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State Legislative Tracker: Missouri makes another attempt at nullification

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January 27, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at one state's attempt to nullify federal gun laws.

Weekly highlight

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

  • Alabama: As a national movement to amend the United States Constitution gains traction with conservative legislators, Alabama Republican Sens. Arthur Orr and Trip Pittman are pushing for new guidelines for Alabama to participate in a state-led constitutional convention, should one occur. Two bills introduced by Orr and Pittman passed out of the Alabama State Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee by a 5-0 vote this week. The bills, which are now headed back to the Senate, place parameters on how the Alabama State Legislature would select delegates if such a convention were to occur. According to media sources, both Orr and Pittman attended a meeting in December 2013, known as the Mt. Vernon Assembly, where lawmakers from 32 states discussed options to initiate a constitutional convention as a means to pass amendments that have stalled out in Congress. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, a constitutional convention could be called at the request of two-thirds of state legislatures, or 34 states. Any proposed amendments coming out of the convention would have to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures, or 38 states. So far 20 states — including Alabama — have voted to support a constitutional convention. In a recent interview, Orr stated, “Given the dire outlook, many are realizing that a state-led amendment convention is our best hope for a positive change of direction. If nothing else, this movement of states is a sharp reminder to Congress that we mean business.” Although conservative legislators may be jumping on board with the movement, Democrats are not as enthused. State House Minority Leader Craig Ford has called the movement a campaign stunt designed to appeal to tea party voters in the 2014 elections.[1][2][3][4]
  • Indiana: Two weeks ago, the Tracker reported on a proposed constitutional amendment affirming a pre-existing ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana, as well as a companion bill intended to clarify the amendment's controversial 'second sentence,' which opponents argue limits employer benefits on same-sex couples by also banning a like status to marriage. Since then, it stalled in the Judiciary Committee, found new life following reassignment to the Elections and Apportionment Committee by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R), and is now expected to reach the House floor this week. Following over four hours of impassioned testimony from both sides of the issue, the committee voted 9-3 Wednesday night to set the amendment for a full vote. On Thursday, Rep. Matt Pierce (D), protesting Bosma's move to reassign the bill, urged the House to reject the Election Committee's report stating that the amendment had passed, warning that his colleagues would "set precedent... of handing out mulligans." The House instead approved the report 67-30. Should the amendment pass the House by February 3, it must then go through the Senate before being placed on the November ballot. However, the House could vote to amend the amendment's second sentence, thereby avoiding potential legal issues surrounding the companion bill, but also likely resetting the process for placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot by passage of two General Assemblies. If supporters are forced to start over, voters would not see the amendment until at least 2016, a year in which Gov. Mike Pence (R), a stanch proponent of the ban, is up for re-election.[5][6][7][8][9]
  • Missouri: Missouri's Second Amendment Preservation Act seeks to further protect citizens' Second Amendment rights. Part of this previously-failed bill is intended to protect the state's citizens from federal law that would require more gun control than the state requires. The General Laws Committee began a two-part hearing on January 21 to void some federal gun laws, although courts have ruled that state laws cannot nullify federal laws. Under the measure, agents enforcing federal laws that conflict with state laws could result in a year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, and other civil penalties. Along with the nullification of federal laws, the bill would regulate health care personnel documenting a patient's gun ownership. Senator Rob Schaaf (R), the Senate's only licensed physician, said, "No matter what it is, I should be able to document it," in response to the proposed limitations and regulations. The Missouri Academy of Family Physicians and the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians were also concerned that "the legislation could lead physicians to unknowingly break state law when talking with patients." The sponsor of the bill said that he was open to changing the bill to accommodate for physicians' concerns, but wishes to protect a patient's privacy in regards to gun ownership. The bill would also allow for some authorized school personnel to be permitted to carry concealed weapons in buildings, and holders of concealed gun permits would be able to carry firearms openly. There will be another hearing on this bill the week of January 26.[10][11][12]
  • South Carolina: Last week, the South Carolina State Legislature passed Senate Bill 308, which allows concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns in restaurants and bars, as long as the permit holder is not consuming alcohol and there is no sign posted prohibiting it. Anyone that is caught violating the bill's rules will have their concealed weapons permit revoked for five years, plus face up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. Senate Bill 308 passed in the house by a vote of 90 to 18, and in the senate by vote of 34 to 3. Rep. Michael Pitts (R) said that the bill "allows law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves and their family while eating dinner, in case a criminal comes in and starts shooting." Opponents to the legislation worry about the trouble that may occur by mixing alcohol and guns. According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), as of January 17, 2014, there are 229,310 active concealed weapons permits in South Carolina. The bill will now be sent to Gov. Nikki Haley's (R) desk where she is expected to sign the legislation. Haley has previously stated that she would support any gun bill that did not restrict rights.[13][14][15][16]
[edit]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of January 27, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 35 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Wisconsin, is meeting in special session.

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

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Saturday, July 26, 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 8
Total Special Sessions 1
Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker (R) called the legislature into special session on January 22. Walker asked the legislature to find a way to fund $500 million worth of property and income tax cuts.[18]

In recess

As of today, January 27, there are no state legislatures currently in recess.[19]

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[20] 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[21] 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[22][23] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[24][25][26] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[27][28] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[29] 8/12/2014 90
Delaware Red padlock.png 7/8/2014 9/9/2014 63
Florida Red padlock.png 6/20/2014[30][31] 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[32][33] 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[34][35] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[36] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[37] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[38] 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[34] 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 four special elections scheduled this week: two in Alabama, one in Pennsylvania and one in Texas.

Alabama House of Representatives District 31

See also: Alabama state legislative special elections, 2014

Mike Holmes, Jimmy Collier, Michael Griggs and Frank Bertarelli faced off in the Republican primary.[39][40] As no candidate received more than fifty percent of the vote, the top-two vote-getters - Holmes and Collier - met in the Republican primary runoff on February 4, which Holmes won.[41][42]

The seat was vacant following Barry Mask's (R) appointment as the new chief executive officer of the Alabama Association of Realtors.[43]

A special election for the position of Alabama House of Representatives District 31 was initially called for January 28, with a primary on December 3, 2013. Because no Democratic candidate filed to run, the Republican primary runoff became the special election. Candidates from both major parties had until October 10, 2013, to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[43] Due to inclement weather, the election was pushed back a week to February 4.[44]

Alabama House of Representatives, District 31 Runoff Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMike Holmes 56.7% 2,028
Jimmy Collier 43.3% 1,550
Total Votes 3,578
Republican Party January 28 GOP runoff:

Alabama House of Representatives District 104

See also: Alabama state legislative special elections, 2014

Margie Wilcox (R) defeated Stephen P. Carr, II (D) in the special election, which took place on February 4.[45] Carr was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Susan Hightower, Margie Wilcox, Ralph Carmichael, Nathan Davis and Charlie Plyler faced off in the Republican primary. As no candidate received more than fifty percent of the vote, the top-two vote-getters - Wilcox and Hightower - met in the Republican primary runoff on December 3, 2013, which Wilcox won.[46][47]

The seat was vacant following Jim Barton's (R) resignation on August 7, 2013, to work for the Kinney Capitol Group.[48]

A special election for the position of Alabama House of Representatives District 104 was initially called for December 3, 2013, with a primary on October 15, 2013.[48] Because a runoff on December 3, 2013, was needed, the special election was scheduled to take place on January 28, 2014, instead. Due to inclement weather, the election was pushed back a week to February 4.[49]

Alabama House of Representatives, District 104, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMargie Wilcox 90.5% 2,932
     Republican Stephen P. Carr, II 9.5% 307
Total Votes 3,239

January 28 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Stephen P. Carr, II
Republican Party Margie Wilcox

Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 78

See also: Pennsylvania state legislative special elections, 2014

Jesse Topper (R) defeated Barbara L. Barron (D) in the special election, which took place on January 28, 2014.[39][50]

The seat was vacant following Dick Hess's (R) death on September 6, 2013.

A special election for the position of Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 78 was called for January 28. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary. The nominating deadline for parties was December 9, 2013.[51]

January 28 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Barbara L. Barron
Republican Party Jesse Topper

Texas House of Representatives District 50

See also: Texas state legislative special elections, 2014

Celia Israel (D) and Mike VanDeWalle (R) advanced past Rico Reyes (D) and Jade Chang Sheppard (D) in the special election.[39][52] Israel defeated VanDeWalle in the runoff election.[53][54]

The seat was vacant following Mark Strama's (D) resignation to lead Google's fiber optics operation in Austin, Texas.[55]

A special election for the position of Texas House of Representatives District 50 was called for November 5, 2013, with a runoff if necessary on January 28, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was September 4, 2013.[55]

Texas House of Representatives, District 50, Runoff Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCelia Israel 59.6% 6,275
     Republican Mike VanDeWalle 40.4% 4,245
Total Votes 10,520
Texas House of Representatives, District 50, Special Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMike VanDeWalle 39.2% 5,853
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngCelia Israel 31.8% 4,755
Total Votes 14,936
January 28, 2014, Runoff candidates:
Democratic Party Celia Israel
Republican Party Mike VanDeWalle

Recent election results

January 21, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg 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.[39][56][57]

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.[58]

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 Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party John Whitbeck
Independent Joe T. May

UncheckedBox.jpg 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.[39][59][60][61]

The seat was vacant following Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's (D) election as Mayor of Woonsocket.[62]

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.[63]

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
Democratic PartyJanuary 21 Democratic primary candidates:

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • 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
  • February 25: Rhode Island House of Representatives District 49
  • March 18: Pennsylvania State Senate District 28

See also

References

  1. ‘’’Al.com,’’’ “You say you’ll change the Constitution? State GOP leaders want to show you how,” January 21, 2014
  2. ‘’’The Anniston Star,’’’ “U.S. constitutional convention bills advance in Ala. Senate,” January 23, 2014
  3. ‘’’wsfa.com,’’’ “2 AL state senators push for Constitutional amendment on fed. balanced budget,” January 21, 2014
  4. ‘’’cbslocal.com,’’’ “20 states vote to support constitutional convention for passing federal balanced budget amendment,” January 21, 2014
  5. Indianapolis Monthly, "Gay-Marriage Ban Moves to Indiana House Floor," January 23, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2014
  6. Indianapolis Star, "Gov. Mike Pence fires up supporters of same-sex marriage ban," January 23, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2014
  7. Associated Press, "'Second sentence' becomes focus in marriage fight," January 23, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2014
  8. The Times of Northwest Indiana, "Bosma defends actions advancing marriage amendment," January 23, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2013
  9. Indianapolis Star, "Gov. Mike Pence fires up supporters of same-sex marriage ban," January 23, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2014
  10. KSMU, "Missouri Legislative Session 2014 Preview," January 6, 2014
  11. KSDK, "Missouri Senate panel considering gun law nullification," January 21, 2014
  12. Fox News, "Missouri lawmakers weigh bill that seeks to nullify federal gun laws," January 22, 2014
  13. www.trtribune.com/, "Legislative Report with Rep. Burns: Gov. reorganization, restaurant carry," accessed January 23, 2014
  14. www.wsav.com/, "Bill passes allowing guns in South Carolina bars," accessed January 23, 2014
  15. www.thestate.com/, "Bill to allow guns in SC bars, restaurants headed for Gov. Haley’s desk," accessed January 23, 2014
  16. www.myrtlebeachonline.com/, "SC Legislature approves guns in restaurants bill," accessed January 23, 2014
  17. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed January 27, 2014
  18. Wisconsin Governor's Office, "Governor Scott Walker Calls Special Session, Calls on Legislators to Pass the Blueprint for Prosperity," January 23, 2014
  19. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed January 27, 2014
  20. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  21. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  22. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  23. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  24. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  25. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  26. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  27. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  28. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  29. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  30. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  31. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  32. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  33. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  34. 34.0 34.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  35. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  36. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  37. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  38. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 seattlepi.com, "4 running as Republicans for Alabama House seat," October 11, 2013
  40. al.com, "Mike Holmes, Jimmy Collier qualify for Republican runoff in Alabama House District 31," December 3, 2013
  41. al.com, "Mike Holmes defeats Jimmy Collier in special election in Alabama House District 31," February 4, 2014
  42. Official special election results submitted to Ballotpedia by Brandon Walters from the Alabama Secretary of State's Office on May 7, 2014
  43. 43.0 43.1 therepublic.com, "Special election timeline announced for vacant Ala. House District 31 seat," October 1, 2013
  44. al.com, "Citing inclement weather forecast, governor delays special election set for Mobile House seat," January 27, 2014
  45. Official special election results submitted to Ballotpedia by Brandon Walters from the Alabama Secretary of State's Office on May 7, 2014
  46. al.com, "Hightower, Wilcox to face off in GOP primary for state House seat (updated, photos)," October 15, 2013
  47. therepublic.com, "Wilcox defeats Hightower in Alabama House District 104 runoff," December 3, 2013
  48. 48.0 48.1 timesdaily.com, " Special elections set for Ala. House districts," August 8, 2013
  49. al.com, "Citing inclement weather forecast, governor delays special election set for Mobile House seat," January 27, 2014
  50. Altoona Mirror, "Topper wins 78th District state House seat," January 29, 2014
  51. www.politicspa.com, "Speaker Sets Jan 28 Date for Hess Seat Special," May 7, 2014
  52. team1.sos.state.tx.us, "Unofficial election results," November 5, 2013
  53. Texas Tribune, "Israel Defeats VanDeWalle in HD-50 Runoff," January 28, 2014
  54. Texas Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed February 21, 2014
  55. 55.0 55.1 texastribune.org, "Special Election to Replace Strama Set for Nov. 5," July 11, 2013
  56. Washington Post, "Democrats win state Senate seat in Northern Virginia — and perhaps control of the chamber," January 21, 2014
  57. Virginia Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed January 30, 2014
  58. nbc29.com, "VA Senate Special Election Set Jan. 21," December 20, 2013
  59. Providence Journal, "Morin defeats 2 primary challengers to gain hold on Woonsocket House seat," January 21, 2014
  60. ctpost.com, "Morin wins Woonsocket election for RI House seat," February 26, 2014(Archived)
  61. Rhode Island Secretary of State, "Official Primary election results," accessed March 26, 2014
  62. ripr.org, "Baldelli-Hunt To Be Inaugurated As New Mayor Of Woonsocket," December 3, 2013
  63. turnto10.com, "State sets special election for Woonsocket House seat," December 4, 2013