Politics & leadership

Politics in Brief - October 19 2018 | 10-19-2018

GA GOV EXTENDS VOTER REGISTRATION IN FOUR COUNTIES HIT BY HURRICANE MICHAEL GEORGIA Gov. Nathan Deal (R) issued an executive order last week extending the state’s Oct. 9 voter registration deadline for four counties where Hurricane Michael forced...

Banner Year for Voting Rights Ballot Measures | 10-12-2018

In November voters in Arkansas and North Carolina, two states where voter ID laws have been struck down by the courts, will decide whether such requirements will be enshrined into their respective constitutions. And voters in Montana will decide whether...

Electronic Voting Experts Express Concern About Wireless Voting Machines | 10-12-2018

A group of 30 researchers, activists and scientists signed a letter this month urging the federal government to issue an official warning to states that use voting machines with integrated wireless technology that the machines are vulnerable to hacking...

Politics in Brief - October 8 2018 | 10-05-2018

WV SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SPARED IMPEACHMENT After over an hour of deliberation, the WEST VIRGINIA Senate voted 32-1 not to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker over her part in a court spending scandal. Three of the state’s other justices...

Will Scores of Newly Registered Young Voters in FL Show Up | 09-28-2018

So far this year, about 450,000 people have registered to vote in Florida. Thanks to the youth movement spurred by the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February and big spending by various groups on get-out-the-youth-vote drives, about a quarter...

Politics in Brief - September 17 2018 | 09-14-2018

NM SUPREME COURT RULES OUT STRAIGHT-TICKET VOTING The NEW MEXICO Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) did not have the authority to reinstate straight-ticket voting after that option was discontinued...

Politics in Brief - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

EDUCATION FUNDING MEASURE OFF AZ BALLOT The ARIZONA Supreme Court has blocked a measure from the state’s November ballot that was aimed at increasing the tax rate on residents making more than $250,000 a year from 4.54 percent to 8 percent to...

Voters Gravitate to Political Poles in Key Aug. 28 Primaries | 08-31-2018

Primary elections were held in three states on Aug. 28. And a few of the results suggest that the energy of the Democratic and Republican parties is moving to the left and the right, respectively. In Florida’s gubernatorial primaries, Democrats...

Politics in Brief - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

STATES TEMPORARILY BLOCK 3D PRINTABLE GUNS U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik temporarily blocked the TEXAS -based company Defense Distributed from publishing blueprints on the Internet for making plastic guns on 3D printers. That decision came...

Voting Rights Effort Shifting to Ballot Box | 07-13-2018

A number of voting-rights measures are bound for states’ ballots this year. In Florida, for example, voters will weigh whether ex-felons should be allowed to vote. In Maryland, voters will decide whether people should be allowed to register to vote...

Push for ‘Top-Two’ Primary in FL | 07-06-2018

A grassroots campaign has kicked off in Florida to open the state’s primary elections to all voters and advance the two top finishers, regardless of their party affiliation, to the general election. Last week, a group called Florida Fair and Open...

FL Considering Change to Election System | 06-08-2018

In the 2016 presidential election, over two-thirds of Florida voters cast their ballots early or by mail rather than at their local polling place on Election Day. That fact has election officials in the state thinking about switching from traditional...

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...

Politics in Brief - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

STATES CHALLENGE CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION: At least a dozen states have filed suit to block the Trump administration from adding a question to the 2020 Census asking about citizenship status. The Trump administration says the question is necessary...

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...

Felon Voting Right Restoration System Struck Down in FL | 02-09-2018

A federal judge has struck down Florida’s clemency system for restoring the voting rights of ex-felons, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments. “Florida strips the right to vote from every...

FL Constitution Revision Committee Hard at Work | 12-08-2017

Over 100 proposed amendments to Florida’s Constitution are currently being considered by a commission that meets every 20 years. Among other things the proposals would make it harder for state lawmakers to increase taxes, create a patients’...

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...

New Front Opens In GOP Fight Against Unions | 08-18-2017

After Republicans won control of the Iowa Senate last year, giving them control of both the legislative and executive branches of that state’s government, they enacted a package of labor reforms curbing the collective bargaining rights of public...

City-State Power Struggle in FL | 03-31-2017

Several bills before the Florida Legislature would significantly limit the power of local governments in the state. They include HB 17 , which would require cities to obtain legislative approval before adopting new regulations impacting businesses; SB...

Politics in Brief - April 3 2017 | 03-31-2017

FL PASSES TERM LIMITS FOR JUDGES: The FLORIDA House narrowly approved legislation - the first of its kind in the nation - limiting the terms of judges and Supreme Court justices in the state to 12 years. HJR 1 still has to pass the Senate and be approved...

Politics In Brief - October 24 2016 | 10-21-2016

VA Voter Registration System Slowed to Crawl by ‘Unprecedented Activity’ VIRGINIA’s online voter registration system slowed down last Monday - the last day to register to vote in time for the Nov. 8 election - to the point of being...

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 - July 11 2016 | 07-08-2016

CO Redistricting Initiative Stricken from November Ballot The COLORADO Supreme Court has voided an initiative bound for the state’s November ballot (Initiative 132) that would have turned over the job of drawing legislative and congressional...

Politics In Brief - May 16 2016 | 05-13-2016

CO Has Most Female Lawmakers COLORADO has the highest percentage of female legislators in the nation, at 42 percent, according to analysis of National Conference of State Legislatures data by InsideGov.com. Although that rate is significantly higher...

Politics In Brief - February 22 2016 | 02-19-2016

Happy Obama Day? A bill filed by a Chicago representative would make President Barack Obama’s birthday Illinois’s 13th paid state holiday. Rep. Andre Thapedi (D) filed the measure Feb. 2, and is awaiting approval from the Illinois House...

FL Lawmakers Push to Loosen Term Limits | 12-04-2015

Legislative terms in Florida are currently limited to a maximum of eight years. But a pair of lawmakers in the state - Sen. Rene Garcia (R) and Rep. Mark Pafford (D) - are looking to change that. They’ve proposed legislation to expand the state’s...

FL Senate Remap Effort Fails in Legislature | 11-13-2015

Any hope that Florida lawmakers would be able to determine new boundaries for the state’s Senate districts - in accordance with a settlement they reached with voting rights groups and voters over the map approved in 2012 - ended this month when...

Politics In Brief - November 16 2015 | 11-13-2015

MI Straight-Ticket Voting Ban Fast-tracked legislation moving through the MICHIGAN Legislature would eliminate voters’ ability to cast straight-ticket ballots for candidates of a single party. Supporters of SB 13, which was approved by committee...

2010 Redistricting Still Not Done in Some States | 09-04-2015

States usually complete the process of legislative redistricting shortly after the U.S. Census Bureau updates its population numbers every 10 years. But the remapping based on the last census in 2010 is still dragging on in a few states. In Florida...

FL Takes Up Court Ordered Remap | 08-14-2015

Florida lawmakers returned to Tallahassee last week for a 12-day special session to draw new congressional districts in accordance with a state Supreme Court ruling that found previous maps drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature...

Solar Power Initiative Touches Off City Feud In FL | 07-31-2015

The Florida League of Cities, which represents more than 400 municipal governments in that state, has filed a legal brief with the Florida Supreme Court urging it to reject a citizens’ initiative bound for the state’s November 2016 ballot...

FL Supreme Court Rejects Congressional Remap | 07-17-2015

The Florida Supreme Court threw the state’s political landscape into chaos this month when it threw out the congressional district map drawn by the Republican-led Legislature in 2010, as well as a revised map drawn by the Legislature last year,...

Politics In Brief - June 22 2015 | 06-19-2015

The head of the Orlando-based group People United for Medical Marijuana announced a “massive, statewide paid petition effort” to get a constitutional amendment allowing medical pot on FLORIDA’s 2016 ballot. A medical pot amendment fell...

Online Voter Registration Coming To FL | 05-29-2015

This month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed legislation requiring the state to implement an online voter registration system by October 2017. The decision was somewhat of a surprise because the bill, SB 228, was sponsored by a Democrat, Sen. Jeff Clemens...

Politics In Brief - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

Bloomberg Philanthropies Improves Policymaking Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, plans to spend $42 million on the What Works Cities Initiative, which will help 100 cities...