Politics & leadership

Obama Taking Active Role In Statehouse Races | 11-04-2016

During President Obama’s time in office, over 800 Democratic state legislators have lost their seats to Republicans, which is reportedly one of the Democratic Party’s worst records under any president in over a century. But due in part to...

Politics In Brief - November 7 2016 | 11-04-2016

Atlantic City Recovery Plan Rejected by State The state of NEW JERSEY has rejected Atlantic City’s recovery plan, setting up a possible takeover of that city by the state. New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman...

Purged OH Voters Can Vote In November | 10-21-2016

Ohio voters who were removed from the state’s voter rolls due to inactivity will be allowed to vote in the November general election by provisional ballot, according to a U.S. District Court ruling last week. That decision comes a little less than...

Gambling Ballot Measure Disqualified In AR | 10-21-2016

Arkansas’ Supreme Court has disqualified a measure aimed at legalizing casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties from the state’s November ballot and ordered election officials not to count any votes cast for the measure ( Issue 5 ...

Politics In Brief - October 24 2016 | 10-21-2016

VA Voter Registration System Slowed to Crawl by ‘Unprecedented Activity’ VIRGINIA’s online voter registration system slowed down last Monday - the last day to register to vote in time for the Nov. 8 election - to the point of being...

Renewable Energy Company Offers VT Voters Cash | 10-14-2016

On Nov. 8, voters in Grafton and Windham, Vermont will consider whether to approve a wind project that would install two dozen 500-foot-tall turbines capable of generating enough power to light 42,000 homes for a year on a tract of private forestland...

Judge Criticizes State Over Voter ID Confusion | 10-14-2016

A federal judge who has been weighing a challenge to Wisconsin’s Voter ID law harshly criticized state officials at a hearing last week for failing to provide DMV workers adequate training about the proper procedures for obtaining alternative voting...

Politics In Brief - October 17 2016 | 10-14-2016

Effort to Reverse Gun Control Laws Fails in CA An effort to qualify referendums for the November 2018 ballot on six gun control laws passed in CALIFORNIA this year has failed. Organizers only managed to collect an average of about 166,000 signatures...

Voting Machines In Some States Susceptible To Hacking | 10-07-2016

As the Cap J reported last week President Obama’s homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said last month that it would be difficult for hackers to actually change the outcome of a national election because U.S. election systems generally aren’t...

Judge Orders Investigation Of WI Voter ID Procedures | 10-07-2016

A federal judge has ordered the state of Wisconsin to investigate reports that employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles have been misleading people trying to obtain state-issued identification to vote. U.S. Western District Judge James Peterson issued...

Politics In Brief - October 10 2016 | 10-07-2016

Federal Appeals Court Blocks KS Voter Registration Requirement The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has upheld an order blocking KANSAS Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) from requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when registering...

‘Motor Voter’ Could Have Big Impact On Elections | 09-30-2016

Voter ID laws have drawn a lot of attention in recent years, but “motor voter” laws could have a much bigger impact on elections, given that at least 35 million eligible voters are not registered. “Registration is one of the biggest...

Hard For Hackers To Change Outcome Of Election | 09-30-2016

Amid growing concern about the prospect of hackers breaching America’s voting systems, President Obama’s homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said at a Justice Department event last month that it would be difficult for hackers to actually...

MI Blocks Flint’s Power To Sue Over Water Crisis | 09-30-2016

Back on March 24, Flint, Michigan mayor Karen Weaver served notice that the city might file a lawsuit against the state over the lead contamination of the city’s water supply. Weaver and other city officials reportedly had no immediate plans to...

Politics In Brief - October 3 2016 | 09-30-2016

Federal Appeals Court Blocks OH Inactive Voter Purge The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that OHIO’s purge of inactive voters from its voting rolls violates federal law, reversing a lower court’s decision. The case now returns to...

Straight-Ticket Voting Stands In MI - For Now | 09-16-2016

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-minute request by the state of Michigan to allow its new ban on straight-party voting to be in effect for the November election. The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature passed that ban ( SB 13 ) in December...

Supreme Court Refuses To Reinstate ‘Golden Week’ In OH | 09-16-2016

After Ohio’s Republican-controlled General Assembly passed HB 234 in 2005, establishing 35 days of absentee voting in the state, there was a week-long interval, when the absentee-voting period overlapped the state’s voter registration period...

Court Blocks Voter Registration Requirement In Three States | 09-16-2016

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ordered Alabama, Georgia and Kansas to stop requiring residents to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization papers, when they register...

Politics In Brief - September 19 2016 | 09-16-2016

MO Lawmakers Override Gov’s Veto of Photo ID Bill MISSOURI’s Republican-controlled General Assembly voted last week to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 1631 , a bill requiring voters to show a government-issued photo...

Proposed OH Ballot Measure Would Make Abortion Murder | 09-09-2016

A proposed constitutional amendment has been submitted to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) that would classify any abortion performed in the state as murder. The ballot issue would define an “unborn human” as “an individual...

MN High Court Blocks $15 Minimum Wage Measure | 09-09-2016

Minnesota’s highest court has thwarted an effort to allow Minneapolis voters to decide whether that city should raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour. Backers of the proposal, who see it as a way to combat poverty and racial disparity in the city...

Politics In Brief - September 12 2016 | 09-09-2016

Feds Say TX Misleading Voters about Voter ID Requirement The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a motion in federal court accusing TEXAS officials of misleading voters by telling them they can cast a ballot without a form of photo ID specified by...

Hackers Targeting State Election Systems | 09-02-2016

With just a few months to go before the November presidential election, states are finding their election systems in the crosshairs of hackers. In June the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed Arizona officials that Russian hackers had initiated an...

Federal Court Panel Gives Go-Ahead For MD Redistricting Case | 09-02-2016

A panel of federal judges issued a ruling last month that will have no bearing on the November election but could have major implications for future races. The judges simply ruled that a challenge to the congressional redistricting in Maryland after...

Supreme Court Refuses To Reinstate NC Voting Law | 09-02-2016

In a 4-4 decision last month a still shorthanded U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend a lower court ruling in July striking down several parts of an election law passed by North Carolina’s GOP-controlled Legislature in 2013 on the grounds that...

Republicans Call For Diversion Of Trump Funding To Congressional Races | 08-19-2016

More than 100 prominent Republicans have signed an open letter to Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, urging him to divert all the money currently going to presidential candidate Donald Trump to vulnerable GOP Congressional...

Court Battle Over TX Voter ID Continues | 08-19-2016

As the Cap J reported in its last issue , a federal judge approved a plan this month that will allow Texans without government-issued IDs to vote in the November election if they sign a declaration of citizenship and present proof of residence, such as...

Politics In Brief - August 22 2016 | 08-19-2016

Federal Govt Offers to Help States Guard Against Election Tampering In response to recent allegations from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the American voting system is open to fraud, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson...

CA Voters To Reconsider Bilingual Education | 08-12-2016

In 1998 California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 227, mandating that English learners in the state be taught only in English rather than in bilingual programs in which instruction is provided mainly in students’ native language until...

‘Buy And Dry’ Diverting Water From Farms To Cities in West | 08-12-2016

An unusual public auction was held recently at the Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland, Colorado. Up for bid was about 400 acres of farmland located near Denver. But the real draw was the hundreds of units of Colorado Big Thompson water - part of a...

Politics In Brief - August 15 2016 | 08-12-2016

Judge Approves Watered Down TX Voter ID Law U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos approved a plan last week eliminating the mandatory requirement for TEXAS voters to present an ID before casting a ballot in the November election. The change, necessitated...

Tough Day For GOP-Backed Voter Restrictions | 08-05-2016

Local and federal courts struck down Republican-backed voter restrictions in three states in a single day last month. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a North Carolina law restricting the number of acceptable forms...

GOP AGs Take Congress To Task On Unfunded Mandates | 08-05-2016

Last month Republican attorneys general of 15 states sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate majority and minority leaders Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Harry Reid (D-Nevada) expressing their concern...

MO State Workers Nation’s Poorest Paid | 08-05-2016

Missouri state employees are the lowest paid in the nation, according to a report from the office of Gov. Jay Nixon (D). The report revealed that the base salary for 37,906 Missouri prison guards, social service employees and other state workers is more...

Politics In Brief - August 8 2016 | 08-05-2016

Special Session in TN to Remove Lawmakers Up In Air Petitions to convene an extraordinary legislative session in TENNESSEE on Aug. 15 to expel state Reps. Jeremy Durham (R), accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with 22 women, and Joe...

VA Supreme Court Strikes Down Felon Voting Order | 07-29-2016

Last month, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order in April restoring voting and other rights to more than 200,000 former felons, who encompass nearly a quarter...

AL Ethics Panel Urges Removal Of Chief Justice | 07-29-2016

Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission argued this month that Chief Justice Roy Moore should be removed from office for urging his state’s probate judges to defy recent federal court rulings upholding gay marriage. “Because the...

Judge Orders Voter ID ‘Safety Net’ | 07-29-2016

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled this month that Wisconsin voters lacking the photo identification mandated by that state’s 2011 voter ID law can cast ballots after signing an affidavit attesting to their identity. “Although most...

Politics In Brief - August 1 2016 | 07-29-2016

CO Voters to Consider Minimum Wage Increase A proposal to raise COLORADO’s minimum wage appears to be headed for the state’s November ballot, with backers saying this month that they expected to deliver 200,000 petition signatures to the...

DC Voters to Consider Statehood Referendum | 07-15-2016

Voters in Washington, D.C. will consider a referendum in November on whether to make the nation’s capital the 51st state. The hope of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) who proposed the referendum and the D.C. Council that unanimously approved it last...

KS Restricts Rights of 17,000 Voters | 07-15-2016

With little advance notice, a Kansas state board approved a temporary regulation last week that will block an estimated 17,000 Kansans from voting in state or local elections and only allow them to vote in federal ones. The action by the Kansas Rules...

Politics In Brief - July 18 2016 | 07-15-2016

Medical Pot Initiative Qualifies for AR Ballot An initiative to legalize medical marijuana has received enough valid signatures to qualify for ARKANSAS’ Nov. 8 general election ballot. But the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act will have to overcome...

Gun Rights Movement Suffers Setbacks in Courts | 07-08-2016

Last month a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 7-4 in Peruta v. San Diego that “the right to keep and bear arms” granted by the Second Amendment doesn’t extend to concealed weapons. The case originated...

IA Supreme Court Upholds Felon Voting Ban | 07-08-2016

Iowa’s state Supreme Court has upheld that state’s lifetime voting ban for convicted felons. In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that all felonies are “infamous crimes” warranting permanent disenfranchisement under the state constitution...

Politics In Brief - July 11 2016 | 07-08-2016

CO Redistricting Initiative Stricken from November Ballot The COLORADO Supreme Court has voided an initiative bound for the state’s November ballot (Initiative 132) that would have turned over the job of drawing legislative and congressional...

DC Convenes 1st Constitutional Convention of 21st Century | 07-01-2016

In a bid to become the nation’s 51st state, the District of Columbia convened a constitutional convention last month. It was the first such meeting of the 21st century - with the last having come when Hawaii sought statehood 66 years ago - and a...

CA Voters to Weigh Death Penalty Repeal | 07-01-2016

California voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to do away with the death penalty and replace it with the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Secretary of State Alex Padilla(D)certified last month that enough valid signatures...

Federal Judge OKs OH Voter Purge | 07-01-2016

A federal judge ruled last month that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted (R) had the authority to purge thousands of inactive voters from the state’s voter rolls. The American Civil Liberties Union had alleged that Husted’s policy of removing...

Politics In Brief - July 5 2016 | 07-01-2016

CA Voters to Consider Legalization of Recreational Pot California voters will have an opportunity in November to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the nation’s most populous state, with a random sample of the over 600,000 signatures...

U.S. Lawmakers Whiter Than Population | 06-17-2016

America’s elected representatives are whiter than those they represent. Despite their growing share of the U.S. population, minorities are decidedly underrepresented in nearly every state legislature and Congress, according to analysis of U.S. Census...