Miss us? After a short break, the DLCC is back with a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed, every Wednesday. It’s January 12th, and here is the state of the states.
For questions and suggestions, e-mail us.
- Democrats won a competitive special election yesterday in Maine HD-27. This win comes after Democrats flipped a seat that had been held by a Republican for nearly a decade red to blue in November. Both of these candidates were spotlighted by the DLCC.
- As legislative sessions across the country begin, Republicans are wasting no time pushing through voter suppression laws. 12 days into the new year, at least 13 measures have been pre-filed to restrict access to the ballot in four different states. Dozens of voter suppression laws will also carry over from last year, including 88 bills that the Brennan Center for Justice classifies as “restrictive.”
- To no surprise, state Republicans are pulling out all the stops to restrict abortion access. In Oklahoma, Republicans introduced a bill mirroring Texas’ six week abortion ban that allows private citizens to sue anyone who aids in an abortion, essentially creating a citizen led bounty system.
- Republicans are also continuing their crusade to attack children with at least 12 new anti-trans laws being filed across seven states. This does not include the bills that will carry over from last year, which went down as the deadliest year on record for transgender people.
- In Virginia, Del. Mike Cherry filed a bill to repeal the 2020 prohibition of firearms on preschool and child day center property that Democrats put in place. Similarly, GOP Del. Marie March has argued that her bill to allow local school boards to display religious phrases on school buses will expose who is a communist in the House of Delegates.
- The Arizona GOP is attempting to force huge funding cuts to public schools by refusing to raise a spending cap on education and holding parents and students hostage to try to secure a tax cut for the wealthy. This is unacceptable and should undermine any idea that the GOP cares about families or their education.
- Contrary to Republican spin, the insurrection didn’t end on January 6th. Over a year after the insurrection at the Capitol, six Arizona Republicans have said they would still sign a letter urging Vice President Pence to overturn the 2020 election.
- Indiana Senator Scott Baldwin horrified committee members when he promoted an “impartial” approach to teaching Nazism and fascism. He said he believed “that we’ve gone too far when we take a position” on these subjects.
- Parents, students, and teachers in Texas are resisting a Republican-led book banning effort that could target 850 books mostly written by women, people of color, and LGBTQ writers. Crowding into a school board meeting, these community members unanimously spoke in opposition to this effort, calling it political.
- Iowa’s legislative session began with the usual GOP attacks on the media as Senate President Jake Chapman accused the media and teachers of harming children. Instead of using this precious time to address the needs of Iowans, Chapman asserted the media had a “sinister agenda” to “normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children”.
- After Texas lawmakers failed to budget enough money, $4 million from the state prison system was shifted to pay for sham election reviews at the county level. Turns out buying into election conspiracies carries a heavy pricetag… for taxpayers.
- After Alaska Rep. David Eastman’s Oath Keeper Militia membership was leaked, 70 West Point graduates called for the representative’s resignation. In an open letter, alumni of the esteemed military academy claim that Eastman’s lifetime membership of this far-right anti-government militia directly clashes with his duties as a legislator.
- Democrats in California introduced a sweeping universal health care plan earlier this month for all residents in California. The bill would provide access to any doctor regardless of network, lower costs for care and prescription drugs, and includes coverage for seniors and people with disabilities.
- Nevada Democrats approved over $660,000 for children’s mental health spending. Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the state’s Children’s Mobile Crisis Response Team will be able to help youth and families who have been impacted by the pandemic.
- State Democrats are stepping up to defend abortion access as the right to an abortion is threatened at the state and federal level all across the country. New Jersey Democrats advanced a bill to guarantee abortion and contraceptive access. The bill codifies the state’s constitutional right to access contraception and terminate a pregnancy. State legislatures truly are the last line of defense for abortion rights.