Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will propose a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to convicted felons in a Condition of the State address that highlights “the beauty of grace” and second chances, the Des Moines Register reports.
Politico: “Tensions between the old governor and the new governor had been simmering under the surface for more than a month, but it burst into public view Tuesday after Scott abruptly left his successor’s inauguration ceremony, leading DeSantis to ad lib the parts of his speech in which he planned to personally thank Scott.”
“DeSantis’ team knew Scott would need to leave the ceremony at some point to attend his own Senate swearing in ceremony in Washington but were surprised when the former governor didn’t stay for the speech. DeSantis loyalists were already miffed that Scott’s political committee decided to throw a ball in Washington to celebrate his installation in the U.S. Senate that overlapped with the traditional inaugural celebration for the governor in Tallahassee.”
“Those slights followed two other perceived insults Friday, when the governor made more than 70 appointments without consulting DeSantis.”
“Colorado entered a new era of Democratic political dominance Tuesday as Jared Polis was sworn in as the state’s 43rd governor, promising to make the state’s booming economy fairer and health care more affordable,” the Denver Post reports.
“Polis’ longtime partner, Marlon Reis, and their two children stood with him for the ceremony on the west steps of the state Capitol. He took the oath at precisely noon, his left hand on a siddur, a Jewish prayer book.”
“In his first speech as governor, Polis celebrated the diversity of the state and recognized the historic moment: Polis is the first openly gay governor elected to lead a state. He also is Colorado’s first Jewish governor.”
Incoming Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signaled “he would not go along with parts of lame-duck laws that curb his powers, suggesting that GOP lawmakers or their supporters would have to sue him over the issue,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
“The Democrat’s stance changes the dynamic in the fight over the lame-duck legislation by prodding Republicans into initiating litigation instead of doing so himself.”
Members of New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy’s (D) inner circle “testified on Tuesday that they knew for months about accusations of sexual assault against a top administration official, but did not take steps to force the man’s removal,” the New York Times reports.
“It was the first time that high-ranking members of the administration, including Pete Cammarano, the governor’s chief of staff, were called to testify under oath in front of a panel as part of an investigation into the incident, which has cast a pall over Mr. Murphy’s first year in office and threatens to impede his progressive agenda.”
Kansas state Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton served notice “of a decision to politically re-brand themselves by leaving the Republican Party,” the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
The announcement followed by less than one week the decision by Sen. Barbara Bollier to also join the Democratic caucus.
With appointments to fill two vacant seats, Nevada became the first state in the country with a majority-female legislature, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.
Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) “signed lame-duck legislation Friday that will scale back the authority of his Democratic successor — approving the entire legislation after saying he was inclined to veto parts of it,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
“The move came a day after Walker announced a $28 million incentive package for Kimberly-Clark Corp. using powers the legislation strips from incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. If Walker had signed the legislation earlier, he wouldn’t have been able to cut the deal with Kimberly-Clark without permission from lawmakers.”
Kansas state Sen. Barbara Bollier told the Shawnee Mission Post that she no longer believes in the Republican party’s values.
Said Bollier: “Morally, the party is not going where my compass resides. I’m looking forward to being in a party that represents the ideals that I do, including Medicaid expansion and funding our K-12 schools.”
New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James (D) told NBC News that she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Trump, his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.
Said James: “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.”
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) has asked state Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) to begin investigating whether Sen.-elect Josh Hawley (R) “used public resources to support his Senate bid,” the Kansas City Star reports.
The auditor’s office has subpoena power.
New York Times: “The ongoing legislative maneuvers in Michigan and Wisconsin are part of a broader war for power in the Midwest, a politically prized region for both parties — but especially for Republicans, who are trying to dilute Democratic control ahead of bigger battles. The G.O.P., which lost the House in November as well as four key governorships in the Midwest, depends on its gerrymandered districts in the region for a trove of seats in both Congress and state legislatures. Without these safe seats, they would be unlikely to attempt such last-minute tactics.”
“But now, with incoming Democratic governors set to have veto power over the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census, a handful of states are confronting either court challenges to the existing districts or new, more equitable rules for drawing the next decade of legislative boundaries. In Michigan, voters this year approved an independent redistricting commission, but Republican lawmakers are using the current lame duck session to try to curb the new Democratic secretary of state’s implementation of it.”
Pennsylvania Senate President Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati (R) has asked Sen.-elect Lindsey Williams (D) “to provide more documentation about her residency as Republicans decide whether to block her from taking her seat next year,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
“In the weeks before the November election, Republicans backed an unsuccessful legal effort to get her kicked off the ballot on the grounds that she did not meet the residency requirements outlined in the state constitution, which says that lawmakers must live in the state four years.”
“Ms. Williams, who has repeatedly said she does meet the requirements, prevailed and won election in the 38th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Pittsburgh and its northern suburbs.”
Charles Sykes: “The Wisconsin GOP’s lame-duck power play was not the death of democracy. But it was bad enough: petty, vindictive, and self-destructive. It was, as the saying goes, worse than a crime. It was a blunder. And for what?”
“In its arrogant insularity, the Wisconsin GOP became a national symbol of win-at-all-costs, norms-be-damned politics. Cut through the overwrought rhetoric and what did the Republican legislators actually accomplish? Not really a whole lot; certainly not enough to justify the political damage they’ve inflicted on themselves. They have managed to energize the progressive base, expose themselves as sore losers, and undermine crucial democratic norms. And in return … they got extraordinarily little.”
“Republican lawmakers may be violating the state constitution with fast-tracked bills in the lame-luck Legislature that curb the powers of incoming Democratic officeholders or water down proposals backed by Michigan voters, legal experts say,” the Detroit Free Press reports.
Republicans in the Wisconsin state Senate rushed to approve 82 of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) appointees, a month after voters chose not to reelect the Republican, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
“Republicans who control Michigan’s Legislature voted Wednesday to advance a measure that strips campaign-finance oversight power from the Democratic secretary of state-elect, and they were poised to give lawmakers authority to stand up for GOP-backed laws if they think incoming the Democratic governor and attorney general are not adequately defending the state’s interests,” NBC News reports.
“The lame-duck moves followed within hours of similar efforts in Wisconsin, where lawmakers voted earlier Wednesday to shift clout to the Republican-controlled Legislature and weaken the Democrat replacing the GOP governor.”