Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

State of the States (Week of November 18th, 2016)

State of the States (Week of November 18th, 2016)

State of the States - a product of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

For the Week of November 18th



“Every day that we carry on with our current, duplicative method of registering voters is another day that taxpayers foot the bill for unnecessary government bureaucracy.”

- In a recent statement, Illinois state Sen. Daniel Biss (D) outlined Senate Democrats’ reasons for overriding GOP Gov. Rauner’s veto of an automatic voter registration bill. Following the Senate's 38-18 vote, the measure (which passed both chambers earlier this year with strong bipartisan support) will head to the House, where it will be considered when lawmakers return to Springfield on November 29. Sen. Biss, who co-sponsored the legislation that would automatically register voters seeking a new or updated license or other services from state departments, contended that “(The bill) has been thoroughly vetted, it makes sense and it should be the law in Illinois.”


Why Democrats can't lose sight of the real prize: The states

Paul Waldman (The Week)
November 17, 2016

It's no secret that the Democratic Party in the states has withered during Barack Obama's eight years in office. That usually happens — people tend to blame the president for everything from foreign crises to the crack in the sidewalk in front of their house, and take it out on his party — but the decline during this presidency has been particularly steep. And now, as Democrats try to claw their way out of the crater they find themselves in, they need to pay attention to the states, as much as they may not want to...

And it's going to be particularly hard now, given who just got elected president. Donald Trump will be so disastrous in so many ways — some of which we haven't even imagined yet — that it will be hard for any Democrat to turn their attention away from him. How can you worry about a state representative race when the president might plunge us into a nuclear war because somebody flamed him on Twitter?

It's not easy. But it's necessary.

The reason is not just that state legislatures and governors make laws that affect people's lives, but that what happens in states feeds into national politics. For instance, when the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it's Republican state legislatures that go on a voter suppression spree, putting up barriers to African-Americans and other likely Democrats getting registered and getting to the polls. That means fewer Democratic members of Congress get elected, and the Democratic presidential candidate has a tougher time. And the circle goes round and round...

For that to change, Democrats at all levels have to put the same kind of effort and thought into the state legislature that they do into national politics. There's nothing wrong with giving $100 to Hillary Clinton's campaign, but it would have made more of a difference to your local state representative candidate, who didn't have a half-billion dollar budget. The same is true if you're a major donor, or if you want to volunteer for a campaign, or if you want to do some lobbying on a critical issue, or if you want to run for office yourself. Every opportunity that exists on the national level can be found in a smaller version at the state level — where you can have more of an impact.

[Read More]

Despite harrowing election, Democrats make net legislative gain, picking up 4 chambers to GOP's 3

Stephen Wolf (Daily Kos)
November 11, 2016

Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory has rightly dominated the headlines, but Americans across the country voted in key elections for state legislatures, and it’s important we heed these developments, too. After the 2014 wave, Republicans dominated state legislatures at a level not seen since the Civil War, leaving Democrats optimistic about rebounding. However, while Trump’s resilience helped mute Democratic gains, Democrats still managed to net one legislative chamber this year.

Among the 86 chambers that held elections in 2016, Democrats gained control of four while Republicans secured power in three, leaving Republicans in charge of 68 chambers and Democrats just 31. Republicans gained total control over the legislature in Minnesota, Iowa, and Kentucky, while Democrats did the same in Nevada and New Mexico. Democrats also broke the Republican grip on the legislature in Alaska to produce a divided government between the two chambers there. The map at the top of this post details exactly which chambers changed hands.

[Read More]

Once again, Michigan Dems receive more votes in the State House, but Republicans hold onto power

Tom Perkins (Detroit Metro Times)
November 16, 2016

There's a lot of justifiable outrage over a Republican presidential candidate coming up short in the popular vote but winning the presidency for the second time since 2000...

But just as outrageous is the similar scenario that played out in the last two election cycles at the state level in Michigan. In 2014 and 2016, Democrats received more votes in the State House races, yet Republicans hold a huge 63-47 majority and push a deeply conservative agenda that a majority of voters don't want.

How could that be? That's classic gerrymandering. As MT reported a year ago, Republicans redrew the state's 110 state legislative districts in 2010 in such a way that Democratic voters are herded into a small number of districts. The majority of Republican voters, conversely, are spread among a much larger number of districts.

Whoever controls more districts controls the House. So "packing and stacking" Democrats into a small number districts makes it easy for Republicans to hold onto power, even if Democrats get more votes statewide. And when that happens, the government passes laws that are unpopular, but it's difficult to vote Republicans out of office.

To put it bluntly, gerrymandering is a legal form of election theft, and the results support that.

According to numbers posted on the Michigan Secretary of State's website, Democratic House of Representative candidates received 2,302,417 in 2016. Republican candidates received 2,283,727 — an advantage of about 18,000 for Democrats...

Voters only cast ballots for one senate race in 2016, but in 2014, the raw count came in close to even, yet Republicans hold a 27-11 majority.

[Read More]

DLCC 2016 Election Analysis

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
November 16, 2016

The 2016 elections were challenging for Democrats everywhere. As a result of this year’s surprisingly strong GOP performance, Republican power has expanded substantially at some levels of American government – but Democratic power expanded in state legislatures. Democratic power in statehouses will, on the whole, expand as a result of this year’s elections.

Democrats ended Republican majority control of at least four legislative chambers, including: the Nevada Assembly, the Nevada Senate, the New Mexico House, and the Alaska House.

The new Democratic majorities in Nevada will end GOP trifecta control of state government, empowering Democrats to fight for progressive priorities like education funding and other policies that fell victim to GOP obstructionism over the past two years of Republican control, including raising the state’s minimum wage and implementing paid family leave. Additionally, with Aaron Ford becoming Senate Majority Leader and the Democratic Caucus’s election of Jason Frierson as House Speaker, African American leaders hold two of the most powerful positions in Nevada government.

Winning a Democratic majority in the New Mexico House and expanding our majority in the state Senate clearly establishes a mandate for progressive solutions to the state budget crisis. Destructive GOP policies and Republican obstructionism have left the state with a $50 million budget hole, and the next legislative session will likely be dominated by budget cuts and revenue bills.

Democrats expanded their majorities in several chambers while maintaining crucial majorities in others. You can view a list of chamber gains here. Additionally, Democrats now hold 100 percent of the seats in the Hawaii Senate.

Other Democratic achievements include electing at least 89 Latina lawmakers across 24 states, including the first-ever latina to serve in Georgia's legislature, electing 228 Hispanic legislators nationwide, electing the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker in Minnesota, and electing over 40 Native American lawmakers, many for the first time, in 15 states.

DLCC’s investments and strategies in these down-ballot races empowered many of our candidates to overcome the challenges presented by this unique election cycle.

Democrats raised more money in the 2016 cycle than ever before, facilitating high-quality training of caucus and campaign staff that resulted in quality candidate recruitment, strong in-state fundraising efforts, and skillfully-executed campaigns nationwide.

DLCC made major early investments in our Grassroots Victory Program, DLCC’s national field operation that arms in-state organizers with the skills, training, and technology needed to run winning grassroots outreach campaigns. GVP operated in 21 states in 2016, with over 400 GVP-trained organizers accounting for over 13 million contacts in key legislative races.

The fight to build Democratic power in statehouses nationwide continues. Our nation’s forward progress depends on thwarting the ultra-conservative agenda pushed by GOP lawmakers across the country. Democratic lawmakers everywhere continue the fight against Republican policies to suppress voting, deny equal rights, oppress LGBT Americans, restrict choice, and undermine the economic security of hardworking families. Democratic legislators champion progress, equal rights for all, and the middle-class values that make America great. These battles endure in statehouses nationwide because Americans deserve better.

[Read More]



IN: Total abortion ban proposed in Indiana - Indy Star
KY: 7 ways GOP control of the Kentucky House might affect your life - Lexington Herald-Leader
NM: Abortion rights supporters find hope in local election results - NM Political Report
PA: Effort to impose new abortion limits in Pa. stall out on last Senate session day - PennLive
TX: Texas lawmaker wants to ban late-term abortions based on fetal abnormalities - The Dallas Morning News
TX: Texas Floats Radical New Abortion Laws - The Daily Beast
U.S.: Trump victory could imperil Roe v. Wade abortion ruling - WDSU
U.S.: Trump win resets culture war debate on abortion, LGBT rights - Associated Press


CA: Teachers union frets about rise of education change advocates: ‘It will have an impact’ - The Sacramento Bee
GA: Education reform proposals, some controversial, will be on agenda for Georgia legislators - Athens Banner-Herald
IA: Iowa lawmaker to colleges: ‘Suck it up, buttercup’ - Associated Press
IN: SBOE To Legislature: Expand Pre-K For ‘High Needs’ Children - Indiana Public Media
KY: Charter schools most likely a legislative priority for Republican-controlled chambers - The State Journal
MA: Recreational marijuana, charter schools, criminal justice reforms among Mass. Senate agenda for 2017 - MassLive
MA: Mass. voters reject ballot question on charter schools - The Boston Globe
ME: Recounts requested by opponents of legal pot, surtax to support public schools - Bangor Daily News
OH: Ohio superintendents protest at Statehouse over new graduation requirements - The Columbus Dispatch
OK: Backers of failed education tax vow to keep pressing for funds - Tulsa World
SC: Gov. Nikki Haley asks lawmakers to make education superintendent a cabinet position - The Post and Courier
SD: Will legislators try to take back teacher raises? - Argus Leader
TN: Trump's election may renew vouchers push in Tennessee - The Tennessean
TX: Bill filing day at the Texas Capitol revives old controversies - The Texas Tribune
WA: GCould school vouchers take hold in Washington state? - The News Tribune


CA: Opponents fight California gun measure, count on Trump - Associated Press
CA: How Nevada voters made Californians safer - The Sacramento Bee
FL: Florida gun killings soared by 30 percent after the Stand Your Ground law was passed in 2005 - Daily Mail
ME: Proposed expansion of gun background checks defeated - Portland Press Herald
NJ: N.J.'s ammunition tracking law 'open to abuse' - The Inquirer
NV: Ballot question closing background check loophole passes in Nevada - The Las Vegas Sun
WA: Gun-safety initiative heads to big win in Washington - The Seattle Times
WI: Wisconsin lawmaker to push bill allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry on private school grounds - Fox6

Health Care

AR: With all precincts reporting, medical marijuana measure passes in Arkansas by 70,000 votes - Arkansas Online
CA: California Democrats gird for health care battle under Trump - Associated Press
CO: Ballot Measures: Voters Reject State-Run Health Care, Pass Medical Aid In Dying, More - Colorado Public Radio
FL: Voters approve medical pot, dump solar amendment - Orlando Sentinel
KY: 7 ways GOP control of the Kentucky House might affect your life - Lexington Herald-Leader
MI: Michigan gets federal OK to spend $119M on lead abatement - Associated Press
TX: Bill filing day at the Texas Capitol revives old controversies - The Texas Tribune
TX: Under Trump, new questions about mental health benefits in Texas - The Texas Tribune
VA: Joint panel in Virginia to monitor health care policy changes under Trump administration - Richmond Times-Dispatch


AZ: Judge rules city council members, union can't challenge new state law - Arizona Daily Star
AZ: Prop. 2016: Arizona voters approve $12 minimum wage - Arizona Capitol Times
AZ: New minimum wage law provides paid time off for domestic violence victims - The Arizona Republic
CA: Teachers union frets about rise of education change advocates: ‘It will have an impact’ - The Sacramento Bee
CO: Colorado voters hike state minimum wage to $12 an hour - The Denver Post
FL: Teachers' union endures losses despite almost $3M in election spending - POLITICO
IA: Are changes to collective bargaining on the table in Iowa? - The Des Moines Register
KY: Right-to-work, charter schools on Kentucky chamber's 2017 legislative priorities - Bowling Green Daily News
MT: House Democrats focused on infrastructure, equal pay and paid leave - Bozeman Daily Chronicle
VA: Voters in Virginia reject 1 constitutional amendment, approve another - The Virginian-Pilot
WA: Voters approve minimum wage increase to $13.50 in Washington state - The Seattle times
WV: State labor leader concedes diminished influence on 2016 electoral outcomes - Metro News


KY: 7 ways GOP control of the Kentucky House might affect your life - Lexington Herald-Leader
MN: Minnesota judge lifts coverage ban for transgender surgeries - Star Tribune
NC: Fate of HB2 may rest with Trump administration - The News & Observer
NC: North Carolina voted against the state’s anti-LGBT law on Tuesday. It probably won’t matter - Salon
NC: Charlotte Chamber official: ‘Heaven knows’ how many deals lost over HB2 - The Charlotte Obersver
TX: Texas Lawmakers Launch New Attacks On Abortion, LGBTQ Rights - The Huffington Post
TX: Bills seek to stop bullying, protect LGBT rights - El Paso Times
TX: Texas Eyes 'Women's Privacy Act' That Critics Say Targets Transgender People - Reuters
TX: State Senator wants non-discrimination ordinances removed from Texas cities in new bill - WOAI
U.S.: Trump win resets culture war debate on abortion, LGBT rights - Associated Press
U.S.: 2016 State Legislative Report: Anti-Transgender Legislation Spread Nationwide - The Human Rights Campaign
U.S.: Tech Companies Prepare To Fight Anti-LGBT Bills In 2017 - BuzzFeed News

Voting Rights

AK: Alaskans approve voter registration measure, reject college loan plan -
AZ: Recorder Purcell punished for long voter lines - Associated Press
FL: Episodes of Election Day voter intimidation reported in Florida - Florida Politics
IL: Senate overrides governor's automatic-voter veto - Associated Press
MI: Once again, Michigan Dems receive more votes in the State House, but Republicans hold onto power  - Detroit Metro Times
NY: Fixing New York’s Broken Voting System - Gotham Gazette
OR: Turnout among Oregon 'motor voters' reached 43 percent - The Oregonian
TX: Bill filing day at the Texas Capitol revives old controversies - The Texas Tribune
TX: Both in court and under Trump, Texas Voter ID law faces uncertain future - The Texas Tribune
WI: UW researchers to study voter ID effect - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
WI: Milwaukee elections head says voter ID law hurt city's turnout - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
U.S.: Where the race is rigged - The Washington Post


AK: Musk Ox revolt: How Republicans lost control of the Alaska House for first time in years - Alaska Dispatch News
AZ: Still thousands of ballots left to tally in Pima County - Tucson Sentinel
AZ: Despite prospects for a 15-15 Senate, voters keep the status quo - Arizona Capitol Times
CA: GOP assemblyman defeated, giving California Democrats supermajority - The Mercury News
CO: Colorado continues split control of the state Capitol - The Colorado Independent
CT: East Haven Rep Survives Trump Wave, Holds Onto Seat Following Recount - CT News Junkie
CT: Looney says Wyman preserves Democratic majority in 18-18 Senate - CT Mirror
FL: Early voting ballots recounted Thursday after tight race for Fla. House seat - WPLG
FL: Down-ballot Republicans in Florida lifted by ‘Trump wave’ - Miami Herald
FL: GOP incumbents prevail to keep large majority in Florida House, but Democrats pick up seats - POLITICO
GA: Recount Thursday in Gwinnett County House district - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
HI: Hawaii State Rep. Clift Tsuji Dies - Honolulu Civil Beat
HI: Chang Tops Slom In Race To Unseat Hawaii’s Only GOP Senator - Honolulu Civil Beat
ID: Idaho women gain ground in Statehouse after Election Day - The Spokesman-Review
IA: Iowa's new Senate majority picks leaders - Quad-City Times
IL: GOP breaks Democrats' supermajority in Illinois House - Associated Press
KS: Democrats gain 12 in Kansas House; Finney County website controversy; which polls were right - CN|2
KY: House Democrats caucus for first time since Trump tsunami swept them out of majority - Lexington Herlad-Leader
KY: Defeated Democrat: ‘No way I could win’ with anti-Clinton voters - Lexington Herald-Leader
MD: Maryland Senate has three open seats — and lots of would-be senators - The Washington Post
ME: Maine Senate majority stays with Republicans as Democrats retain House control - Bangor Daily News
MI: Once again, Michigan Dems receive more votes in the State House, but Republicans hold onto power  - Detroit Metro Times
MN: New state Senate leader says social issues won't be major 2017 agenda items - Minnesota Public Radio
MN: Gridlock looms as Gov. Mark Dayton and Speaker Kurt Daudt dig in for two years - Star Tribune
MN: Minneapolis Elects Nation’s 1st Somali-American Lawmaker - Associated Press
MN: House DFL Leader Thissen to not seek re-election as caucus leader - KMSP
MN: Two state Senate recounts still a few weeks away - Minnesota Public Radio
MO: 'What the hell happened' in Missouri? The evolution of a newly minted Red State - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
MT: New Montana legislative leaders lay out session priorities - Associated Press
NC: Fellow Republican challenges North Carolina House speaker - Associated Press
NC: NC GOPer Denies Republicans May Try To Pack State's Highest Court - Talking Points Memo
NH: Hosmer trails French by 17 votes after recount in state Senate District 7 race - NH1
NH: Razor-thin margins in State House races prompt recounts - Union Leader
NM: Sanchez says focus on him led to other Dem victories - NM Political Report
NM: New Mexico Democrats regain control of State House - Associated Press
NM: Mapping the election: NM Legislature results - New Mexico In Depth
NV: State Sen. Patricia Farley to caucus with Democrats - Las Vegas Sun
NV: African-Americans hold 2 highest posts in state Legislature - Associated Press
NV: Nevada Democrats Buck GOP Tide, Win Statewide, Control Legislature - Nevada Public Radio
NV: Assembly Republicans pick Paul Anderson as minority leader, name other leaders - Las Vegas Review-Journal
NV: Blue Wave hands Democrats reins of Nevada Legislature - Las Vegas Review-Journal
NY: Clinton’s Lack Of Coattails Was Also A Drag On Ticket - State of Politics
NY: Flanagan Re-Elected GOP Leader In Senate - State of Politics
NY: WFP Warns Dems Against Aligning With Senate GOP - State of Politics
NY: Assembly Dem Conference Grows To 107 - State of Politics
OR: Oregon House Democrats look ahead to female majority in 2014 - The Oregonian
OR: Razor-thin races called: Democrats preserve majority in Oregon House, but give ground in Senate - The Oregonian
OR: Oregon voters approve array of measures - Associated Press
TN: Legal loophole allows donors to obscure state campaign contributions - The Tennessean
TX: Democrats pick up four Texas House seats - The Texas Tribune
UT: Still counting votes, some races seem too close to call - KUTV
VA: McClellan announces run for McEachin's state Senate seat - Richmond Times-Dispatch
VT: Ashe To Be Senate President Pro Tem - VTDigger
VT: Vermont Senate Shifts Left, House Remains Similar - VTDigger
WA: Dino Rossi says he’s willing to temporarily replace Hill in state Senate - The Seattle Times
WA: Shilling edges Kapanke by 58 votes in state Senate race - La Crosse Tribune
WI: Wisconsin GOP Credits Trump For Strongest Legislative Majorities In Decades - Wisconsin Public Radio
U.S.: Despite harrowing election, Democrats make net legislative gain, picking up 4 chambers to GOP's 3 - Daily Kos
U.S.: The six biggest outstanding races of 2016 - The Washington Post
U.S.: Why Democrats can't lose sight of the real prize: The states - The Week


Carolyn Fiddler
National Communications Director
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee