State Legislative Tracker: Chamber flip resolves Virginia's medicaid question

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June 16, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker takes a look at the implications of a resignation in the Virginia State Senate. With control of both chambers, Republicans moved to quickly address a hot button issue.

Weekly highlight

Last week, New Hampshire adjourned its legislative session. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Michigan: A petition drive to make the Michigan legislature part-time has been called off, at least for now. Under language that organizers hoped would reach the 2014 ballot, the legislature would have been limited to 60-day sessions, $35,000 salaries and a maximum of 250 staffers in all. Lawmakers currently earn a base salary of $71,685 per year. While the drive was approved, organizers blame a harsh winter for not being on track to reach the 322,609 signatures needed by July 7; they had hoped to reach 400,000 by then. In the meantime, a bill was introduced to change the legislative session to 90 straight days but maintain legislators' salaries. A part-time legislature has been championed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R) and GOP national committeeman Dave Agema, himself a former state legislator. Norm Kammeraad, the chair of the Committee to Restore Michigan's Part-Time Legislature, has argued that the full-time method has caused legislators to pay overwhelming attention to lobbyists and the rich, not their constituents at home. Attorney Matthew Davis, who also represented the committee, cited a debate over allowing bars to use glasses with the logos of beer brands as an example of an unfocused legislature with time to spare. While the Committee is in the process of dissolution, it is expected to return for the 2016 cycle. Michigan is one of four states with a full-time legislature; it had been full-time until the ratification of the state constitution of 1963. A plurality of states have a hybrid legislature, one with at least two-thirds of a full-time workload but not enough salary to forgo other work and another six are just short of full-time.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
  • Rhode Island: The minimum wage debate has begun to heat up in the Rhode Island General Assembly with the passing of Senate Bill 2249 in the Senate and with the adoption of an amendment to the 2015 fiscal budget. On June 11, 2014, the Rhode Island State Senate passed SB 2249, which would increase the state's minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The legislation would also provide a framework for calculating the state's minimum wage from 2017 forward. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 31 to 5. SB 2249 would increase the state's minimum wage for the third time since 2012, which accounts for a 22-percent increase. The bill has now been referred to the House Labor Committee and has the support of House leadership and Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D). Similar to SB 2249, the minimum wage debate in the House has heated up with the passing of an amendment by the House Finance Committee to the Rhode Island budget bill. This amendment added a provision to the budget bill that would prevent municipalities from setting their own minimum wage standards. Providence lawmakers and activists say that the amendment is a direct reaction from a pending ordinance in Providence that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour at large hotels. Rep. Raymond Gallison, Jr. (D), the Chair of the House Finance Committee, said on the amendment, "It's more important it be on the state and not every city and county having their own minimum wage. Measures like the hotel proposal in Providence will cause undue hardships on businesses." The Rhode Island House of Representatives began the debate on the $8.7B budget plan on June 12, 2014. If passed, the measure will still have to be adopted by the Senate.[8][9][10][11][12]
  • Virginia: Last week, the State Legislative Tracker highlighted Gov. McAuliffe's (D) intentions to expand Virginia's Medicaid. At that time, the Senate was split with 20 Republican senators and 20 Democratic senators. However, Republicans gained control of the Senate when Phillip Puckett (D) resigned on June 9. This "saddled McAuliffe with a General Assembly fully in the hands of a party fiercely opposed to his agenda" to expand Medicaid. Dealing with a June 30 deadline for a budget proposal, the legislation agreed on a budget that would cut spending by nearly $900 million and does not include expanding Medicaid. The Senate approved the budget with a 21-18 vote; Lynwood Lewis was the only Democratic senator to support the budget. The House required the budget to include "language to prevent any expansion without the approval of the full General Assembly." The amendments will prevent Medicaid expansion for the next two years. With the approval of only one Democratic delegate, Johnny Joannou, the House passed the amended budget 69-31. Sen. Richard Black (R) said, "This was a stunning victory for the Republicans. We passed a budget in a single night, and we have effectively blocked Medicaid expansion." Governor McAuliffe issued a statement attacking the Republicans for their actions. He said that "the Senate of Virginia moved our commonwealth backward by violating the terms of the bipartisan agreement they reached in last year's budget. Virginians deserve better than representatives who put narrow ideology ahead of what is best for our families, economy and budget." McAuliffe made it known that he would not back down from the Republican legislature.[13][14][15][16]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of June 16, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 9 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Virginia, is in special session. California is in special session concurrent with its regular session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[17]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[18]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Sunday, April 19, 2015
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,169 (42.9%)
Total Republican state legislators 4,113 (55.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 30
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 68
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2015 Session Information
Total Special Elections 33
Total Special Sessions 1

The California State Legislature is meeting in a special session concurrent with its regular session to discuss a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to change the state's rainy day fund. Brown's proposal would require the state to save some of the revenue from capital gains taxes. He hopes to have his proposal approved by the legislature and on the 2014 ballot. California's rainy day fund has existed since 2004 but has been empty for a majority of that time.[19]


The Virginia State Legislature is meeting in special session to try and pass an estimated $96 billion budget for the next two years. The session is not expected to end quickly, as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and the Republican-led House disagree over whether the state should accept further Medicaid funding from the federal government. This special session is required as the legislature failed to pass a budget during the yearly regular session. Should no agreement be reached by July 1, Virginia's government could shut down.[20]

In recess

As of today, June 16, there is one state legislature currently in recess:[21]

See also: State legislative elections, 2014

A total of 87 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 4, 2014.

The 87 chambers with elections in 2014 are in 46 states. They are:

The Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico and South Carolina senates also typically hold elections in odd years. However, senators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2015.

1090 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2014, and 4,958 of the country's 5,415 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 6,048 of the country's 7,387 state legislative seats are up for re-election on November 4, 2014.

Primary Information

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2014 state legislative elections

The state legislative filing deadlines and primary dates are as follows:

Note: Ballot access is a complicated issue. The dates in the table below are primarily for candidates filing for access to the primary. For more detailed information about each state's qualification requirements -- including all relevant ballot access dates for the primary and general election -- click to our detailed pages in the state column.

2014 State Legislative Primary Information
State Filing Deadline Primary Date Days from Deadline to Primary
Alabama Red padlock.png 2/7/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 116
Alaska Red padlock.png 6/2/2014[22] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[23] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[24][25] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[26][27][28] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[29][30] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[31] Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 90
Delaware Red padlock.png 7/8/2014 Red padlock.png 9/9/2014 63
Florida Red padlock.png 6/20/2014[32][33] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 67
Georgia Red padlock.png 3/7/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 74
Hawaii Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[34] Red padlock.png 8/9/2014 67
Idaho Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
Illinois Red padlock.png 12/2/2013 Red padlock.png 3/18/2014 106
Indiana Red padlock.png 2/7/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 88
Iowa Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 81
Kansas Red padlock.png 6/2/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 65
Kentucky Red padlock.png 1/28/2014[35][36] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[37] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[38] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[39] Red padlock.png 9/9/2014 98
Michigan Red padlock.png 4/22/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 105
Minnesota Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 70
Missouri Red padlock.png 3/25/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 133
Montana Red padlock.png 3/10/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 85
Nebraska Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[40] Red padlock.png 5/13/2014 85
Nevada Red padlock.png 3/14/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 88
New Hampshire Red padlock.png 6/13/2014 Red padlock.png 9/9/2014 88
New Mexico Red padlock.png 2/4/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 119
New York Red padlock.png 7/10/2014 Red padlock.png 9/9/2014 61
North Carolina Red padlock.png 2/28/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 67
North Dakota Red padlock.png 4/7/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 64
Ohio Red padlock.png 2/5/2014 Red padlock.png 5/6/2014 90
Oklahoma Red padlock.png 4/11/2014 Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 74
Oregon Red padlock.png 3/11/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 70
Pennsylvania Red padlock.png 3/11/2014 Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 70
Rhode Island Red padlock.png 6/25/2014 Red padlock.png 9/9/2014 76
South Carolina Red padlock.png 3/30/2014 Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 72
South Dakota Red padlock.png 3/25/2014 Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 70
Tennessee Red padlock.png 4/3/2014 Red padlock.png 8/7/2014 126
Texas Red padlock.png 12/9/2013 Red padlock.png 3/4/2014 85
Utah Red padlock.png 3/20/2014 Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 96
Vermont Red padlock.png 6/12/2014 Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 75
Washington Red padlock.png 5/17/2014 Red padlock.png 8/5/2014 80
West Virginia Red padlock.png 1/25/2014 Red padlock.png 5/13/2014 108
Wisconsin Red padlock.png 6/2/2014 Red padlock.png 8/12/2014 71
Wyoming Red padlock.png 5/30/2014 Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 81

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See also: State legislative special elections, 2014

There are no special elections scheduled this week. The next special election will take place on July 22 in Connecticut.

Connecticut House of Representatives District 122

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Ben McGorty (R) defeated Arlene Liscinsky (D) in the special election.[41][42]

The seat was vacant following Lawrence Miller's (R) death.[41]

A special election for the position of Connecticut House of Representatives District 122 has been called for July 22. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary.[41]

Connecticut House of Representatives, District 122, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBen McGorty 75.3% 1,403
     Democratic Arlene Liscinsky 24.7% 459
Total Votes 1,862

Note: Results provided here are unofficial returns.[43]

July 22 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Arlene Liscinsky
Republican Party Ben McGorty

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • August 5: Texas State Senate District 4 (Runoff)
  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also


  1. WOOD Radio, "No Vote For A Part-Time Michigan Legislature," June 10, 2014
  2. MLive, "Michigan petition drive for part-time Legislature falls short but organizers look to 2016," June 11-12, 2014
  3. MLive, "Petitions for Michigan part-time Legislature approved, backers to begin drive toward ballot," February 6, 2014
  4. MLive, "Dave Agema, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley to tout part-time Michigan Legislature," May 17, 2014
  5. Michigan Radio, "Groups ramp up efforts to put part-time Legislature on ballot," May 16, 2014
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures, "Full- and Part-Time Legislatures," June 1, 2009
  7. The Thicket, "Full- or Part-Time Legislature: Which is Better?" February 14, 2013
  8. Huffington Post, "Rhode Island Democrats Try To Ban Local Minimum Wages," June 10, 2014
  9. Providence Journal, "R.I. minimum wage set for third hike in 3 years," June 12, 2014
  10., "Senate approves hike in minimum wage to $9," June 11, 2014
  11., "Senate approves hike in minimum wage to $9," June 11, 2014
  12., "Rhode Island House debating $8.7B budget plan," June 12, 2014
  13. Washington Post, "Virginia Republicans snatched control of the state Senate, ended budget-Medicaid impasse," June 9, 2014
  14. Times Dispatch, "Virginia lawmakers pass budget that thwarts Medicaid expansion," June 12, 2014
  15. Washington Post, "After hours of strife, lawmakers pass budget without Medicaid expansion," June 13, 2014
  16. Tri Cities, "Virginia Assembly passes budget with Medicaid restriction," June 13, 2014
  17. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed June 16, 2014
  18. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed June 16, 2014
  19. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown calls legislative special session to debate reserve plan," April 16, 2014
  20., "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  21. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed June 169, 2014
  22. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  24. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013 (dead link)
  25. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  26. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  27. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  28. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  29. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  30. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  31. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  32. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  33. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  34. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  35. 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  36. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  37. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  38. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  39. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  40. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Connecticut Post, "Slate set for special state House election," June 15, 2014
  42., "McGorty wins 122nd District seat," July 22, 2014
  43. Shelton Herald, "UPDATED: State rep special election results by polling place," July 23, 2014