T.G.I.S.O.T.S. Thank God It’s State of the States! There’s a lot going on, so the DLCC is helping you catch up on the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s September 23rd; ease into the weekend with a roundup of state stories from across the country.
For questions and suggestions, e-mail us.
- This week, the DLCC launched its Threats to Democracy website, a database that identifies at least 1,007 Republican state legislators and candidates who have threatened our democracy since the 2020 election — including people who attended the insurrection, attempted to overturn election results, spread Trump’s Big Lie about a stolen election, or are members of anti-government extremist groups like the Oath Keepers. The site is the most comprehensive list of MAGA candidates and election deniers that exists for the state legislative level of the ballot. This database showcases the 638 candidates who are on the ballot this November — 16 of whom traveled to Washington D.C. on January 6th. This effort is almost certainly an undercount of the full total of anti-democracy Republicans, so we at the DLCC are actively taking tips at [email protected] from anyone who may know of an insurrectionist, election denier, or conspiracy theorist from your community who is running for a state legislature.
- New Hampshire was ranked as the most difficult and costly state to vote in, thanks to barriers to the ballot box put up by state Republicans. These hurdles make it that much harder for the people of New Hampshire to have a say on key issues facing the state this fall, like the right for workers to organize and the fate of abortion access. A group of extremely anti-worker Republicans made their way onto the November ballot after last week’s primary. Speaking of attacks on rights, last week, New Hampshire Senate Republicans unanimously voted to block a bill that Democrats brought forward to codify abortion rights in the state.
- Republicans’ claims to support law enforcement simply don’t hold up — from loosening gun restrictions that police officers say will make their jobs harder to, in the case of these Minnesota Republicans, openly mocking law enforcement on social media. Republican candidate for Minnesota House Aaron Henning openly mocked law enforcement officers and implied they were pigs in a series of personal Facebook posts. Stephen Lowell, another candidate for the House, retweeted a post that unfavorably compared police officers to babies. These ultra-MAGA candidates could not be more different than the incredible DFLers vying for state legislature this fall. Unlike their hypocritical Republican opponents, the DLCC’s Minnesota spotlight candidates support law enforcement and working to pass commonsense gun safety reforms in order to keep local communities safe.
- Keeping up with Arizona Republican lawmakers’ nonsense is difficult, so we’re here to help. Last week, Republican leadership said that they would not defend their law that strips individuals of the right to record police and bad actors in court. If you won’t defend a law in court, perhaps you never should have passed it! Senator Wendy Rogers recently told a closed-door meeting of Tea Partiers to actively commit voter fraud in order to ensure that “they” don’t “steal” future elections. If you need further convincing, Steve Bannon, who has been known for repeating, supporting, and pushing fascist ideals, is on the trail in Arizona stumping for state representative and insurrectionist Mark Finchem as he runs for higher office.
- Utah Republican Senate candidate Linda Paulson released a rap video as a campaign ad. It’s a pretty wild ride and has sent Kendrick Lamar and Drake into a tailspin. Jokes aside, underneath the surface of Paulson’s now-viral music video/campaign advertisement/cringe content is the extreme anti-abortion and transphobic rhetoric that has become synonymous with the MAGA Republican Party.
- Pennsylvania House Republicans unveiled their own “Don’t Say Gay” bill this week, modeling their discriminatory legislation after the now infamous Florida bill. But unlike Florida’s measure, Pennsylvania GOP’s bill goes further, the House sponsor proudly noted, aiming to enact a ban on any mention of LGBTQ+ or gender identity in classrooms up to middle school. Republicans in the Senate have even introduced their own bill that would extend anti-LGBTQ+ gag rules at every grade level for Pennsylvania public schools. If Republicans would spend a little less time being homo- and trans-phobic and a little bit more time rooting out the threats to democracy in their ranks, our country might be better off!
- Minnesota DFLers unveiled a historic climate plan that will work to grow renewable energy sectors and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The plan also prepares local communities to adapt to rising temperatures and flash floods while placing a special emphasis on addressing inequality in communities disproportionately affected by the changing climate. Many of these measures are expected to face stiff Republican resistance, showcasing the stark difference yet again between the two parties when it comes to building a sustainable future. In the wake of catastrophic flooding in the United States and globally, what will it take for Republicans to realize this is the only planet we have to live on and join Democrats in taking action before it’s too late?
- Pennsylvania Democrats are working to ensure that state and public school employees are rewarded for their service to the Keystone State and can deservedly afford to retire. This week, Democratic Senators Katie Muth and John Kane announced plans to introduce cost of living adjustments for state and public school retirement funds. There hasn’t been a cost of living adjustment since 2002. State Republicans have remained silent on the latest proposed adjustments but have shown a reluctance in the past to grow wages and benefits — blocking minimum wage increases as recently as earlier this year (P.S. these Republican legislators are set to receive a massive pay raise because of cost of living adjustments that are not available to the commonwealth’s minimum wage workers).
- Census data released last week shows that between 2019 and 2021, the drop in the percentage of uninsured Mainers was the largest in the country. Hmm, what could have happened in 2019? Oh, I know, state Democrats supported long-overdue Medicaid expansion and then spent the next three years aiding the economic well-being of their constituents by doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit and sending direct relief to individuals and families. A reminder that twelve states — all with Republican-controlled legislatures — still refuse to expand Medicaid and continue to hinder the economic and medical wellbeing of their constituents.