State House

Wave of Democrats Run In Virginia

“Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton,” the Washington Post reports.

“In some districts, multiple candidates will compete in Democratic primaries for the chance to challenge a Republican incumbent. And at least one Democratic incumbent from Northern Virginia will face a primary challenge, from a local school board member who said Clinton’s defeat helped propel her to run.”

No Need to Hunt for Dirt on This Guy

Noah Dyer (D) announced he’s running for Arizona governor by oversharing details of his life in a way most politicians’ would not dare, KPNX reports.

From his official biography:

Noah has had both deep and casual sexual experiences with all kinds of women. He is an advocate of open relationships. He has sent and received intimate texts and pictures, and occasionally recorded video during sex. Noah has always been forthright with his partners, seeking the same in return. All of his relationships have been legal and consensual, never coercive, or abusive, and he condemns such behavior. Noah is unapologetic about his sexual choices, and wishes others the same.

State GOP Leaders Move Swiftly on Agenda

New York Times: “While Republicans in Washington appear flummoxed by the complexities of one-party rule, struggling with issues from repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, to paying for President Trump’s promised wall on the Mexican border, rising party leaders in the states seem far more at ease and assertive. Republicans have top-to-bottom control in 25 states now, holding both the governorship and the entire legislature, and Republican lawmakers are acting with lightning speed to enact longstanding conservative priorities.”

“In states from New England to the Midwest and across the South, conservative lawmakers have introduced or enacted legislation to erode union powers and abortion rights, loosen gun regulations, expand school-choice programs and slash taxes and spending.”

Blue States Troll Trump

Politico: “Since gaveling in this year, legislatures in states that went for Hillary Clinton have proposed a flood of laws or resolutions that mock, challenge or repudiate some of the most controversial aspects of Trump’s presidency. Some are designed for the sole purpose of needling Trump by reminding him that he lost the popular vote, or that his for-profit school “Trump University” has been under legal attack for years or that a state’s own relations with Mexico are strong.”

“And that’s on top of the legal challenges to Trump’s controversial travel ban, a push for protections to state reproductive rights laws and vocal defiance of Trump’s economic threats against immigrant sanctuary cities.”

GOP Lawmakers Want to Hurt Charities Aiding Refugees

“Unable to block the federal government from sending refugees to Arizona, six Republican lawmakers want to penalize the charities that help them resettle here,” the Arizona Daily Sun reports.

Key takeaway: “The potentially more far-reaching part of her legislation would impose a fine on charities of $1,000 a day for each refugee it helps place in the state. And if a refugee is arrested, the charity would be financially liable for the cost of arrest, prosecution and incarceration of that person.”

GOP Redistricting Maps Coming Under Fire

“Recent court decisions in three states are putting carefully carved Republican-drawn state legislative districts at risk — and could even threaten the entire process of partisan map drawing,” the Washington Post reports.

“On Friday, a federal court ordered Wisconsin legislatures to redraw their state House legislative districts after finding in November that the districts were unconstitutionally partisan. The order will essentially require lawmakers to redraw state Senate maps as well.”

“The November decision was the first time this decade that a court has thrown out legislative maps because they favored voters of one party over another. Subsequently, this will be the first time in a decade that lawmakers will have to redraw maps specifically to make them more fair for both parties.”

Calexit Backers Can Begin Collecting Signatures

“Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment seeking California’s secession from the U.S. can begin collecting voter signatures to qualify for the 2018 ballot,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

“The so-called Calexit movement emerged within days of the upset presidential victory of Republican Donald Trump, who lost California by nearly 4.3 million votes. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that nearly one in three Californians support the state leaving the U.S.”

GOP Lawmakers Suddenly Back Early Voting in Mississippi

The Mississippi House Elections Committee “unanimously passed measures to allow early voting, online voter registration and to create a study committee to come up with clearer rules for restoration of voting rights for convicts,” the Hattiesburg American reports.

“In the past, all three issues were heatedly partisan, with most Republicans opposed to such reform. On Monday, all three bills passed were authored by Republicans and passed by a Republican-led committee.”

But the Clarion Ledger reports that Senate Republicans are likely to kill the bill.

Nebraska Lawmaker Resigns Before Being Booted

Embattled Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner (R) resigned from the legislature following months of criticism from lawmakers, constituents and Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Omaha World Herald reports.

“Kintner, who admitted last year to using a state laptop to engage in cybersex with a woman he met online, became the target of a barrage of criticism during legislative floor debate this week after he retweeted a Twitter post that appeared to make light of sexual assault.”

The Lincoln Journal Star reports Kintner made the announcement “shortly before his fellow senators were scheduled to consider resolutions to expel him.”

Dayton Collapses During State of the State Address

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) “slurred his words and fainted briefly near the end of a 45-minute State of the State speech Monday night at the Capitol,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Several people nearby, including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, caught him as he lurched forward, struck his forehead on the lectern and then sank toward the floor in the House chambers in St. Paul.”

Lawmakers In 5 States Try to Criminalize Peaceful Protests

The Intercept: “On Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington will kick off what opponents of the incoming administration hope will be a new era of demonstrations against the Republican agenda. But in some states, nonviolent demonstrating may soon carry increased legal risks — including punishing fines and significant prison terms — for people who participate in protests involving civil disobedience. Over the past few weeks, Republican legislators across the country have quietly introduced a number of proposals to criminalize and discourage peaceful protest.”