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State of the States: Democrats Suit Up for 2021-22

State of the States: Democrats Suit Up for 2021-22

State of the States: Democrats Suit Up for 2021-22

There’s a lot going on, so every Wednesday, the DLCC is sending a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed. It's March 17th, and here is the state of the states.

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  • The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee announced its initial battlegrounds for the 2021-22 election cycle. In the memo, the DLCC outlines a strategy to protect its Democratic majorities and mount a competitive challenge in GOP states where Democrats are down by just a handful of seats. The committee will also invest in building power across several states to make sure Democrats are set up to win for cycles to come. Read the full memo here.

  • Tens of millions of Americans could find it harder to vote in their next election, thanks to hundreds of GOP-led voter suppression bills in the states. Here’s a recap of all the legislation from last week in case you missed it.

  • There’s been an alarming rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans across the country since the pandemic began — including three horrific shootings in Georgia yesterday. Georgia Democratic Senator Michelle Au put a plea the day before, saying “all I’m asking right now, as the first East Asian state senator in Georgia, is simply to fully consider us as part of our communities. Recognize that we need help, we need protection, and we need people in power to stand up for us against hate.” 

  • Speaking on the Republican Party’s massive voter suppression effort, Arizona GOP Representative John Kavanagh said that “everybody shouldn’t be voting” because nonvoters are “totally uninformed on the issues… we have to look at the quality of votes.” Republicans are getting awfully comfortable saying the quiet part out loud. 

  • The Republican State Leadership Committee named actual conspiratory theorist legislators to its executive board this week. Some of the lawmakers urged Congress to overturn Electoral College votes and spread election conspiracies. But the star conspiracy theorist is Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, who called the insurrection on January 6th a “hoax.” Anyone who cares about our democracy should think twice before working with the RSLC and elevating these far-right, anti-democratic lawmakers.


GOP Fail

  • Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers decided to host their annual retreat at the luxury resort where the Bachelor was filmed. Bad timing to drop piles of cash when their constituents are struggling through COVID. Guess Victoria isn’t the only disappointing person to stay at Nemacolin this year. 

  • For months, Arizona GOP Representative Mark Finchem, infamous for his involvement with the Stop the Steal rally, has been droning on and on about bogus claims of electoral fraud — even going so far as to say he had definitive proof. Now, reporting reveals that he has yet to turn over his “proof” or even request a meeting with the state’s authorities.


Democratic Leadership

  • Virginia is the first Southern state with its own voting rights act — a huge step towards erasing racist laws around voting in the state.

  • Colorado Democrats are considering a bill that will reduce school suspensions, ban handcuff usage on elementary school children, and set higher standards for discipline — problems that disproportionately affect students of color.

  • Democrats in the Massachusetts Senate passed an ambitious climate change bill. Under this legislation, this state would reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


What’s Next

  • With the DLCC’s battleground states released, state Democrats are turning their attention to laying the groundwork for elections this year in Virginia and next year across the country. To hold our majorities and flip chambers blue, we’re prioritizing early money and early investments.