Politics & leadership

Politics In Brief - October 9 2017 | 10-06-2017

MI Senate Leader Backs Private Police Plan MICHIGAN Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R) has proposed a bill ( SB 594 ) that would authorize private, possibly for-profit police forces with full arrest powers to supplement public law enforcement...

Graham-Cassidy Bill Comes Up Short In Senate | 09-29-2017

U.S. Senate Republicans abandoned their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline to do so with a simple majority of 50 votes. That decision came after U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined...

Moore Bests Trump In AL Senate Race | 09-29-2017

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore handily defeated sitting U.S. Sen. Luther Strange (R-Alabama) in a special primary runoff last Tuesday to determine the Republican who will potentially serve out the term of now-Attorney General Jeff...

CA Moves Up Primary Election Date | 09-29-2017

For the last few years, California has held its primary elections in June, which, in 2016, was after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had already become their respective parties’ presumptive nominees. Under a bill ( SB 568 ) signed by Gov. Jerry...

Politics In Brief - October 2 2017 | 09-29-2017

DHS CONTACTS STATES ABOUT 2016 ELECTION HACKING The Department of Homeland Security directly notified election officials in 21 states last month that they had been targeted by hackers connected to the Russian government during the 2016 election campaign...

VA Ditching Touchscreen Voting Machines Ahead of Nov Election | 09-15-2017

On Nov. 7 Virginia will hold a governor’s race that the Washington Post described as “a harbinger of the 2018 midterms and a test of politics in the era of President Trump.” The state’s voters will also decide contests for lieutenant...

Congressional Redistricting Reform Coming to OH? | 09-15-2017

In 2015 Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure reforming the state’s highly partisan legislative redistricting process, but congressional redistricting was left untouched. Now there’s talk around the Statehouse of remedying that...

CA Sues to Block Elimination of DACA | 09-15-2017

Last Monday, a week after the attorneys general from 15 states filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in 2012 through an executive order from President Obama, California...

Politics In Brief - September 18 2017 | 09-15-2017

SUPREME COURT STAYS TX REMAP ORDER: The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Aug. 24 ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the Western District of TEXAS that several of that state’s legislative districts had been drawn...

States Sue To Block Termination Of DACA | 09-08-2017

Democratic attorneys general from the District of Columbia and 15 states - Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington - filed...

States Not Investing In Election Security | 09-08-2017

Most election officials and lawmakers agree that the cyberattacks targeting America’s voting systems last year are an ongoing threat. But resources aren’t being allocated for updating voting equipment, strengthening voter databases, training...

Politics In Brief - September 11 2017 | 09-08-2017

BACKERS OF NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING MEASURE HAVE TIES TO DEMS Seven of the 10 board members of a petition committee pushing to create an independent citizen redistricting commission in MICHIGAN have supported Democratic candidates in previous elections...

New Strategy For Public Election Financing | 09-01-2017

The hope that public financing of elections might eventually get big private money out of politics ended with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , eliminating limits on political spending by...

KS Ballot-Rejection Rate In 2016 Raises Concerns About Future National Election Policy | 09-01-2017

Kansas election officials threw out 13,717 ballots cast in the state in the 2016 presidential election. That total is at least triple the number of ballots rejected last year in any similarly sized state and is even higher than the 13,461 ballots disqualified...

Politics In Brief - September 4 2017 | 09-01-2017

JUSTICE ALITO STAYS TX CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REDRAW U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily stayed a lower-court ruling requiring two TEXAS congressional districts to be redrawn because they discriminated against minority voters, “pending...

City, State Officials Seek To Avoid Becoming Next Charlottesville | 08-18-2017

In the wake of the violent clashes between white-nationalist demonstrators and counter-protesters that left a 32-year-old woman dead in Charlottesville, Virginia this month, city and state officials across the country are taking steps to try to avoid...

New Front Opens In GOP Fight Against Unions | 08-18-2017

After Republicans won control of the Iowa Senate last year, giving them control of both the legislative and executive branches of that state’s government, they enacted a package of labor reforms curbing the collective bargaining rights of public...

Politics In Brief - August 21 2017 | 08-18-2017

UT OKAYS PETITION DRIVE FOR MEDICAL POT INITIATIVE UTAH election officials have given the go-ahead for backers of a proposed medical marijuana initiative to begin gathering signatures to qualify the measure for the 2018 ballot. The Utah Patients Coalition...

Will States ‘Drain the Swamp’ In Washington? | 08-11-2017

Unified control of Congress and the White House under a single party this year has done little to end the partisan gridlock in Washington. Congress’ repeated failure to come up with the votes to repeal Obamacare has been particularly frustrating...

TX Turning Purple? | 08-11-2017

Since 2000, millions of new residents have poured into Texas, expanding the population of Austin’s Travis County by 350,000, swelling San Antonio’s Bexar County by 500,000 and making three suburbs of those two cities among the fastest-growing...

Politics In Brief - August 14 2017 | 08-11-2017

JUDGE GIVES GO-AHEAD FOR AZ LAW RESTRICTING CITIZEN INITIATIVES Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens ruled last week that a new ARIZONA law making it more difficult for citizen initiatives to qualify for the state ballot can take effect...

Schwarzenegger Looks To Terminate Gerrymandering | 08-04-2017

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has been quietly working on a campaign to end the way legislative districts are drawn, but is now stepping up his advocacy into a more public campaign intended to try to get the partisanship out of the...

Politics In Brief - August 7 2017 | 08-04-2017

CONGRESSWOMAN JOINS CROWD SEEKING TN GOVERNORSHIP U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), announced this week she will run for governor of TENNESSEE . Black has served as chairwoman of the House Budget Committee, where she has been a strong advocate for cutting...

A Nation of 50 Presidents? | 07-21-2017

With President Donald Trump engulfed in daily chaos that prevents him from effectively leading the nation, governors have stepped up to fill the void in ways not seen before in modern American history. Whether one believes that opinion recently posited...

Politics In Brief - July 24 2017 | 07-21-2017

RAIMONDO SIGNS RI VOTER REGISTRATION BILL RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed legislation last week making the Ocean State the 9 th to allow automatic voter registration. The legislation will automatically register anyone doing business with...

DOJ Seeks End To Legal Proceedings On TX Voter ID Law | 07-14-2017

This month the U.S. Justice Department petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to take no further action against the voter ID law passed in that state in 2011 - SB 14, which has faced numerous legal challenges - because the...

Trump Election Fraud Commission Suspends Voter Data Collection Effort | 07-14-2017

Faced with mounting legal challenges, the commission assembled to investigate President Donald Trump’s claims that voter fraud is rampant in America and cost him the popular vote in last year’s presidential election has suspended its effort...

Trump Voter Fraud Commission Sparks State Backlash | 07-07-2017

There were some early fireworks last month after the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity - assembled to investigate President Donald Trump’s claims that voter fraud is rampant in America and cost him the popular vote in last year’s...

Politics In Brief - July 10 2017 | 07-07-2017

LAWSUIT INCREASES PUBLIC ACCESS TO AZ VOTER DATA ARIZONA has reached a legal settlement with the national voting-rights group, Project Vote, which will make voter information more accessible and affordable to the public. Under the terms of the settlement...

Political Polarization Not Gridlocking States | 06-30-2017

As recent headlines attest, the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans in Congress has become so entrenched that many major policy issues are hopelessly gridlocked year after year . Many state legislatures are subject to the same political...

Republicans Win High-Profile US Senate Race | 06-30-2017

Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in the special runoff election last month to fill the seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), who was appointed health and human services secretary by President Donald Trump. Democrats...

Politics In Brief - July 3 2017 | 06-30-2017

Supreme Court To Consider Partisan Gerrymandering Case The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a WISCONSIN case in which a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled 2-1 last year that the political district map drawn by that state’s GOP-controlled...

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...