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State Legislative Tracker: New Hampshire attempts death penalty repeal

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April 21, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at New Hampshire's death penalty repeal bill.

Weekly highlight

Last week, Kentucky, Nebraska and Tennessee adjourned their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • New Hampshire: The Senate defeated an attempt to repeal New Hampshire's death penalty after a vote last Thursday ended in a tie. By a tally of 12-12 with all members voting, legislation to end capital punishment in the state did not pass. Legislators then tabled the bill by a unanimous vote. The move makes a second vote before the end of the session possible, if not likely. If the bill comes up for another floor vote and passes, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is expected to sign it. Hassan stated previously that she will sign a repeal bill on the condition that the death sentence of Michael Addison, the only person currently on death row in New Hampshire, remains in place. The bill would only affect crimes committed after the start of this year. One Democrat joined 11 Republicans in the no vote and two Republicans voted with 10 Democrats in support. After the vote, Hassan said in a statement, "I know that each Senator listened to all viewpoints and made a difficult decision, and I appreciate the respect they showed for New Hampshire's democratic process." The General Court passed a repeal in 2000 and then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) vetoed it. Although it is the last state in New England to maintain the death penalty, New Hampshire has not carried out an execution since 1939.[1][2][3][4]
  • North Dakota: On April 16, 2014, a federal judge overturned an abortion law that passed in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly last year. The judge ruled that the law was invalid and unconstitutional. The law, which passed last year but never took effect, banned most abortions after six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be first detected. Doctors that performed an abortion after that time would face up to five years in prison. North Dakota's abortion law is similar to laws in Arizona and Arkansas that federal judges recently struck down. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland wrote in his decision that "A woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court for more than 40 years. The United States Supreme Court has clearly determined the dispositive issue presented in this lawsuit." Judge Hovland based his decision on the precedent set in the Supreme Court of the United States's decision in Roe v. Wade. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) said he is considering an appeal and has a month to file one.[5][6][7][8]
  • Wisconsin: Senate President Mike Ellis (R) announced April 11 that he will not be running for re-election in November after a hidden camera recording surfaced of him talking about illegal campaign schemes. Project Veritas, who has released such videos of public officials before, are behind the recording. According to their website, Project Veritas is "committed to exposing corruption and holding public officials accountable – regardless of political party." Project Veritas released the video two days before Ellis announced his decision to retire. Project Veritas claims that Ellis "was talking about his support for the 'John Doe' investigations, denigrating Governor Scott Walker and potentially planning to commit a crime" with illegal campaign fundraising by conspiring to coordinate with SuperPACs. Supporters of Ellis, like Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI), considered Ellis the '"go to' legislator on political reform" for more than a decade. Through Ellis's 44-year career in the Wisconsin State Legislature, fellow legislators knew him for his extensive knowledge of the state budget and booming voice. Ellis has been influential in Wisconsin politics, serving three times as majority leader and twice as Senate president. Ellis is one of four senators retiring in 2014 after allegedly angering their parties by taking moderate positions, the others being Dale Schultz (R), Bob Jauch (D), and Tim Cullen (D). In an interview, Ellis said that he does not "fit in [the senate] any more . . . there's no room for independent thinking and there's no room for compromise." He called the video's release the "tipping point" for his decision to not run for re-election.[9][10][11][12]

Regular sessions

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

Currently 17 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Virginia, is in special session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[13]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[14]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Saturday, February 28, 2015
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,168 (42.9%)
Total Republican state legislators 4,097 (55.5%)
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 24
Total Special Sessions 2

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.[15]

In recess

As of today, April 21, there are 10 state legislatures currently in recess:[16]

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[17] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[18] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[19][20] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[21][22][23] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[24][25] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[26] 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[27][28] 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[29] 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[30][31] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[32] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[33] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[34] 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[35] 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, 2014

There is one special election scheduled this week in Connecticut.

Connecticut House of Representatives District 94

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Robyn Porter (D) defeated Berita Rowe-Lewis (D), Reynaud Harp (D), Charles Ashe (D), Jerome Dunbar (D) and Len Caplan (R) in the special election, which took place on April 24.[36][37][38][39]

The seat was vacant following Gary Holder-Winfield's (D) election to the Connecticut State Senate.[36]

A special election for the position of Connecticut House of Representatives District 94 was called for April 24. Candidates were supposed to be nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary. Because the district's Democratic committee did not endorse a candidate, a number of them appeared on the special election ballot.[36]

Connecticut House of Representatives, District 94, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobyn Porter 50.4% 255
     Democratic Charles Ashe 34% 172
     Democratic Berita Rowe-Lewis 8.1% 41
     Democratic Reynaud Harp 5.5% 28
     Republican Len Caplan 2% 10
Total Votes 506

Note: Jerome Dunbar did not appear on the list of certified results.

April 24 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Berita Rowe-Lewis
Democratic Party Reynaud Harp
Democratic Party Charles Ashe
Democratic Party Robyn Porter
Democratic Party Jerome Dunbar
Republican Party Len Caplan

Recent election results

April 8, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Florida House of Representatives District 44

See also: Florida state legislative special elections, 2014

Eric Eisnaugle (R) defeated Shaun Raja (D) in the special election, which took place on April 8.[38][40] Raja was unopposed in the March 11 Democratic primary, while Eisnaugle defeated Stephen Vincent Facella in the March 11 Republican primary.[36][41]

Eisnaugle, a state representative from 2008-2012, chose not to run for re-election in 2012 when redistricting drew him against fellow Rep. Stephen Precourt (R). With Precourt term-limited in 2014, Eisnaugle planned to run for the seat again. Several Republicans, including Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R), backed Eisnaugle. "Eric’s track record of leadership will allow him to serve his Orange County constituents well. It is obvious that his message of job growth and fiscal responsibility resonated with the voters of his district." Crisafulli said.[42]

The seat was vacant following Stephen Precourt's (R) appointment as the head of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.[43]

A special election for the position of Florida House of Representatives District 44 was called for April 8, with a primary if necessary on March 11. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was January 23.[44]

Florida House of Representatives, District 44, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngEric Eisnaugle 74.2% 6,983
     Democratic Shaun Raja 25.8% 2,429
Total Votes 9,412

April 8 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Shaun Raja
Republican Party Eric Eisnaugle Green check mark transparent.png
April 11, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Connecticut House of Representatives District 61

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Tami Zawistowski (R) defeated Pete Hill (D) in the special election, which took place on April 11.[36][38][45]

The seat was vacant following Elaine O'Brien's (D) death.[46]

A special election for the position of Connecticut House of Representatives District 61 was called for April 11. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary.[46]

Connecticut House of Representatives, District 61, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTami Zawistowski 58% 1,975
     Democratic Pete Hill 42% 1,428
Total Votes 3,403

April 11 Special election candidates:

Democratic Party Pete Hill
Republican Party Tami Zawistowski Green check mark transparent.png

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • April 24: Connecticut House of Representatives District 94
  • April 29: Massachusetts House of Representatives Fifth Suffolk District
  • May 10: Texas State Senate District 4
  • August 5: Missouri House of Representatives Districts 67, 120 and 151

See also


  1. Concord Monitor, "N.H. Senate rejects effort to repeal death penalty," April 17, 2014
  2. Associated Press, "State Senate upholds death penalty; 1 on death row," April 17, 2014
  3. The Wall Street Journal, "Vote to Repeal New Hampshire Death Penalty Falls Short in State Senate," April 17, 2014
  4. The Boston Globe, "N.H. Senate to vote on repeal of death penalty," accessed April 17
  5. Boston Globe, "Judge overturns North Dakota’s 6-week abortion ban," accessed April 18, 2014
  6., "Judge overturns North Dakota law banning most abortions," accessed April 18, 2014
  7., "Judge rules North Dakota's ban on abortions after 6 weeks unconstitutional," accessed April 18, 2014
  8., "North Dakota abortion ban ruled unconstitutional," accessed April 18, 2014
  9. Project Veritas, "Project Veritas Gets Results: WI Senator Mike Ellis will not seek re-election," April 11, 2014
  10. Right Wisconsin, "The Two Burning Mike Ellis Questions," April 11, 2014
  11., "Wisconsin: Senate President Mike Ellis won't run again after secret video," April 11, 2014
  12. Common Cause in Wisconsin, "A Sudden and Sad Farewell to Senator Mike Ellis," April 15, 2014
  13. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed April 21, 2014
  14. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed April 21, 2014
  15., "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  16. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed April 21, 2014
  17. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  19. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013 (dead link)
  20. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  21. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  22. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  23. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  24. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  25. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  26. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  27. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  28. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  29. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  30. 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  31. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  32. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  33. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  34. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  35. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4, "Six scramble to replace Holder-Winfield," April 21, 2014
  37. "Len Caplan selected as Republican candidate for special election," March 26, 2014
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 New Haven Independent, "A New Political Team Carries Special Election," April 25, 2014
  39. City of New Haven, "Official special election results," accessed May 7, 2014
  40. Florida Department of State, "Official special election results," accessed May 7, 2014
  41., "Eric Eisnaugle Closer to Tallahassee Return After Big Primary Win," March 11, 2014
  42., "Eric Eisnaugle Breezes Back to Florida House after Stunning Special Election Victory," April 8, 2014
  43. Orlando Sentinel, "Special election set to replace Steve Precourt in Florida House," January 12, 2014
  44. Florida Department of Elections, "H44 Notice of Election," accessed January 21, 2014
  45. Official special election results submitted to Ballotpedia by Pearl Williams from the Connecticut Secretary of State's Office on May 15, 2014
  46. 46.0 46.1, "Special Election Planned for 61st Assembly Seat," February 24, 2014