Tag Archive | "Mississippi"

Mississippi lawmakers seek to restirct concealed-carry permit information

February 28, 2013

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By Zac Humphrey

JACKSON, Mississippi: A bill that would block concealed-carry weapons permit information from public records has been passed by Mississippi State Senate and will now be returned to the Mississippi House of Representatives.[1]

The bill in question, House Bill 485, was amended in committee in the Senate to allow for the release of the permit information with a court order from a judge. The bill passed the Senate, with the only “no” vote coming from Derrick Simmons (D). He is on record as saying that the names and addresses of the permit holders should remain public knowledge.[1]

HB 485 will now head back to the Mississippi House where they can either pass the bill as amended or negotiate with the Senate on the final outcome.[1]

Mississippi House passes bill that would allow school district staff to be armed

February 19, 2013

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February 15, 2013

Mississippi

By Zac Humphrey

JACKSON, Mississippi: Teachers and principals in Mississippi may soon be able to carry concealed guns in schools, if a bill that was passed by the Mississippi House of Representatives makes it through the Mississippi State Senate.[1]

House bill 958 was sponsored by Representative Lester Carpenter (R) who has explained that it would provide safety to students and be a cheaper option than hiring armed guards. Originally, the bill stated that only two staff members per district would be allowed to operate in this manner. This provision was removed from the final language approved by the House in committee.[1]

Opponents of the bill say that this is reactionary and not well thought out. Representative David Myers (D) voiced opposition to the bill by saying that leaving untrained school personnel in the position to make decisions in an emergency is something that is better left to law enforcement.[1]

Representative Jeffrey Guice (R) said that state departments of education and public safety would have to sign off on any conceal and carry policies that would be enacted under the provisions of this bill.[1]

Passage of this bill isn’t guaranteed, however. There is a Senate proposal that is supported by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves which would set up a matching state fund of $7.5 million to allow schools to hire armed guards.[1]

Mississippi lawmakers seek to neutralize federal laws and regulations

January 30, 2013

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January 29, 2013

Mississippi

By Zac Humphrey

JACKSON, Mississippi: Mississippi lawmakers are looking to revive a 50 year old commission that would seek to neutralize federal laws and regulations that are outside the powers granted to federal government by the United States Constitution.[1]

Gary Chism, chair of the Mississippi House Insurance Committee (R) is the primary sponsor on this legislation, House Bill 490. He and fellow state representative Jeff Smith explain that this legislation is meant to enforce the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[2]

As drafted, the bill seeks to prohibit the federal government from infringing on constitutionally protected rights of the states and the citizens of the United States. It also reaffirms the sovereignty of Mississippi as laid out in the constitution adopted in 1890.[2]

Steve Holland, a Democratic member of the Mississippi House has voice opposition to this bill, stating “it is political fodder for the right and borderline stupid.” A law professor from the University of Mississippi has said that this legislation is unconstitutional, citing the “supremacy clause” of the United States Constitution.[2] Robert McElvane, a history professor from Millsaps College also had a negative opinion of the bill, stating that this bill will bring ridicule on the state of Mississippi.[1]

This bill stems from the what is seen by some as the recent overextension of the federal government. With the passing of the federal health care law and the renewed debate on gun control, Chism and Smith felt that it was important to introduce this bill as a way to protect Mississippi’s sovereignty. The proposed Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Law would be tasked with reviewing all federal legislation and executive orders to make recommendations on those that should be neutralized due to their overreach. The committee would be made up of lieutenant governor, six state legislators appointed by him, the speaker of the House, and six legislators appointed by him for a total of 14 members.[1][2]

This is nothing new for the state of Mississippi. After the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate public schools in the 1950s, Mississippi passed many laws admonishing the federal government. They created the Sovereignty Commission in 1956, which was made up of the governor, three citizens appointed by him, the lieutenant governor, two legislators appointed by him, the speaker of the House, three legislators appointed by him, and the attorney general. The Mississippi Supreme Court struck down the commission, saying that members of the executive branch could not serve on legislative committees.[1]

Ballotpedia’s 2012 General Election Review Articles: Mississippi Congressional Seats

December 05, 2012

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By Ballotpedia’s Congressional team

Portal:Congress

MADISON, Wisconsin: Mississippi had four U.S. House seats on the ballot in 2012. Four total incumbents sought re-election on November 6, 2012. All four of those incumbents won re-election in their districts.

Here are the candidates who won election in Mississippi.

District General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
1st Democratic Party (United States) Brad Morris
Republican Party Alan Nunnelee
Constitution Party Jim R. Bourland
Libertarian Party Danny Bedwell
Reform Party Chris Potts
Alan Nunnelee Republican Party Alan Nunnelee No
2nd Democratic Party (United States) Bennie Thompson
Republican Party Bill Marcy
Independent Cobby Williams
Reform Party Lajena Williams
Bennie Thompson Democratic Party (United States) Bennie Thompson No
3rd Democratic Party (United States) Vicki Slater
Republican Party Gregg Harper
Reform Party John Luke Pannell
Gregg Harper Republican Party Gregg Harper No
4th Democratic Party (United States) Matthew Moore
Republican Party Steven Palazzo
Libertarian Party Ron Williams
Reform Party Robert W. Claunch
Steven Palazzo Republican Party Steven Palazzo No
Members of the U.S. House from Mississippi — Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 1 1
Republican Party 3 3
Total 4 4

National picture

Both chambers of the United States Congress remain split after the November 6, 2012 election. Democrats increased their majority in the U.S. Senate while cutting into the Republicans majority in theU.S. House. Of the 435 candidates who won election to the U.S. House, 85 of them were challengers, which represents 19.5 percent of U.S. House members. Of those 85, 50 are Democratic and 35 are Republican. A total of 27 incumbents were defeated — 10 Democratic and 17 Republican.

2012 United States House Election Results
Party Incumbent Winners Challenger Winners Total Winners Defeated Incumbents
Democratic 151 50 201 10
Republican 198 35 234 17
TOTALS 349 85 435 27
U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 51 53
Republican Party 47 45
Independent 2 2
Total 100 100
U.S. House Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
Democratic Party 193 201
Republican Party 242 234
Total 435 435

Mississippi abortion clinic continues to fight new law

December 03, 2012

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By Maureen Ryland

Mississippi

JACKSON: Mississippi: The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi‘s only abortion clinic, filed for an injunction this week to delay enforcement of a law that would close its doors.[1] House Bill 1390 was passed in April, and requires doctors at abortion clinics to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital. The doctors at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization have not been able to obtain those privileges, despite a ruling in July that gave the clinic extra time to comply with the law and protected it from penalties.

Although House Bill 1390 is strictly a regulatory law, it is challenged on the grounds that it would close the only dedicated abortion facility in the state and would thereby violate a woman’s federally protected right to have an abortion. Opponents of the law hope to have it struck down in a federal court.

Charter schools expansion deal likely to pass after committee reshuffle

November 19, 2012

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November 15, 2012

By Maureen Ryland [1]

JACKSON: Mississippi: This week, State Speaker of the House Philip Gunn changed the partisan shape of Mississippi‘s Education committee, removing Linda Whittington and replacing her with Charles Busby.[1] Whittington will become vice-chair of the Tourism Committee. With the addition of Busby (R), the Education committee will have a majority of supporters of charter school expansion. The committee voted down a bill to expand charter schools in Mississippi last year.

The reshuffle of committee appointments follows the retirement of Thomas Woods in July of 2012. Woods was replaced in a special election held on November 6, the same day as this year’s general election.[2]

Mississippi’s Schools Fail Transparency Test

October 03, 2012

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Today, Sunshine Review, a nonprofit, pro-transparency organization, released a state transparency analysis for Mississippi’s government websites.  Graded on a 10-point transparency checklist, Mississippi scored an overall “C” while ten largest school districts earned a “D.”

“Of the 38 states analyzed thus far for 2012, Mississippi’s transparency grade for their school districts comes in second to the bottom. This is a disservice to every Mississippi parent and taxpayer that deserve better from their school officials,” said Sunshine Review’s President Michael Barnhart.  “Mississippi must do a better job making information available to their citizens. Without this information, voters cannot hold government accountable.”

Sunshine Review’s state rankings are based on content available on government websites against what should be provided. The checklist seeks information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes.

The Mississippi state website earned a “B-” grade, accounting for half of Mississippi’s overall grade. Sunshine Review also analyzed the websites of the five largest counties, which averaged a “C.” The five largest cities earned a “C” and the ten largest school districts earned a “D” average.

Out of the 38 states analyzed by Sunshine Review, Mississippi ranked 35th in transparency. Sunshine Review found Mississippi’s state website difficult to navigate and lacked information on taxpayer funded lobbying. Analyzing the local grades, the city of Jackson received a “C-” and Gulfport earned a “B-.”

Information on the individual cities, counties, and schools can be found by clicking on the below links.

Counties:

Cities

School Districts:

Changes to Mississippi’s Out-of-State Tuition Laws

September 18, 2012

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September 17, 2012

Mississippi

By Chuck Stewart

Oxford, Mississippi: A new Mississippi law allows colleges and universities to voluntarily waive out-of-state tuition fees. This is expected to give Mississippi colleges more flexibility in attracting desirable students. The law took effect July 1st, but is not expected to be implemented by universities until 2013. It has received praise from two students interviewed by WMC-TV who lived out of state but travelled a short distance to attend the University of Mississippi. Olde Miss Chancellor Larry Ridgeway praised the law, but also expressed concern that schools could lose revenue if too many students were waived.[1]

Redistricting Roundup: Court rules another map needs revision

March 26, 2012

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Edited by Geoff Pallay


Note: Next week’s roundup, March 30, will be the final edition of the Redistricting Roundup. Ballotpedia staff will still cover redistricting news, with updates being added to the State Legislative Tracker, which is published on Monday afternoons.


Other states featured in this week’s Roundup

Acting with a sense of urgency, a three-judge federal panel approved new congressional districts for New York on Monday–the day before candidates could begin collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot. The map is nearly identical to the one proposed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann, who was appointed to act as special redistricting master. The panel noted that Mann was able to provide the court with a map in two weeks’ time – something the legislature has unable to do for over a year.

The new map reduces the number of congressional seats from 29 to 27, eliminating the mid-Hudson Valley seat held by retiring Democrat Maurice Hinchey and the Queens district held by Republican Bob Turner. Turner, in response, is now running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand (D). According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, six of the seven GOP-held U.S. House seats will be less safe for incumbents, while at least four Democratic incumbents will face less friendly districts.

New legislative districts were approved by the legislature last week and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The districts still need to be approved by the Justice Department to ensure that they comply with the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, a court case brought by Democrats against the addition of a 63rd seat in the Senate is pending. They argue that the new seat is nothing but an attempt by the GOP to retain their majority in the chamber, while Republicans argue it is required by the state Constitution.

Meanwhile, it is appearing more likely that New York will have two different primary dates for state legislative and congressional primaries. A judge has moved the congressional primary to June 26. While the Democrat-controlled Assembly favors moving the legislative primary to June 26 as well, the Republican-controlled Senate prefers to keep the primary on September 11, so as not to disrupt the legislative calendar.

State news

Alaska

After the Alaska Supreme Court remanded the redistricting challenge to the superior court, Judge McConahy set an April 2 deadline for submitting new plans and an April 13 deadline for review and adoption by the Board. Opponents were also invited to file their own map submissions by April 2 or file objections to the adopted plan by April 23. The board was given until April 27 to respond to any objections. McConahy set a May 7 court date for revisiting the plans.

Although the Alaska Redistricting Board had already scheduled meetings to make the necessary revisions, it questioned McConahy’s authority to establish the timeline. On March 16, attorneys for the Board asked McConahy vacate the order establishing the deadlines. On March 21, McConahy agreed to vacate the order. The board now plans to complete the revised map by June 1–Alaska’s filing deadline for legislative candidates. The board will hold a series of meetings each day next week to begin work on the new map. Citizens unable to attend the meetings in person may participate via streaming video or teleconference.

  • Dates and other information on the meetings can be found here.

Arizona

On Wednesday, the Arizona State Senate approved an additional $700,000 appropriation to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The Senate voted 18-9 to approve the measure which had been sent to its chamber by the House. The commission had sought an extra $1.1 million.

Meanwhile, House speaker Andy Tobin (R) is considering whether the Legislature will sue to attempt to block the legislative and congressional redistricting maps.

Quote of the Week

“I think it’s one step in a long process. We’re in court, and this whole process may have to repeat itself if we win the lawsuit over the 63rd seat. People shouldn’t take these lines to the bank just yet.”[1]Mike Gianaris (D), New York State Senator commenting on the new state senate map.

Florida

Yesterday, the Florida State Senate passed a revised chamber map, seeking to comply with changes mandated by the Florida Supreme Court. On March 10, the state’s High Court rejected the original maps, finding eight districts unconstitutional and ruling that district numbers had been assigned as to favor particular incumbents over others. Ultimately, 24 districts were modified to accommodate the changes to the eight rejected by the court. The revised numbers were picked using Bingo machines.

Despite these modifications, Democratic leaders maintain that the revised maps still violate the 2010 “Fair Districts amendment by favoring incumbents. The plan was approved 31-6 with five Democratic senators supporting the plan. The House is expected to pass the plan.

  • The overturned plan can be found here.
  • The revised plan can be found here.

Meanwhile, court challenges are pending against Florida’s new congressional districts. Last Friday, a state circuit court judge said he will likely begin hearing the challenges next month. The challenges were filed by a collection of voter groups and the Florida Democratic Party. Florida’s petition filing deadline is in May and the candidate qualifying deadline is in June.

Kansas

This week, the Kansas House of Representatives rejected two competing redistricting plans, sending lawmakers back to the drawing board. The committee map, approved on March 14, floundered in the House until it was replaced by Rep. Tom Arpke (R). The replacement map passed 70-51 in a preliminary vote on Tuesday. However, House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R), an advocate of the original map, sharply criticized the map and the House promptly voted it down on Wednesday, 48-76. It now appears that neither map is destined for passage. Another, Senate-drawn congressional map appears doomed as well.

As House lawmakers begin drafting a consensus map, it appears likely that parts of Shawnee County will be used to bolster the 1st Congressional District. The now-dead committee bill moved a portion of Wyandotte County–home to Democratic-leaning Kansas City–into the conservative 1st Congressional District of Kansas. The Senate chose a bipartisan map that kept Wyandotte in the 3rd Congressional District of Kansas, drawing population for District 1 from Riley County.

Meanwhile, a Kansas State Senate panel approved a chamber map on Monday, protecting three incumbent Republicans from conservative challengers. The changes would protect Carolyn McGinn, Tim Owens, and Jean Schodorf.

Redistricting Facts
Total States with Lawsuits filed: 37 See full list here
Total States where courts have altered/changed the final map: 17
Maps submitted for vote: 135 out of 142 (95.1%)** No votes on initial maps in the following: AL (2), KS (1), ME (2), MT (2)
States that have completed Congressional Maps 41/43 (Maps unfinished: KS, NH)
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 43/50 (Maps unfinished: AL, KS, ME, MS, MT, NH, NY)
**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)

Maryland

Maryland’s redistricting process was marked by rampant criticism and several lawsuits, but in the end, congressional and legislative maps were passed without great incident. Some of the greatest anger came toward the legislative maps, which became law without having hearings in the General Assembly. Lawmakers put forth a number of alternative plans, but none of them saw hearings either. With new districts in place and anger subsided, a slate of bills have been proposed to reform the next round of redistricting.

Nine bills in total have been heard by committees, but so far no votes have been taken. Most legislators don’t appear optimistic at their chances of passing. Suggested reforms include creating task forces to study redistricting, increasing the time for public comment, and creating a bipartisan commission to draw the districts and remove political considerations from the process.

Mississippi

In 2011, Mississippi lawmakers failed to redraw their legislative boundaries. As a result, the 2011 elections were held using the map from the 2000 Census. Republicans ultimately took control of both the Senate and House. Now, legislators must once again attempt to draw new districts using the 2010 Census. The legislature will be accepting public input through mid-April before embarking on another attempt at completing the constitutionally-mandated redistricting process.

Missouri

The Missouri Supreme Court has missed a scheduled hand-down day as candidates wait for it to rule on challenges to the state’s congressional and state House districts. The court could release the ruling on a special day, but some are concerned that the Court could now miss the state’s March 27 filing deadline.

This Week’s Redistricting Highlight

The Ohio “Voters First” coalition has submitted initial signatures for a state constitutional amendment creating a non-partisan citizens redistricting commission. The 12-member commission would be drawn from around the state, while excluding donors, politicians, and lobbyists. Once petition language is approved, the group will begin collecting the 386,000 signatures required to place the measure on the ballot.

South Carolina

Earlier in March, a three-judge federal panel dismissed a lawsuit that alleged racial discrimination in South Carolina’s new districts. This week, six voters have appealed that ruling up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has not yet decided if it will take up the case.

Tennessee

Last Friday, March 16, Democrats filed a lawsuit against the Republican-drawn Tennessee State Senate redistricting maps. The suit argues that the Tennessee State Senate map unnecessarily splits too many counties. The implemented map splits eight counties while a map drawn by the General Assembly Black Caucus map would split five.

West Virginia

On January 20, the US Supreme Court stayed a federal court ruling requiring West Virginia lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional redistricting map. The state has until March 27 to file a brief with the Supreme Court or seek an extension on the stay. If the case does not go before the Court, the lower court’s ruling will take effect and the maps will be redrawn. The court will likely make a decision on whether to consider the appeal by this fall.

Wisconsin

Yesterday, a three-judge federal panel upheld Wisconsin’s new congressional and State Senate districts, but ordered two Milwaukee-area Assembly districts to be redrawn for violating the Voting Rights Act. The panel held that the map unfairly diluted Latino voting power and ordered the map back to the legislature, mandating that lawmakers redraw Districts 8 and 9 without affecting any other districts. In the meantime, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has been barred from implementing the new map.

Although the judges upheld the great majority of the districts drawn by Republicans, they harshly criticized the process, calling it “needlessly secret” and stating that every effort was undertaken in order to complete the work out of the public eye. The legislature recently adjourned their 2012 session and it is unclear how they will take up the task, especially since the state Senate is evenly divided following Republican Pam Galloway‘s resignation on March 17.

The court challenge was first filed back in June 2011, prior to the passage of maps. Throughout the process the panel criticized Republicans for unnecessary secrecy, ordering them to release documents numerous times. Among these were agreements signed by nearly all Republican legislators stating they would not discuss the maps while they were in progress. Still, with the ruling, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) called it a win for GOP leaders.

State Legislative Tracker: Recalls scheduled in Wisconsin as turbulent session comes to a close

March 19, 2012

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Edited by Greg Janetka

This week’s tracker features an update on special sessions in Florida and Washington as well as a look at continually divided Wisconsin, where recall dates have been set against four incumbent senators.

Sessions

This week 34 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. This week no states are scheduled to convene, while South Dakota adjourns today.

Twelve states have adjourned for the year, while four states – Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas – will not hold regular sessions in 2012.

Current sessions capture for the week of March 19, 2012

Regular sessions

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

The following states convened their regular legislative sessions:

The following states have ended their regular session:

Click here to see a chart of each state’s 2012 session information.

Special sessions

Special sessions were a widespread occurrence in the state legislatures in 2011, in particular due to the necessity of states to conduct the redistricting of state legislative and congressional districts. Overall, in 2011 there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.

Florida

Following the Florida Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision on March 9 to reject the state’s new Senate maps, the Senate reconvened in special session on March 14 in order to redraw its map.[1]

According to Senate leaders the court only cited problems with 8 of the 40 senate districts and they plan to focus solely on those areas. Critics, however, point out that any minor changes will affect neighboring districts. “There is no such thing as tweaking the map,” said state Democratic Party chair Rod Smith.

The court also noted potential problems with how the districts are numbered. With all 40 districts up for election this year, some legislators will be elected to two-year terms while others will be elected to four-year terms. Thus, depending how the districts are numbered, some senators could end up serving 10 years, two years longer than the eight-year term limit.[2]

Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz (R) released a plan on Saturday which makes changes to two dozen districts. It will be considered by the full Committee tomorrow and go to the Senate floor later this week. The session is slated to run through March 28.[3]

Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly ended its regular session on March 10. The 60-day session was full of heated debate over bills regarding abortion restrictions and gun laws, but never included passing a new state budget. Thus, the same day that the Legislature adjourned, they also formally started a special session then adjourned until March 21.[4]

Washington

Washington is currently in special session. Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) called for the session on March 8 after it was clear the Legislature was going to end its 60-day regular session without passing a supplemental budget plan. House Democrats passed a budget agreement by a 53-45 vote, but it included a delayed payment for schools, something that has previously failed in the Senate. While Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, three members broke from the party ranks to vote for a Republican plan that got rid of the delayed payment and focused instead on more spending cuts.[5]

Senate Republicans unveiled a new plan on March 15 that Gregoire said she had no knowledge of despite meetings between the governor and senate leaders of both parties. Angered at being kept in the dark, she said she will not sign most of the bills awaiting her signature and threatened to veto some of them in order to force lawmakers to break their stalemate. The special session can last up to 30 days.[6]

In recess

As of today, March 19, 1 states’ session is currently in recess:

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, March 19, 2012
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,300 (44.7%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,965 (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 11
Total Special Sessions 5

Issues spotlight

Counting South Dakota’s adjournment today, a total of 12 states have ended their regular session for the year. Here is an update on major topics that were addressed in those that adjourned in the past week:

South Dakota

Legislators returned to the state capitol today to consider two vetoes and wrap up their business. Sen. Tim Rave (R) summed up the session’s work, stating, “Obviously education, education, education and then we talked about education.”[8]

Race said HB 1234, which narrowly passed, is the most comprehensive reform bill he’s ever worked on. It will dedicate millions of dollars to teacher bonuses, set up a scholarship program for future teachers and end tenure. Of the over 470 bills considered by the Legislature this session, 54 percent were passed. The two bills vetoed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) that they will consider today concern carrying concealed handguns without a permit and prohibiting cities from banning digital billboards.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin State Senate finished its work for the year on Thursday, the last day scheduled for passing bills, after meeting for less than an hour. The Assembly, however, did not adjourn until late Friday after Democrats held a 30-hour long filibuster over a bill that would have dissolved the Milwaukee Area Technical College board. Democrats returned to the floor at 3 a.m. on Friday, giving speeches and interrupting GOP attempts to adjourn until Republicans finally agreed late in the afternoon to reappoint the current members of the MATC board.[9]

The contentious end of the two-year long session was just the latest in a long line of partisan fighting that began in February 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker (R) introduced his budget repair bill which limited collective bargaining rights, compensation and fringe benefits of public employees. Also noteworthy was the passage of a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons and one to require photo ID at the polls, which Democrats argued was unconstitutional.[10] Last week a circuit court judge agreed with Democrats, issuing a permanent injunction against the Voter ID measure.[11]

The end of the session saw a firestorm over a mining reform bill aimed at getting Florida-based Gogebic Taconite to open an iron mine in northwester Wisconsin, creating hundreds of jobs. Republicans were unable to amass the necessary number of votes when Sen. Dale Schultz (R) sided with Democrats against the bill. Schultz and Democrat Bob Jauch are being targeted for possible recall over their opposition to the bill, while Republican leaders are said to be considering a special session to try and get the measure passed.[12]

Elections

See also: State legislative elections, 2012 and State legislative elections results, 2012

A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.

1,267 (64.3%) of the country’s 1,971 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2012, and 4,712 (87.05%) of the country’s 5,413 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 5,979 (81.0%) of the country’s 7,384 state legislative seats will be up for re-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 5,979 seats up for election is 146 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.

Filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections and 2012 Elections preview: Comparing state legislative filing deadlines

New Mexico is the only state this week with a signature filing deadline.

So far, deadlines have passed in 18 states:

States with upcoming deadlines:

Primaries

See also: 2012 election dates

Illinois holds its primary elections tomorrow – all 59 Senate seats and 118 House seats will be on the ballot. The first state legislative primary elections of 2012 took place earlier this month in Ohio.

States with upcoming primaries:

Note: Texas was originally scheduled to hold their primary on March 6. However, with newly drawn state legislative maps being fought in the courts, the date was moved to May 29.

Recalls

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.

Arizona

Former state Sen. Russell Pearce (R) became the first legislator to be removed in state history when voters recalled him from office last November. Up till now he has not made his future plans clear, but that could change today – Pearce is speaking at an event where many expect him to announce a campaign for state Senate. Following redistricting, Pearce was moved from the 18th to the 25th District – if he does chose to run that could set up a primary between Pearce and current Republican incumbent Rich Crandall.[13]

Michigan

2011 saw a wave of recall attempts in Michigan. While most of those efforts dried up, at least two campaigns are continuing 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) are aiming for the August 2012 ballot.

Wisconsin

Democrats in Wisconsin filed recall petitions on November 15, 2011 against four Republican state senatorsPam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard.[14] Campaign organizers turned in more than the necessary number of signatures in each of the four races on January 17, 2012.

Last week was a busy one – on Monday the board dismissed all of the challenges submitted by the senators against the petitions, voting unanimously to order recalls against all four.[15] On Tuesday, GAB received an extension on their deadline to certify the results, giving them until March 30. The following day Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess signed an agreement scheduling primaries for May 8 with general elections on June 5. If there is no primary the general election takes place on May 8.[16]

The Senate wrapped up their 2012 session on Thursday[17], and on Friday Sen. Galloway announced she was resigning her seat, effective the following day, but said it had to do with her family and not the recall. GAB said the recall will continue as scheduled and Republicans are now seeking a candidate to take Galloway’s place.[18]

Meanwhile, conservative group Citizens for Responsible Government said they are going forward with plans to recall senators Dale Schultz (R) and Bob Jauch (D) who both worked to reject a compromise on a bill aiming to increase the speed of the state’s approval for iron ore mines. CRG is expected to announce more details about their plans today.[19]

Special elections

See also: State legislative special elections, 2012

Five special elections are scheduled to take place this week in New York – four seats are in the Assembly and one is in the Senate.

New York Assembly District 93

Mike Spano (D) resigned in 2011 after being elected Mayor of Yonkers.[20][21]

General election candidates:
Democratic Party (United States) Shelley Mayer – Mayer is also running on the Independence and Working Family Party tickets.
Republican Party Donnamarie Nolan

New York Assembly District 100

Thomas Kirwan (R) passed away in 2011 at the age of 78.[22][23]

General election candidates:
Democratic Party (United States) Frank Skartados – Skartados is also running on the Working Family Party ticket.
Republican Party John Forman – Forma is also running on the Independence and Conservative Party tickets.

New York Assembly District 103

Marcus Molinaro (R) resigned after being elected Dutchess County executive.[24][25]

General election candidates:
Democratic Party (United States) Didi Barrett – Barrett is also running on the Working Family Party ticket.
Republican Party Richard Wager – Wager is also running on the Independence and Conservative Party tickets.

New York Assembly District 145

Mark Schroeder (D) resigned after being elected Buffalo City comptroller.[26][27]

General election candidates:
Democratic Party (United States) Christopher Fahey – Fahey is also running on the Working Family and Conservative Party tickets.
Republican Party Michael Kearns – Kearns is also running on the Independence Party ticket.

New York Senate District 27

Carl Kruger (D) resigned in 2011 after pleading guilty to corruption charges.[28][29]

General election candidates:
Democratic Party (United States) Lewis Fidler – Fidler is also running on the Independence Party ticket.
Republican Party David Storobin – Storobin is also running on the Conservative Party ticket.

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • March 20: New York Assembly District 93
  • March 20: New York Assembly District 100
  • March 20: New York Assembly District 103
  • March 20: New York Assembly District 145
  • March 20: New York Senate District 27
  • April 3: Oklahoma House of Representatives District 71
  • April 3: Oklahoma Senate District 20
  • April 10: Minnesota Senate District 20
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 22
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 134
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 153
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 169
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 186
  • April 24: Pennsylvania House District 197