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 August 26th and here is the state of the states.
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- Instead of focusing on this pandemic, GOP leaders from states like Arizona, Florida, and Iowa gathered for an in-person retreat hosted by the Republican State Leadership Committee in Georgia, a coronavirus hotspot. Apparently, schmoozing with lobbyists is still a number one priority for Republicans across the country. Keep in mind — these states are dealing with outbreaks and crises of their own. But brunch on the beach sounds cool, we guess?
- 2020 will decide the next decade of politics and state Democrats are mounting an unprecedented challenge for legislative majorities across the country. Since 2016, the DLCC worked with state partners to increase investments in key battleground states, recruit a diverse slate of challengers, and build infrastructure on the ground to prepare for this cycle. Now, Democrats are on the offensive and are well-positioned to win big in November.
- Democratic state legislative candidates in North Carolina are creating a “green wave” by raising record sums of donations online — thanks to a surge of online activism that has reached Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.
- A property company owned by Texas Republican Representative Craig Goldman may have violated federal law when it tried to evict a tenant in April, ignoring provisions in the federal CARES Act that protected tenants from eviction. Republicans have never let federal laws get in their way, and they certainly aren’t going to start now.
- Republican lawmakers in Arizona threw the full weight of their endorsement behind a bill to support the questionable “We Build the Wall” campaign. House Majority Leader Warren Petersen credited the alleged criminal conspiracy for inspiring the legislation to “erect border walls on private property in AZ without impediment from state or local government.” Remember that this group is the reason Steve Bannon was arrested.
- Yet another classic example of Republicans suppressing the vote and Democrats trying to protect it: Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers are trying to shorten the time period to request a mail-in ballot and limit the use of ballot drop boxes.
- The DLCC unveiled its second round of Spotlight candidates in Iowa, where Democrats only need to flip four House seats to gain the majority. After winning five House seats in 2018 and coming within just over 500 votes of flipping the chamber, Democrats are poised to flip the House from red to blue for the first time in over a decade.
- The Republican Party of Texas is using a QAnon slogan to sell some merchandise. The new GOP outfit of choice: red QAnon shirts with red MAGA hats.
- Arizona GOP Representative Walt Blackman is back at it — and by “it” we mean spewing hatred and sowing division. He declared that “liberals who never served this country and hate this country don’t deserve the freedoms that those who have provided.” Representative Blackman also equated the Democratic Party with Nazi Germany.
- A racist, neo-fascist, and misogynistic manifesto is drawing the support of right-wing Minnesotans — including a state senator. Minnesota Senator Roger Chamberlain has thanked the author (“Bronze Age Pervert”), liked posts promoting the manifesto, and even follows neo-Nazis on Twitter. Take a minute to wrap your head around this.
- The architect of North Carolina’s gerrymandering, GOP Representative David Lewis, resigned last week in disgrace. He’s facing federal charges for allegedly taking money from his political donors for personal use. This is a fitting end for a national disgrace to representative government and continues the GOP’s summer of crimes spree.
- Arizona GOP Senator Kate Brophy McGee said that “on school funding: absolutely agree, more needs to be done.” But Republicans have had control of the state legislature since the 1960s and Senator Brophy McGee has been in office since 2011 so if she’s looking for the reason education in Arizona is underfunded, we humbly suggest a mirror.
- Democrats in Arizona are laying the groundwork for big state legislative gains in November. After gaining four House seats in 2018, they’re running a strong slate of candidates this year to take back control of the legislature for the first time in over half a century.
- After one week of their special session, Virginia lawmakers are making progress on police reform with two Democratic-introduced bills. One would require teams of mental health service providers to accompany law enforcement when they respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises and another would make it easier to decertify police officers who commit misconduct.
- Today, a Delaware task force to address racial inequities in the state met for the first time. Comprised of the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus and other government officials, this group is determined to help Delaware’s Black communities.
- A Democratic-led New Jersey Senate committee approved Fabiana Pierre-Louis for the state Supreme Court. Pending a full vote of the Senate on Thursday, Pierre-Louis will be the first Black woman on New Jersey’s Supreme Court.
- The USPS is the talk of the town. The House passed a bill funding the Postal Service while the Senate Republicans are refusing to take it up — with Trump threatening to veto it. Even though vote-by-mail is the best way to vote safely during a pandemic, the GOP at all levels of the ballot is doing everything it can to discredit it and doesn’t seem to care about Americans’ democratic rights.