Politics & Leadership

State Justices Face Growing Impeachment Threat | 09-14-2018

Last month the West Virginia House voted to impeach all of the sitting justices on the state’s Supreme Court. And this week the Senate will begin its impeachment trial for those justices. At least a couple of the justices have been charged...

Some Statehouses Vulnerable to ‘Blue Wave’ in November: | 09-14-2018

There’s been a lot of talk about the “blue wave” that may sweep Democrats into control of the U.S. House in November. But the seas are also looking pretty favorable for Democrats in some state legislative chambers. If Colorado...

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...

NC Balance-of-Power Struggle Shifts From Courts to Ballot Box | 09-07-2018

The latest court battle in the ongoing power struggle between North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and Republicans who control both chambers of the state’s General Assembly appears to be over. The legal skirmish began in late June when the legislature...

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...

Power Struggle Ratchets Up in NC | 08-31-2018

North Carolina’s General Assembly convened a special session on Aug. 24 to consider changes to two constitutional amendments bound for the state’s November ballot that could shift power from the governor to state lawmakers, part of an ongoing...

Politics in Brief - September 3 2018 | 08-31-2018

PUSH IN VA TO RATIFY ERA Advocates for the Equal Rights Amendment launched a campaign in VIRGINIA this month to make that state the 38th and final one to ratify the amendment guaranteeing equal rights for all Americans regardless of sex more than 40...

Primary Elections Held in Four States | 08-17-2018

Four states – Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin – held primary elections on Aug. 14. In the Democratic primaries, one of the major Election Day themes was diversity. In Connecticut, Democrats nominated Jahana Hayes, a teacher...

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...

State and Local Candidates Want to Use Campaign Funds for Child Care | 08-17-2018

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled in May that candidates for congressional office can use their campaign funds to pay for child care. Since then, state and local candidates across the country, including an unprecedented number of women, have...

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...

VA Committee Approves Impeachment Articles for Whole Supreme Court | 08-10-2018

West Virginia’s House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment for all four sitting justices on the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals: Chief Justice Margaret Workman, Justice Allen Loughry, Justice Robin Davis and Justice Elizabeth...

Labor Notches Right-to-Work Win in MO | 08-10-2018

After suffering a major setback at the U.S. Supreme Court in June , organized labor scored a decisive victory at the ballot box in Missouri last week. In a referendum ( Proposition A ) vote that was part of the state’s Aug. 7 primary, Missourians...

Dems Outside DC Join Push for Statehood | 08-10-2018

Some progressive Democrats outside Washington, D.C. are jumping on the bandwagon for making the District the 51st state. Dan Pfeiffer, an aide to former president Barack Obama, has been advocating for statehood on the “Pod Save America” podcast...

Politics in Brief - August 13 2018 | 08-10-2018

NOT EVERY VOTE WILL BE COUNTED IN PA THIS NOVEMBER Over 2,000 absentee ballots cast by PENNSYLVANIA voters in the November election likely won’t be counted, according to local election officials. The problem, they say, is that outdated election...

Redistricting Reform Movement Shifts to State Ballots | 08-03-2018

The nationwide movement to remove politics from the process of drawing political districts suffered a major setback this year when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected three cases dealing with partisan gerrymandering - the drawing of maps in a way that disproportionately...

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...

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...

MD Elections Board Has Russian Ties | 07-20-2018

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) announced last week that they’ve asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the state’s election system after...

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...

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...

How SCOTUS Nominee Could Impact States’ Rights | 07-13-2018

The confirmation hearing for U.S. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, isn’t expected to begin until at least late August. But Kavanaugh’s rulings in a couple of...

Politics in Brief - July 16 2018 | 07-13-2018

BAN ON NON-CITIZEN VOTING POTENTIALLY HEADED FOR ND BALLOT Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment in NORTH DAKOTA to explicitly bar non-U.S. citizens from voting in the state’s elections have submitted more than 35,000 signatures, well...

Less Than Half of HI Judges Female | 07-06-2018

Thirty-nine percent of the 80 state judgeships in Hawaii are currently held by women, according to an analysis of online judicial data by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser . That rate is three percent higher than it was in 2004 but still well short of the...

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...

Politics in Brief - July 9 2018 | 07-06-2018

MA HIGH COURT UPHOLDS PRE-ELECTION DAY VOTER REGISTRATION BLACKOUT MASSACHUSETTS’ Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, has upheld a state law barring voters who haven’t registered at least 20 days before Election Day...

SCOTUS Punts on Partisan Gerrymandering | 06-29-2018

A trio of closely watched redistricting cases were dispatched by the Supreme Court last month on technical grounds rather than on the merits of their arguments. In one of the cases, Gill v. Whitford , from Wisconsin, the justices unanimously ruled...

SCOTUS Deals Blow to Organized Labor | 06-29-2018

In a 5-4 decision last month, the Supreme Court ruled that public-sector workers who opt out of joining unions can’t be forced to contribute to those unions’ collective bargaining efforts. In Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977...

Politics in Brief - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

SCOTUS LARGELY UPHOLDS CONTESTED TX POLITICAL DISTRICTS In a 5-4 decision last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all but one of the handful of TEXAS legislative districts and both of the congressional districts that a three-judge panel said...

Supreme Court Okays OH Voter Purge | 06-15-2018

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in Husted, Ohio Secretary of State v. A. Philip Randolph Institute et al last week giving Ohio and other states the go ahead to remove inactive voters from their voter rolls. While all states have procedures...

Trump and Women Continue to Figure Prominently in State Primaries | 06-15-2018

Last Tuesday, primary elections were held in four states - Maine, Nevada South Carolina and Virginia - and a special election was held in Wisconsin. Support for President Trump continued to be a key factor in GOP primaries. Corey Stewart eked out...

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...

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 11 2018 | 06-08-2018

OK VOTERS TO WEIGH LESS RESTRICTIVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA MEASURE: OKLAHOMA voters will consider a ballot measure on June 26 that would make the state the first to adopt a medical marijuana program that doesn’t specify ailments for which doctors...

KY House Leader Loses Seat in GOP Primary | 06-01-2018

Kentucky House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell (R) was ousted from his seat by a high school math teacher and first-time political candidate in a Republican primary election in that state on May 22. Republican voters have not been kind to incumbents in...

AL Sues to Exclude Undocumented Immigrants from Census | 06-01-2018

After the Trump administration announced in March that it was planning to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, multiple states sued to block the move, arguing it would discourage immigrants from responding to the survey, resulting in inaccurate...

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...

Four More State Primaries Reveal Election-Year Trends | 05-18-2018

Four states - Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania - held primary elections last Tuesday, and at least one trend continued from the previous week’s primaries : Female candidates did well in Democratic primaries. Among other things, they claimed...

Unusually Competitive Year for State Legislative Races | 05-18-2018

In recent years it hasn’t been uncommon for over 40 percent of the state legislative seats up for election across the nation to go uncontested. But this year is shaping up to be very different. In states where candidate filing deadlines have...

Politics in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

JUDGE ORDERS TX TO ALLOW ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION THROUGH DPS: A federal judge has ordered the state of TEXAS to allow residents to register to vote online when they renew their driver’s license through the Department of Public Safety’s...

Takeaways From May 8 Primaries | 05-11-2018

Primary elections were held in four states - Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia - on May 8 and, as FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver pointed out , both Democrats and Republicans managed to “mostly avoid self-inflicted damage.”...

Politics in Brief - May 14 2018 | 05-11-2018

NY AG RESIGNS NEW YORK Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) a prominent antagonist of the Trump administration - and a prominent advocate for the #MeToo movement - abruptly resigned last week, hours after news broke that four women had accused him...

Detroit Regains Self-Government | 05-04-2018

Less than four years after emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit has regained full control over its government operations. Last Monday the nine-member state commission that has had the final say on all of the city’s...

Many Dems Okayed PA ‘Gerrymander’ | 05-04-2018

Pennsylvania Democrats celebrated when the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s 2011 congressional district map, drawn by the Republicans who controlled both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office at the time...

GOP Scores Special Election Win in AZ | 05-04-2018

After a string of recent Democratic special election upsets , including in deep red states, Republicans fended off a Democratic challenge in a congressional race in Arizona last month. Former state senator Debbie Lesko’s victory over emergency room...

Politics in Brief - May 7 2018 | 05-04-2018

REDISTRICTING REFORM BOUND FOR OH BALLOT OHIO voters will consider a single statewide question on their May 8 ballots, asking their approval to establish rules for congressional redistricting. No such rules exist currently, making the process inherently...

TX State Agencies Share Personal Data Just Like Facebook | 04-20-2018

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees about his company’s data sharing policies after revelations that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly...