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State of the States: Virginia is for Lovers...of Progress

State of the States: Virginia is for Lovers...of Progress

State of the States: Virginia is for Lovers...of Progress

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 31st, and here is the state of the states.

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  • This week the DLCC announced fifteen incumbent spotlight candidates running to keep Virginia’s House blue. The DLCC and state Democrats flipped Virginia for the first time in a generation in 2019 — and since then the commonwealth has made historic progress on voting rights, LGBTQ+ equality, health care access, criminal justice reform, and more. In 2021, protecting this majority will be a top priority for the DLCC.


  • GOP efforts to suppress the vote are never-ending. In Georgia, Republicans passed sweeping legislation that will give the legislature greater influence over county elections. It will also make it illegal to give people water while they’re waiting in line to vote, clearly targeting Black voters because wait times to vote are significantly longer in Black communities. In Michigan, Republicans proposed legislation that would require voters to attach a copy of their ID to absentee ballot requests and would ban counties from sending out absentee ballots with pre-paid postage. They even have a plan to subvert Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s veto. There’s more but you get the point.


  • Republicans are pushing a record amount of anti-transgender legislation — with at least 93 bills that would restrict the rights of transgender Americans. The worst of the worst is in Arkansas, where GOP lawmakers passed legislation that would prevent minors from accessing gender-affirming health care. They’ve also already passed a bill that would bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. As is the case with much GOP legislation: the cruelty is the point.


GOP Fail

  • Missouri Republicans are blatantly ignoring the will of the voters — who passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in 2020 — by refusing to allocate funds to expand health care access for 230,000 low-income Missourians, a move that could land them in court. If these GOP lawmakers get voted out of office, will they reject the will of the voters then too?


  • Texas Republicans are once attacking abortion rights with some of the most extreme bills in the nation. Letting literally anyone in Texas sue an abortion provider is a great (read: atrocious) way to protect reproductive health.


  • Minnesota GOP Representative Jeremy Munson is ready for secession! He introduced a bill (with no possibility of passing) that would allow Western Minnesota to join South Dakota, a state that “respects freedom and liberty” — i.e. has not followed COVID safety protocols.


  • Nevada Assembly Republican Leader Robin Titus released a conspiracy-fueled letter last Friday saying Nevadans were “disenfranchised” in 2020 and “election reforms” are needed. Her repetitive bogus claims of electoral fraud show she either doesn’t realize or care how dangerous these lies can be.


  • GOP Representative Mark Finchem of Arizona learned that he didn’t have enough power in the state legislature to overturn the 2020 elections — he’s running for Arizona secretary of state. “Fun” reminder that Finchem is affiliated with right-wing extremist groups and was in DC during the insurrection.


Democratic Leadership

  • Democratic Representative Park Cannon of Georgia was arrested last week — for politely knocking on the governor’s door while he was signing Georgia’s restrictive voting legislation. Representative Cannon stood up for our democracy when it mattered.


  • DLCC Secretary and Assistant Assembly Majority Leader Rob Bonta will be appointed as California’s first Filipino American attorney general. After faithfully serving his community in the legislature for almost a decade, Leader Bonta will continue to make California a better and more equitable place as attorney general.


  • Democratic lawmakers across the country are working to expand voting access. Maryland Democrats are working on legislation to better train election judges, Democrats in North Carolina are pushing for automatic voter registration, New Jersey Democrats passed legislation to make early in-person voting permanent, and Democrats in Washington passed a bill restoring voting rights to those convicted of felonies.


  • The last pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ social justice agenda was passed last week to reform health care and eliminate racial disparities in the health care system. The Democratic-led legislature already passed the three other pieces of legislation on criminal justice, education, and the economy.


What’s Next

  • With the recent ruling that states cannot sue for early Census data for redistricting, state legislatures and commissions are working to figure out what’s next for redistricting timelines. Keep an eye out for early signs of GOP gerrymandering.