Politics & leadership

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...

State Lawmakers Defying Will Of Voters | 02-03-2017

In November South Dakota voters approved a ballot measure revising the state’s campaign finance and lobbying laws to create a public campaign financing program, limit campaign donations, create an independent ethics commission and ban gifts from...

MN, VA Republicans Propose GOP-Friendly Electoral College Reforms | 02-03-2017

After Donald Trump clinched last year’s presidential race while losing the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 2.9 million votes , there was a clamor, mainly from Democrats, to do away with the Electoral College . But Republican lawmakers...

Politics In Brief - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

AR Revives Voter ID Law ARKANSAS’ Republican-controlled House approved a voter ID bill last week ( HB 1047 ) that is nearly identical to a voter ID law unanimously struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in 2014. Four of the justices in...

Democrats Shift Focus To States | 01-20-2017

With Republicans emerging from last year’s election in control of the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the White House, and congressional redistricting approaching in 2020, Democrats are planning to mount a major effort in state legislative races...

MO Supreme Court Clears $15 Min Wage Measure For KC Ballot | 01-20-2017

In 2015 a grass-roots group gathered enough signatures for a public vote on raising Kansas City’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. But Judge Justine Del Muro of the 16th Circuit Court in Jackson County blocked the proposal from going on the...

Politics In Brief - January 23 2017 | 01-20-2017

Thousands of Ballots Tossed in KS Thousands of provisional ballots cast in KANSAS in November were thrown out by election officials because no registration could be found for the voters who cast them. But some local election officials are concerned...

New GOP Majorities Push Dem-Unfriendly Agenda: | 01-13-2017

Republicans won control of a few more governors’ offices and state legislative chambers in November, giving them command of both branches of the government in states where Democrats had previously maintained footholds, including Iowa, Kentucky,...

Supreme Court Puts NC Special Election on Hold: | 01-13-2017

The U.S. Supreme Court put on hold a court-ordered legislative redistricting and special election in North Carolina while it considers an appeal from Republican lawmakers in the state to keep the current districts in place through at least 2018. ...

Politics in Brief -January 16 2017 | 01-13-2017

VA Senate Remains in GOP Control: Republicans maintained control of the VIRGINIA Senate after special elections last week to replace two members elected to Congress in November. Democrat Jennifer L. McClellan defeated Libertarian Corey Maurice Fauconier...

VA Voter ID Law Upheld by Federal Appeals Court | 12-16-2016

Last week a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a voter ID law passed by Virginia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2013, rejecting a challenge from Democrats that the law suppressed minority voting...

GA Voter Registration Database Targeted by DHS? | 12-16-2016

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this month saying the state had discovered an unsuccessful effort to breach computer systems housing its voter registration database by an...