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 July 8th; ease into the weekend with the state of the states.
For questions and suggestions, e-mail us.
- Jim Obergefell is running for the Ohio House… Yes, that Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges that established the protected right to marry for same-sex couples. As the current hyper-conservative iteration of the Supreme Court sends the fate of our most fundamental rights to the state level, we applaud Obergefell’s run for office, the push to codify LGBTQ+ marriage equality in his home state, and fight to ensure LGBTQ+ Ohioans are represented and protected.
- Over the weekend, our President Jessica Post appeared on MSNBC’s Symone to discuss the importance of state legislatures in a post-Roe America. During a panel discussion, Post stressed that Republicans at the state level will not stop at restricting abortion access and are already laying the groundwork to attack other fundamental rights such as LGBTQ+ marriage equality and birth control. Democrats in state legislatures are the last line of defense against Republican extremism and best positioned to take action on pressing issues in the face of congressional gridlock.
- In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, state Republicans in swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin attempted to use state legislatures to overturn the results of a free and fair election. They were ultimately foiled. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could instate a dangerous “independent state legislature doctrine” and give state legislators, including insurrectionist Republicans, unchecked power over elections and to potentially decertify election results.
- Arizona Republicans have been keeping the Department of Justice awfully busy. First, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and state Senator Kelly Townsend were subpoenaed by the DOJ as part of its ongoing investigation of the January 6th insurrection. Townsend infamously introduced legislation in January 2021 to appoint 11 fake electors for the state and the agency is actively investigating the legal ramifications for those who pursued the fake electors scheme and Fann oversaw the so-called audit of the 2020 election results that turned the Arizona Senate GOP into a national laughingstock and showed Biden won by an even larger margin. The Justice Department also sued Arizona this week over state Republicans’ anti-voter bill they passed earlier this year that puts up unnecessary barriers to the ballot box and makes it harder for eligible people to vote.
- Late last month, Arizona Republicans were literally wagging their fingers and screaming at each other over whether to introduce additional legislation that would go even further than the abortion restrictions they passed earlier this year. This week, the finger-wagging proved unnecessary, as the state’s Republican attorney general announced that a law passed before 1901 (you know, when Arizona wasn’t a state and women couldn’t vote) that bans abortions is enforceable and overrides modern abortion restrictions.
- One day before seven people lost their lives during the mass shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, New Hampshire Republican House Leader Jason Osborne tweeted that people should “grab a few more rounds for your AK-47” instead of buying hot dogs on Independence Day. Just last month, Osborne and his fellow Republicans passed a bill in New Hampshire saying the state will largely refuse to enforce federal gun laws. Republicans are normalizing political violence and making it way too easy for dangerous people to get weapons of war — a brazenly deadly combination.
- State Democrats are stepping up to put money back in the pockets of individuals and families. California Democrats delivered a historic budget that will send checks up to $1,050 directly to individuals and families. The checks are part of a $17 billion relief package that cuts costs for Californians, provides aid for rent and utility bills and suspends the state’s sales tax on diesel fuel.
- All across the country, state Democrats are passing legislation to limit the number of guns on the streets and keep our communities safe. Last week, New Jersey Democrats celebrated a package of seven key gun safety measures becoming law. In California, Democrats codified measures that will limit ghost guns and help keep weapons out of the hands of minors. New York Democrats are undeterred by the hyper-conservative Supreme Court’s latest ruling on gun laws, working swiftly to craft new legislation to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
- Democrats in New York also took a crucial step last week toward enshrining abortion access into state law, voting through a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would protect reproductive rights within New York’s borders. Already leading a state with some of the strongest abortion protections in the country, New York Democrats are strengthening the the reproductive rights of the people of New York for generations to come.