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 30th; ease into the weekend with a roundup of state stories from across the country.
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- This week, on a very special episode of Keeping Up With the Insurrectionists, the DLCC added more than 50 additional Republican state legislators and candidates to its Threats to Democracy website. The latest addition of MAGA Republicans includes two more candidates who were present in DC on January 6th — bringing the total number of identified insurrectionist candidates on the November ballot up to 18. In other anti-democratic news, a judge ruled that Alaska Representative David Eastman is likely to be found ineligible to hold public office because of his ties to the extremist group the Oath Keepers. Eastman, who was in DC on Jan 6th, will have the certification of his November election results delayed until December, when a full trial can take place and determine whether he is suited to serve in the legislature while openly supporting insurrection and violent anti-government movements.
- Speaking of GOP extremists, Minnesota Representative Donald Raleigh was revealed to have signed up for a membership of the Oath Keepers. This was not Raleigh’s first dalliance with violent extremism; Raleigh also co-authored a series of disturbing cartoons that depicted gun violence against numerous groups of people, including people of color, children, and members of the military. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to bringing a gun into an airport. Given his history, it is no surprise Raleigh has brought his extreme relationship with guns into the Minnesota legislature, pushing for extreme laws like dangerous permitless carry, a Stand Your Ground law, and an extreme constitutional amendment that would expand access to both firearms and knives.
- Late last week, an Arizona judge let a civil-war era measure go into effect that bans nearly all abortions and imposes potential prison sentences for abortion providers. The ban, which was a part of a series of racist, misogynistic codes implemented long before Arizona was a state, is just the latest Republican-led state to eviscerate popular abortion protections and put people’s lives in jeopardy. In Indiana, a federal judge temporarily halted the state’s GOP’s abortion ban, the result of lawsuits being brought forth by Hoosiers against the deadly abortion ban. In Michigan, Republicans gaveled down Democrats trying to repeal the state’s archaic 1931 abortion ban currently tied up in legal litigation. Out west in Idaho, the University of Idaho is now prohibiting its staff from promoting abortion under threats of termination after its state GOP ushered its abortion ban into law. U of I officials are even telling its staff it cannot provide contraceptive methods for the purposes of birth control. Fortunately, they are still allowed to hand out condoms to prevent the threat of STDs!
- With less than 40 days until the midterms, Pennsylvania Republicans are doing anything to prop up insurrectionist state Senator Doug Mastriano in his run for governor by pushing a packet of bills that all had Mastriano’s name on the sponsor line. Republican legislators also showed up to a sparsely attended Mastriano rally where Representative Mike Jones compared Mastriano to Moses and Representative Dave Zimmerman seemingly admitted to being subpoenaed by the FBI.
- Speaking of MAGA Republicans who have been issued subpoenas, Texas Senator (who was in Washington D.C. on Jan 6.) Angela Paxton acted as the getaway driver for her husband, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was fleeing being served a federal subpoena this week. The Paxtons’ dramatic MAGA escape in their truck demonstrates the ridiculous lengths so-called law and order Republicans are willing to go to shirk consequences for their actions. In Wisconsin, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was also subpoenaed for his call with former President Trump last July, when Trump asked him to decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Important to note that even though Vos is fighting the subpoena and feigning innocence, he has a long history of anti-democratic behavior and even said that he “respected” Trump for making his case.
- Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers said this week that his fellow Arizona Republicans have “invented the smoke in order to say there’s a fire” regarding their endless charade of reviewing the 2020 election. A hat tip to Bower’s communications staff because in this week’s Washington Post investigation that definitively proved yet again that Arizona’s efforts to review the 2020 election found no significant wrongdoing, Bowers appears to distance himself from the anti-democratic fervor that has gripped the GOP. A brief reminder that under Bowers’ leadership, Arizona House Republicans passed nearly a dozen anti-voter bills.
- The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is announcing 20 Spotlight candidates from New Hampshire who are ready to push back against the MAGA GOP and Free Stater agenda to fight for fully-funded public education, lower energy costs, and reproductive rights for Granite Staters. In sharp contrast to their Republican opponents, New Hampshire Democrats and these incredible Spotlight candidates for General Court are standing against extremism and hate, proudly fighting for the rights of individuals and families across the state.
- We also want to give a huge shout-out to DLCC Board chair and New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins as she continues to lead one of the most crucial Democratic majorities in the country. A wonderful profile released this week showcased Leader Cousins’ achievements as the first Black woman and the first woman ever to lead the New York Senate. She truly has been a groundbreaking leader during her time in Albany. Leader Cousins has helped shape New York’s Democratic Senate into the beacon of progressive policy that it is today.
- When Democrats hold legislative power, they expand health care access and save everyday individuals millions in medical savings. A recent example of Democrats hard at work can be found in a state report from Nevada. The report found that the Battle Born State’s soon-to-be rolled-out public health care option is set to save Nevadans anywhere between $344 million and $464 million in health care costs and lower health insurance premiums. The difference between the parties on health care couldn’t be starker. With Democrat-led states pushing for health care for their constituents, the GOP is banning reproductive care, and twelve Republican-led states are still refusing to expand Medicaid.