will have a talented contender on the ballot in 85 of 100 districts. While Virginia Republicans attempt to scrounge up rural voters, motivated Democrats and an energized grassroots progressive community are already resisting Trump’s GOP in the streets and in the statehouse.
Drawing on Democratic values and the core belief that every voice matters, DLCC Board Treasurer and Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford introduced legislation seeking to automatically restore voting rights for felons who have paid their debt to society. While presenting the bill, Leader Ford provided data showing that about four percent of the state’s voting-age population is ineligible to cast a ballot. Additionally, people of color and poorer individuals are disproportionately affected by the loss of voting rights. The bill, co-sponsored by House Speaker Jason Frierson, has passed the Senate and has garnered broad support from right- and left-leaning organizations.