Once Around the Statehouse Lightly

Or Some Kind of Envy | 02-17-2017

Things are getting snippy in Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan has drawn some fire for deleting comments critical of him from his official Facebook page. As the Baltimore Sun reports , Dems are incensed because someone on the gov’s staff recently...

Say What? | 02-17-2017

Common sense ought to dictate that lawmakers actually read the bills and resolutions they endorse. Alas, as Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.” Today’s example comes from the South Carolina House, which recently endorsed...

A Bill To Nowhere | 02-17-2017

And speaking of common sense...maybe someone in the Alabama House ought to give it a try sometime. As the Birmingham News reports , the House just passed a bill that would cut off state funds to colleges or universities that adopt so-called “sanctuary”...

Cementing Their Relationship | 02-17-2017

Speaking of the Palmetto State, state Sen. Harvey Peeler was notably absent from the recent unveiling of a portrait of colleague Hugh Leatherman. Peeler had authored the resolution that produced the portrait, so one might think he would be there. But...

Not Mentioning Any Names | 02-10-2017

Ohio Gov. John Kasich may or may not make another run at the White House, but he is certainly setting himself up as the antidote for that building’s current inhabitant. As the Washington Post reports , Kasich has a new book coming out – titled...

We Need To See Your Papers! | 02-10-2017

Speaking of the president, things may be getting more personal than they already are in his ongoing battle with those who oppose his immigrant ban. As Politico reports , California state Sen. Nancy Skinner last week called on the White House to release...

Representative Batman | 02-10-2017

If things around you go south all of a sudden, it would be good if you are somewhere near U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana. Abraham is a former veterinarian who later became a medical doctor, and as such he likes to say he can treat anything on two...

The Anti-Christie | 02-10-2017

Regular readers of this column might recall that last week we talked about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s role as “ He who jinxes the Dallas Cowboys .” But there is another governor who may actually be his team’s good luck charm...

Gov. Bad Luck Charm | 02-03-2017

If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan it might behoove you to lobby team owner Jerry Jones to stop letting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) anywhere near them. For the unaware, in spite of his Garden State roots Christie is a rabid Cowboys fan. That has never...

Who Let The Dogs Out? | 02-03-2017

That could soon be the big legal question in Virginia, where the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that House Speaker William J. Howell has introduced legislation to allow localities to create a $100 civil penalty for dogs “running at large”...

Fido In The Middle | 02-03-2017

Speaking of dogs, it is sadly not unusual for pets to be caught in the middle of messy divorce proceedings. In most states dogs, cats and other pets are considered to be property, meaning they must be divvied up like furniture and cars. Emphasis on most...

Don’t Mess With The Governator | 02-03-2017

President Trump seems to have only one strategy – personally attack anyone and everyone at any time in an effort to make himself look or feel better. Most grownups choose not to directly engage with such juvenile behavior. But then former California...

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite | 01-20-2017

Government definitely has its share of insect-like participants, but things recently got downright buggy for the folks at the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. As the Detroit Free Press reports , workers there had to be temporarily...

Define ‘Contact’ | 01-20-2017

In a list of legislative do’s and don’ts, not getting your groove on with the interns or pages ought to be a no-brainer for most folks. But apparently not in South Dakota, where the Argus Leader reports a special legislative panel recently...

Faking It | 01-20-2017

The social media and political worlds are justifiably ablaze with indignation these days over so-called “fake news,” the should-be-obvious wackadoodle stories your grandparents or high strung aunt used to email to you but which they now share...

Hoosiers Now, Hoosiers Forever | 01-20-2017

You don’t have to be from Indiana to know that folks from there are called Hoosiers. Or at least you ought to know that, given the state’s nickname has been the Hoosier State for, well, forever. But as The Hill reports , it’s all totally...

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...