Happy belated President’s Day y’all! Fun fact, former President (and former state legislator) Franklin Pierce was the only former president to have served as Speaker of the House in his home state… well, that’s not that fun, but anyway! T.G.I.S.O.T.S. Thank God It’s State of the States! The DLCC is here to help you catch up on the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s February 24th; ease into the weekend with a roundup of state stories from across the country.
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- Sweet, sweet victory! New Hampshire Democrat Chuck Grassie won a toss-up special election in Strafford-8 Tuesday night – putting Democrats just three seats shy of an outright majority. Democrats would have won the New Hampshire House with only 11 more votes in 2022, and these razor-thin margins will mean that the chamber will remain competitive throughout the year. This win comes after a string of victories in Pennsylvania and Virginia that highlight Democrats’ growing momentum at the state legislative level of the ballot… Alexa, play “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled.
- Michigan’s new Democratic trifecta is working to pass a package of gun safety reforms in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Michigan State University, including a key provision that would close a loophole that currently allows criminals to purchase a rifle or long gun. Michigan is just one of the many states where Democrats are stepping up to keep communities safe from gun violence. In Colorado, state Democrats are working on a package of gun safety reforms, including two measures that would enforce a waiting period before having access to a weapon and make it easier for individuals to hold gun manufacturers accountable for mass shootings. While the GOP stands idly by as the country is faced with a gun violence epidemic, state Democrats are delivering practical solutions to keep communities safe.
- In Georgia, new documents from the congressional committee investigating the events that led up to January 6th reveal that the twice-impeached former President Trump called nearly 120 Republican legislators in an attempt to use the legislature to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. About 30 are alleged to have been willing in some way to aid Trump in his anti-democratic request, underscoring the ongoing threat state Republicans pose to our democracy. The DLCC was the first entity committed to tracking and holding state Republicans accountable for their connections to the Jan 6th Insurrection and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The DLCC’s Threats To Democracy project, which continues to track insurrectionists in office, previously identified dozens of Georgia Republicans who pose a threat to democracy, painting a similar picture to the one most recently presented by the congressional committee.
- Here is this week’s Arizona GOP’s Grab Bag of Bad: First, it was revealed last week that at least three Arizona Republican legislators have been subpoenaed in connection to the ongoing federal investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But that wasn’t the only anti-democratic move by Arizona’s GOP. Senate Republicans advanced a bill that would purge voter rolls and force Arizonans to re-register every ten years. Finally, last week we mentioned a GOP bill to legalize gun silencers and allow parents to carry firearms on school grounds was moving fast through the Senate… well, Republicans in the upper chamber passed it on strict party lines.
- Virginia Republicans remain hellbent on blocking popular progress and dragging the state back into the previous century. As the legislative session comes to a close, Republicans blocked a move to repeal the state’s archaic same-sex marriage ban (reminder: if the Supreme Court overturned its rulings on same-sex marriage, old bans like these would snap into effect.) They also stopped a bill that would have strengthened gun safety protections on college campuses, and shot down an attempt to codify abortion rights into the state’s constitution. As we look ahead to November’s pivotal elections for Virginia’s House and Senate, it is painfully clear that the only way to fully secure Virginians’ fundamental rights is to protect the Senate, and retake the House from MAGA zealots this fall.
- If you thought GOP election deniers and insurrectionists were going away anytime soon, think again. Earlier this month, Republicans in Michigan chose known election denier and QAnon adherent Kristina Karamo to head their state party operations. Karamo is the fifth known election denier running state Republican parties nationwide – the threat against voting rights and our elections is far from over. In GOP-insurrectionist news, New Mexico GOP representative and known-insurrectionist John Block opposed an expansive voting rights bill, using MAGA conspiracies about election security as justification. Elsewhere, Alaska representative and insurrectionist David Eastman raised some eyebrows by wondering if children who suffer from fatal abuse may benefit the economy by relinquishing the state from having to fund “government services” that that child may have needed… yikes.
- It’s getting pretty hard to keep track of all of Minnesota DFLers’ accomplishments. For example, the state Senate approved a measure to restore voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals and sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would allow all immigrants, regardless of status, the ability to obtain a driver’s license. Minnesota Dems are also introducing legislation to provide popular progress for everyday Minnesotans, like a bill to guarantee a tuition-free college education. With the legislature announcing it will adjourn until next week due to this week’s winter storm, it seems that only a blizzard can cool off Minnesota’s DFLers’ hot streak. Jokes aside, stay safe, Minnesota folks! The DLCC is thinking of y’all and everyone across the country affected by the winter storm!
- This week in Maine, Democrats ushered into law a new supplemental budget that earmarks tens of millions of dollars for health care services and small business relief. This feat comes as state Democrats are working to pass a bold, $10 billion biennial budget that would greatly increase funding for public education, make a historic investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure, and allocate millions to build more housing across the state. Maine Democrats prove, yet again, that when Democrats control state legislatures, they prioritize cutting costs for everyday people and building a sustainable economy that works for all.
- Here is a quick roundup of other accomplishments from state Democrats across the country. In Illinois, state Democrats became the first in the Midwest to usher in a measure that makes it easier for individuals to change their gender on their birth certificate. New York Democrats proposed adding an expanded child tax credit to the state’s budget, a measure modeled after the federal program that lifted millions of children out of poverty in 2021. Finally, in Michigan, state Democrats are pushing for their own version of the CROWN Act, a measure that bans racially motivated hair-based discrimination at school or in the workplace.