Edited by Greg Janetka
This week’s tracker features a sessions update and an overview of the busy upcoming week’s candidate filings and primary elections.
This week 13 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. As of May 16, all states had convened their 2012 sessions. Louisiana, New Hampshire and South Carolina are projected to adjourn this week.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
All states have convened their regular 2012 legislative sessions:
- January 17: Alaska, New Mexico
- January 18: Hawaii
- January 23: Utah
- January 24: Minnesota
- February 1: Oregon
- February 5: Oklahoma
- February 7: Alabama
- February 8: Connecticut
- February 13: Arkansas, Wyoming
- March 12: Louisiana
- May 16: North Carolina
The following states have ended their regular session:
- February 16: New Mexico
- March 6: Oregon
- March 8: Utah, Washington
- March 9: Arkansas, Florida, Wyoming
- March 10: Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia
- March 16: Wisconsin
- March 19: South Dakota
- March 29: Georgia, Idaho
- April 9: Maryland
- April 12: Kentucky
- April 16: Alaska
- April 18: Nebraska
- May 1: Tennessee
- May 3: Arizona, Mississippi, Hawaii
- May 5: Vermont
- May 9: Colorado, Iowa, Connecticut
- May 10: Minnesota
- May 16: Alabama
- May 20: Kansas
- May 25: Oklahoma
- May 30: Missouri
- May 31: Maine
- Click here to see a chart of each state’s 2012 session information.
|Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, June 4, 2012
|There are 7,384 Total State Legislators|
|Total Democratic state legislators||3,304 (44.7%)|
|Total Republican state legislators||3,968 (53.7%)|
|There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers|
|Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers||36|
|Total Republican Party-controlled chambers||58|
|Total tied or non-partisan chambers||5|
|2012 Session Information|
|Total Special Elections||25|
|Total Special Sessions||12|
In 2011, special sessions were a widespread occurrence in state legislatures. This was largely due to states’ having to complete the redistricting process for legislative and congressional districts. Overall in 2011, there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.
Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 12 special sessions in 10 states. None are currently ongoing. The next is slated to begin in Connecticut on June 12.
A special session will take place on June 12 in order to approve the language of the new budget which goes into effect on July 1. It is also possible that several bills which died during the session could be revisited, including a proposal to increase the minimum wage as well as a job promotion bill.
Last Friday, Speaker of the House Chris Donovan‘s (D) campaign manager announced Donovan would temporarily step down from his leadership role during the special session. Donovan’s campaign has recently been the target of an FBI investigation and saw his campaign’s finance director arrested on May 31 on charges of concealing campaign contributions.
A special session looks likely in Illinois as the legislature finished their spring session without passing a plan to address pension reform. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said he would be meeting with legislative leaders soon in order to determine the date.
Maryland, which already held a special session in May, may have another one the week of July 9. An 11-member work group is trying to reach consensus on a plan to expand gambling in the state. If successful, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said he will call the legislature into session to address the issue. The workgroup is chaired by John Morton III, a business and financial services executive. Other members include four of the governor’s staff, three senators appointed by Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. (D) and three representatives appointed by Speaker of the House Michael Busch (D).
State Sen. Mike Stack (D) is currently circulating petitions that would call a special session this summer to deal with transportation issues. In order to be called, half the members of each chamber must sign, along with Gov. Tom Corbett (R).
As of today, June 4, 2 state’s sessions are currently in recess:
- Illinois – In recess until November 2012.
- Wisconsin – In recess from March 17 to December 31, 2012.
|Maps submitted for vote: 137 out of 142 (96.5%)**||No votes on initial maps in the following: KS (1), ME (2), MT (2)|
|States that have completed Congressional Maps||42/43 (Maps unfinished: KS)|
|States that have completed State Legislative Maps||45/50 (Maps unfinished: AL, KS, ME, MS, MT)|
|**With 50 states, there are 142 possible maps. 50 State Senate, 49 State House (No House in Nebraska), and 43 Congressional (7 states have 1 seat)|
On May 30, the trial concluded in Kansas’ federal redistricting lawsuit. A panel of three federal judges will now deliberate on how to draw the state’s legislative, congressional, and Board of Education maps. Secretary of State Kris Kobach has advised the court to complete their work by June 20 in order to avoid delaying the August 7 primary election. Nathan Persily, a redistricting expert and consultant in four judicial redistricting efforts, suggested that the court’s timeline may be overly ambitious. He also noted that acceptable deviations for court-drawn maps are often stricter than those for legislatively-drawn maps.
2012 Legislative Elections
A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.
1,272 (64.5%) of the country’s 1,971 state senate seats are up for election in November 2012, and 4,712 (87.05%) of the country’s 5,413 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 5,984 (81.04%) of the country’s 7,384 state legislative seats will be up for election during the presidential election year.
- 43 of the 50 state senates are holding elections.
- 43 of the 49 state houses are holding elections.
The 5,984 seats up for election is 141 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.
So far, deadlines have passed in 33 states:
- Illinois – December 5, 2011
- Ohio – December 7, 2011
- West Virginia – January 28
- Kentucky – January 31
- Indiana – February 10
- Nebraska – February 15 (incumbents), March 1 (non-incumbents)
- Pennsylvania – February 16
- North Carolina – February 29
- Arkansas – March 1
- Oregon – March 6
- California – March 9
- Idaho – March 9
- Texas – March 9
- Montana – March 12
- Maine – March 15
- Iowa – March 16
- Nevada – March 16
- Utah – March 16
- New Mexico – March 20
- Missouri – March 27
- South Dakota – March 27
- South Carolina – March 30
- Colorado – April 2
- Tennessee – April 5
- North Dakota – April 13
- Oklahoma – April 13
- Michigan – May 15
- Washington – May 18
- Georgia – May 25
- Arizona – May 30
- Alaska – June 1
- Wisconsin – June 1
- Wyoming – June 1
States with upcoming deadlines:
- See also: 2012 election dates
So far, primaries have taken place in 12 states:
- Ohio – March 6
- Illinois – March 20
- Pennsylvania – April 24
- Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia – May 8
- Idaho – May 15
- Nebraska – May 15
- Oregon – May 15
- Arkansas – May 22
- Kentucky – May 22
- Texas – May 29
A total of 34 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary.
States with upcoming primaries:
- June 5: California, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota
- June 12: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia
- June 26: Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah
- July 31: Georgia
- Currently, 18 states permit the recall of state officials. Between 1913 and 2008, there were just 20 state legislative recall elections in five states. Of the 20 state legislative recall elections, 13 out of 20 resulted in the state legislator being recalled. In 2011, there were 11 state legislative recalls in three states, 4 of which resulted in the legislator being recalled. In 2012, there are currently 4 scheduled state legislative recalls.
2011 saw a wave of recall attempts in Michigan. While most of those efforts dried up, at least two campaigns continued on (the recall of Paul Scott was successful on November 8, 2011). Organizers of the campaigns to recall Bruce Caswell (R) and Phil Pavlov (R) set their sights on the August 2012 ballot, but in April organizers of the Pavlov recall announced they did not have enough signatures and were abandoning their efforts. The Caswell campaign remains active.
Recalls against four Republican state senators take place tomorrow. The primary took place on May 8. The Senate is currently tied 16-16, with one vacancy. Thus, the recalls will determine who controls the chamber.
|Party||As of June 2012|
Democrats in Wisconsin filed recall petitions on November 15, 2011 against four Republican state senators – Pam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard. Campaign organizers turned in more than the necessary number of signatures in each of the four races on January 17, 2012.
The Republican Party ran protest candidates (Republicans who ran as Democrats) in each of the primaries in order to ensure all recalls would take place on the same date. The “fake” candidates were all defeated, taking between 27.9 and 35.8 percent.
Matchups for tomorrow’s recalls are as follows:
- District 13 – Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R) vs. Democrat Lori Compas, an organizer of the recall, and Libertarian Terry Virgil.
- District 29 – Sen. Pam Galloway (R) – Galloway resigned, but the recall against her continues as scheduled. State Rep. Jerry Petrowski (R) is running in her place and will face Democratic state Rep. Donna Seidel.
There are no special elections scheduled to take place this week.
Upcoming special elections include:
- July 17: South Carolina Senate District 41
- July 24: South Carolina House District 68
- August 7: Pennsylvania Senate District 40
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 16
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 26
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 68