State Legislative Tracker: Legislators in legal trouble

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January 21, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a partisan count update and a look at the convictions of two state legislators.

Weekly highlight

Last week, thirteen states began their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Arizona: The Arizona State Legislature wishes to expand the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program to allow families more education options. The ESA allows for eligible families to spend an allotted amount of money for educational purposes such as private school tuition, private tutors, textbooks and education therapy. The legislature will vote on at least four school-choice bills this session to expand the ESA program. One expansion would provide for more military families. Currently, students of active-duty military families are able to participate in the program after a year in public school; however, students whose parents were killed in action are not eligible for ESA. Rep. Sonny Borrelli (R), a retired Marine, said that "[m]ilitary families are the last-thought-of people when transferring around" and that relocated military families are put on waiting lists after transferring. Borrelli is sponsoring a bill to allow for students of active-duty military families to be eligible immediately for ESA and for ESA to be available for families of those killed in action. Rep. David Livingston (R) proposed a bill to benefit students with special needs and their families. Although students with special needs benefited from the original ESA law, they must spend a year in public school before being eligible. Livingston believes his refinements would better suit the needs of these students and would also "allow the siblings to attend schools that make better geographic sense" rather than families driving up to 25 miles for two different schools. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) is focusing on a bill for expanding ESA eligibility for low-income students. Rep. Warren Petersen's (R) bill would allow school districts, not just state districts, to grant students an ESA based on a school board vote. Petersen said in an email that his bill "will allow districts to decide if they want to implement an ESA program in their district," and that he is interested in expanding school choice and providing education options for students and parents.[1][2][3]
  • Massachusetts: Fifth Suffolk District Rep. Carlos Henriquez (D) is facing calls to resign as well as possible disciplinary proceedings following his conviction on assault and battery charges last Wednesday. A jury convicted Henriquez of two counts of assault and battery, but acquitted him of a third count as well as witness intimidation and larceny of a SIM card. In July of last year, Henriquez was involved in an incident with a woman he was dating, who testified that Henriquez held her down and punched her for refusing to have sex with him, then drove her to Boston, where she escaped from the car. District Judge Michele Hogan, who told Henriquez that she was "concerned that [he was] not remorseful," sentenced Henriquez to two and a half years in a house of correction, which she suspended to six months served. Colleague Elizabeth Poirier (R) called on Henriquez to resign immediately, saying in a statement that "it is time for him to leave this institution which should in no way condone violence against women." Fellow Democrats Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined in with their own statements, with the latter calling Wednesday "a sad day for the Fifth Suffolk district." House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D) said on Wednesday that if Henriquez did not resign, he could recommend that the Ethics Committee take disciplinary action, which could end in expulsion. The next day, the House voted to grant the Ethics Committee subpoena powers, suggesting a possible investigation is in the works. Stephanie Soriano-Mills, Henriquez's attorney, told the State House News Service Thursday evening that her client is looking to appeal and is considering his options, including resignation. Henriquez has not yet commented publicly on the conviction or his future plans.[4][5][6][7]
  • New York: Rep. Eric Stevenson (D) of District 79 was removed from his position in the New York State Assembly after he was found guilty of one count of honest services fraud, two counts of bribery and one count of extortion on January 13, 2014. Less than an hour after his conviction, Stevenson's official page was removed from the Assembly website. Last April, Stevenson was arrested and charged with taking $22,000 in bribes from four Russian businessmen that were looking to open daycare centers for seniors. Stevenson was heard on audio recordings using code words to discuss money, and was also heard offering to introduce legislation that would have imposed a three-year moratorium on competing senior centers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Kreiger said that the legislation would have "doubled or tripled the value of the Russians' new businesses." The four Russian businessmen have all since plead guilty to conspiracy for their involvement in the scheme. After the guilty verdict was handed down, Stevenson said, "I want to reserve my thoughts and my feelings. I don’t feel down. We’ll see what the future brings." U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has set sentencing for May 20. Stevenson faces up to 55 years in prison on all four counts.[8][9][10][11]
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As of today, January 21, 2014, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and 49 state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 51.7% of all seats while Democrats hold 46.5%. All told, Republicans control 57 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 40 chambers. Two chambers are non-partisan.


Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,437 46.5%
Republican state legislators 3,821 51.7%
Independent (and non-partisan) state legislators 66 0.89%
Third party (and non-voting) legislators 12 0.16%
Vacancies 51 0.69%

State Senates

The partisan composition of state senates refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in the state senate. Altogether, in the 50 state senates, there are 1,972 state senators.

As of January 21, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of July 7, 2014, 1,905 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 875 44.4%
Republican state senators 1,030 52.2%
Nonpartisan state senators 49 2.48%
Independent state senators 4 0.2%
Third Party state senators 2 0.1%
Vacancies 12 0.61%

Vacancies

As of July 7, 2014, there are 12 vacancies in 8 states.

State Vacancies
Missouri 2
New Hampshire 1
New York 2
South Carolina 1
Texas 2
Virginia 2
Wisconsin 1
Wyoming 1

Independents

As of July 7, 2014, there are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican.

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Kentucky 1 (Independent)
Maine 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 2 (Vermont Progressive)

State Houses

The partisan composition of state houses refers to which party holds the majority of seats in the state house or the lower level of each state legislature. Altogether, in the 49 state houses, there are 5,415 state representatives.

As of January 21, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers

Cumulative numbers

As of July 7, 2014, 5,347 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,554 47.2%
Republican state representatives 2,793 51.6%
Independent state representatives 13 0.24%
Third party (and nonvoting) representatives 10 0.18%
Vacancies 43 0.79%

Vacancies

As of July 7, 2014, there are 43 state house vacancies in 12 different states.

State Vacancies
Alabama 1
California 1
Connecticut 1
Georgia 1
Illinois 2
Louisiana 1
Massachusetts 5
Missouri 3
Nevada 1
New Hampshire 14
New York 11
Virginia 2

Independents

As of July 7, 2014, there are 23 state representatives in 9 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican.

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Arkansas 1 (Green)
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 2 (Independent)
Maine 7 (3 non-voting Native American representatives, 4 Independent)
Michigan 1 (Independent)
Tennessee 1 (Carter County Republican)
Vermont 9 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 4 Independent)

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of January 21, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 33 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[12]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
There are 7,387 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,429 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,823 (51.8%)
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
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 7
Total Special Sessions 0

There are currently no legislatures meeting in special session.

In recess

As of today, January 21, there are 2 state legislatures currently in recess:[13]

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[14] 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[15] 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[16][17] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[18][19][20] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[21][22] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[23] 8/12/2014 90
Delaware Red padlock.png 7/8/2014 9/9/2014 63
Florida Red padlock.png 6/20/2014[24][25] 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[26][27] 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 8/5/2014 65
Kentucky Red padlock.png 1/28/2014[28][29] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[30] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[31] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[32] 9/9/2014 98
Michigan Red padlock.png 4/22/2014 8/5/2014 105
Minnesota Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 8/12/2014 70
Missouri Red padlock.png 3/25/2014 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[28] 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 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 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 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 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 8/26/2014 75
Washington Red padlock.png 5/17/2014 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 8/12/2014 71
Wyoming Red padlock.png 5/30/2014 8/19/2014 81


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See also: State legislative special elections, 2014

There are two special elections scheduled this week: one in Rhode Island and one in Virginia.

Rhode Island House of Representatives District 49

See also: Rhode Island state legislative special elections, 2014

Michael Morin defeated Douglas Brown and Mark Chenot in the January 21 Democratic primary. Morin defeated write-in candidates in the special election, which took place on February 25.[33][34][35][36]

The seat was vacant following Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's (D) election as Mayor of Woonsocket.[37]

A special election for the position of Rhode Island House of Representatives District 49 was called for February 25, with a primary on January 21. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was December 13, 2013.[38]

Rhode Island House of Representatives, District 49 Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMichael Morin 52.1% 373
Douglas Brown 46.6% 334
Mark Chenot 1.3% 9
Total Votes 716
January 21 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Douglas Brown
Democratic Party Mark Chenot
Democratic Party Stuart Gitlow
Democratic Party Michael Morin

Virginia State Senate District 33

See also: Virginia state legislative special elections, 2014

Jennifer Wexton (D) defeated John Whitbeck (R) and Joe T. May (I) in the special election, which took place on January 21.[33][39][40]

The seat was vacant following Mark Herring's (D) election as Attorney General of Virginia.

A special election for the position of Virginia State Senate District 33 was called for January 21. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was December 26, 2013.[41]

Virginia State Senate, District 33, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJennifer Wexton 52.7% 11,431
     Republican John Whitbeck 37.5% 8,133
     Independent Joe T. May 9.8% 2,117
Total Votes 21,681
January 21, 2014 Special election:
Democratic Party Jennifer Wexton
Republican Party John Whitbeck
Independent Joe T. May

Recent election results

January 14, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Arkansas State Senate District 21

See also: Arkansas state legislative special elections, 2014

John Cooper (R) defeated Steve Rockwell (D) in the special election, which took place on January 14.[42] Rockwell and Radius Baker advanced past Gene Roebuck and Ray Kidd in the Democratic primary.[43] Rockwell defeated Baker in the Democratic primary runoff.[44] Dan Sullivan and Cooper advanced past Chad Niell in the Republican primary.[43] Cooper defeated Sullivan in the Republican primary runoff.[44][33]

The seat was vacant following Paul Bookout's (D) resignation on August 21, 2013, after he was fined $8,000 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for spending campaign funds on personal items.[45]

A special election for the position of Arkansas State Senate District 21 was called for January 14, with a primary on October 8, 2013. A primary runoff took place on November 12, 2013. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was September 6, 2013.[45]

Arkansas State Senate, District 21, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Cooper 57.2% 4,318
     Democratic Steve Rockwell 42.8% 3,235
Total Votes 7,553


January 14, 2014 Special election:
Democratic Party Steve Rockwell
Republican Party John Cooper Green check mark transparent.png

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • January 28: Alabama House of Representatives District 31
  • January 28: Alabama House of Representatives District 104
  • January 28: Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 78
  • January 28: Texas House of Representatives District 50
  • February 4: Georgia House of Representatives District 2 (Runoff)
  • February 4: Georgia House of Representatives District 22 (Runoff)
  • February 25: Connecticut State Senate District 10

See also

References

  1. watchdog.org, "AZ to consider four school-choice expansion bills," January 13, 2014
  2. American Federation for Children, "Legislators Pass Expansion For Arizona's Most Important School Choice Programs," June 15, 2013
  3. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2012/05/15/20120515arizona-school-choice-program-expands.html The Arizona Republic, "Choice Program Expands," May 15, 2012]
  4. State House News Service, "Convicted Boston state Rep. Carlos Henriquez' lawyer says he's considering resignation options, will appeal," January 16, 2014. Accessed January 16, 2014
  5. The Boston Globe, "6 months in jail for lawmaker Henriquez," January 15, 2014. Accessed January 16, 2014
  6. State House News Service, "House lays groundwork for Henriquez proceedings," January 16, 2014. Accessed January 16, 2014
  7. Attleboro Patch, "Poirier Calls for Henriquez Resignation," January 16, 2014. Accessed January 16, 2014
  8. www.newsday.com/, "Assemb. Eric Stevenson guilty of bribery, extortion," accessed January 16, 2014
  9. abclocal.go.com/, "New York State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson convicted in bribery case," accessed January 16, 2014
  10. www.nydailynews.com/, "Jury Finds Assemblyman Eric Stevenson Guilty In Corruption Case; Bronx Pol Faces 55 Years," accessed January 16, 2014
  11. www.nytimes.com/, "Assemblyman From the South Bronx Is Convicted on Bribery and Extortion Charges," accessed January 16, 2014
  12. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed January 21, 2014
  13. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed January 21, 2014
  14. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  15. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  16. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  17. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  18. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  19. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  20. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  21. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  24. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  25. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  26. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  27. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  29. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  30. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  31. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  32. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 boston.com, "Woonsocket to hold special legislative primary," January 18, 2014(Archived)
  34. Providence Journal, "Morin defeats 2 primary challengers to gain hold on Woonsocket House seat," January 21, 2014
  35. ctpost.com, "Morin wins Woonsocket election for RI House seat," February 26, 2014(Archived)
  36. Rhode Island Secretary of State, "Official Primary election results," accessed March 26, 2014
  37. ripr.org, "Baldelli-Hunt To Be Inaugurated As New Mayor Of Woonsocket," December 3, 2013
  38. turnto10.com, "State sets special election for Woonsocket House seat," December 4, 2013
  39. Washington Post, "Democrats win state Senate seat in Northern Virginia — and perhaps control of the chamber," January 21, 2014
  40. Virginia Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed January 30, 2014
  41. nbc29.com, "VA Senate Special Election Set Jan. 21," December 20, 2013
  42. Arkansas Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed January 30, 2014
  43. 43.0 43.1 therepublic.com, "GOP, Democrats each headed to runoff for Ark. Senate seat in special election," October 8, 2013
  44. 44.0 44.1 kait8.com, "AR State Senate District 21 Primary Final Results," November 12, 2013
  45. 45.0 45.1 arkansasmatters.com, "Gov. Beebe Sets Special Election to Replace Recently Resigned Senator," August 28, 2013