Did you miss us? There’s a lot going on, so the DLCC is sending a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s April 6th, and here is the state of the states.
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- The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and its affiliated organizations raised over $6.5 million in Q1, setting a record and surpassing their previous Q1 record set in 2020. In March alone, the entities raised $3.45 million compared to just $1.8 million in 2020. The committee also had its best online fundraising quarter ever, with over 12 thousand first-time donors and an average contribution of $24.79. The fight for the future of our country is happening right now in the states as Republicans continue to pass anti-abortion, anti-voting, and book-banning laws. State Democrats are the last line of defense and it is so crucial they are well-funded.
- Just yesterday, Republicans in Oklahoma’s House passed a ban on nearly all abortions, endorsing a bill making performing an abortion a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Cravenly cruel, Oklahoma’s GOP ban on abortion care would leave millions of Oklahomans without the ability to make their own medical decisions. This bill would also put further harm on Texans who had looked to neighboring Oklahoma to find care after their state passed its abortion ban earlier this year.
- Republicans in Arizona’s legislature also voted in favor of an abortion ban that will deprive Arizonans of potentially life-saving health care and obliterate their right to self-determination, which the state’s Republican governor then signed into law. Under this legislation, doctors will face felony charges for performing an abortion and there are no exceptions in instances of rape or incest. The Arizona law mirrors the Mississippi law currently before the Supreme Court and the abortion ban rammed through the Florida legislature by statehouse Republicans. All of these bans fall far short of the standard set by Roe v. Wade that is supported by the majority of the American people.
- The DLCC is continuing its “States to Save Roe” campaign to help individuals join state Democrats in the fight against Republican attacks on abortion rights and to protect Democratic chambers that serve as a firewall for access to reproductive health care. Two of those chambers are in Colorado, where Democrats enshrined abortion protections into law – joining fifteen other Democrat-led states that explicitly protect reproductive freedom.
- In the latest edition of Keeping Up With the Insurrectionists, Republican Michigan House candidate Angela Rigas said that her attendance at the January 6th insurrection, which attempted to overturn a free and fair election and led to the deaths of police officers and civilians, was a “highlight of my life.” Rigas is one of three Michigan House candidates endorsed by Donald Trump who attended the insurrection; however, all of Trump’s endorsees in Michigan present a direct threat to our democracy and have made pushing the “Big Lie” and overturning the 2020 presidential election central to their platforms.
- Paid leave helps working individuals and families save money, stay employed, and build a more secure economic future. This past week, Democrats in Maryland passed a bill that will set up the state’s family and medical leave program that will extend Marylanders up to three months of paid leave to support their family or take care of a personal medical issue. Illinois Democrats passed a measure that would extend paid sick leave for teachers for COVID-related absences that was signed into law. Democrats in Colorado also took steps to extend paid leave, introducing a bill that extends parental leave for lawmakers.
- After propagating conspiracy theories and wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars on hyper-partisan election reviews, Arizona Republicans are still trying to seize control over elections and make it harder for Arizonans to vote. The Arizona House passed a bill that would allow state officials and even private citizens to initiate a recount or county-based election review. Then a GOP measure that requires voters to show proof of citizenship in order to vote was signed into law. State Republicans continue to normalize anti-democratic behavior, encourage their base to discredit the election results, and push ballot measures that could lead to thousands of individuals being unable to vote.
- Arizona is not the only state where access to the ballot box is under threat from state Republicans. For the third time, Pennsylvania House Republicans brought a restrictive election bill to the floor. The proposed bill would authorize unneeded and costly election reviews, add more unnecessary barriers to voter registration, and restrict Pennsylvania’s popular vote-by-mail system. In a move that could make it harder for rural and elderly voters to have access to the ballot, Kansas Republicans advanced a measure that would cut the number of drop boxes in the state almost in half. And the Georgia GOP finished their legislative session by passing a bill that would authorize the state’s Bureau of Investigation to investigate election crimes, bypassing the secretary of state’s office while potentially intimidating voters and elections officials.
- Republicans across the country are attacking teachers, hindering public schools, and preventing students from having access to a full education. Arizona Republicans last month passed a bill through the state House that threatens to close almost 200 schools. In Iowa, GOP lawmakers in the Senate passed a bill that siphons taxpayer money away from public school budgets. Georgia Republicans also got in on the fun, passing a bill that banned so-called “divisive concepts” from being taught in classrooms. Instead of meeting the increased needs teachers and schools face after a pandemic, Republicans want to dictate what is taught in classrooms, siphon taxpayer dollars away from public schools, and abandon the school systems that need the most help.
- After the business community, parents, and even the Republican governor publicly denounced a law that would bar trans girls from playing on girl’s sports teams, Utah Republicans moved to override the governor’s veto and cruelly rammed their restrictive measure into law. Beyond Utah, Arizona Republican lawmakers passed bills that would restrict gender-related surgeries and ban transgender girls from playing on school sports teams. In Georgia, Republican lawmakers shoehorned language into a late-breaking bill that allows any athletic association to ban trans girls from playing on girl’s sports teams. These actions display the cruelty that defines today’s GOP —they are a party that refuses to prioritize the well-being and safety of the most vulnerable.
- This month is Medicaid Awareness month. The DLCC is celebrating the expansion of Medicaid, which creates a more accessible and affordable health care system and helps states save. In expansion states like Maine, which celebrated its third anniversary of Medicaid expansion this week, Medicaid has extended care to millions of previously uninsured Americans and lessened the economic burden on state budgets.
- Democrats in Colorado have introduced legislation that would empower individuals who use wheelchairs to be able to repair their chairs themselves and not rely on technicians or manufacturers to get much-needed improvements. Democratic Representative David Ortiz, the only Colorado representative who uses a wheelchair, spearheaded the bill, exemplifying the Democratic commitment to fight for the well-being of all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or ability.
- Hawaii Democrats are champions for working-class people, advancing a minimum wage increase while simultaneously working to increase teacher retention by building more affordable housing. Democrats across the country are fighting for increased wages, better working conditions for teachers, and affordable housing.
- Democrats in the Maryland House approved a sweeping bill that aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring the state to net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. Once again, Democrats are stepping up to the greatest challenges that face states, the country, and our planet, working to pass legislation that safeguards our environment and protects our communities.
- Democrats in Massachusetts voted to ban hair-based discrimination last month, sending the measure to the governor. The actions by Democrats in several states, such as New York and now Massachusetts, demonstrate how state Democrats all across the country are fighting for the rights of all Americans.
- Democrats are passing common-sense gun control measures that keep our communities safe. In Vermont, Democrats passed a reform package that strengthens background checks and bans guns from hospitals. Across the country in Washington, Democrats celebrated the signing of three gun reform bills, including a measure that would prohibit the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Maryland Democrats passed a bill of their own that bans the sale and possession of unserialized weapons or “ghost guns.” While Republicans pass dangerous permitless carry laws, Democrats across the country are the ones working to make us safer.
- To address the legacy of violence against indigenous people and to uplift the present-day economic conditions of Native communities, Democrats in Vermont’s House advanced a measure that would exempt certain tribal lands from property taxes. Celebrated by Native leaders, the bill acts as a reminder that Democrats are committed to policymaking that addresses historical injustices and combats the inequalities of today.
- California lawmakers responded to the tragic shooting in Sacramento by advancing a measure that could allow private citizens to combat gun violence by bringing legal action against those who traffic illegal weapons. While Republicans’ only solution to gun violence is… more guns, Democrats are pushing innovative initiatives to help keep our communities safe.