State Legislative Tracker: North Carolina the last state to convene 2012 session
Edited by Greg Janetka
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
As of this week all state have convened their regular legislative sessions:
- January 17: Alaska, New Mexico
- January 18: Hawaii
- January 23: Utah
- January 24: Minnesota
- February 1: Oregon
- February 5: Oklahoma
- February 7: Alabama
- February 8: Connecticut
- February 13: Arkansas, Wyoming
- March 12: Louisiana State Legislature
- May 16: North Carolina State Legislature
The following states have ended their regular session:
- February 16: New Mexico
- March 6: Oregon
- March 8: Utah, Washington
- March 9: Arkansas, Florida, Wyoming
- March 10: Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia
- March 16: Wisconsin
- March 19: South Dakota
- March 29: Georgia, Idaho
- April 9: Maryland State Legislature
- April 12: Kentucky State Legislature
- April 16: Alaska State Legislature
- April 18: Nebraska State Legislature
- May 1: Tennessee State Legislature
- May 3: Arizona, Mississippi, Hawaii
- May 5: Vermont State Legislature
- May 9: Colorado, Iowa, Connecticut
- May 10: Minnesota State Legislature
- May 14: Maine State Legislature
- May 16: Alabama State Legislature
- May 20: Kansas State Legislature
- Click here to see a chart of each state's 2012 session information.
| Snapshot of State Legislatures: |
Monday, May 21, 2012
|There are 7,384 Total State Legislators|
|Total Democratic state legislators||3,304 (44.7%)|
|Total Republican state legislators||3,968 (53.7%)|
|There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers|
|Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers||36|
|Total Republican Party-controlled chambers||58|
|Total tied or nonpartisan chambers||5|
|2012 Session Information|
|Total Special Elections||25|
|Total Special Sessions||12|
In 2011, special sessions were a widespread occurrence in state legislatures. This was largely due to states' having to complete the redistricting process for legislative and congressional districts. Overall in 2011, there were 45 special sessions in 28 states.
Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 12 special sessions in 9 states. One is ongoing.
Following the end of the 2012 regular session last Wednesday, Gov. Robert Bentley (R) called for a special session to begin the next day. He designated five topics for the legislature to consider: redistricting legislation, legislation addressing constitutional amendments, budget-supporting legislation, revisions for Alabama's immigration law, and appropriation of tobacco settlement funds.
Bentley signed the immigration enforcement law on Friday, despite the fact that the legislature did not enact reforms he had mentioned. Lawmakers appeared ready to pass a bill that would have changed the law to address concerns by many that it went too far. Instead they passed a stricter one.
Today began day three of the special session, with lawmakers taking up new legislative districts. They will first be used in the 2014 elections.
Colorado concluded a special session last Wednesday to deal with the issue of civil unions as well as other unresolved issues that Republican House leaders stopped action on. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) called the session, stating, “Transparency, accountability and the virtues of good government are compromised when the legislative clock is used to avoid consideration of important legislation. We owe it to the people we serve to do better.”
Gov. Martin O'Malley called legislators back into session on May 14 to deal with lingering budget issues. The session adjourned May 16 with the passage of a revenue package that will raise income taxes on 14 percent of Maryland taxpayers and make counties responsible for some teacher pension costs.
There has been talk of another special session in July in order to address gambling expansion. Many have expressed their reluctance to return to the legislature and doubts about the usefulness of another special session.
While a date has yet to be set, the Utah State Legislature will have to return for a special session in order to address a budget error which resulted in a $28 million mistake in the calculation of funds for new student growth.
As of today, May 21, 1 state's session is currently in recess:
|Maps submitted for vote: 135 out of 142 (95.1%)**||No votes on initial maps in the following: AL (2), KS (1), ME (2), MT (2)|
|States that have completed Congressional Maps||42/43 (Maps unfinished: KS)|
|States that have completed State Legislative Maps||45/50 (Maps unfinished: AL, KS, ME, MS, MT)|
|**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)|
Last Monday, the Alaska Redistricting Board approved changes to the state legislative map in an effort satisfy instructions issued by the state Supreme Court. The plan is the Board's third attempt to redraw Alaska's legislative districts. The first two attempts were overturned by the courts.
Last week, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach responded to a federal lawsuit over redistricting. The plaintiff argues that redistricting delays have left outdated and unequal districts in place and constitute a violation of her right to equal representation. Kobach's filing asks the court to create a three-judge panel to redraw Kansas' congressional, legislative, and Board of Education districts.
Kobach also suggested that court could select one of the maps under consideration in the legislature or that he himself could redraw the lines. Kobach maintains that redistricting is a task for the legislature, but contends that the long delays forced his hand. Kobach called the delays a "constitutional crisis." Several legislative leaders have requested to intervene in the case. Gov. Sam Brownback may also seek to intervene.
Meanwhile, the Kansas State Senate approved a chamber map and the Kansas House of Representatives approved a congressional map. Neither map in its present form seems likely to win approval by the opposite chamber.
- Documents in the court case can be found here.
A total of 86 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 6, 2012.
1,272 (64.5%) of the country's 1,971 state senate seats are up for election in November 2012, and 4,712 (87.05%) of the country's 5,413 state house seats are up for election. Altogether, 5,984 (81.04%) of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats will be up for election during the presidential election year.
- 43 of the 50 state senates are holding elections.
- 43 of the 49 state houses are holding elections.
The 5,984 seats up for election is 141 fewer than the 6,125 that were contested in 2010.
So far, deadlines have passed in 28 states:
- Illinois – December 5, 2011
- Ohio - December 7, 2011
- West Virginia - January 28
- Kentucky – January 31
- Indiana – February 10
- Nebraska - February 15 (incumbents), March 1 (non-incumbents)
- Pennsylvania - February 16
- North Carolina - February 29
- Arkansas - March 1
- Oregon - March 6
- California - March 9
- Idaho – March 9
- Texas - March 9
- Montana - March 12
- Maine - March 15
- Iowa - March 16
- Nevada - March 16
- Utah - March 16
- New Mexico - March 20
- Missouri - March 27
- South Dakota - March 27
- South Carolina - March 30
- Colorado - April 2
- Tennessee - April 5
- North Dakota - April 13
- Oklahoma - April 13
- Michigan - May 15
- Washington - May 18
States with upcoming deadlines:
- See also: 2012 election dates
So far, primaries have taken place in nine states:
- Ohio - March 6
- Illinois – March 20
- Pennsylvania - April 24
- Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia - May 8
- Idaho - May 15
- Nebraska - May 15
- Oregon - May 15
A total of 23 state legislative incumbents have been defeated in a primary.
States with upcoming primaries:
- May 22: Arkansas, Kentucky
- May 29: Texas
- June 5: California, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota
- June 12: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia
- June 26: Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah
- Note: Texas was originally scheduled to hold their primary on March 6. However, with newly drawn state legislative maps being fought in the courts, the date was moved to May 29.
- Currently, 18 states permit the recall of state officials. Between 1913 and 2008, there were just 20 state legislative recall elections in five states. Of the 20 state legislative recall elections, 13 out of 20 resulted in the state legislator being recalled. In 2011, there were 11 state legislative recalls in three states, 4 of which resulted in the legislator being recalled. In 2012, there are currently 4 scheduled state legislative recalls.
2011 saw a wave of recall attempts in Michigan. While most of those efforts dried up, at least two campaigns continued on (the recall of Paul Scott was successful on November 8, 2011). Organizers of the campaigns to recall Bruce Caswell (R) and Phil Pavlov (R) set their sights on the August 2012 ballot, but last month organizers of the Pavlov recall announced they did not have enough signatures and were abandoning their efforts. The Caswell campaign remains active.
Democrats in Wisconsin filed recall petitions on November 15, 2011 against four Republican state senators - Pam Galloway, Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Moulton and Van Wanggaard. Campaign organizers turned in more than the necessary number of signatures in each of the four races on January 17, 2012.
The Republican Party ran protest candidates (Republicans who ran as Democrats) in each of the primaries in order to ensure all recalls would take place on the same date. The "fake" candidates were all defeated, taking between 27.9 and 35.8 percent.
Matchups for the June 5 recalls are as follows:
- District 13 - Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R) faces Democrat Lori Compas, an organizer of the recall, and Libertarian Terry Virgil.
- District 29 - Sen. Pam Galloway (R)
There are no special elections scheduled to take place this week.
Upcoming special elections include:
- July 17: South Carolina Senate District 41
- July 24: South Carolina House District 68
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 16
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 26
- November 6: New Jersey Assembly District 68
- State legislative elections, 2012
- 2012 state legislative calendar
- Signature requirements and deadlines for 2012 state government elections
- State legislative special elections, 2012
- State legislative recalls
- WNCF, "Gov. Bentley Calls Special Session, Redistricting Among Top Priorities," May 17, 2012
- New York Times, "Alabama Gets Strict Immigration Law as Governor Relents," May 18, 2012
- The Republic, "Alabama House, Senate to debate new legislative districts on 3rd day of special session," May 21, 2012
- Pueblo Chieftain, "Civil Union supporters rally prior to special session," May 14, 2012
- Daily Camera, "Colorado Legislature's special session ends; little done," May 16, 2012
- Maryland Reporter, "State Roundup, May 7," May 7, 2012
- Baltimore Sun, "General Assembly raises income tax on top 14 percent," May 16, 2012
- Baltimore Sun, "One special session down, another to go?," May 20, 2012
- Cache Valley Daily, "Special session may be called for $28 million mistake," May 21, 2012
- StateScape, Session schedules, accessed May 14, 2012
- Real Clear Politics, "Redistricting board redraws southeast Alaska," May 14, 2012
- Kansas City Star, "Kobach asks federal court to settle Kansas redistricting issue," May 16, 2012
- Kansas.com blog, "Kobach proposes courts — or he — redraw legislative districts," May 16, 2012
- Kansas City Business Journal, "Judge sets hearing in Kansas redistricting case," May 18, 2012
- Kansas City Star, "Kansas governor may seek to intervene in redistricting lawsuit," May 19, 2012
- KAKE, "Kansas Senate Approves Remap Favored By Moderates," May 18, 2012
- CNBC, "Kansas House approves new congressional map," May 18, 2012
- The Times Herald, "State Sen. Phil Pavlov recall fails," April 13, 2012
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Recall votes set for May 8 and June 5," March 14, 2012
- WTAQ, "Absentee balloting begins today in recall elections," May 21, 2012
- FOX 6 Now, "Recall paperwork filed Tuesday for four senators, including Van Wanggaard," November 15, 2011