Politics & leadership

Election Hacking More Serious Than Previously Reported | 06-16-2017

In the months leading up to last year’s presidential election, news agencies reported that Russian hackers had targeted the election systems of more than 20 states, including Arizona and Illinois. Last week, a National Security Agency intelligence...

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...

Slow Year At RI Statehouse | 06-16-2017

By June 9 of last year, 213 bills had been passed by Rhode Island’s General Assembly and sent to Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Sixty-one of those measures were substantive “public laws,” as opposed to routine “local acts and resolves”...

Politics In Brief - June 19 2017 | 06-16-2017

Duel Over Redistricting Special Session In NC NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced this month that he would call the Republican-led General Assembly into a special session to redraw the state’s political districts in light of a unanimous...

TX Election Reform Bill Pleases Both Republicans And Democrats | 06-09-2017

When it comes to the issue of election reform, the Texas Legislature, dominated by Republicans, leans far more in the direction of tightening voter identification and other requirements to prevent fraud than toward expanding voter access. But this month...

Supreme Court Rejects More NC Political Districts | 06-09-2017

For the second time in as money months the U.S. Supreme Court faulted political boundaries drawn in 2011 by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly. On May 22, the justices ruled that the state’s lawmakers packed black voters...

Politics In Brief - June 12 2017 | 06-09-2017

Russian Election Cyberattacks Broader Than Indicated U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of VIRGINIA , the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Russian cyberattacks on U.S. election systems were broader and impacted more states than indicated...

GOP Holds MT Congressional Seat | 06-02-2017

Republican Greg Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist by a vote of 50 percent to 44 percent in a special election last month in Montana to claim the state’s sole congressional seat, formerly held by Ryan Zinke, whom President Donald Trump selected...

IA Dems Consider “Non-Present” Caucus Participation | 06-02-2017

Democrats in Iowa would be able to participate in their party’s presidential caucuses without actually having to be present, under a proposal made last week by the party’s caucus review committee. The proposal called for allowing voters who...

Effort to Establish Impeachment Process Appears Doomed In OR | 06-02-2017

Oregon is the only state in the nation that doesn’t have a process to impeach and remove its governor from office. Last month the state’s Democrat-controlled House overwhelmingly passed a resolution that would ask voters to approve one. HJR...

Politics In Brief - June 5 2017 | 06-02-2017

TX Lawmakers Approve Changes to Voter ID Law The TEXAS Legislature approved a bill ( SB 5 ) loosening the requirements of the voter ID law passed by the state in 2011, which the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year discriminated against...

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Of NC Voter ID Case | 05-19-2017

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down the voter ID law enacted in 2013 by North Carolina’s GOP-led General Assembly and then-Republican governor. The justices’ decision leaves in place...

Probe Of Powerful SC Consulting Firm Resumes | 05-19-2017

A South Carolina statehouse corruption investigation, which has been publicly dormant since it lead to the indictment of Sen. John Courson (R) on allegations of laundering campaign money through a powerful, local consulting firm, appears to be starting...

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...

Some KS Lawmakers Gearing Up For Override Fight | 05-04-2017

This year marked a rift between Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and many of the state’s lawmakers, including some of his fellow Republicans, with both chambers of the GOP-led Legislature voting to roll back a major tax cut the governor championed...

Nursing Home Industry Flexes Muscle In LA | 05-04-2017

In August 2015, after spending over two years working on a plan that would have reduced Louisiana’s reliance on nursing homes and saved the state $77 million a year, the administration of then-Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) abruptly announced that any effort...

Politics In Brief - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

AK House Advances Same-Day Voter Registration: ALASKA’s House voted 22-17 last month in support of legislation ( HB 1 ) allowing residents of the state to register to vote and then immediately cast a ballot on Election Day. The Senate isn’t...

Republican Judge Derails GOP Court Reduction Plan in NC | 04-28-2017

Last month Republicans who control North Carolina’s General Assembly overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to enact a bill ( HB 239 ) reducing the size of the state’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals, from 15 judges...

Democrat Nearly Wins GA Congressional Seat | 04-28-2017

Jon Ossoff, a Democrat and first-time political candidate, narrowly missed winning a crowded special election last month to fill the U.S. House seat in Georgia’s heavily conservative Sixth District vacated by President Donald Trump’s appointment...

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...

GOP Holds Congressional Seat In KS | 04-14-2017

Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Ron Estes defeated Democratic Wichita civil rights attorney James Thompson in a special election last Tuesday to fill the Fourth Congressional District seat vacated by Republican Mike Pompeo, who was appointed...

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...

Supreme Court Refuses To Consider NH Ballot ‘Selfie’ Ban | 04-07-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a New Hampshire law prohibiting voters from taking “selfies” with their ballots on Election Day. The state passed the ban in 2014 out of concern that such photos could open the door...

Judge Blocks Seattle’s Uber Unionization Law | 04-07-2017

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking a Seattle law - the first of its kind in the nation - allowing Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers to unionize and collectively bargain for pay, benefits and working conditions. The law...

Politics In Brief - April 10 2017 | 04-07-2017

VOTE-BY-MAIL ADVANCES IN HI Two HAWAII Senate committees unanimously approved an amended version of a bill ( HB 1401 ) already passed by the House that would institute voting by mail throughout the state by 2020. But supporters fear even if the Senate...

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...

NV Ratifies ERA | 03-31-2017

Last month Nevada made history by becoming the 36th state to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment, stipulating that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”...

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...

States Consider Curbs On Foreign Corporate Political Spending | 03-17-2017

With questions about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election still in the headlines , a number of states are considering legislation to block businesses with foreign ties from contributing to political campaigns. Noncitizens...

Federal Court Rules TX Remap Racially Discriminatory | 03-17-2017

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit invalidated three congressional districts drawn by Texas’ GOP-led Legislature in 2011 on the grounds that the Republican lawmakers intentionally curbed the influence...

Politics In Brief - March 20 2017 | 03-17-2017

IA HOUSE PASSES VOTER ID BILL After 12 hours of debate over two days, IOWA’s Republican-controlled House passed legislation ( HF 516 ) that would require voters to present government-issued identification at the polls. The bill now moves to the...

Conflicts of Interest Common in UT Legislature | 03-10-2017

Utah Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R), who runs an insurance agency when he’s not working part-time as a legislator, sponsored four bills this year concerning the insurance industry, one of which, HB 395 , was criticized by a doctor during a hearing for giving...

PA Senate Dems Suffer Cyberattack | 03-10-2017

On Friday, March 3, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats’ computer network was hit by a “ransomware” attack, a form of cyberattack in which computer access is blocked until a ransom is paid. The following Monday the caucus’ network, including...

Politics in Brief - March 13 2017 | 03-10-2017

High Court Rejects VA Districts Over Race: On a 7-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a lower court to re-review 11 legislative districts drawn by VIRGINIA Republicans after the 2010 Census. The districts are among a dozen that Democrats argued...

AZ Protest Bill Killed In House | 03-03-2017

In January, a bill was introduced in Arizona’s Republican-controlled Senate aimed at expanding the state’s racketeering laws to include rioting and, thereby, allowing law enforcement to prosecute and seize the assets of anyone who plans or...

OH Gov’s Office Identifies More Non-Citizen Voters | 03-03-2017

The office of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a news release last month stating that a recent review of the Statewide Registered Voter Database identified 385 non-citizens registered to vote in the state, 82 of whom voted in at least one recent...

Trump Administration Drops Discrimination Claim In TX Voter ID Case | 03-03-2017

The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its longstanding claim that the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against minority voters when it passed the strictest voter ID law in the nation in 2011, while maintaining that the law had a “discriminatory...

Politics In Brief - March 6 2017 | 03-03-2017

Democrats Hold DE Senate After Special Election Democrats maintained control of the DELAWARE Senate after Democrat Stephanie Hansen defeated Republican John Marino 58-42 in a special election in the state’s 10th Senate District last month. Hansen’s...

NH Officials Reject White House Voter Fraud Claims | 02-17-2017

On ABC’s “This Week” earlier this month, White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller doubled down on the unsubstantiated claim President Donald Trump made during a private meeting with members of Congress that “thousands”...

NE Legislature Looking A Lot Like Congress This Year | 02-17-2017

Gridlock and partisan bickering have come to be expected of Congress, after years of little else, but those characteristics are a bit more surprising to see in a state legislature with a single, nonpartisan chamber and a pragmatic approach to lawmaking...

Politics In Brief - February 20 2017 | 02-17-2017

MD AG Given Power to Sue Without Gov’s Approval Democratic state lawmakers in MARYLAND gave Old Line State attorney general Brian E. Frosh broad authority to bypass Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to sue the federal government, an unprecedented expansion...

AZ Republicans Take Aim At Initiative Process | 02-10-2017

Republicans who control Arizona’s Legislature are planning to consider several bills this session dealing with the state’s initiative process. One would set higher standards for supporters of initiatives and those who collect signatures to...

GOP Lawmakers Seek Sole Power To Legislate In ND | 02-10-2017

Currently North Dakota’s executive and judicial branches can directly introduce bills in the state’s legislature, the Legislative Assembly. But a bill sponsored by North Dakota Rep. Nathan Toman (R) and several other Republican lawmakers of...

AR Lawmakers Backing Tort Reform | 02-10-2017

Last year supporters of limiting attorneys’ fees in medical lawsuits gathered enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the state’s November ballot. But the measure was blocked by the state’s Supreme Court over issues with the canvassing...

Politics In Brief - February 13 2017 | 02-10-2017

MO Enacts Right-to-Work Law MISSOURI Gov. Eric Greitens (R) signed legislation swiftly passed by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly making it the 28th right-to-work state. Supporters say the law, barring unions from making workers...