MSNBC: Democratic women lead effort to retain Kentucky House majority

Kentucky is a campaign battleground at all levels this fall, and as MSNBC's Anna Brand reports, women are leading the charge for Democrats in 2014's key contests - especially in the fight to retain Democrats' majority in the state House:

Tennessee Honors Retiring Senator Douglas Henry after 60 Years of Unparalleled Service

Last week, Tennessee lawmakers honored the longest serving state legislator, Senator Douglas Henry, retiring after 60 years of service.  Senator Henry was a stalwart of Progressive politics in the Tennessee state legislature for over a half a century.  His leadership on the Finance committee, for women's rights, and public education is unrivaled and will be part of Senator Henry's lasting legacy.  

Okla. Republicans Pass Ban on Minimum Wage Hikes

Republican legislators in Oklahoma took an extreme stand against the state's working families this week by passing SB 1023. The bill, which bans all state municipalities from setting their own minimum wage laws, was promptly signed by Republican Governor Mary Fallin. The law's other provisions also ban the establishment of mandatory employee benefits, including vacation or sick leave days.

Gov. Fallin’s action appears to thwart efforts by an Oklahoma City group that had been circulating a petition calling for a local vote on whether to increase the city’s minimum wage from the national standard of $7.25 an hour up to $10.10 an hour.

Oklahoma City attorney David Slane, who serves as spokesman for the group circulating the petition, said his coalition is contemplating its next move.

“Of course we’re disappointed that the governor and the Republican Legislature stood in the way of the people having the right to vote on whether they want to raise minimum wage,” Slane said. “We’re looking now at the possibility of a constitutional challenge to the law that was signed because we think that it abrogates the people’s right to have an initiative petition. ... We’re going to explore all options, including the possibility of a statewide initiative petition.”

Minnesota House DFL crushing GOP in 2014 fundraising

The Minnesota House is again one of the nation's top legislative battlegrounds this year, but House Democrats are out-raising Republicans by nearly 3-to-1 in 2014, according to the Star Tribune's analysis of recent campaign finance filings:

DFLers outraised or have more in the bank than Republicans in nearly every instance, whether it is a direct party matchup or the fight for the House...

The House DFL caucus held a commanding lead in fundraising. It has raised $596,907 so far this year, with more than $1 million in the bank.

DLCC SHOWCASES EXTREMIST GOP RHETORIC IN WORST OF THE WORST CATALOGUE

— #WOTW Memorializes Some of the Most Bigoted, Sexist, Homophobic, Most Calloused Voices that Comprise the Republican Party’s Future in Easy-to-Use Database —

Washington, D.C. (April 16, 2014)—To highlight the GOP’s failed promises to be more inclusive, promote the middle class, reach out to communities of color and support women, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) launches its Worst of the Worst (#WOTW) catalogue. 

Compiled with input from legislative leaders, caucus directors and labor partners who work with the DLCC, the catalogue is designed to memorialize examples of the extremist rhetoric that consistently emanates from Republican lawmakers and candidates in state legislatures across the U.S.

Legislators designated Worst of the Worst will be listed at www.dlcc.org/WorstOfTheWorst.  The inaugural Worst of the Worst catalogue recaps 25 of the most outrageous incidents since the start of the GOP’s 2013 Autopsy project.

TN Legislators Concerned Mop Sink in State Capitol Bathroom is Part of Muslim Prayer Ritual

From April 14, 2014:

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that two state legislators expressed concerns about a mop sink in a recently renovated restroom of the Tennessee State Capitol, fearing the sink was actually a "Muslim foot bath." Senate Clerk Russell Humphrey confirmed he had been approached by a House and Senate member regarding the sink's intended usage.

According to the Times Free Press:

Republican Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, confirmed that he had spoken to Humphrey about whether there were religious reasons for the new sink after the issue was raised by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma.

Montana Republican Sends Ominous Warning Letter to Rental Tenants, Mocks Single Mothers

From April 14, 2014:

Montana state Rep. Dave Hagstrom (R) sent a pointed warning letter to the low-income tenants of one of his eleven rental properties in South Billings, cryptically telling them they should "accept that not everyone, including yourself, needs to live as long as they currently do, or as ‘comfortably’ as they currently do.”

Hagstrom also rails against a host of government services, saying the nation's financial problems stem from “free healthcare services at Riverstone Health, more money for food in schools for the kids, more money to help pregnant single moms stop smoking, more money to help elderly people get out of nursing homes and get individualized care in their own homes, etc." He also accuses his tenants, and all Americans, of "living in a bit of a fairytale lifestyle."

From Montana Street Figher blog:

If that weren’t enough, the Representative from Billings goes on to mock single mothers.  The government “creates a mindset that if I have kids and their dads are dead-beats, the government should buy my groceries and help me get a job while they provide day-care for my kids and send me to school to educate me so I can get a better job.”

DLCC Honors Republican Glenn Grothman (WI) as Model for GOP Diversity Push

From April 1, 2014:

Washington, D.C. — Today, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Executive Director Michael Sargeant released the following statement applauding the efforts of Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman to showcase the Republican Party’s true values for women and minority voters.

“Senator Grothman is the most accurate messenger Republicans could ask for as they seek to broaden their appeal to women and minority voters,” said Sargeant. “Grothman has single-handedly made it his mission to show every non-white-male voter in America how the Republican Party’s values and policies impact them every day.”

“Whether he’s educating women about why ‘money is more important to men’ or restricting access to birth control on the basis that ‘unwanted or mistimed’ pregnancies are ‘the choice of the women, Sen. Grothman demonstrates the Republican Party’s responsiveness to the needs of women voters.  Specifically, their supposed need to ask Republican politicians like Grothman for permission to earn money and make health care choices,” Sargeant continued.

“Senator Grothman is also leading the way in Republican outreach to African Americans,” Sargeant noted.

VIDEO: AK Republican proposes free pregnancy tests in bars; calls birth control "social engineering"

From March 25, 2014:

For more evidence of Republicans' jarring inconsistencies on women's health issues, look no further than Alaska state Senator Pete Kelly, who is proposing a state-funded plan to put free pregnancy tests in bars and restaurants, while at the same time opposing access to forms of contraception because it "is for people who don’t necessarily want to act responsibly."

DLCC Statement Responding to SD Sen. Phil Jensen's Comments Condoning Discrimination Against African American, LGBT Customers

From March 20, 2014: 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the wake of South Dakota Senator Phil Jensen’s comments to the Rapid City Journal, the South Dakota Democratic Party and Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) demand a response from South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and South Dakota State Senators.

Senator Jensen’s comments, made in an interview that appeared on March 16, 2014, explain his is belief that his recently-killed bill (SB 128) that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against Lesbian and gay customers should also have allowed business owners in the Ku Klux Klan to refuse service to African-Americans. 

Senator Jensen explains that his bill would have protected “the constitutional right to free association, the right to free speech and private property rights."  The South Dakota Democratic Party and DLCC have issued the following statements:

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