State House

‘Bathroom Bill’ Will Cost North Carolina Nearly $4 Billion

“Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’ isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years,” according to an Associated Press analysis.

“Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state’s economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town’s amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state’s biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.”

Oklahoma Lawmaker Arrested for Soliciting Sex from Boy

Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey (R) was arrested after he was caught in a motel with an underage male, the Advocate reports.

“Police in Moore, Okla., are now recommending three charges: soliciting prostitution of a minor, prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting for the purpose of prostitution. A redacted police report indicates the child’s father watched him enter a Super8 motel with Shortey and then called police, who smelled marijuana wafting from the room. When confronted by police, Shortey — married to a woman and the father of two children — said he was just hanging out with a friend. But messages on a digital device showed the politician was asking for ‘sexual stuff’ in exchange for money.”

Democrats See Surge of New Candidates In Virginia

Richmond Times Dispatch: “Republicans hold a dominant 66-34 majority in the House, but Democrats hope the swell of anti-Trump activism in Virginia, the only Southern state Trump did not win, could lead to a 2017 wave in down-ticket House races as Virginians elect a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.”

“As of late last week, Democrats said they had candidates running in 43 of the 66 House districts that Republicans currently represent, more than double the 21 GOP districts Democrats contested in 2015. So far, Republicans have five challengers among the 34 Democratic-held districts.”

Lawmakers Lay Groundwork to Impeach Bentley

“Alabama lawmakers began laying the legal groundwork Tuesday to impeach their governor over his alleged adulterous affair with his former top political adviser,” NBC News reports.

“The deliberations of the Alabama House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee got underway as the state’s Attorney General’s Office was simultaneously pursuing a criminal investigation of Gov. Robert Bentley.”

Birmingham News: “A growing number of Alabama lawmakers — black and white, Republican and Democrat — are fed up with Gov. Robert Bentley and want to get on with getting him out of office. The attorney general, grand juries and ethics investigators can get in line behind them.”

Democrats Try New Tactic to Get Trump’s Tax Returns

“State legislators across the country are debating new measures that would require candidates running for president to publicly disclose their tax returns to qualify for the ballot,” The Hill reports.

“Democrats, incensed by Trump’s false claims of being prevented from releasing the documents because of an IRS audit, see the legislation on the state level as a way to force the president’s hand when he seeks reelection in 2020.”

Pennsylvania Democrats Locked Out of Computer Network

“The Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have been hit by a ransomware attack that has locked senators and employees out of their computer network since the early morning hours of Friday,” state officials told NBC News.

“In a ransomware attack, hackers inject a network with malware that typically encrypts important data, and then demand payment in exchange for a key that releases the data. They threaten to destroy the data if they aren’t paid.”

Pence Used Personal Email for State Business

Vice President Mike Pence “routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

“Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.”

Iowa Lawmaker Falsely Claims Business Degree

Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren (R), who is pushing a controversial bill that caps the number of Democrats that state universities can hire as professors, claimed on a government web site that he got a “business degree” from the “Forbco Management school,” NBC News reports.

But Chelgren’s alleged alma mater is actually a company that operated a Sizzler steak house franchise.

Said Iowa GOP spokesman Ed Failor: “This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald’s. He got a certificate.”

Why Is LePage Spending So Much Time In Washington?

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) “has been out of the state for most of the past two weeks and has spent much of that time in Washington, fueling speculation he might be in line for a position in the Trump administration,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

A LePage spokesman wouldn’t deny the rumors: “The president is pretty impressed with all the accomplishments the governor has made over the last six years that the Maine media have ignored.”

Democrats Turn Out for Delaware Special Election

“In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of extraordinary turnout,” the Huffington Post reports.

“The last time her opponent, John Marino, ran in this district, in 2014, he lost by just 2 points.”

Delaware State News: “The big money involved, the potential for a major shift in the state’s political landscape and the fact many Democrats saw Saturday as a referendum on President Donald Trump led to a spotlight being shined on the race, boosting donations and voter turnout.”

GOP Lawmakers Push Bills to Limit Protesting in 18 States

“Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling ‘an attack on protest rights throughout the states,'” the Washington Post reports.

“Some are introducing bills because they say they’re necessary to counter the actions of ‘paid’ or ‘professional’ protesters who set out to intimidate or disrupt, a common accusation that experts agree is largely overstated... Others, like the sponsors of a bill in Minnesota, say the measures are necessary to protect public safety on highways. Still other bills, in states like Oklahoma and South Dakota, are intended to discourage protesting related to oil pipelines.”

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.”