Sorry for that headline. 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 19th and here is the state of the states.
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- Last night at the Democratic National Convention, several state legislators from key states like Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan spoke about the importance of flipping state legislatures blue in 2020 because of the outsized impact they play on Americans’ day-to-day lives. And Rhode Island Representative Joseph McNamara made sure calamari got time in the spotlight too.
- Even before the day of the primary, 1.9 million Floridians had already cast their mail-in ballots — far exceeding the number cast in 2016. They’re clearly excited about down-ballot races since Florida doesn’t have any state-wide candidates on the ballot this year.
- Republicans are going after the USPS so they can cheat their way to victory in November, with Donald Trump admitting the quiet part out loud — he’s attacking the USPS so that it will be harder for people to vote-by-mail, even as he seeks an absentee ballot in Florida. Cue warning signals for voter disenfranchisement in 46 states.
- Democrats are planning to hold the GOP from the White House to the statehouse accountable for their disastrous response to the coronavirus. It’s critical that we win back power in state legislatures ahead of redistricting.
- Minnesota Senate Republicans blocked the confirmation of the state Commissioner of Labor and Industry in a last-minute vote — deciding that the middle of the coronavirus crisis was the perfect time to gamble with people’s lives by ousting the person overseeing occupational health and safety.
- Citing the win of Democratic state House candidate Spencer Wetmore in South Carolina, Cook Political Reportchanged the state’s US Senate race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.” State legislators make waves — blue ones.
- Iowa Representative Jeff Shipley is against protecting health care access for people with preexisting conditions, claiming it is “subsidizing chronic illness.” Taking the “ignoring your constituents’ suffering” stance is a bold one, but we’ve seen it from Shipley before.
- Arizona Republican Senate candidate Wendy Rogers congratulated Marjorie Taylor Greene on her GOP primary win in Georgia. You know, Marjorie, the racist QAnon conspiracy theorist?
- Whose job is it to keep Americans safe? Not the government, according to GOP Pennsylvania legislator Jim Cox. He argued that the private sector and individuals should solve the pandemic, not the government. We’re pretty sure that if Representative Cox could go back in time, he’d ask individuals to solve the Great Depression or World War II all by themselves, too.
- Arizona GOP Representative Walt Blackman demanded that Arizona “open up the damn state and schools” and claimed that pro-choice Democrats “love promoting and killing children.” Honestly, we’re not even sure what to do with that.
- Virginia Democrats began a special session this week, and their top aim is to pass substantive police reform. While specifics are in the works, Democrats are working to hold police more accountable and improve the fairness of the criminal justice system.
- Democratic lawmakers in Maryland are mobilizing to ensure their constituents can vote safely and efficiently — House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair M. Courtney Watson even called more than 600 Marylanders to tell them about their vote-by-mail options.
- An all-female group of Democratic Illinois state senators toured “safety net hospitals” to learn more about their needs and how the legislators can better serve the poor and uninsured in the state Senate.
- Next week, watch out for the nightmare that you just can’t look away from: the Republican National Convention. With most of the in-person events canceled in states like Texas and Florida due to COVID-19 cases surging, this mess of a convention will be something to behold.