Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of April 4th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of April 4th, 2016)

The Week of April 4th



"Now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is gonna make a little bit of a difference as well."

-Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R), who helped pass the state's new voter ID law when he was a state senator, when asked by a local reporter how Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could carry Wisconsin in 2016. But aside from helping Republicans, the law's only other effect has been that it reportedly caused "major problems" at polling places in this week's primaries.

"I want teachers who won’t teach such vile things to our students."

-Virginia state Sen. Dick Black (R), responding by email to an AP English teacher who wrote to oppose Republican efforts at censorship in public school classrooms. The "moral sewage" Black objected to was actually the Pulitzer prize-winning work Beloved, a novel about slavery in the antebellum United States, which was named "the best work of American fiction of the last 25 years" by the New York Times.


The Republicans’ Gay Freakout

Frank Bruni (New York Times)
April 2, 2016

Our infrastructure is inexcusable, much of our public education is miserable and one of our leading presidential candidates is a know-nothing, say-anything egomaniac who yanks harder every day at the tattered fabric of civil discourse and fundamental decency in this country.

But let’s by all means worry about the gays! Let’s make sure they know their place. Keep them in check and all else falls into line, or at least America notches one victory amid so many defeats.

That must be the thinking behind Republican efforts to push through so-called religious liberty laws and other legislation — most egregiously in North Carolina — that excuse and legitimize anti-gay discrimination. They’re cynical distractions. Politically opportunistic sideshows.

And the Republicans who are promoting them are playing a short game, not a long one, by refusing to acknowledge a clear movement in our society toward L.G.B.T. equality, a trajectory with only one shape and only one destination.

They’re also playing a provincial game, not a national one, and scoring points in their corners of the universe at the expense of the Republican Party’s image from north to south and coast to coast, a brand that needed a makeover — remember the broadly ballyhooed “autopsy” following Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat? — and somehow didn’t get so much as a tweezed eyebrow or dab of blush....

What happened in North Carolina is a problem for Republicans atop the major trouble (Cruz, Donald Trump) that they already had. It exposes divides within the party that are ever more difficult to paper over and contradictions that aren’t easy to explain away.

[Read more]

Supreme Court upholds 'one person, one vote'

Lydia Wheeler (Washington Post)
April 4, 2016

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that a state or locality is allowed to draw its legislative districts based on total population alone.

The court issued a unanimous decision in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case challenging the 2013 redistricting of 31 seats in the Texas Senate based solely on 2010 census population figures.

The ruling affirms the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's decision, which sided with Texas. The state argued there was no legal basis for voters Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger’s claims that the new election districts were unconstitutional, violating the “one person, one vote” principle of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, because the districts were not divided in a manner that equalized both total population and voter population.

“This Court’s past decisions reinforce the conclusion that States and localities may comply with the one-person, one-vote principle by designing districts with equal total populations,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the majority opinion.

Ginsburg argued that requiring districts to be divided by voter-eligible population figures would upset what she called a “well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 states and countless jurisdictions have followed.”

“As the framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible to vote,” she said. “Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates and in receiving constituent services. By ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total-population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation.”

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito filed their own concurring opinions.

[Read more]


April 9

Special Election - Louisiana HD-29

April 12

Special Election - Alabama HD-80

April 19

Special Election - New York SD-09
Special Election - New York HD-59
Special Election - New York HD-62
Special Election - New York HD-65

April 26

Special Election - Connecticut HD-75
Special Election - Georgia HD-162 (runoff)
Special Election - Pennsylvania SD-09



AZ: FDA rule change undermines Arizona abortion bill - Arizona Republic

FL: Feds Could Block State Ban On Planned Parenthood Money - Naples Herald

MO: Planned Parenthood officials could face contempt proceedings in Missouri Senate - St. Louis Post‑Dispatch


KY: Bill extending incentives to steel mill passes Ky. Legislature - WSAZ News


KY: AG: Bevin's university budget cuts are illegal - Louisville Courier‑Journal


LA: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards set to testify in favor of increased minimum wage - Baton Rouge Advocate

ME: Maine GOP: No new spending unless lower wage hike option makes ballot - Bangor Daily News

MN: House GOP, Minnesota public unions ready to battle over contracts - Minnesota Public Radio


MA: Westfield's John Velis recipient of American Legion award - Westfield Republican

MO: Hero lawmaker urges colleagues to stop saying ‘physical’ when they mean ‘fiscal’ - Washington Post

VT: VT Senate leader decides against re-election - Burlington Free Press


NC: PayPal withdraws plans for Charlotte expansion over HB2 - Charlotte Observer

MI: New legislation aims to block plan to add voluntary LGBT guidelines - WWMT News

MS: Mississippi Governor Signs Sweeping Anti-LGBT Bill Into Law - BuzzFeed


NE: Legislature advances bill to restore Nebraska’s winner-take-all Electoral College method - Omaha World‑Herald

US: Why Monday’s Supreme Court decision on redistricting is an important victory over conservatives - Raw Story

Voting Rights

AZ: Federal Government Probing Long Lines at Maricopa County Presidential Primary Election - Phoenix New Times

MO: More stalling in Missouri Senate, this time on contentious Voter ID measure - St. Louis Post‑Dispatch

WI: Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law Caused Major Problems at the Polls Last Night - The Nation


IA: Holding the Iowa Senate - Bleeding Heartland

MA: Mass. Dems target Fattman's ties to fiscal conservative group - Worcester Telegram & Gazette

MI: Michigan Dems, GOP clash over Capitol View building - Battle Creek Enquirer

MI: Lamonte vs. Hughes, part 3: Pair face 3rd straight contest for state rep -

MN: Legislator involved in 'making out' scandal won't seek re-election - St. Paul Pioneer Press

NV: How dumb were Nevada Republicans not to have same-day registration at their caucus? Very dumb - Ralston Reports

VA: Special election will fill Miller's seat, but details not set - Daily Press

US: Businesses opposing N.C.'s HB2 helped elect legislators behind it - Facing South


FL: Criminal complaint filed in state Senate race - Key West Citizen

ME: LePage refuses to swear in senator-elect over nomination spat with Democrats - Portland Press Herald

MN: MN sponsor of anti-trans bill wants gays to ‘receive treatment’ for ‘unhealthy sexual addiction’ - Raw Story

VA: State Senator Emails AP English Teacher to Offer His Thoughts on Beloved (Too Many Breasts) - Gawker


Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee