Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

Trousers Ablaze: | 01-13-2017

Spinning the truth to suit your own needs is a time honored political tradition. But in our current hyperpartisan world, that spin has turned into a whirlwind that too often spits out downright falsehoods. Such is the case in California, where Assemblymember...

Luggage Flies Free; Bunnies Not So Much: | 01-13-2017

Count California Congressional Rep. Duncan Hunter among those not fond of the House Office of Congressional Ethics. As noted by the San Diego Union-Tribune , that’s because the results of a recent audit of Hunter’s campaign expenditures ended...

OH, SNAP! | 01-13-2017

Nobody can ever claim that Mark Callahan isn’t persistent. Since 2009 the Oregon Republican has run for numerous offices big and small, from the presidency to a local community college board, some of them many times over. To date, he has won exactly...

I Like You, Just Not That Much: | 01-13-2017

A California Assembly committee came together last week to grill state attorney general nominee Xavier Becerra. When it came time for Assemblymember James Gallagher, a Republican, to pose his questions, he noted that Becerra, a Democrat, was the only...

Stupid Idea of the Year | 12-16-2016

There are bad ideas and then there are ideas that reek like an animal that crawled up and died inside a wall of your house. A new proposal from a trio of Washington state lawmakers is definitely in the latter category. As Sports Illustrated reports ,...

Gunning for the Governor’s Job | 12-16-2016

Speaking of guns, it’s pretty much a requirement these days for a Republican candidate for any office – and in some states, Dems too – to be to the far right of Yosemite Sam when it comes to firearms. Hence, Prince William County Board...

What Hath Trump Wrought | 12-16-2016

Love him or hate him, reality TV star Donald Trump has definitely shaken up the world by winning the White House. And for better or worse, nothing says success quite like having someone try to copy you. Enter former Saturday Night Live cast member Joe...

Sounds Like A Wild Time | 12-09-2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a slew of bills last week. As is usually the case with such mass signings, the bills address a wide range of serious issues like the use of solitary confinement in prisons and economic development. Perhaps less notable...

Nearing Blagojevich Territory | 12-09-2016

Speaking of Chris Christie, the approval rating of the man formerly known as a viable presidential candidate has dropped into the teens. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, just 19 percent of New Jersey residents approve of his job performance, making...

Good Luck with That | 12-09-2016

Newly-minted North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper campaigned in part on repealing the state’s controversial “bathroom bill” that bars transgender people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. But while a strong majority...

Common Sense For The Defense | 12-02-2016

Lawyers generally have a long list of dos and don’ts in the course of their work. One that would seem to be obvious in any such a compilation would be to not have sex with the clients they represent. Obvious everywhere, that is, except California...

Contradictions In Contradictions | 11-18-2016

Donald Trump’s surprising victory last week has roiled households, workplaces and the public square. Supporters are of course elated while opponents are not. That very scenario is playing out in earnest at the University of Virginia, where the Washington...

No Raise For You! | 11-18-2016

Speaking of moral dilemmas, New York lawmakers can forget about getting a pay raise any time soon. As the New York Times reports, the state commission on such matters has declined to endorse a proposal to give Empire State pols their first pay hike in...

Highway Robbery | 11-11-2016

Last week California voters handily endorsed Proposition 63, a ballot measure to regulate ammunition being sold in the Golden State. In the days leading up to the election, voters received a slick, glossy mailer featuring Senate President pro Tem Kevin...

Hillary Got Gored | 11-11-2016

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he stuck to his plan to not cast a vote for president last week. As the Boston Herald reports, it was a first for Baker, which he noted left him “disappointed.” Here’s guessing it wasn’t half...

Just So Much Wrong With This | 11-04-2016

Texas state House candidate Kyle Biedermann isn’t wasting any time living down to the shady stereotype many folks have of elected officials. As the Texas Tribune reports , Biedermann recently took great pains to invite a host of Lone Star State...

Judge, Jury, Executioner...Uh, Clerk | 11-04-2016

A request to place an early voting site on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus recently met with a pretty interesting reason for rejection: a city clerk feared it would aid a Democratic state representative’s reelection campaign because...

False Alarm | 11-04-2016

Singer, actor, producer...felon! Yep, that’s what the headlines screamed recently after entertainer Justin Timberlake posted a selfie from inside a Memphis voting booth to his Instagram account. Seemingly within minutes the Hollywood Reporter posted...

Voting Across America | 11-04-2016

Most of us are used to polling stations being located in schools, firehouses and the like. But what about a Vietnamese restaurant? Or a laundromat? If that isn’t high end enough, would the Beverly Hills Hotel do? Too hoity-toity, you say? Perhaps...

Stay Classy, Kansas | 10-21-2016

Citing legal precedent is part and parcel to most any lawsuit. But one might think that a savvy legal beagle would avoid citing decisions more infamous than laudable. When it comes to Kansas Solicitor General Steven McAllister, one would be wrong. As...

Stay Classy, Part II | 10-21-2016

If you believed this awful campaign season couldn’t get any worse, I have news for you – it can always be worse. Earlier this year an activist artist group began placing statues of a bloated, naked Donald Trump in New York City. Now, as the...

Help Us, Shonda, Help, Help Us Shonda | 10-21-2016

Speaking of elections plagued by a bloviating blowhard – no, not that one – we hear that former major league pitcher Curt Schilling is planning to challenge U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in 2018. For non-sports fans, Schilling...

As Good As It Gets | 10-21-2016

And then there is this: the campaign video from Texas County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty. In an election season most people will desperately be trying to forget, this is one you will want to remember and maybe even share with your friends...who actually...

All That Glitters... | 10-14-2016

is not gold, we know this to be true. Except when it comes to the shiny new dome of the New Hampshire State House in Concord. As the New Hampshire Union Leader reports, the finishing touches are just about done on the years-long renovation of the almost...

Stop Clowning Around | 10-14-2016

Clowns abound and they are scaring the living holy heck out of everyone. No, I am not speaking of the impending presidential election but of the spate of actual humans dressed up in clown garb who have been terrorizing folks across the country for the...

Good Dog Down | 10-14-2016

And finally...I’ve met a lot of political animals over the last two decades, from Congress to statehouses all the country. Without question my favorite of them all is a dog: California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Sutter. Originally...

Flying Blind | 10-07-2016

Politicians are often accused of turning a blind eye to the needs of their constituents. But not so for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. As the Deseret News reports , Herbert attended an event last week to celebrate the merger of the State Office of Rehabilitation...

A Tesla By Any Other Name | 10-07-2016

Tesla Motors is understandably proud of the advancements they have pioneered in electric car technology. But some California regulators and consumer advocates say the company is playing a bit fast and loose with the name it has given its new self-driving...

Capitol Coffee Drama | 10-07-2016

I admit I have never seen a single episode of ‘Gilmore Girls,’ the popular TV show that went off the air several years ago. But since everything old becomes new again – at least in Hollywood – the show is coming back soon, and...

Who Said Health Care Isn’t A Partisan Issue? | 10-07-2016

Politics has of late played an outsized role in whether or not a lot of folks have health insurance. But now it appears that our political affiliations could also determine the level of care we get from our doctor. As the Los Angeles Times reports, a...

Not So Sweet Ending | 09-30-2016

The fastest way to a man’s heart, we’re told, is through his stomach. The same can often be said of lawmakers, so with the session winding down to its last hours and her bill to ensure employees stuck with working on Thanksgiving are paid...

Pop A Cork For Education | 09-30-2016

One bill that did end up garnering Gov. Jerry Brown’s autograph will soon have folks popping a cork on their favorite vino. Not necessarily to celebrate, mind you. As the Davis Enterprise reports , Brown signed a bill that allows the University...

He Came, He Danced, He Went Home | 09-30-2016

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dancing days are over. Yes, as the Houston Press reports, Perry last week became the second dancer this season to be voted off the ABC reality dancing show “Dancing With The Stars.” Alas, his demise came...

Maybe He Really Is Color Blind | 09-30-2016

When Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) recently claimed that “90-plus percent” of those arrested for dealing illegal drugs in the Pine Tree State are black or Hispanic, it sparked a wave of requests from media and others who wanted to see the data...

Governor As Artwork | 09-16-2016

Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin’s time in office is winding down, which can only mean it’s time to immortalize him forever. No, he’s not being stuffed. We’re talking his official portrait, which will eventually hang alongside those of...

Just Say No To The Allpocalypse | 09-16-2016

We all get them. We all hate them - the dreaded mass response to an email. Instead of replying only to the sender, some goof always hits “reply all,” sharing their thoughts with every person on the email and thus beginning a chain of messages...

Going Off the Grid | 09-16-2016

As a politico, California Gov. Jerry Brown has always been a bit out of the mainstream. But now Brown is going off the grid for real. As the Sacramento Bee reports , Brown has submitted plans to build a house on his family ranch property near Colusa that...

Calling All Votes | 09-09-2016

The last days of any legislative session can be chaotic and mind numbing. Such was the case recently when, as the California Legislature was relentlessly wading through the mountain of bills it always leaves to the final moments, Bloomberg BNA reporter...

Sir Mix-A-Lot Would Sure Be Upset | 09-09-2016

As bad ideas go this would seem to have been an obvious one. As Reuters reports , the West African nation of Burkina Faso recently barred an annual beauty contest that judged women strictly on the size of their behinds. Government officials stepped in...

If It’s Tuesday We Must Be In Ohio | 09-09-2016

Speaking of chaotic, this nugget from the ongoing carnival act known as the 2016 presidential campaigns. As the Columbus Dispatch reports , Green Party candidate Jill Stein recently flew into Cincinnati to speak at a campaign rally for her longshot candidacy...

You Aren’t The Boss Of Me...Anymore | 09-09-2016

Montana GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte may or may not unseat incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock, but if he does it will be without the support of Susan Carstensen. As the Missoulian reports , Carstensen has publicly endorsed Bullock, saying of Gianforte...

Cuomo Jumps The Shark | 09-02-2016

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a good fish tail to tell this week. Or he did until he made the mistake of talking about it on social media. As AOL News reports , the governor and his brother Chris, an anchor with CNN, went fishing last weekend off of...

A Real Third Party Candidate | 09-02-2016

We all know someone – okay, lots of someones – who has bent our ear of late about what they see as truly terrible choices for the presidency of the United States this election year. If this is you, there is now hope. Let us present Duke, the...

Lightest Of The Light Govs | 09-02-2016

If you don’t want to hear an honest answer, you had better not ask Missouri Lt. Governor candidate Jake Wilburn a question. Wilburn, who is running a write-in campaign for the position, minces no words when it comes to his disdain for the office...

Governor Twinkletoes | 09-02-2016

And then there is this: former Texas Gov. Rick “Oops” Perry will be one of the contestants on the upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Yes, the man who once famously forgot which federal agencies he was planning to get...

Privileged Information | 08-19-2016

If you are looking for the most unnecessary piece of legislation going, we have a nominee for you. As the Los Angeles Times reports , the California Senate last week approved AB 1687 , a bill that would bar employment sites for actors from disclosing...

Going By The Book | 08-19-2016

California state Sen. Bob Hertzberg is fond of dropping Yiddish words and phrases into his public discourse. Recent examples include referring to the “shpilkes” – or restlessness – that local officials have felt since the state...

Not That Bear | 08-19-2016

It sounded like a good plan at the time. California Republicans, irritated at the failure of majority Democrats to come up with a plan to address the Golden State’s perpetually clogged roadways, developed a campaign to foster public support for...

Maybe He Should Have Run This Year | 08-12-2016

If you think a certain unnamed presidential candidate is a little impolitic, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports , former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling posted on his Facebook page that he is planning to run for...

Road Enraged | 08-12-2016

If, like many of us, you don’t really function well without at least one and probably two large cups of coffee in the morning – one at breakfast and one more in the car on the way in to the office – then you may want to steer clear of...