State Legislative Tracker: Maine legislator passes away

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
SLP badge.png

Donate.png

August 4, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at the life and death of a first-term legislator in Maine.

Weekly highlight

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

  • Maine: A first-term state representative is being remembered for his commitment to health care and the environment after withdrawing from this year's election and passing away nearly two weeks later. Paul McGowan (D) died at his home in York on July 27; he was 67. McGowan, the District 149 incumbent running for re-election in the redrawn District 3, bowed out of the race on July 14 due to health concerns; he had recently been using a cane to walk and was undergoing blood tests to discover the details of his illness.[1] In the obituary, his family said that McGowan had "[taken] his own life."[2] McGowan, who founded a leadership development group and was a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, was known for his legislative efforts against cancer, which took the lives of friends and family members including his wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law; the obituary cited his wife's death as a contributing factor to a long history of depression.[3][4] During his term, McGowan chaired a special commission which studied ways to reduce the high rate of cancer in the state; its final report concluded that smoking, obesity and poor nutrition are collectively responsible for six out of 10 cases of cancer in the state.[4] McGowan, who also advocated for energy sustainability, was involved with environmental organizations including the Cape Neddick River Association, York Energy Efficiency Committee and York Town Energy Committee.[5][6] A funeral was held on Saturday; details of his burial were not disclosed.[2] As of this writing, plans for filling the vacancy left by McGowan's death have not been announced; Lydia Blume was selected to replace McGowan and face Arthur Kyricos (R) in the general election.
  • New Jersey: Last week, Gov. Chris Christie (R) called a special legislative session to consider changes to the state's bail system.[7] On July 31, 2014, the first day of the special session, Christie addressed the legislature and urged them to pass two bills that would reform the current bail system.[8] On the importance of bail reform, Christie said, "Folks who don't have enough money to post bail have no choice but to either sit in jail and await adjudication of their charges, or to plead guilty, to get time served just as a way of getting out, oftentimes pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. This is not a fair and just system."[9] The two bills that Christie wants passed are SCR128 and S946. The constitutional amendment (SCR128) would allow judges to deny bail to defendants that they consider a flight risk, or defendants who they consider dangerous and could attempt to obstruct justice.[10] Currently, judges cannot deny bail in New Jersey. To get the amendment on the ballot in November, the legislature must pass the bill with a 60 percent majority by August 4. The other bill (S946), would allow judges to evaluate the safety risk that a defendant poses to the public rather then what the individual is able to pay. If a judge determines that a defendant poses no safety risk, the defendant could be released without bail before trial.[10] The Senate passed both bills on July 31, leaving Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) to call for a vote in the Assembly for August 4.[9]
  • Utah: Sen. Steve Urquhart (R) is proposing that the state legally sell cannabis oil to families in need of it for their children.[11] Cannabis oil is the extract from marijuana plants containing high amounts of the chemical cannabidiol (CBD), which is a "potent anticonvulsant." Nearly all of the psychotropic THC has been removed from the oil resulting in few dangerous side effects.[12][13] The use of cannabis oil to help children with severe intractable epilepsy and other disorders related to seizures was made legal as of July 1, 2014, during the most recent legislative session.[14] Urquart was the senate sponsor for H.B. 105, also known as Charlee's Law. Charlee Nelson was a six-year-old Utah girl who doctors claim would have benefited from the cannabis oil but passed away just a few days after the bill was signed.[15] Although the use of cannabis oil is legal in Utah, carrying it into Utah across state lines would be a federal offense.[11] Under Urquart's proposal, cannabis oil would be available for purchase in liquor stores. Sale through the liquor stores would allow for state control of the market, limit sales, and "provide a level of assurance that the cannabis extract is what its suppliers say it is."[14] Without FDA approval, the sale of cannabis oil in places like pharmacies would be illegal.[14][13]
[edit]

As of today, August 4, 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 46.4%. All told, Republicans control 58 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 40 chambers. One chamber is nonpartisan.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,428 46.4%
Republican state legislators 3,822 51.8%
Independent (and nonpartisan) state legislators 66 0.89%
Third party (and nonvoting) legislators 12 0.16%
Vacancies 57 0.74%

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 August 4, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers
  • Independent 1 chamber (Nebraska)
See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Cumulative numbers

As of August 4, 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 August 4, 2014, there are 12 vacancies in 8 states.

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

Independents

As of August 4, 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 August 4, 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 August 4, 2014, 5,345 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,553 47.2%
Republican state representatives 2,792 51.6%
Independent state representatives 13 0.24%
Third party (and nonvoting) representatives 10 0.18%
Vacancies 45 0.83%

Vacancies

As of August 4, 2014, there are 45 state house vacancies in 14 different states.

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

Independents

As of August 4, 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 August 4, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 3 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Ohio, is in Skeleton Session. A Skeleton Session typically includes very short nonvoting sessions instead of regular sessions with a full chamber.[16] California is holding a special session concurrent with its regular session. New Jersey is meeting in a special session.

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

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Sunday, September 21, 2014
There are 7,383 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 58
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 32
Total Special Sessions 7

Special sessions

California

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.[18]

New Jersey

The New Jersey State Legislature is meeting in a special session to consider changes to the state's bail system.[19] On July 31, 2014, the first day of the special session, Christie addressed the legislature and urged them to pass two bills that would reform the current bail system.[20] The two bills that Christie wants passed are SCR128 and S946. The constitutional amendment (SCR128) would allow judges to deny bail to defendants that they consider a flight risk, or defendants who they consider dangerous and could attempt to obstruct justice.[10] Currently, judges cannot deny bail in New Jersey. To get the amendment on the ballot in November, the legislature must pass the bill with a 60 percent majority by August 4. The other bill (S946), would allow judges to evaluate the safety risk that a defendant poses to the public rather then what the individual is able to pay. If a judge determines that a defendant poses no safety risk, the defendant could be released without bail before trial.[10]

In recess

As of today, August 4, there are five state legislatures 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 even years. However, senators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2016.

1,097 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2014, and 4,958 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 6,055 of the country's 7,383 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][35] 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[36][37] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[38] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[39] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[40] 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[36] 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


SLP badge.png
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.[41][42] Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters - Creighton and Toth - advanced to a runoff election on August 5, which Creighton won.[43][44]

The seat was 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.[45]

Texas State Senate, District 4, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBrandon Creighton 67.4% 15,232
     Republican Steve Toth 32.6% 7,373
Total Votes 22,605
August 5 Runoff candidates:
Republican Party Brandon Creighton
Republican Party Steve Toth

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

See also

References

  1. Seacoastonline, "Health problems cause York Rep. McGowan to drop election bid," July 15, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Seacoastonline, "Paul D. McGowan," accessed July 31, 2014
  3. Associated Press, "Democratic lawmaker from York dies unexpectedly," July 28, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Seacoastonline, "McGowan remembered as caring, compassionate legislator," July 31, 2014
  5. Portland Press Herald, "Family discloses cause of Maine lawmaker’s death," July 29, 2014
  6. Bangor Daily News, "York County lawmaker remembered as ‘a wonderful father, brother, uncle and community member,’" July 30, 2014
  7. Wall Street Journal, "Christie Pushes New Jersey Bail Changes," July 29, 2014
  8. Wall Street Journal, "New Jersey's Chris Christie Seeks Bipartisan Victory on Bail in Special Session," July 29, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Philly.com, "N.J. Senate acts on bail overhaul, Assembly to vote Monday," August 1, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 NJ.com, "Christie calls N.J. Legislature into special session Thursday to act on bail reform," July 30, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 KUTV, "Utah Senator Wants Cannabis Oil To Be Sold In Utah State Liquor Stores," July 29, 2014
  12. Mashable, "Parents Gain Access to Marijuana Extract to Treat Childhood Seizures," July 30, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Salt Lake Tribune, "Coming soon to Utah liquor stores: cannabis oils?," July 27, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Salt Lake Tribune, "Editorial: Utah should do more to make cannabis extract available," July 28, 2014
  15. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah governor signs 'hemp supplement' bill," March 25, 2014
  16. Cleveland.com, "Ohio's 2014 legislative calendar will be crammed with election-year politicking and backroom pleading: Thomas Suddes," December 15, 2013
  17. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed August 4, 2014
  18. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown calls legislative special session to debate reserve plan," April 16, 2014
  19. Wall Street Journal, "Christie Pushes New Jersey Bail Changes," July 29, 2014
  20. Wall Street Journal, "New Jersey's Chris Christie Seeks Bipartisan Victory on Bail in Special Session," July 29, 2014
  21. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed August 4, 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
  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. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  35. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  36. 36.0 36.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  37. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  38. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  39. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  40. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  41. Texas Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 14, 2014
  42. yourhoustonnews.com, "ELECTION 2014: Senate District 4 race headed for runoff," May 10, 2014
  43. Texas Secretary of State, "Runoff Election Declaration," accessed June 2, 2014
  44. Texas Tribune, "Creighton Easily Wins Special State Senate Race," August 5, 2014
  45. kxan.com, "Special state Senate election date set," November 7, 2013