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This Week in Statehouse action: What bill is that this? edition

ultimate Session: The yr started off pretty mundanely, due to the fact that it changed into an election 12 months that ends in zero (making it the final election preceding a circular of redistricting).

crusade motion

  • The biggest shift changed into in Virginia, which, thanks to its off-off-year state elections, turned into the best legislature newly flipped. Democrats had control of the state house, Senate, and governorship for the first time in over 1 / 4 century, and the celebration used its trifecta handle to do all types of cool issues, like
    • Passing a slew of latest gun safety laws,
    • Decriminalizing marijuana, 
    • raising the minimum wage,
    • organising protections for the LGBTQ neighborhood,
    • increasing entry to reproductive health care and abortion,
    • Ratifying the Equal Rights modification,

… and more.

after which …

Grandma got Run Over by way of an epidemic: COVID-19 modified each person’s lives in March, together with state lawmakers’.

  • Many states’ legislative sessions don’t wrap up unless Spring or summer season (or later), so legislators nationwide scrambled to finalize budgets and circulate key expenses as quarantines and reside-at-home orders took impact.
  • but because the pandemic stepped forward, so did election season—and things had been searching pretty relatively respectable for Democrats flighting to flip state legislative majorities to win affect over the upcoming circular of redistricting in key states.

Whoops.

Silver Bells: Democrats took the silver, to be able to speak, in key legislative races in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas on Election Day … apart from, as i’m highly keen on saying, there’s no 2d area in politics.

  • whereas it’s legitimately outstanding that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received, downballot Democrats took a little of a beating—and that they took that beating in the worst feasible 12 months.
    • The story of 2020 isn’t what Republicans flipped—in any case, that became out to be a grand total of two chambers (Alaska although/tbd): the brand new Hampshire apartment and Senate.

Republicans’ large win in 2020 become what they managed to not lose.

Let’s discuss what Democrats are dealing with within the 2021 circular of redistricting.

… and yeah, it sucks.

things actually received worse for Democrats redistricting-clever as a result of this year’s elections.

  • Which ability winning a majority within the U.S. residence goes to be even tougher for Democrats over the path of the next decade—to say nothing of winning energy in state legislatures.
    • Nov. three noticed the GOP’s redistricting area expand from three- or 4-to-one to probably four- or 5-to-one.
      • yes, Republicans may also turn out to be drawing five instances as many districts as Democrats.
    • This puts Democrats on footing almost as lopsided as the aftermath of the 2010 elections, when Republicans gained the power to redraw five (and change) instances as many condo districts as Democrats.

The 2020 election effects created a grave risk of one more decade of minority rule by way of the GOP both in Congress and in statehouses nationwide.

however there’s something else at play in the upcoming round of redistricting that wasn’t a factor in 2011.

  • lower back then, many new maps in southern states had been subject to the preclearance requirement of the vote casting Rights Act.
    • … a requirement the U.S. Supreme court docket killed in Shelby County v. Holder back in 2013.

My proficient daily Kos Elections colleagues have assembled a super designated breakdown of how the election consequences influence the next circular of redistricting, however here’s the lowdown:

  • Why we nonetheless care about Arizona consequences in spite of the fact that they have got an independent Redistricting commission:
    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • house: Republican dangle
    • Senate: Republican hold
      • Arizona has had an unbiased redistricting fee in region in view that 2000, however with the U.S. Supreme court’s newly conservative configuration, the IRC is at a large of possibility of being struck down.
        • Republicans in the legislature have again and again sought to undermine the fee, so ending the GOP’s handle of state executive would have helped insulate and maintain it.

Welp.

  • Why we care about Michigan however they have an unbiased redistricting commission:
    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • apartment: Republican hang
    • Senate: Republican (up in 2022)
      • In 2018, Michigan voters approved a pollmeasure setting up a redistricting fee, stripping the legislature of its power to draw district maps for itself and for the U.S. residence.
  • Minnesota:

    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • condo: Democratic grasp
    • Senate: Republican grasp
      • Democrats fell just brief in their bid to win trifecta control in Minnesota.
      • The state currently has nonpartisan maps drawn by using a courtroom and is poised to once more after 2020.
        • however racial segregation within the Minneapolis area creates a “geography penalty” that harms Democrats, which skill even ostensibly nonpartisan maps have the effect of functioning like GOP gerrymanders.
          • Case in aspect: Hillary Clinton and Democratic candidates received more votes statewide than Trump and Republicans in 2016 however did not win a majority of seats in the state Senate.
          • That looks to have came about to Senate Democrats once again this yr and could indicate unwell electoral fortunes for Dems in the state in coming cycles.
  • New Hampshire:

    • Governor: Republican cling
    • condominium: Republican flip
    • Senate: Republican flip
  • North Carolina:

    • Governor: Democratic dangle (however tremendous inappropriate in this context)
    • house: Republican cling
    • Senate: Republican grasp
    • Bonus! Supreme courtroom: Democratic cling

      • Battles over redistricting are set to proceed after Republicans no longer handiest maintained their majorities, but additionally suddenly received seats. And however Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper won reelection, it totally doesn’t count: he’s unable to veto most key redistricting expenses.
        • but it gets worse!
      • Republicans ousted three Democratic incumbents on the state Supreme court docket, narrowing Democrats’ majority to 4-3.
        • This concerns because state courts curtailed the GOP’s gerrymanders closing yr and might be called on to achieve this once again in the coming decade.
  • Pennsylvania:

    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • condominium: Republican hang
    • Senate: Republican cling
  • Texas:

    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • residence: Republican hold
    • Senate: Republican hang
      • i mentioned in this area almost immediately earlier than the election that Republicans had been pumping a whole bunch late money into these state condominium races, and WOW did that effort pay off.
      • Texas is arguably the most essential state for Republican congressional gerrymandering, and Democrats failed to make the massive features necessary to flip the state condominium to smash the GOP’s trifecta control of the state.
        • however wait, it receives worse!
          • Democrats additionally did not lay the groundwork for brilliant down gerrymanders later this decade after Republicans swept all four seats up this 12 months to keep their 9-0 state Supreme courtroom majority.

Sigh.

however I’m no longer executed!

  • or not it’s time to talk about Iowa.
    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • house: Republican hang
    • Senate: Republican hang (half of seats up every two years)
      • in view that 1980, a nonpartisan agency has proposed state and congressional maps to the Iowa legislature, which has at all times adopted them.
      • despite the fact, on the grounds that Democrats failed to wreck the GOP’s full control over state government, subsequent yr might be the first time ever below this device that one birthday celebration has trifecta manage all over redistricting.
      • The most effective feasible deterrent at play next yr is concern of public backlash.
        • … however as an erudite reader of this missive, you know that Republicans just don’t care about backlash, certainly when it comes to gerrymandering.
        • in any case, how more desirable to give protection to your birthday celebration from anger over gerrymandering than to … gerrymander?

Flawless

tl;dr—

  • This circular of redistricting could no longer be as unhealthy for Democrats as [[shudder]] the 2011 round, however it’s not gonna be tons more suitable.
    • And depending on SCOTUS interference, it might arguably be worse.

Slay ride: one more element to maintain an eye fixed on subsequent yr in all these legislatures Democrats did not flip—chiefly in states with GOP governors:

  • A slew of expenses finding imaginitive the way to make vote casting extra elaborate.

thanks to legislative pre-filing of bills accepted (encouraged! believe of all these overwhelmed legislative capabilities staffers right through session) earlier than many session commence in January, we know that Republicans in lots of states are already drooling over the prospect of creating extra limitations to the pollbox.

  • In Texas, one GOP inspiration seeks to restrict sending mail-in ballot purposes to any voter who doesn’t mainly request one. another seeks to institute average and familiar voter-roll purges, and a further would develop the definition of and boost crook penalties for election fraud.
  • In Georgia, Republican lawmakers need to put into effect laborious voter identification necessities for those in quest of to cast absentee ballots (on the grounds that those ballots tended to help out Democrats this 12 months).

These are only the tip of the iceberg. retain an eye out for a whole lot extra of those measures shooting up within the coming months (principally in states like Arizona and New Hampshire).

another variety of 2020 backlash to hold an eye out for next 12 months: Lawmakers in search of to reign in the authority of governors and public fitness officials to exercise their power involving things like requiring masks be worn in public, company occupancy limits and working hours, quarantine orders, contact tracing, and extra.

  • Legislators in at the least 20 states have already proposed bills (some this year, some queued up for subsequent) limiting public health powers.
    • And whereas approval and the nascent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is giving many american citizens hope for a sunnier put up-coronavirus future, the truth of the condition is far more bleak.
      • after all, it’s not a question of if there might be an additional lethal pandemic—it’s when.

… neatly, that’s an highly sunny be aware to go out on.

but I respect you too an awful lot to pretend things are A-ok.

They’re no longer.

And whereas governments in Democratic-controlled states are going to be doing respectable things for their residents (albeit whereas making tough finances selections amid our pandemic-brought on financial downturn), GOP-run states are going to make the lives of many folks an awful lot harder.

anything I’m hopeful about, even though, is the Biden presidency.

I have to trust he gained’t repeat President Obama’s egregious error of ignoring the fortunes of Democrats in state legislatures.

I should trust that Biden is familiar with that the success of his personal administration depends upon his birthday party constructing energy in statehouses.

because the decade forward goes to be challenging satisfactory as it is.

And getting better from the damage Trump has inflicted on the nation requires greater than simply motion in DC.

Biden can’t do it on my own. Congress can’t do it on my own.

We’ll see how things shake out soon adequate, I guess.

unless then, notwithstanding, i would like one other aspect:

that you should have a lovely end to your yr.

You damn smartly deserve it.

Do whatever that makes you happy. Or simply do some thing that doesn’t make you unhappy.

whatever thing you do, do something about yourself.

You’re important.

We want you.