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 March 3rd, and here is the state of the states.
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- There are now at least 253 bills introduced in 43 states just this year that would restrict voting — confirming that Republicans are falling back on their battle-tested agenda of voter suppression to stay in power. Republicans are targeting communities of color with legislation to unnecessarily put up barriers to voting, like in Georgia where the House just passed legislation that would restrict the number of ballot boxes and limit weekend early voting — a direct attack on Black voters’ souls to the polls programs.
- We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: conspiracy theories and anti-democratic antics didn’t start or end with Donald Trump. Extremism started in the states — and Republican state legislators are going to carry out Donald Trump’s agenda and continue pushing conspiracy theories.
Republican state lawmakers aren’t just spreading conspiracy theories about election results — they’re also continuing to spread misinformation about the pandemic and mock mask-wearing. We’ll keep saying this: the GOP’s dangerous antics will cost people their lives and will harm the country’s economic recovery.
- Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and other members of the state’s Republican caucus are steering the Michigan GOP as far to the right as it can get.
- Republican lawmakers in the New Hampshire House expanded the stand-your-ground law to allow people who feel under attack while in their vehicle to use deadly force. Common sense would suggest we need to restrict, not expand, these reckless laws.
- GOP lawmaker Charlie Shepherd of Idaho thinks moms should stay in their homes. He voted against funding for early education because it “makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home.” Happy Women’s History Month!
- Iowa Republicans are doubling down on their pro-gun stance by considering legislation that would not require people to have a permit to buy or carry firearms. We cannot overemphasize how unsafe that would be.
- In this week’s Mike Shirkey segment, a business that the Michigan Senate majority leader owns will receive an additional $1.7 million in PPP loans — but he has yet to approve allocating $4 billion of federal COVID-19 aid for Michigan.
- We hit the end of Virginia’s productive legislative session, and in the last few days, Democrats passed a lot of bills — including ones that ban the gay/trans panic defense, provide paid sick leave for some home health care workers, raise teacher pay, seal some criminal records, and protect consumer data, alongside dozens that address the pandemic.
- Washington Senate Democrats passed a bill that would ban open-carry firearms at the state capitol and at public demonstrations across the state.
- Oregon House Speaker and DLCC board member Tina Kotek proposed legislation that would prevent cops from arresting people for police interference who are passively resisting police orders. If passed, activists who refuse to move during protests would be safe from arrest.
- New Mexico Democrats successfully repealed the state’s pre-Roe law criminalizing abortion, ensuring the state protects people’s rights to control their own bodies.
Now that Virginia’s legislative session is over, it’s full steam ahead to the elections this November. Democrats have been laying the groundwork early to hold on to the Virginia House, and we’re confident that with GOP extremists like Amanda Chase becoming her party’s standard-bearers, Republicans will sink their own chances of winning.