🎵Should auld insurrectionists be forgot, and never brought to light? Or should auld insurrectionists be brought to justice and serve rightful jail time? 🎵HAPPY NEW YEAR from the DLCC! All we can say is T.G.I.S.O.T.S.A. Thank God It’s State of the States… Again! A lot has happened on the state level since last we spoke, so the DLCC is helping you catch up on the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s January 13; ease into the weekend with a roundup of state stories from across the country.
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- Hi, did you miss us? We missed you. A lot has happened since last we talked, like the DLCC having the best midterm year for a party in power in modern history! We simply kept winning in the new year, flipping Virginia SD-7 red to blue this week, continuing the momentum from 2022 and securing the first flip of 2023. DLCC Spotlight candidate Aaron Rouse successfully defeated an anti-abortion Republican candidate to expand the Virginia Senate Democratic majority heading into this November’s election. Republicans will now enter 2023 down another seat in the Virginia Senate, fresh off a midterm year in which they failed to flip a single state legislative chamber (the first time an opposition party failed to do so in nearly a century!). We’d encourage any intrepid reporter to check in on the RSLC and see how they’re holding up.
- Also, do y’all remember that sudden cold snap we had a few weeks ago? Maine Democrats certainly do, hailing in the new year by spearheading a $473 million heating assistance spending package that officially passed this week. The historic bill centers on $450 checks that will be sent to Mainers and their families to combat rising energy costs and keep folks warm this winter. While Maine Democrats, bolstered by their historic victories last fall, are focused on cutting costs for everyday folks, Republicans unveiled their extremist New Year’s resolutions — filing bills that could enact restrictive voter ID laws and ban certain books from public schools.
- Here at the DLCC, we got everything we wanted this holiday season, even the final report of the congressional committee investigating January 6th that dropped just days before the holiday. Unwrapping their findings revealed even more evidence of state Republicans’ involvement in Jan. 6 and their attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Like in Michigan, where five GOP lawmakers (including three who were reelected last fall) were revealed to have told the Trump campaign that they would support a false slate of electors in order to overturn Michigan’s 2020 presidential election results. Putting Congress’s seditious gifts aside, the DLCC helped defeat dozens of election deniers and 13 insurrectionists in November. But that is just the beginning; the DLCC and state Democrats will not stop shining a light on the GOP’s continued threat to our democracy this year and for cycles to come.
- While the champagne was popping and the ball was dropping, Arizona Republicans were plotting their extremist agenda for the new year. Just a fraction of Arizona’s GOP toxic slate of legislation for 2023 includes pushing anti-LGBTQ+ bills that would threaten trans kids in schools (a part of a continually growing anti-trans movement in the GOP) and target LGBTQ+ safe spaces that host drag shows. This is the same Republican party that has no plan to fund public education before an impending deadline this spring, watched their ridiculous (and immensely taxpayer-funded) shipping container border wall come down, and orchestrated a petty walkout of Democratic Governor Katie Hobb’s state of the state address over the mere mention of protecting reproductive rights. Clearly, Arizona Republicans have no plan to actually improve the lives of their constituents in 2023 but instead have chosen to double down on their extremist agenda for another year.
- Virginia Republicans also rolled out their slate of regressive New Year’s resolutions, announcing plans to move forward with an unpopular abortion ban, push a bevy of bills that would undercut public education throughout the state, and pass a round of tax cuts for the wealthy. After this week’s special election loss, the Virginia GOP not only appears devoid of any real solutions to the problems facing the commonwealth but is moving full steam ahead with an extremist agenda that is wildly out of step with Virginians. I guess empty promises, extremism, and sweater vests can only last for so long…
- New year, same Pennsylvania MAGA GOP… This week, the Pennsylvania Senate’s new chair of its State Government Committee, Senator Dush, ruled Democratic Senator Cappelletti out of order for calling January 6 what it was: an insurrection. It’s worth mentioning that all seven of the State Government Committee’s Republican members supported efforts to undermine our democracy following the 2020 election and sought to reject their constituents’ votes, including Senator Dush and known insurrectionist Doug Mastriano. In addition to rewriting the history of the insurrection, the committee is preparing to advance constitutional amendments that would put up barriers to the ballot box.
- Minnesotans resoundingly rejected MAGA extremism last fall and delivered the state’s first Democratic trifecta in a decade. But DFLers aren’t resting on the laurels of victory. Instead, they are quickly springing into action to deliver positive change for all Minnesotans. Just a few days into the new year, the new DFL-led legislature has fast-tracked a key tax bill to cut costs for Minnesotans and small businesses, a marijuana legalization measure, a voting rights package aimed at expanding access to the ballot box, a bill that would provide much-needed funds to cover transportation and school meal costs for public school students, and a key reproductive rights bill to protect abortion access throughout the state. After years of dysfunction and Republican obstruction, Minnesota’s DFL is ready to build a brighter, better future for their state.
- Minnesota isn’t the only state where Democrats are quickly getting to work. Out west, Colorado Democrats are quickly working to pass a package of transformative measures and usher in a new era of progress for the Centennial state. Just a few examples of the legislation that Colorado Democrats are already working on are bills that keep communities safe from gun violence, address the state’s water shortage, provide support for teachers, and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. While the GOP tries to regroup after an “extinction-level event” last November, we look forward to the progress achieved by the expanded Democratic majorities in Colorado.
- Unlike their GOP counterparts, state Democrats more accurately reflect the vast diversity of all Americans. This year, state Democrats will not only be more diverse than ever, but will be led by a historic slate of diverse legislative leaders, like Ohio Senator Nickie Antonio, who is the Ohio Senate’s first openly LGBTQ+ minority leader, and in Maine and Michigan, where Representative Rachel Talbot Ross and Representative Joe Tate are the first Black representatives to serve as Speaker of the House in their respective states. Democrats understand that government works best when it reflects the communities it represents.
- Democrats across the country are also ushering in the new year by working to keep communities safe from gun violence and pass common-sense reforms that will save lives. This week, Illinois ushered into law an assault weapons ban that bans the new production of the deadly weapons and enacts key limits on high-capacity magazines. In Colorado, Virginia, and Washington as well, state Democrats are taking steps to make 2023 a safer year than the last. In sharp contrast, Republicans across the map have normalized gun violence and taken steps to make it easier for dangerous people to get a gun — like in New Hampshire last week, where a GOP majority voted to allow dangerous weapons to be brought into the House chamber.
And finally, the DLCC would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Connecticut state Representative Quentin “Q” Williams who was tragically killed last week in a car accident. The first African American to represent his district, Q was a shining star in Connecticut’s Democratic Party, delivering key legislation and serving on influential committees during his tenure in the legislature. The DLCC would like to elevate the outpouring of remembrances from lawmakers across the aisle and from all across the country in remembering Q, as well as express our support for his family and the broader Connecticut political community.