State Legislative Tracker: Michigan legislature passes citizen initiative

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December 18, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes an update on Michigan's citizen initiative.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state ended its legislative session. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Idaho: Senator Fred S. Martin (R) has urged Republicans to seek the resignation of Rep. Mark Patterson (R) after he failed to disclose his guilty plea in a 1974 rape case that led to the revocation of his concealed weapons permit. A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 17, among Republican leaders in District 15 of the Idaho House of Representatives to discuss Patterson's future in the legislature. Martin, a member of the 15-person GOP committee in District 15, "hoped that Patterson would resign voluntarily, but he added that a resolution has been drafted that demands Patterson to quit if he doesn't go willingly." Patterson will be allowed to address the 15-person committee, but afterwards an executive session will take place that is closed to Patterson and the general public. If Patterson decides not to resign, a resolution is in place that urges House leadership to strip him of "all committee assignments and any other assignments, duties and responsibilities of office." Only complaints from House members can start an House Ethics Committee inquiry into Patterson's actions. As a member of the Senate, Martin cannot make a complaint against Patterson, and must wait for one Patterson's House colleagues to lodge a complaint.[1][2][3][4]
  • Michigan: Last week, the Tracker reported on a controversial measure before the Michigan legislature restricting insurance coverage of abortion. On Wednesday, the bill passed the senate 27-11, and the house 62-47. All Republicans in the legislature voted in favor, with Sen. Tupac Hunter (D) and Reps. Terry Brown (D), Charles Brunner (D) and John Olumba (I) joining them. The new law forbids insurers from including abortion coverage in primary plans, requiring a 'rider' to be added on. Because the bill is a citizen initiative resulting from a successful signature drive, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will not be able to veto it as he had done a bill containing a similar provision last year. The bill will take effect 90 days following the end of the legislative session, which is estimated to come in March. Supporters including Michigan Right To Life, who spearheaded the initiative, say that the law prevents Michiganders from having to pay for others' abortions, and that abortion is, per Rep. Amanda Price (R), "an individual choice." Opponents, who urged that the bill instead be placed on the 2014 ballot under the citizen initiative law, say that the lack of an exemption for victims of rape places an unjust burden on women. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who spoke on the floor of being raped while in college, continued to call the measure "rape insurance" despite Republican objections. Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D) warned supporters of the law not to "underestimate the power of a lot of very angry women and the men who support [them]," saying that actions to undo the law, including a possible referendum, would follow.[5][6][7][8]
  • Oklahoma: House Bill 2317, aimed at protecting the expression of traditional religious holiday sentiments in the public square, was filed on Monday, December 9. A website called was created to explain what has been dubbed the "Merry Christmas Bill." “This Bill will provide students, parents, teachers and administrators a safe harbor for openly celebrating a Federal holiday, freeing them from fear of litigation or fear of retribution,” noted The issue, according to the website, has been that “students, parents, teachers and administrators are reluctant to say 'Merry Christmas' and they feel they can’t even call decorations 'Christmas trees.'" The bill will be taken up in the 2014 legislative session, which begins in February 2014. Proponents claim this is a defensive effort, while critics claim this is part of a "phony War on Christmas" being ginned up by conservatives. One other state, Texas, has introduced a similar bill to protect such religious expression.[9][10][11]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of December 18, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently five out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state is meeting in special session.

As of April 8, all states states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions.[16]

The following states have ended their regular session:[17]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Saturday, May 23, 2015
There are 7,387 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,445 (46.6%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,814 (51.6%)
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 78
Total Special Sessions 26

In recess

As of today, December 2, there is 1 state legislatures currently in recess:[18]

Redistricting Roundup.jpg

State news

Redistricting Facts
Maps submitted for vote: 142 out of 142 (100%)** All maps voted on
States that have completed Congressional Maps 43/43 (Maps ordered redrawn:
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 49/50 (Maps unfinished: ME)
**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 is not required to have its maps completed before 2014. Although the Texas State Legislature passed a plan, it is currently under dispute. Judges have approved its use for the 2014 elections, however.

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] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[20] Red padlock.png 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] 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[29][30] 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[31] 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[32][33] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[34] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[35] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[36] 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[37] 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, 2013

There are two special elections scheduled this week: one in New Hampshire and one in Wisconsin.

New Hampshire House of Representatives Sixth Strafford District

Rep. Phil Ginsburg (D) resigned after he moved out of the district. A special election was for February 4, 2014, with a primary on December 17, 2013. Because only one candidate from each party filed, however, the special election will be held on December 17. Candidates had until October 22 to file certified nomination papers with the Town Clerk.[38][39]

December 17 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Amanda Merrill
Republican Party Deidre Lepkowski

UncheckedBox.jpg Wisconsin State Assembly District 82

Rep. Jeffrey Stone (R) resigned to become Division Administrator for the Division of Water, Compliance, and Consumer Affairs of the Public Service Commission. A special election has been called for December 17, with a primary on November 19. Candidates had until October 22 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[40][41][42]

December 17 Special election candidates:
Democratic PartyJohn R. Hermes
Republican PartyKen Skowronski

Recent election results

December 10, 2013

CheckedBoxOffset.jpgKentucky State Senate District 13
Sen. Kathy Stein (D) resigned following her appointment as Fayette Family Court judge. A special election has been called for December 10. Candidates were nominated by their local parties.[43][44][45]

December 10 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Reggie Thomas Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Michael E. Johnson
Independent Richard Moloney

CheckedBoxOffset.jpgKentucky House of Representatives District 7
Rep. John Arnold, Jr. (D) resigned amidst sexual harassment allegations. A special election has been called for December 10. Candidates were nominated by their local parties.[46][47][48]

December 10 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Kim Humphrey
Republican Party Suzanne Miles Green check mark transparent.png

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • January 7: Georgia House of Representatives District 2
  • January 7: Georgia House of Representatives District 22
  • January 7: Iowa House of Representatives District 25
  • January 7: Massachusetts House of Representatives Ninth Norfolk District
  • January 7: Virginia State Senate District 6
  • January 7: Virginia House of Delegates District 11
  • January 14: Arkansas Senate District 21

See also


  1., "Idaho state senator wants Rep. Patterson to resign," accessed December 12, 2013
  2., "Boise GOP to meet Tuesday over Rep. Patterson," accessed December 12, 2013
  3., "AP: GOP Drafts Resolution Calling For Mark Patterson to Leave Idaho Legislature," accessed December 12, 2013
  4., "GOP sets meeting to push Idaho Rep. Patterson to resign," accessed December 12, 2013
  5. MLive, "Michigan Legislature approves controversial abortion insurance bill," December 11-12, 2013
  6. The Detroit News, "Michigan abortion coverage will require rider," December 11, 2013 (dead link)
  7. MLive, "How they voted: Michigan lawmakers approve Right to Life abortion insurance initiative," December 12, 2013
  8. Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Legislature OKs initiative to require insurance rider for abortion coverage," December 12, 2013
  9., accessed Dec. 13, 2013
  10., "Oklahoma Legislature files for a 'Merry Christmas,'” accessed Dec. 13, 2013
  11., "Oklahoma Lawmakers Push For ‘Merry Christmas’ Bills To Reintroduce Religion In Public Schools," accessed December 13, 2013
  12., "Special Election in Senate District 6 set for January 7th," December 6, 2013 (dead link)
  13., "January 7, 2014 Virginia Special Election for House 11th District Seat and Senate 6th District Seat," December 8, 2013
  14. The News &Advance, "Obenshain and the AG Recount," December 12, 2013
  15. Our Campaigns, "VA State Senate 06 - Special Election," accessed December 13, 2013
  16. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed December 18, 2013
  17. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed December 18, 2013
  18., "Daily Session Summary," accessed December 18, 2013 (dead link)
  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 (dead link)
  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. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  32. 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  33. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  34. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  35. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  36. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  37. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  38., "Merrill files for state rep special election," October 24, 2013
  39. New Hampshire Secretary of State - Official Candidate List
  40., "Executive Order #118," accessed December 18, 2013
  41., "Official candidate list," accessed December 18, 2013
  42., "Official primary election results," accessed December 18, 2013
  43., "Kathy Stein appointed to Fayette judgeship; special elections set for her seat, John Arnold's," October 14, 2013
  44., "Republicans pick Michael Johnson as nominee in special Senate election; Moloney to run as independent," October 21, 2013
  45., "Democrat Reginald Thomas wins state Senate special election," December 10, 2013
  46., "Kathy Stein appointed to Fayette judgeship; special elections set for her seat, John Arnold's," October 14, 2013
  47., "Candidates in 2 Kentucky special elections appear set," October 22, 2013
  48., "Suzanne Miles is apparent winner, but Humphrey is seeking recanvass," December 10, 2013