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State Legislative Tracker: Alabama passes redistricting maps for 2014 elections

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May 21, 2012

Edited by Greg Janetka

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This week's tracker features a sessions update and look at special sessions in several states.


This week 15 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. As of last week, all states had convened their 2012 sessions. No states are projected to adjourn this week.

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

Regular sessions

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

All states have convened their regular 2012 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

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, May 28, 2012
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,305 (44.8%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,969 (53.8%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 36
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 58
Total tied or nonpartisan 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.


Following the end of the 2012 regular session on May 16, Gov. Robert Bentley (R) called for a special session to begin the next day. He designated five topics for the legislature to consider: redistricting legislation, legislation addressing constitutional amendments, budget-supporting legislation, revisions for Alabama's immigration law, and appropriation of tobacco settlement funds.[1]

Bentley signed the immigration enforcement law on May 18, despite the fact that the legislature did not enact reforms he had mentioned. Lawmakers appeared ready to pass a bill that would have changed the law to address concerns by many that it went too far. Instead they passed a stricter one.[2]

The session adjourned May 24 after Republicans pushed through their plans for new legislative districts that will go into effect with the 2014 elections. Senate Democrats were angry that a final vote was called on the House plan before they were able to ask that the bill be read in full and furiously objected to the process, which all took place around 4 a.m. Both plans were approved along party lines and sent to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for his signature.[3]


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.[4]


Maryland, which wrapped up a special session earlier this month, 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. (Maryland) (D) and three representatives appointed by Speaker of the House Michael Busch (D).[5]


Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said he may call a special session in order to put a new assessment test into effect for high school students before classes begin in the fall. He also said the session could be used to deal with a shortage of liquor licenses.[6]

In recess

As of today, May 28, 2 state's sessions are currently in recess:

State news


Amid a fury of protests by Democrats, Senate Republicans approved a House redistricting plan in the early hours of the morning last Thursday along party lines. The final vote came after an all-night session and caught Democrats off guard, who wanted to have the bill read in full. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) said he did not hear any demands that the bill be read until after the vote started and, once started, it could not be stopped. Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D) said he called for a full reading but that Marsh simply ignored him, while Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford (D) stated Marsh "violated the state Constitution. This is the lowest point I've seen in this Senate."[9]

Soon after the plan passed in the Senate, the House approved the new plan. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for his signature, and then must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.[9]

Redistricting Facts
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 22, the Alaska Supreme Court selected an interim redistricting plan for the 2012 elections. The Alaska Redistricting Board's first revised plan was approved as an interim plan. The Board's second and latest revision was not selected. While the court did not formally rule on the latter plan, it is expected to issues instructions for revising the plan's southeast districts. The court expressed concern that the latest version would not pass muster under the Voting Rights Act.[10]

On May 25, the Redistricting Board submitted the interim redistricting plan for DOJ pre-clearance. Plaintiffs in the redistricting lawsuit have asked the court to stay the implementation of the plan until the DOJ reaches a decision.[11][12]

  • The interim plan can be found here.
  • The Supreme Court order can be found here.


On May 20, the Kansas State Legislature adjourned, leaving the state's political districts undrawn. The task now falls to a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. This is the first time that the state's redistricting maps will be drawn by a court. In the past, court interventions have always worked from legislature-approved plans. A trial in the redistricting case is scheduled to begin on May 29.[13][14]


On May 22, a federal panel refused to overturn Hawaii's redistricting plans. The court's denial of a preliminary injunction will allow both the lawsuit and the state's elections to proceed. The lawsuit argues that non-resident military personnel and students should have been included in the state's redistricting calculations. However, the court held that overturning the plan now would not allow sufficient time to implement an alternative.[15]


On May 25, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state's new congressional districts. The map generated controversy by pairing William Lacy Clay (D) and Russ Carnahan (D). The court also issued an opinion elaborating on its approval of new state House districts in March.[16]

  • The congressional ruling can be found here.
  • The state House ruling can be found here.
See also: State legislative elections, 2012 and State legislative elections results, 2012
2012 badge.jpg

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.

Filing deadlines

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

Four states - Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin and Wyoming - have their signature filing deadlines this week.

So far, deadlines have passed in 29 states:

States with upcoming deadlines:


See also: 2012 election dates

State legislative primaries taking place this week: Texas (All 31 Senate seats and 150 House seats).

So far, primaries have taken place in 11 states:

A total of 27 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary.

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.
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 last month organizers of the Pavlov recall announced they did not have enough signatures and were abandoning their efforts.[17] The Caswell campaign remains active.


See also: Timeline of events of the recall of Wisconsin State Senators in 2012

Recalls are scheduled against four state senators. The primary took place on May 8 with general elections on June 5.[18] Absentee voting for all races began last week.[19] The Senate is currently tied 16-16, with one vacancy. Thus, the recalls will determine who controls the chamber.[20]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 14
     Republican Party 18
     Vacancy 1
Total 33

Democrats in Wisconsin filed recall petitions on November 15, 2011 against four Republican state senators - Pam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard.[21] 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 the June 5 recalls are as follows:

District 13 - Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R) vs. Democrat Lori Compas, an organizer of the recall, and Libertarian Terry Virgil.
District 21 - Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) vs. former state Sen. John Lehman (D).
District 23 - Sen. Terry Moulton (R) vs. former Democratic state legislator Kristen Dexter.
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.

See also: State legislative special elections, 2012

There are no special elections scheduled to take place this week.

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • July 17: South Carolina Senate District 41
  • July 24: South Carolina House District 68
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 16
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 26
  • November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 68

See also


  1. WNCF, "Gov. Bentley Calls Special Session, Redistricting Among Top Priorities," May 17, 2012
  2. New York Times, "Alabama Gets Strict Immigration Law as Governor Relents," May 18, 2012
  3., "Alabama Legislature approves redistricting plans amid cries of racist maneuvering," May 24, 2012
  4. Connecticut Post, "Special legislative session set for June 2," May 25, 2012
  5. Washington Post, "2nd Md. special session could be week of July 9," May 21, 2012
  6. KSL, "Herbert contemplating special session to deal with high school tests, liquor licenses," May 24, 2012
  7. Delaware General Assembly, "Homepage," accessed May 28, 2012
  8. StateScape, Session schedules," accessed May 28, 2012
  9. 9.0 9.1 WAAY, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," May 24, 2012
  10. Alaska Journal of Commerce, "Alaska Supreme Court approves redistricting plan," May 22, 2012
  11. Juneau Empire, "Board submits election plan to Justice Dept.," May 27, 2012
  12. KTOO News, "Objections pile up to court’s redistricting ruling," May 24, 2012 (dead link)
  13. Kansas City Star, "Kan. lawmakers adjourn still debating tax cuts," May 20, 2012 (dead link)
  14. Kansas City Star, "Kansas into 'uncharted waters' with redistricting lawsuit," May 27, 2012 (dead link)
  15. Honolulu Civil Beat, "Elections on Track as Court Rules Against Hawaii Redistricting Suit," May 22, 2012
  16. St. Louis Today, "Missouri Supreme Court rulings uphold redistricting," May 25, 2012
  17. The Times Herald, "State Sen. Phil Pavlov recall fails," April 13, 2012
  18. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Recall votes set for May 8 and June 5," March 14, 2012
  19. WTAQ, "Absentee balloting begins today in recall elections," May 21, 2012
  20. Channel 3000, "Wisconsin Democrats counting on recall elections to win state Senate control," May 26, 2012
  21. FOX 6 Now, "Recall paperwork filed Tuesday for four senators, including Van Wanggaard," November 15, 2011