Politics & leadership

Local Election Officials in Tough Spot on Cybersecurity | 08-17-2018

Cybersecurity has local election officials across the country caught between a rock and a hard place, according to those gathered at the annual DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas this month. They said they don’t have the knowledge or the resources...

Politics in Brief - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

UNION MEASURE HELPS DRIVE HIGH VOTER TURNOUT FOR MO PRIMARY MISSOURI’s Proposition A, a referendum on a law passed last year prohibiting mandatory union fees ( SB 19 ), helped drive turnout for the state’s Aug. 7 primary election to its...

Initiative to Split Up CA Barred from Ballot | 07-20-2018

In a unanimous ruling last week, California’s Supreme Court blocked an initiative aimed at splitting California into three separate states ( Proposition 9 ) from appearing on the state’s general election ballot this year, pending a future...

States Seek to Soften Blow of SCOTUS Union Ruling | 07-20-2018

Last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public workers who opt out of union membership can’t be required to pay fees supporting union collective bargaining efforts even if they benefit from them. The decision is expected...

Politics in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

CA REQUIRES REPORTING OF VOTER DATA BREACHES CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation last week requiring people and organizations that obtain voter registration data to report security breaches of that information. Assemblyman Marc Berman...

Politics in Brief - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

RANKED-CHOICE VOTING GETS INAUGURAL STATE-LEVEL RUN IN ME: In last Tuesday’s primary election, MAINE became the first state to use ranked-choice voting, already employed in about a dozen cities, including Minneapolis and San Francisco. Although...

Takeaways from Super Tuesday | 06-08-2018

Last week, in the most significant primary Election Day of the 2018 season, voters cast ballots in eight states: Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. Democrats got most of what they were hoping...

Politics in Brief - June 4 2018 | 06-01-2018

CA BALLOT MEASURE SEEKS TO CAP DIALYSIS CLINIC REVENUES: Backers of a proposed initiative in CALIFORNIA aimed at limiting dialysis clinics’ revenues to 115 percent of the average cost of dialysis treatment have submitted more than 600,000 signatures...

CA Voters Could Consider Splitting State in Three | 04-20-2018

Tim Draper, a billionaire venture capitalist based in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, is backing an effort to get a measure on the state’s Nov. 6 ballot that would divide the state into three parts: “Northern California,”...

Politics in Brief - April 23 2018 | 04-20-2018

NY AG SEEKS AUTHORITY TO PROSECUTE PRESIDENTIAL PARDONEES: NEW YORK Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking to change the state’s double jeopardy law to exempt cases involving presidential pardons. The change, if approved by the state’s...

Trump Threatens CA Enviro Rules | 04-05-2018

The ongoing war between California and President Trump heated up significantly last week, as the administration moved to challenge two of the Golden State’s cornerstone environmental laws. The first came on Monday when Environmental Protection...

Politics in Brief - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

FBI NABS AL LAWMAKER IN CORRUPTION STING : FBI agents arrested longtime ALABAMA Rep. Jack Williams, former state GOP Chairman Marty Connors and Trina Healthcare CEO Ford Gilbert last Monday on corruption charges. Gilbert is accused of devising a scheme...

CA Dems Could Spoil Party’s Congressional Plans | 03-16-2018

Deep-blue California’s primary system and a glut of Democratic candidates for the state’s June 5 primary election could end up hurting that party’s chances of retaking control of the U.S. House. The state has a top-two primary, in which...

Sessions Hits CA, CA Lawmakers Hit Back | 03-08-2018

Saying California is using “powers it doesn’t have,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed suit last week over a trio of Golden State laws he says inhibit federal immigration authorities from doing their jobs. “In recent...

Politics in Brief - March 12 2018 | 03-08-2018

MARYLAND SENATE PASSES TAX RETURN MEASURE : The MARYLAND Senate approved a measure last week that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a prerequisite for getting on the Old Line State ballot. That bill, SB 256 , is...

Politics in Brief - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

FL CONSIDERING RESTRICTING ACCESS TO VOTER INFORMATION: A bill introduced by FLORIDA Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R) would restrict voter information that has been publicly available for decades to election officials, voters inquiring about their own information...

Some States Act on Gun Control | 01-19-2018

Although there appears to be broad public support for some gun control measures , federal action on any of them seems unlikely in the current political climate. “The possibility of evidence-based firearm laws has become so politically toxic...

Land Grab Lesson for Border Wall Watchers | 12-15-2017

In the spring of 2007, long before presidential candidate Donald Trump began promising to build a wall along the border with Mexico, the federal government initiated one of the most aggressive seizures of private land in decades to build a fence to keep...

Politics in Brief - November 20 2017 | 11-17-2017

CA SENATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES TO BE INVESTIGATED BY OUTSIDE COUNSEL: CALIFORNIA’s Senate Rules Committee issued a statement last week indicating that an outside legal team will now be handling the investigation of any sexual harassment or...

Politics in Brief - November 13 2017 | 11-10-2017

KY HOUSE SPEAKER RESIGNS POST: KENTUCKY Rep. Jeff Hoover, the state’s first Republican House speaker since 1921, stepped down from that post last week over allegations of sexual harassment were made against him and three other Republican lawmakers...

CA Moves Up Primary Election Date | 09-29-2017

For the last few years, California has held its primary elections in June, which, in 2016, was after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had already become their respective parties’ presumptive nominees. Under a bill ( SB 568 ) signed by Gov. Jerry...

Politics In Brief - October 2 2017 | 09-29-2017

DHS CONTACTS STATES ABOUT 2016 ELECTION HACKING The Department of Homeland Security directly notified election officials in 21 states last month that they had been targeted by hackers connected to the Russian government during the 2016 election campaign...

CA Sues to Block Elimination of DACA | 09-15-2017

Last Monday, a week after the attorneys general from 15 states filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in 2012 through an executive order from President Obama, California...

New Strategy For Public Election Financing | 09-01-2017

The hope that public financing of elections might eventually get big private money out of politics ended with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , eliminating limits on political spending by...

Politics In Brief - September 4 2017 | 09-01-2017

JUSTICE ALITO STAYS TX CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REDRAW U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily stayed a lower-court ruling requiring two TEXAS congressional districts to be redrawn because they discriminated against minority voters, “pending...

CA Pushing To Extend Cybersecurity Requirement To Govt Agencies | 06-16-2017

In 2014, spurred by a series of cyberattacks, including the unauthorized access of millions of records at retail giant Target, California passed a law requiring businesses responsible for a security breach involving Social Security or driver’s license...

Politics In Brief - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

CA, NY Leading Legal Effort To Protect ACA Funding CALIFORNIA Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) and NEW YORK Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) are leading a coalition of states, including CONNECTICUT , DELAWARE , HAWAII , ILLINOIS , IOWA , KENTUCKY...

CA Assembly, Senate Vote for Earlier Presidential Primaries | 05-12-2017

By the time California held its primary election on June 7 last year, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were already their parties’ presumptive nominees. But under a pair of bills passed by their respective chambers of origin, the state would hold...

CA Assembly Votes to Lift Ban Against Communists | 05-12-2017

For decades California has banned members of the Communist Party from working in its government. But that could change under a bill ( AB 22 ) passed by the state’s Assembly this month providing for the removal of references to the party from requirements...

Politics In Brief - May 15 2017 | 05-12-2017

Congress Blocks State Retirement Plans Congress voted to eliminate an Obama-administration rule removing regulatory hurdles obstructing states from creating retirement programs for workers who don’t have access to retirement plans through their...

Politics In Brief - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

AL SENATE VOTES TO LET CHURCH CREATE OWN POLICE FORCE The ALABAMA Senate passed a bill ( SB 193 ) that would allow the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, located in the suburbs of Birmingham, to establish its own police force. The measure on behalf of...

CA Passes Transportation Bill | 04-14-2017

California lawmakers passed legislation this month ( SB 1 ) that will provide $52 billion in transportation funding over the next decade primarily by raising taxes on both gasoline and diesel fuel. Because of the tax provisions, a supermajority vote was...

Politics In Brief - April 17 2017 | 04-14-2017

JUDGE RULES TX VOTER ID LAW INTENTIONALY DISCRIMINATORY U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of TEXAS Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled that the state’s Republican controlled Legislature deliberately discriminated against minority voters when...

CA Senate Passes ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill | 04-07-2017

In a direct challenge to the immigration policies of President Donald Trump, California’s Democrat-controlled Senate passed a bill ( SB 54 ) along party lines last week that would “prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including...

Politics In Brief - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

AR Revives Voter ID Law ARKANSAS’ Republican-controlled House approved a voter ID bill last week ( HB 1047 ) that is nearly identical to a voter ID law unanimously struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in 2014. Four of the justices in...

CA Dems Pick Fight With Trump on Immigration | 12-09-2016

gaveling in a new session last week, Democrats who hold a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the California Legislature drew a line at the state’s border in defiance of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies. The...

CA Cities, Counties Ban Pot Sales Ahead Of Legalization Vote | 11-04-2016

San Jose, California’s third-largest city by population, and dozens of other cities and counties across the state, have banned sales of marijuana ahead of a Nov. 8 vote on whether to legalize pot for recreational use. If passed - which appears likely...

Politics In Brief - October 17 2016 | 10-14-2016

Effort to Reverse Gun Control Laws Fails in CA An effort to qualify referendums for the November 2018 ballot on six gun control laws passed in CALIFORNIA this year has failed. Organizers only managed to collect an average of about 166,000 signatures...

Politics In Brief - September 19 2016 | 09-16-2016

MO Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Photo ID Bill MISSOURI’s Republican-controlled General Assembly voted last week to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 1631 , a bill requiring voters to show a government-issued photo...

CA Voters To Reconsider Bilingual Education | 08-12-2016

In 1998 California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 227, mandating that English learners in the state be taught only in English rather than in bilingual programs in which instruction is provided mainly in students’ native language until...

GOP AGs Take Congress To Task On Unfunded Mandates | 08-05-2016

Last month Republican attorneys general of 15 states sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate majority and minority leaders Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) expressing their concern...

Politics In Brief - July 18 2016 | 07-15-2016

Medical Pot Initiative Qualifies for AR Ballot An initiative to legalize medical marijuana has received enough valid signatures to qualify for ARKANSAS’ Nov. 8 general election ballot. But the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act will have to overcome...

Gun Rights Movement Suffers Setbacks in Courts | 07-08-2016

Last month a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 7-4 in Peruta v. San Diego that “the right to keep and bear arms” granted by the Second Amendment doesn’t extend to concealed weapons. The case originated...

CA Voters to Weigh Death Penalty Repeal | 07-01-2016

California voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to do away with the death penalty and replace it with the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Secretary of State Alex Padilla(D)certified last month that enough valid signatures...

Politics In Brief - July 5 2016 | 07-01-2016

CA Voters to Consider Legalization of Recreational Pot California voters will have an opportunity in November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the nation’s most populous state, with a random sample of the over 600,000 signatures...

Politics In Brief - June 13 2016 | 06-10-2016

CA Voters Approve Lawmaker Discipline Proposition By a margin of 75.2 percent to 24.8 percent, California voters approved the sole statewide initiative on the state’s June 7 ballot, Proposition 50, allowing the Legislature to suspend members...

CA Bound for Ballot Measure Stampede | 06-03-2016

California looks to be headed for another busy and expensive campaign season. More initiatives have already qualified for the state’s November ballot than in the last two decades. “We’re expecting at least 15, maybe as high as...

Politics In Brief - May 9 2016 | 05-05-2016

Auto Voter Registration Comes to VT VERMONT Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed legislation that will automatically register eligible residents to vote when they apply for a driver’s license. The law, which will take effect in 2017, makes Vermont the...

Politics In Brief - March 14 2016 | 03-11-2016

AZ Restricts Collection of Early Ballots ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill (HB 2023) passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature that makes it a felony for anyone other than a family member, caregiver, roommate, election official...

Politics In Brief - January 11 2016 | 01-08-2016

Expensive Ballot Battle Coming to CA The California secretary of state’s office announced last month that a measure imposing price controls on state drug purchases has qualified for the state’s November 2016 ballot. The California Drug...