There’s a lot going on, so every Wednesday, the DLCC is sending a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s January 19th, and here is the state of the states.
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- Republicans in the Colorado House voted to thank state Rep. Ron Hanks and the rest of the insurrectionists for being at the Capitol on January 6th — in case you were wondering if Republicans were going to tone down the autocracy thing. (Obviously, they also voted to question whether Biden was legitimately elected.)
- Now that the infamous Republican voter suppression bill has gone into effect in Texas, election officials are rejecting hundreds of mail-in ballot applications for the midterm primaries in March. Republicans in statehouses across the country are taking note and ramming through their own legislation to put up barriers to the ballot box.
- In nearby Arizona, the Republicans in the legislature have introduced more than two dozen anti-voter bills that will undermine democracy in the Grand Canyon State. These are the same people that signed a resolution calling for the 2020 election to be handed to Trump
- Following Texas’ six-week abortion ban, Republicans in at least 20 states have suggested or pre-filed bills that are similar to the blueprint that Texas created. West Virginia and Florida Republicans have also introduced a bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks, copying the Mississippi law that the Supreme Court is currently reviewing. The fight for abortion rights runs through the states.
- To no surprise, Virginia Republicans tried to ram through anti-voter bills this week. The GOP filed bills to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, ban ballot drop boxes, and reduce early voting opportunities. This blatant attempt to roll back laws passed by Democrats to increase access to the ballot box was blocked by Democrats in the state Senate.
- As predicted, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Republican state legislators falsely invoked Dr. King’s name and spewed their revisionist version of his life only to continue trampling on his legacy by undermining voting rights and whitewashing our nation’s history. DLCC President Jessica Post said, “Like clockwork, Republicans will shed their crocodile tears, cherry-pick and misappropriate the same Martin Luther King Jr. quote, and then return to their everyday work of dismantling his incredible legacy.”
- Virginia Republican Del. Dave LaRock, who was previously stripped of his committee assignments by Democratic leadership for attending the insurrection on January 6th, was assigned three of the most important committees in the House under new GOP leadership.
- Republicans in Virginia have introduced a bill that would bar transgender high school students from accessing the bathrooms and school facilities that align with their gender identity. The move bolsters a radical Republican agenda aimed at threatening the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Virginians, and we know how that went for them in North Carolina…
- In Alaska, insurrectionist Republican Rep. David Eastman is still going to bat for his extremist group, the Oath Keepers, by decrying federal charges against the militia group’s leader for their involvement with the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. Wrong side of history doesn’t even begin to describe it.
- In a break with 140 years of tradition, Iowa Senate Republicans banned journalists from the Senate floor. Passing bad laws is much easier when no one knows about it.
- A Wisconsin Republican state representative claimed that there is no way to prevent COVID because you “can’t physically see the virus.” We would be a lot further along in fighting this pandemic if Republicans had any grasp of the science.
- A group of Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire is calling for towns and cities to count ballots by hand rather than use voting machines. Despite the accuracy of voting machines, Republicans are fixated on finding any excuse to make the democratic process a burden.
- New Jersey Democrats passed a bill guaranteeing abortion access last week. The right to terminate a pregnancy and access to contraception are now codified into state law, keeping residents safe from Republican attacks on abortion rights.
- Democrats in Oregon will introduce a bill to declare racism a public health crisis. Democratic legislators are stepping up to bring attention to the inequities and discrimination that negatively impact the health of their constituents.
- Last year, Massachusetts Democrats approved a new tax on millionaires. Voters overwhelmingly support this measure, which will generate over $1.3 billion in revenue that can be used for the public good.
- Across the country, election workers have been intimidated and harassed, often by anti-democratic Republicans. Democrats in the Washington Senate stiffened the punishment for harassing an election worker.
- Democrats in Delaware are pushing to legalize marijuana and strengthen consumer protections surrounding its sale. Delaware would join a growing group of states that have rejected antiquated, racist, and Republican-supported laws that disproportionately criminalize Black and Brown individuals for minor offenses.