State Legislative Tracker: FBI raids California Senate

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June 24, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker takes a look at two federal investigations and other happenings from around state legislatures.

Weekly highlight

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

  • California: The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Sen. Ron Calderon's (D) office as part of a corruption investigation. The FBI last raided the state legislature in the 1980s, when a dozen public officials went to jail as part of a bribery sting. Although the FBI refused to comment officially on the matter, other law enforcement sources claim the raid is part of a larger public corruption case originating in Los Angeles County.[1]
  • Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) assigned Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson (D) and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams to the three-person panel that will consider whether or not to suspend Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D) as he faces thirty charges of wire, tax, and mail fraud. The other member of the panel is Georgia Attorney General Samuel S. Olens (R). If the panel votes to suspend Brooks, his seat will remain vacant until the next general election or he is ruled innocent. The group has until June 28 to deliver their official report.[2][3]
  • Kansas: Rep. Brian Weber (R) announced his resignation effective at the formal close of the legislative session on June 20. Weber cited family and business concerns as reason for the resignation, although he hopes to return to public service in the future. Republicans from his district will select someone to serve the remainder of his term, which expires in January 2015. Weber himself was first appointed to the house in December 2010 following Pat George's (R) resignation.[4]
  • Maine: The Maine House of Representatives voted to support a constitutional amendment that would make the terms for state legislators four years instead of the current two years. Supporters of the bill cited the desire to avoid continual campaigning in favor of a focus on legislating as the primary rationale for the amendment. The proposed amendment would limit the length of a legislator's service to two terms, retaining the eight years of service at which members are currently capped. The legislation now goes to the Senate. At least 15 attempts to amend the constitution to extend legislative terms to four years have failed in the legislature since 1990.[5]
  • New York: The New York legislature weighed in on a growing international dispute between New York and Canadian officials over the Peace Bridge Authority, which operates a bridge between the U.S. and Canada. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and legislators from western New York are frustrated with the lack of economic development on the U.S. side of the bridge, and are seeking to disband the jointly-operated, international authority. Both Canadian and U.S. officials must agree to any actions regarding the Peace Bridge Authority and the area it governs.[7]








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Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of June 17, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently 13 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. Three states, California, Texas and Washington, are meeting in special session. Arizona also met for a brief special session this past week, which was adjourned along with the regular session.[8][9]

As of April 8, all states states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions.[10]

The following states have ended their regular session:[11]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Thursday, September 18, 2014
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,424 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,818 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 40
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 57
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 2
2013 Session Information
Total Special Elections 41
Total Special Sessions 5

There are three special sessions ongoing this week in California, Texas and Washington. The West Virginia State Legislature held a one-day special session on April 17 to finish remaining business from the regular session.[12] The Mississippi State Legislature held a one-day special session on April 26 to approve incentives for a foreign tire maker to open a plant in the state.[13] The Arizona State Legislature held a brief special session this week concurrently with the end of their regular session, primarily to pass a budget that included Medicaid expansion.[8][9]

California

During his State of the State address on January 24, Governor Jerry Brown (D) called for the Legislature to hold a special session concurrent with the regular session in order to bring the state in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act. The special session began January 28 and is expected to last until May 30.[14][15] As of June 11, 2013, four of the six major bills being considered by the legislature have not been finalized.[16]

Texas

Governor Rick Perry (R) called a special session to address redistricting shortly after the regular legislative session ended on May 24. The session began on May 27 and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) hopes that the current interim maps drawn by the court in San Antonio will be adopted.[17] A list of other items, including abortion clinics and transportation spending, have also been added to the agenda.[18]

Washington

On May 13, the Washington State Legislature reconvened for a 30-day special session to pass a budget. Governor Jay Inslee (D) suggested that while the budget was the most important piece of legislation to pass during this special session, he wanted lawmakers to consider a number of bills that stalled during the regular legislation session, such as drunk driving and gun control laws.[19] The Washington State Legislature had to reconvene for a second 30-day special session after the first session failed to produce a budget agreement.[20]

In recess

As of today, June 17, there are 4 state legislatures currently in recess:[21]

Redistricting Roundup.jpg

State news

Redistricting Facts
Maps submitted for vote: 140 out of 142 (98.6%)** No votes on initial maps in the following: MT (2)
States that have completed Congressional Maps 42/43 (Maps ordered redrawn: TX)
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 45/50 (Maps unfinished: ME, MT; Maps ordered redrawn: AK, KY, TX)
**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)
See also: Status of redistricting maps after the 2010 census

While the great majority of states have completed their redistricting following the 2010 census, the issue still remains for a handful of states. Maine and Montana are not required to have their maps completed until 2014. Alaska, Kentucky and Texas, however, saw their maps rejected for legal reasons and will have to take up the drawing of maps once again.

Redistricting in Texas

See also: Redistricting in Texas

A Texas State Senate redistricting panel voted to make the 2012 maps permanent, allowing the issue to head to the full senate for debate. The house has yet to vote to redistricting plans in its own committee.[22]

See also: State legislative elections, 2013

A total of 3 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 5, 2013.

The 3 chambers with elections in 2013 are in 2 states. They are:

Louisiana and Mississippi also typically hold elections in odd years. However, legislators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2015.

40 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2013, and 180 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 220 of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for re-election on November 5, 2013.

Signature filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2013 state legislative elections

The state legislative filing deadlines were as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • April 1, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 4, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 100 voters in the legislative district. Candidates are required to disclose any criminal convictions.[23]

  • Virginia:
  • March 28, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 11, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 125 qualified voters in the legislative district. Major party candidates are required to submit a primary filing fee equal to 2% of the annual salary for the office sought in effect in the year in which the candidate files. In 2013, the primary filing fee was $352.80.[24]

Primaries

The state primaries were as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • June 4, 2013
  • Virginia:
  • June 11, 2013

Results

New Jersey had a quiet election, with all competing incumbents winning their primaries.

There were only three hotly contested races, all in the Senate, but none resulted in the ousting of an incumbent:[25]

Republican PartyDistrict 13: Incumbent Joe Kyrillos, Jr. defeated challenger Leigh-Ann Bellew.
Democratic PartyDistrict 20: Incumbent Raymond Lesniak defeated challenger Donna Obe.
Democratic PartyDistrict 34: Incumbent Nia H. Gill defeated challengers Mark C. Alexander and Vernon Pullins, Jr..

Virginia experienced two upsets in an otherwise quiet day of primaries for the House of Delegates. Voter turnout was expected to fall below 5 percent based on projections at polling locations.[26]

Virginia's legislative primaries yielded a pair of defeats for incumbent legislators. The defeated incumbents were supporters of a recently passed transportation bill that increases sales and gas taxes to improve roadways.[27][28] The successful challengers lodged primary challenges in part to protest the bill's passage, which they called the biggest tax increase in the state's history.[29]

Republican Party Mark J. Berg defeated Beverly Sherwood in District 29.
Republican Party Dave A. LaRock defeated Joe T. May in District 33.

Five incumbents were able to fend off primary challenges in Tuesday's primaries:

Republican Party C. Todd Gilbert defeated Mark W. Prince in District 15.
Republican Party Bill Howell defeated Craig E. Ennis in District 28.
Republican Party Bobby Orrock defeated Dustin R. Curtis in District 54.
Democratic Party Roz Dance defeated Evandra D. Thompson in District 63.
Democratic Party Algie Howell defeated Richard James in District 90.

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See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

There is no special election taking place this week. The next special election is scheduled for June 25 in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts House of Representatives 8th Suffolk

Shortly after being sworn in for a 5th term, Martha Walz (D) announced she was resigning to head the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. A special election has been called for June 25.[30] A primary took place on May 28, which Jay D. Livingstone won. Candidates had until April 23 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.[31][32]

Democratic Party May 28 Democratic primary:

June 25 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Jay D. Livingstone

Recent results

June 11, 2013

CheckedBoxOffset.jpgFlorida House of Representatives District 2
Rep. Clay Ford (R) passed away on March 18, 2013 after a battle with cancer.[33] A special election was called for June 11, which Mike Hill won. A primary took place on May 14. Candidates had until April 23 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[34][35][36][37]

June 11 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Jeremy Lau
Republican Party Mike Hill Green check mark transparent.png

CheckedBoxOffset.jpgConnecticut House of Representatives District 53
Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D) resigned on April 16, 2013 to take a position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Bureau. A special election was called for June 11 and Samuel Belsito defeated Anthony J. Horn. Major parties had until May 6 to endorse a candidate for this special election.[38][39][40]

June 11 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Anthony J. Horn
Republican Party Samuel Belsito Green check mark transparent.png The election of Republican Belsito was noted nationally, since it was the first time a Republican had been elected to the District 53 seat in Connecticut for 40 years, since the presidency of Richard Nixon.[41][42]

Links/References

  1. governing.com, "California Sen. Ron Calderon at Center of FBI Investigation," June 5, 2013
  2. ajc.com, "Deal names top Democrats to Brooks panel," June 14, 2013
  3. jacksonville.com, "Governor appoints panel to consider removal of indicted legislator," May 31, 2013
  4. gctelegram.com, "Western Kansas legislator announces resignation," June 7, 2013
  5. Bangor Daily News, "Maine House supports longer terms for legislators," June 10, 2013
  6. The Star-Ledger, "N.J. Assemblywoman in crucial district drops bid for re-election," June 11, 2013
  7. The Associated Press, "NY Legislature votes against Peace Bridge agency," June 12, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 Arizona Capitol Times, "Lawmakers prepare to adjourn as Medicaid expansion moves toward approval," June 11, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Associated Press, "Arizona Senate ends special session after passing GOP Gov. Brewer’s budget, Medicaid expansion," June 12, 2013
  10. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 20, 2013
  11. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed June 14, 2013
  12. West Virginia Legislature, "2013 1st Special Session," accessed June 1, 2013
  13. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  14. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  15. Sacramento Business Journal, " Healthcare reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  16. California Medical Association, "Special session bills continue to work through Legislature," June 11, 2013
  17. keyetv.com, "Gov. Perry Calls Special Session on Redistricting," accessed May 28, 2013
  18. KHOU, "Texas lawmakers dive into special legislative session," June 12, 2013
  19. oregonlive.com, "Washington Legislature special session: 5 things to watch," April 29, 2013
  20. The Associated Press, "State lawmakers resigned to 2nd special session," June 10, 2013
  21. Statenet.com, "Daily Session Summary," accessed June 17, 2013
  22. statesman.com, "Senate committee approves 2012 redistricting maps without changes," June 12, 2013
  23. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," accessed January 14, 2013
  24. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," accessed January 16, 2013
  25. NJ.com, "Polls close in 2013 N.J. primary elections as votes are tallied," June 4, 2013
  26. Washington Post, "Voter turnout sparse for down-ticket races in Virginia," June 11, 2013
  27. CBS DC, "Virginia Primary Results Roll In," June 11, 2013
  28. Fredericksburg.com, "Howell’s transportation PAC helping candidates," June 7, 2013
  29. WRIC, "Virginia Primary Round Up," June 11, 2013
  30. Boston Globe, "State Rep. Martha Walz to lead Planned Parenthood," January 30, 2013
  31. Boston.com, "Dates set for special election to replace state Rep. Marty Walz," February 7, 2013
  32. [www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elespeif/8suffolkcan.htm sec.state.ma.us, "Special State Primary Candidates - Eighth Suffolk State Representative District," accessed May 14, 2013]
  33. tampabay.com, "Florida State Representative Clay Ford dies," March 19, 2013
  34. weartv.com, "Special Election to be held to fill Representative Clay Ford's District Seat," April 4, 2014
  35. election.dos.state.fl.us, "Candidate Listing for 2013 Special Election - State House 2," accessed April 24,2013
  36. sunshinestatenews.com, "Mike Hill Wins Florida House District 2 Republican Primary," May 14, 2013
  37. northescambia.com, "Hill Easily Wins House District 2 Special Election," June 12, 2013
  38. journalinquirer, "June 11 special election to fill Hurlburt’s House vacancy," April 27, 2013
  39. connecticut.cbslocal.com, "Special Election Tuesday In Tolland, Willington, Ashford," accessed June 10, 2013
  40. journalinquirer.com, " Belsito win 53rd House race," June 11, 2013
  41. Slate, "Did Colorado's Liberal Experiment Pave the Way for Gov. Tancredo?," June 14, 2013
  42. Journal Inquirer, "Voters put Republican in 53rd House seat for first time in 40 years," June 12, 2013

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • June 11: Florida House of Representatives District 2
  • June 11: Connecticut House of Representatives District 53
  • June 25: Massachusetts House of Representatives 8th Suffolk
  • June 25: Kentucky House of Representatives District 56
  • July 23: California State Senate District 16
  • July 23: California State Assembly District 52

See also

References

  1. governing.com, "California Sen. Ron Calderon at Center of FBI Investigation," June 5, 2013
  2. ajc.com, "Deal names top Democrats to Brooks panel," June 14, 2013
  3. jacksonville.com, "Governor appoints panel to consider removal of indicted legislator," May 31, 2013
  4. gctelegram.com, "Western Kansas legislator announces resignation," June 7, 2013
  5. Bangor Daily News, "Maine House supports longer terms for legislators," June 10, 2013
  6. The Star-Ledger, "N.J. Assemblywoman in crucial district drops bid for re-election," June 11, 2013
  7. The Associated Press, "NY Legislature votes against Peace Bridge agency," June 12, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 Arizona Capitol Times, "Lawmakers prepare to adjourn as Medicaid expansion moves toward approval," June 11, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Associated Press, "Arizona Senate ends special session after passing GOP Gov. Brewer’s budget, Medicaid expansion," June 12, 2013
  10. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 20, 2013
  11. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed June 14, 2013
  12. West Virginia Legislature, "2013 1st Special Session," accessed June 1, 2013
  13. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  14. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  15. Sacramento Business Journal, " Healthcare reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  16. California Medical Association, "Special session bills continue to work through Legislature," June 11, 2013
  17. keyetv.com, "Gov. Perry Calls Special Session on Redistricting," accessed May 28, 2013
  18. KHOU, "Texas lawmakers dive into special legislative session," June 12, 2013
  19. oregonlive.com, "Washington Legislature special session: 5 things to watch," April 29, 2013
  20. The Associated Press, "State lawmakers resigned to 2nd special session," June 10, 2013
  21. Statenet.com, "Daily Session Summary," accessed June 17, 2013
  22. statesman.com, "Senate committee approves 2012 redistricting maps without changes," June 12, 2013
  23. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," accessed January 14, 2013
  24. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," accessed January 16, 2013
  25. NJ.com, "Polls close in 2013 N.J. primary elections as votes are tallied," June 4, 2013
  26. Washington Post, "Voter turnout sparse for down-ticket races in Virginia," June 11, 2013
  27. CBS DC, "Virginia Primary Results Roll In," June 11, 2013
  28. Fredericksburg.com, "Howell’s transportation PAC helping candidates," June 7, 2013
  29. WRIC, "Virginia Primary Round Up," June 11, 2013
  30. Boston Globe, "State Rep. Martha Walz to lead Planned Parenthood," January 30, 2013
  31. Boston.com, "Dates set for special election to replace state Rep. Marty Walz," February 7, 2013
  32. [www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elespeif/8suffolkcan.htm sec.state.ma.us, "Special State Primary Candidates - Eighth Suffolk State Representative District," accessed May 14, 2013]
  33. tampabay.com, "Florida State Representative Clay Ford dies," March 19, 2013
  34. weartv.com, "Special Election to be held to fill Representative Clay Ford's District Seat," April 4, 2014
  35. election.dos.state.fl.us, "Candidate Listing for 2013 Special Election - State House 2," accessed April 24,2013
  36. sunshinestatenews.com, "Mike Hill Wins Florida House District 2 Republican Primary," May 14, 2013
  37. northescambia.com, "Hill Easily Wins House District 2 Special Election," June 12, 2013
  38. journalinquirer, "June 11 special election to fill Hurlburt’s House vacancy," April 27, 2013
  39. connecticut.cbslocal.com, "Special Election Tuesday In Tolland, Willington, Ashford," accessed June 10, 2013
  40. journalinquirer.com, " Belsito win 53rd House race," June 11, 2013
  41. Slate, "Did Colorado's Liberal Experiment Pave the Way for Gov. Tancredo?," June 14, 2013
  42. Journal Inquirer, "Voters put Republican in 53rd House seat for first time in 40 years," June 12, 2013