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 September 29th, and here is the state of the states.
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- Virginia Republican House candidate Harold Pyon sent around a blatantly anti-Semitic mailer this week targeting his opponent Del. Dan Helmer (HD-40), who is Jewish and the grandson of Holocaust survivors. Pyon’s mailer was egregiously anti-Semitic — emphasizing and changing the shape of Helmer’s nose, altering coloring to evoke Holocaust imagery, and implying that Helmer is greedy, depicting him next to piles of gold coins. This egregious racism has become all too common for the Virginia GOP.
- Arizona Rep. Walt Blackman and former state Rep. and current insurrectionist Anthony Kern spoke at a rally to support Kern’s peers who are in prison for attempting to violently overthrow the federal government. This rally was mostly attended by Proud Boys and featured multiple speakers who were arrested by the FBI for their involvement with the insurrection on January 6th. (The DLCC is extremely proud of its role in making Kern a former elected official in 2020.)
- Republicans enacted new anti-abortion legislation in Texas, shrinking the window for administering abortion-inducing medication from 10 weeks to seven weeks and prohibiting the pills from being delivered by mail. This is another attack on abortion rights from the GOP who will stop at nothing to eliminate abortion access.
- Ohio Republicans introduced a bill to allow public and private sector employees as well as students and school employees to seek exemptions from vaccine requirements because of reasons of “conscience,” or an ability to demonstrate the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. This would be a huge blow to public health efforts in the state.
- A federal judge blocked part of a new law in Arizona that would ban doctors from providing abortions solely because of a genetic abnormality, noting it was “not designed to encourage women to choose childbirth; it is designed to thwart them from making any other choice.” Somewhat bizarrely, the provision that grants a fetus personhood — giving fetuses the same legal status as people who have been born — was still allowed to go into effect!
- The months-long hand recount of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona concluded, finding that Trump lost. No matter what the results were, let’s be very clear: the review’s extensive funding from Donald Trump supporters, inexperienced and wildly biased contractors, and theories plucked straight from QAnon message boards was a fraudulent attempt to undermine the election and overturn the will of the voters.
- In other election-undermining news, Trump promoted a letter circulated by state Sen. Wendy Rogers from state legislators calling for an audit in all 50 states and potential decertification of an election that happened nearly a year ago, promoting the Big Lie and ensuring that there is no legitimacy in future elections.
- Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, and House Speaker Bryan Cutler were among several state lawmakers in attendance at Pennsylvania’s first March for Life rally. In state after state, the GOP has made it clear that they would ban abortion given any opportunity.
- Pennsylvania Republicans pushed for a bill to give tuition money to parents who disagreed with a school district’s COVID-19 mitigation measure. Luckily the bill failed but it was supported by Republican leadership.
- In Arizona, education advocates filed enough signatures to temporarily block two of the three June 2021 tax cut bills, which would cut taxes by nearly $2 billion a year through a flat tax that would gut education budgets and only help the wealthiest Arizonans. Long-time readers will remember Arizonans voted to raise these taxes in 2020 and Republicans ignored the will of the voters.
- In an effort to destigmatize reproductive health, California Democrats passed a bill that makes it a crime to intimidate reproductive health care patients and providers within 100 feet of a health care facility. The bill also criminalizes posting personal information or images of a reproductive health care patient on social media.
- Massachusetts Senate Democrats made it clear this week that state-issued identification and sex education needs to be more inclusive, unanimously passing a bill that allows residents to change the sex listed on their birth certificate and driver’s license to a nonbinary X. The Senate also passed legislation that requires schools to teach sex education that is inclusive to all genders and sexualities.
- New Jersey Democrats took steps this week to diversify the police force. The bill unanimously passed by Democrats back in June and signed into law this week requires the state’s Civil Service Commission to create programs that make law enforcement more representative of the communities they are serving.
- California put a stop to exploitative practices that the garment industry was using to pay workers below minimum wage by passing legislation that mandates employers to pay hourly wages. As the first state in the nation to implement this policy, California Democrats affirmed their commitment to workers’ rights.
- Republicans are radicalizing before our eyes as they get closer with right-wing white nationalists and conspiracy theorists every day. Watch for the legislation they pass to become more and more radical as well.