State Legislative Tracker: Maine holds veto override session

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May 5, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at Maine's veto override session.

Weekly highlight

Last week, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa and Maine adjourned their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Maine: On May 1, 2014, the Maine State Legislature met for a one-day special session that is being referred to by some Maine lawmakers as "veto day." During the one-day session, the legislature overturned 15 of the 48 vetoes issued by Gov. Paul LePage (R) during the past two weeks. In 2013, the legislature was only able to overturn five vetoes in total. The biggest veto that was overturned dealt with the state's budget shortfall. The Maine Legislature overturned the veto of LD 1858, which would fill a $32 million budget gap in the state's $6.3 billion budget. The bill would provide funding for the removal of hundreds of developmentally disabled residents off waiting lists for Medicaid services, like home-based care. The Senate voted 35-0 and the House voted 134-12 to override LePage's veto. Rep. Kenneth Fredette (R), the Minority Floor Leader, said on the budget override that "[w]hile I share Gov. LePage’s concerns with the budget’s funding mechanism, I believe there is more good than bad in this bill. Republicans have fought for months to ensure that our nursing homes and wait lists for disabled Mainers are funded." This was the last time that the full legislature was scheduled to meet before the November election.[1][2][3][4]
  • South Carolina: On May 1, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that will replace Common Core education standards with South Carolina standards by the 2015-16 school year. Common Core has been used in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Common Core was initially supported by governors and superintendents, while the Obama administration encouraged its adoption through incentives. Although Common Core outlines what students should know through grade school to prepare them for college and careers, local educators are still responsible for the curriculum that dictates how students are taught. There has been significant "public backlash," however, from parents, teachers and unions. According to The New American, Common Core has "deceptive propaganda, [becoming a] punchline and toxic liability for politicians." Sen. Mike Fair (R) said the state is "back on track" for taking control of what is taught in classrooms. Sen. Chip Campsen (R) believes that the issue impacts the state's economy, as well, because "the state can't be responsive to businesses' workforce needs if decisions aren't up to South Carolinians." Sen. Brad Hutto (D) believes that this bill is "key to winning over rural legislatures" because by 2017 the tests have to be taken by computer, forcing the Legislature to spend about $30 million on classroom technology. The $30 million budget, proposed by the House and the Senate, will focus on rural districts, which was part of Gov. Nikki Haley's (R) suggestions for the education budget. South Carolina is one of at least 15 states, so far, to move away from Common Core.[5][6][7][8]

As of today, May 5, 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 51.8% of all seats while Democrats hold 46.5%. All told, Republicans control 57 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 41 chambers. One chambers is non-partisan.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,439 46.5%
Republican state legislators 3,834 51.8%
Independent (and non-partisan) state legislators 66 0.89%
Third party (and non-voting) legislators 12 0.16%
Vacancies 35 0.47%

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 April 7, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

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%


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


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 5,411 state representatives.

As of April 7, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers
See also: Partisan composition of state houses

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%


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


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 May 5, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 19 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:[14]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[15]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
There are 7,383 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 41
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 57
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 26
Total Special Sessions 3

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.[16]


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.[17]

In recess

As of today, May 5, there is one state legislature currently in recess:[18]

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[19] 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[20] 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[21][22] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[23][24][25] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[26][27] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[28] 8/12/2014 90
Delaware Red padlock.png 7/8/2014 9/9/2014 63
Florida Red padlock.png 6/20/2014[29][30] 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[31][32] 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[33][34] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[35] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[36] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[37] 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[33] 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 is one special election scheduled this week in Texas.

Texas State Senate District 4

See also: Texas state legislative special elections, 2014

Gordy Bunch (R), Brandon Creighton (R), Michael Galloway (R) and Steve Toth (R) faced off in the special election, which took place on May 10.[38][39] Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters - Creighton and Toth - will advance to a runoff election on August 5.[40]

The seat is vacant following Tommy Williams's (R) retirement on October 26, 2013.

A special election for the position of Texas State Senate District 4 was called for May 10. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 10, 2014.[41]

May 10 Special election candidates:
Republican Party Gordy Bunch
Republican Party Brandon Creighton
Republican Party Michael Galloway
Republican Party Steve Toth

Recent election results

April 29, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Massachusetts House of Representatives Fifth Suffolk District

See also: Massachusetts state legislative special elections, 2014

Evandro C. Carvalho defeated Karen A. Charles-Peterson, Jennifer Anne Johnson, Barry Lawton and Roy Owens in the Democratic primary and was unopposed in the special election, which took place on April 29.[42]

The seat was vacant following Carlos Henriquez's (D) expulsion from the chamber on February 6.

A special election for the position of Massachusetts House of Representatives Fifth Suffolk District was called for April 29, with a primary on April 1. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 24.[43][44]

Massachusetts House of Representatives, Fifth Suffolk District Special Election Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngEvandro C. Carvalho 50.3% 961
Karen A. Charles-Peterson 27.2% 521
Barry Lawton 9.9% 190
Jennifer Anne Johnson 7.9% 151
Roy Owens 4.7% 89
Total Votes 1,912

April 29 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Evandro C. Carvalho Green check mark transparent.png

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • August 5: Missouri House of Representatives Districts 67, 120 and 151
  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also


  1., "Legislature overrides 15 of LePage’s 48 recent vetoes," accessed May 2, 2014
  2., "Lawmakers return for 'veto day' in Augusta," accessed May 2, 2014
  3., "Veto battle finds support for LePage in Augusta," accessed May 2, 2014
  4., "Maine lawmakers preserve, kill bills vetoed by LePage," accessed May 2, 2014
  5. The New American, "Common Core: A Scheme to Rewrite Education," August 8, 2013
  6. The New American, "Pro-Common Core Deception Falling Apart," April 18, 2014
  7. The State, "SC Senate approves replacing Common Core in 1 year," May 1, 2014
  8. The New American, "As Common Core Becomes Punchline, Critics Win Battles Nationwide," May 2, 2014
  9. Wisconsin State Journal, "Legislature cannot fix voter ID law before November election, leader says," May 1, 2014
  10. The Washington Post, "Judge strikes down Wisconsin Voter ID law," April 29, 2014
  11. The Washington Times, "Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin’s voter ID law," April 29, 2014
  12. Wisconsin State Journal, "Attorney general to ask for stay in voter ID ruling," May 1, 2014
  13. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin voter ID ruling could cost state more than $1 million," April 30, 2014
  14. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed May 5, 2014
  15. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed May 5, 2014
  16. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown calls legislative special session to debate reserve plan," April 16, 2014
  17., "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  18. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed May 5, 2014
  19. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  21. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  22. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  23. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  24. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  25. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  26. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  27. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  28. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  29. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  30. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  31. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  32. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  33. 33.0 33.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  34. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  35. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  36. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  37. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  38. Texas Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 14, 2014
  39., "ELECTION 2014: Senate District 4 race headed for runoff," May 10, 2014
  40. Texas Secretary of State, "Runoff Election Declaration," accessed June 2, 2014
  41., "Special state Senate election date set," November 7, 2013
  42. "Carvalho wins Democratic primary in Fifth Suffolk race to replace Henriquez," April 1, 2014
  43. Massachusetts Secretary of State "Special Election Calendar," accessed April 3, 2014
  44. Massachusetts Secretary of State "Official candidate list," accessed April 3, 2014