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 12th and here is the state of the states.
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- Minnesota’s primary was yesterday, and even before Tuesday, the number of returned absentee ballots reached a record high: over 100,000 more absentee ballots were returned compared to 2016’s primary.
- The DLCC has unveiled its slate of Michigan Spotlight candidates. Democrats need to flip just four seats to retake the House and these 11 candidates and incumbents are more than up to the task.
- Georgia Republicans are fighting to hold on to their narrow majorities, but none of them have found the time to denounce racist QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, who emerged victorious from her Republican congressional primary runoff last night. Despite her extremist views, Republicans have embraced the latest addition to the party.
- Many right-wing, Trump-supporting lawmakers signed onto a letter by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) saying “‘no thanks’ to [a] federal bailout” — even as states face huge revenue losses. But now that Trump declared states have to pay for unemployment (which he also cut), will Republican state lawmakers change their “no bailout ever” tune?
- A shocking report revealed that Texas Governor Abbott is withholding $8 billion in federal aid meant for local communities as coronavirus cases continue to spike across the state. Republicans in the legislature need to say whether they agree with the governor sitting on aid while Texas families suffer.
- GOP legislators in Georgia have remained silent in the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak at a state high school. As students across the Peach State prepare to return to schools, the absence of vocal leadership from the GA GOP about the real threat COVID-19 poses to student safety speaks volumes about their priorities.
- For the second time in the three weeks, Maine GOP legislators have rejected calls to convene a special session to address urgent issues such as small business relief and school readiness. This flat-out refusal to perform their basic legislative duties demonstrates the GOP’s callous disregard for the needs of Mainers.
- While claiming that masks shouldn’t be required in schools, GOP Iowa Representative Sandy Salmon wrote in a recent newsletter that there “is much debate about whether face masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19.” We think there will also be much debate about whether Representative Salmon should keep her seat. (spoiler: no).
- Republican Montana Representative Joe Read shared a conspiracy theory video claiming the pandemic turned the US to a socialist state and stimulus checks were “hush money” to keep people quiet. Another post claimed that Bill Gates is going to depopulate the earth with forced vaccination. Just another Republican lawmaker who believes and actively promotes conspiracy theories…
- Iowa Representative Ann Meyer claimed that doctors were skewing data without proof, saying “we do have physicians out there who are pro one party or the other and their information is skewed to denigrate [the GOP] governor.” Starting to feel like Republicans are out of touch with reality.
- Democratic leaders in the Virginia Senate unveiled a sweeping police reform bill ahead of this month’s special session. The proposal addresses the need for changes in officer recruitment, police accountability and conduct, and use of force.
- Nevada Democrats continued to deliver during the final week of the legislative special session. Democratic senators led the way to pass a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. Both chambers also voted to expand eligibility for Nevada unemployment benefits.
- North Carolina Democratic candidate Ricky Hurtado has a plan to flip a state House seat: engage the Latino community and give them a voice in politics. While the coronavirus pandemic stopped his in-person outreach, he’s still fighting to win in November.
- With the Trump administration’s decision to stop the US Census Bureau’s counting earlier than planned, there’s a real possibility that Black, Latino, Native American, and immigrant communities could be undercounted. This could dramatically change federal funding and political representation for those communities — in addition to impacting redistricting in 2021.