State Legislative Tracker: New Jersey considers gun control legislation

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March 3, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look one at gun control legislation in New Jersey.

Weekly highlight

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

  • New Jersey: Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature have proposed legislation that would limit the magazine capacity of guns to 10 rounds from the current 15 rounds and would also ban semiautomatic rifles with fixed-magazine capacities that exceed 10 rounds. The same legislation was introduced and passed last year in the General Assembly, but President Stephen Sweeney (D) refused to bring it up for a vote in the Senate. This year, the legislation has been introduced by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) and Senate President Pro Tempore Nia Gill (D) with support from Sweeney. In the Assembly, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D) sponsored the legislation as he did last year. Sweeney changed his mind on supporting the legislation after he met with families who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting. A social media campaign to recall Sweeney has been started by gun rights advocates in response to his support of the legislation. The bill is expected to pass both houses, but it is unclear if Gov. Chris Christie (R) will sign it.[1][2][3][4]
  • Vermont: Governor Peter Shumlin (D) and the legislative leaders hope to see another increase in minimum wage. House Speaker Shap Smith (D) and Senate Majority Leader Philip Baruth (D) support Shumlin's idea that the way to fix "leaving too many lower-income workers behind" is to "pay them a fair wage for a day's work." Vermont's minimum wage is currently the third highest at $8.73 an hour, but those supporting raising it say that many employees working for minimum wage rely on taxpayer-funded social services. There are currently three definitive suggestions for what the new minimum wage should be. Shumlin is supportive of President Barack Obama's plan to raise it to $10.10 an hour over time. The House and Senate have proposed $12 or $12.50 an hour while other legislators have argued for a raise to $15 an hour. On February 26, the Vermont House General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee was urged to raise minimum wage to the low end of "livable" at $12.50 an hour. However, Rep. Ronald Hubert (R), the owner of a small store, argued that the raise would cost him $46,000 for his four minimum-wage employees. He said he "would lay off five people the day this bill is signed." The raise to $15 an hour would cost him $84,000. Even minimum wage being $10 would cost about $20,000 a year. Supporters of the bill are having to consider the cost to the workers, as well. Raising minimum wage could cause for them to no longer be qualified for social service programs. Consequently, amendments to the social services system might be required with an increase in minimum wage.[5][6]
  • Wisconsin: Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer (R) has entered treatment and is facing disciplinary action following allegations that he sexually harassed two women following a fundraiser in Washington last week. In the wake of a short statement released Saturday by Kramer's office, which declined further comment, Speaker Robin Vos (R) responded, saying that the Republican caucus will vote on whether to remove Kramer from his position on Tuesday, and that Kramer had "lost our trust and confidence." Two anonymous Republicans told the Associated Press that Kramer had been approached to resign after allegedly groping a woman at a bar on Wednesday and making an inappropriate statement to another while flying back on Thursday. Kramer, whose brash style has split Assembly Republicans, was elected as Majority Leader last September following the resignation of Scott Suder (R). During the nominations for the position, fellow Rep. Chris Kapenga accused Kramer of a pattern of inappropriate behavior in public, particularly at a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Chicago.[7][8][9][10]
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As of today, March 3, 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 chamber is nonpartisan.


Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,438 46.5%
Republican state legislators 3,828 51.8%
Independent (and nonpartisan) state legislators 66 0.89%
Third party (and non-voting) legislators 12 0.16%
Vacancies 42 0.57%

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 January 21, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of August 4, 2014, 1,905 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. This total is updated monthly.

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. This total is updated monthly.

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. This total is updated monthly.

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 5,415 state representatives.

As of January 21, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers

Cumulative numbers

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

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. This total is updated monthly.

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. This total is updated monthly.

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 March 3, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 36 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Wisconsin, is in special session but currently recessed.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[11]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[12]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Thursday, October 2, 2014
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,423 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,819 (51.7%)
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 14
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.[13]

In recess

As of today, March 3, there are six state legislatures currently in recess:[14]









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[15] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[16] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[17][18] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[19][20][21] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[22][23] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[24] 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[25][26] 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[27][28] 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[29][30] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[31] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[32] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[33] 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[29] 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 are no special elections scheduled this week. The next special election will take place on March 18 in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State Senate District 28

See also: Pennsylvania state legislative special elections, 2014

Write-in candidate Scott Wagner (R) defeated party-nominated candidates Linda E. Small (D) and Ron Miller (R) in the special election, which took place on March 18, 2014.[34][35][36]

The seat was vacant following Mike Waugh's (R) appointment as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 12.

A special election for the position of Pennsylvania State Senate District 28 was called for March 18. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary[37]

Pennsylvania State Senate, District 28, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Wagner (Write-in) 47.7% 10,654
     Republican Ron Miller 26.6% 5,951
     Democratic Linda E. Small 25.7% 5,744
Total Votes 22,349
March 18 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Linda E. Small
Republican Party Ron Miller

Recent election results

February 25, 2014

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Connecticut State Senate District 10

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Gary Holder-Winfield (D) defeated Steven Mullins (R) in the special election, which took place on February 25.[34][38][39]

The seat was vacant following Toni Harp's (D) election as Mayor of New Haven.[40]

A special election for the position of Connecticut State Senate District 10 was called for February 25. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary. The filing deadline for candidates was January 21.[40]

Connecticut State Senate, District 10, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngGary Holder-Winfield 75.6% 3,236
     Republican Steven Mullins 24.4% 1,045
Total Votes 4,281
February 25 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Gary Holder-Winfield Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Steven Mullins

CheckedBoxOffset.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.[34][41][42][43]

The seat was vacant following Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's (D) election as Mayor of Woonsocket.[44]

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.[45]

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:
February 25 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Michael Morin Green check mark transparent.png

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Virginia House of Delegates District 100

See also: Virginia state legislative special elections, 2014

Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. (R) defeated Willie C. Randall (D) in the special election, which took place on February 25.[34][46][47]

The seat was vacant following Lynwood Lewis's (D) election to the Virginia State Senate on January 7.

A special election for the position of Virginia House of Delegates District 100 was called for February 25. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary. The nominating deadline for parties was February 10.[48]

Virginia House of Delegates, District 100, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRobert S. Bloxom, Jr. 60.3% 6,810
     Democratic Willie C. Randall 39.7% 4,475
Total Votes 11,285
February 25 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Willie C. Randall
Republican Party Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. Green check mark transparent.png

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • March 18: Pennsylvania State Senate District 28
  • March 25: Alabama House of Representatives District 53
  • March 25: California State Senate District 23
  • April 1: Massachusetts State Senate Fifth Middlesex District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Fourth Hampden District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Second Suffolk District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Thirteenth Suffolk District
  • April 1: Massachusetts House of Representatives Sixteenth Suffolk District

See also

References

  1. nj.com, "Steve Sweeney recall campaign over ammo magazine capacity locked, loaded by gun rights advocates," accessed March 1, 2014
  2. nj.com, "Sweeney proud of change of heart on ammo magazine limit," accessed March 1, 2014
  3. articles.philly.com, "N.J. Democrats propose limiting capacity of gun magazines," accessed March 1, 2014
  4. bizjournals.com, "Jersey reloads on gun control; last time it fired blanks," accessed March 1, 2014
  5. USA Today, "13 states raising pay for minimum wage workers," December 30, 2013
  6. Burlington Free Press, "Push grows to raise Vt.'s minimum wage," February 26, 2014
  7. Wisconsin State Journal, "State Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer enters treatment, may be forced from post," March 2, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2014
  8. Journal Sentinel, "Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer accused of sexual harassment," March 1, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2014
  9. The Capital Times, "Assembly Republicans plan to vote to oust Majority Leader Bill Kramer from post," March 1, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2014
  10. Reuters, "Wisconsin Republican lawmakers seek to remove majority leader," March 2, 2014. Accessed March 2, 2014
  11. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 3, 2014
  12. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 3, 2014
  13. Wisconsin Governor's Office, "Governor Scott Walker Calls Special Session, Calls on Legislators to Pass the Blueprint for Prosperity," January 23, 2014
  14. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed March 3, 2014
  15. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  16. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  17. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  18. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  19. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  20. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  21. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  22. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  24. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  25. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  26. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  27. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  28. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  29. 29.0 29.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  30. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  31. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  32. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  33. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Pennsylvania Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 3, 2014
  35. ydr.com, "Wagner apparent winner in special state Senate election," March 19, 2014
  36. Pennsylvania Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed August 29, 2014
  37. philly.com, "Lt. Gov calls special election to fill vacant Senate seat," January 13, 2014
  38. nhregister.com, "Holder-Winfield wins 10th District state Senate race," February 25, 2014
  39. newhavenindependent.org, "Holder-Winfield Clobbers Mullins By 3-1 Margin; “Sex Predator,” Pretend-Tax Attacks Fell Flat," February 26, 2014
  40. 40.0 40.1 governor.ct.gov, "Gov. Malloy: Special Election For State Senator In New Haven And West Haven To Be Held February 25," January 10, 2014
  41. Providence Journal, "Morin defeats 2 primary challengers to gain hold on Woonsocket House seat," January 21, 2014
  42. ctpost.com, "Morin wins Woonsocket election for RI House seat," February 26, 2014(Archived)
  43. Rhode Island Secretary of State, "Official Primary election results," accessed March 26, 2014
  44. ripr.org, "Baldelli-Hunt To Be Inaugurated As New Mayor Of Woonsocket," December 3, 2013
  45. turnto10.com, "State sets special election for Woonsocket House seat," December 4, 2013
  46. Washington Post, "Bloxom wins special election to fill Va House seat," February 26, 2014
  47. Virginia Board of Elections, "Official special election results," accessed March 14, 2014
  48. dailyprogress.com, "Feb. 25 set for Va. House special election," January 29, 2014