There’s a lot going on, so every Wednesday, the DLCC is sending a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed. It’s March 16th, and here is the state of the states.
For questions and suggestions, e-mail us.
- For those (like us here at the DLCC) keeping track, reporting this week revealed that five Republican candidates for the Michigan House admitted that they attended the January 6th insurrection. Responding to a survey propagated by a pro-Trump group, five more Republican candidates- Mellissa Carone, Nevin Cooper-Keel, Diane Saber, Andrew Sebolt, and Michael Shallal- acknowledged that they attended the insurrection, bringing the known total of insurrectionist Republicans running for a seat in the Michigan statehouse up to nine. Unchecked and uncondemned by Michigan’s GOP or the Republican State Leadership Committee, these candidates attended a violent attempt to overthrow the democratic process and admitted it. Their actions — which should be grounds for being barred from public office — underscore the blatant extremism now freely exhibited by Republicans.
- Colorado House Democrats this week prevailed over Republican obstructionists to pass the Reproductive Health Equity Act, a measure that would enshrine abortion rights into state law and protect access to reproductive health care and information. The move to advance this legislation follows Maryland House Democrats who passed a constitutional amendment on Friday that would enshrine abortion rights. Colorado House Republicans, on the other hand, spent 23 hours — a modern record — protesting the bill that would recognize people’s autonomy to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures.
- Reproductive freedom is shaping up to be a rallying cry for millions of Americans heading into the midterms. With the Supreme Court poised to strike down or weaken Roe v. Wade, the DLCC and state Democrats are channeling the frustration of Americans and mobilizing to fight back against restrictive Republican abortion bans and enshrine reproductive protections into state law.
- Several Democratic state legislators were nationally recognized this week in a group of 40 power players for their achievements at the state level and their representation reflecting the diversity within the Democratic Party. POLITICO’s The Recast Power List includes DLCC chair and New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, Georgia Representative Bee Nguyen, and California Senator Steven Bradford. All of these legislators played a key role in tackling issues from police reform to protecting voting rights and increasing representation in their respective states.
- Now that the dust has settled on Texas’ March 1st primary, we know the effects of Republicans’ disastrous anti-voter bill — people were disenfranchised. During the primary, at least 18,742 mail-in ballots were rejected in 16 of the state’s 20 counties with the most registered voters. This includes Harris County, the state’s largest county, where 6,919 ballots were not counted. Nearly all those ballots were rejected because of the new ID requirements set by Republicans. A handful of votes can mean the difference between winning and losing state House and Senate races — meaning Texas Republicans’ anti-voter law is a real threat to the democratic process. Also… it’s bad when voters’ freedom to vote is taken from them.
- The party of “fiscal responsibility” wants to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on nonexistent problems. Adding to the growing pile of conspiratorial election bills filled by Arizona’s GOP white nationalist sympathizer Senator Wendy Rogers proposed creating an election police force and arming them with a $5 million budget to investigate allegations of voter fraud in any state, county, or local election. This bill, along with two more in the Senate and two in the House, would spend nearly $30 million on unwarranted voting measures aimed at restricting access to the ballot box. The Arizona GOP dragged their feet last month when it came to funding public schools, but they appear more than willing to pony up millions to fight a problem that doesn’t exist.
- Last week, we highlighted Michigan House candidate Robert Regan’s suggestion that rape victims “lie back and enjoy it,” made as he advocated for decertification of the 2020 presidential election. After these reprehensible comments, more about Regan came to light, including his fervent belief in the QAnon conspiracy movement. Regan also endorsed a video with imagery calling for the killing of President Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other figures on the right-wing video site Rumble. Despite an onslaught of extreme and disgusting comments, the Michigan GOP and Republican State Leadership Committee have yet to denounce his candidacy. You wouldn’t want someone like this as a neighbor or a friend. Why would you tolerate such behavior from a candidate for elected office?
- In the past week, Missouri House Republicans have delivered a one-two punch, passing an anti-voter bill that would make it harder to vote after proposing an anti-abortion bill that would even prohibit abortion for non-viable, ectopic pregnancies that can lead to infertility and death. Bill sponsor Representative Brian Seitz claimed the bill was “about protecting life;” it literally could cause death.
- Idaho got in on the fun this week, by passing their own anti-voter bill out of the House and then clearing through both chambers a hyper extreme six-week abortion ban that replicates elements of Texas’ cruel bounty system. Meanwhile, in Tennessee, a representative defending her own Texas-style bill said that rapists would not be able to sue and collect a bounty from the victim who had an abortion — but the rapist’s family members could!
- State of the States: minus New Hampshire? The New Hampshire Assembly rejected a proposal this week that called for the state to secede from the Union. A notable 13 members of the NH GOP voted to secede. New Hampshire Republicans, who often boisterously tout their love of country, did not seem too patriotic with their intention to split from the United States.
- Risking the lives of fellow lawmakers, staff, and bystanders, a Colorado Republican dropped his handgun in the state Capitol this week while hurrying to take his seat to vote against protecting abortion. The gun did not discharge, and thankfully no one was hurt, but the incident underscores how dangerous GOP-led concealed carry legislation truly is. Democrats across the country are fighting for sensible gun safety legislation to save lives.
- Democrats in Colorado’s Senate spearheaded the passage of a measure that would give immigrants the ability to remedy changes in their immigration status due to minor misdemeanors. A move that underscores the compassionate brand of Democratic politics, Democrats in Colorado are working to ensure that immigrants’ rights are protected and their humanity is respected.
- Delaware Senate Democrats passed the Healthy Delaware Families Act, setting Delaware up to become the 10th state to provide paid family leave. Democrats across the country are prioritizing the needs of working families and making it easier to start a family and economically thrive.
- Hawaii is a destination for millions around the world, and Democrats in the Aloha State are taking bold steps to ensure its citizens can afford to live on its paradisal islands. During this legislative session, lawmakers are proposing not one, not two, but five measures that would lessen costs and make it easier for the people of Hawaii to have access to affordable housing.
- Democrats in New York are proposing over $3 billion for universal child care in the state’s upcoming budget. By expanding eligibility and the scope of state subsidies, this generational investment in working families would secure quality education and safety for millions of kids. Democrats across the country are tackling the pressing issue of child care affordability.
- Colorado Dems also made significant steps in ensuring that child care and quality education is a right, not a privilege. Democrats in the state introduced a bill to implement universal pre-k for children throughout the state. Democrats are the party of the working family, and their actions in New York and Colorado are testaments to the bold policies Democrats support that would make life easier for families.
- This Women’s History Month, the DLCC has been celebrating the incredible women who are on the front lines in statehouses across the country fighting for reproductive freedom and voting rights. We are thrilled to see others applauding the incredible work of Democratic women lawmakers. USA Today recognized Texas Representative Jessica Gonzáles and newly elected Kentucky Representative Keturah Herron as two of their women of the year this week. Instrumental in bringing national attention to the horrendous restrictive Texas anti-voter bill, Gonzáles is a staunch advocate for voting rights. Herron is a tireless agent of change and the first openly-LGBTQ person in the Kentucky House. Both incredible women exemplify the diversity of our Democratic women legislators.
- Democrats in Washington spent their legislative session orchestrating generational changes for their constituencies. Last week, state Democrats passed a historic supplemental budget increase for the state, earmarking new spending for schools, nurses, and rental assistance. In tandem, Democrats also passed a nearly $17 billion transportation package that will expand transit options, modernize current infrastructure, and help Washington create a sustainable future for generations to come.