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State Legislative Tracker: Pennsylvania budget bill still unsigned

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July 7, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a partisan count update and takes a look at the controversy over Pennsylvania's unsigned budget bill.

Weekly highlight

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

  • Arkansas: The Arkansas Legislature ended its three day special session on July 2, 2014, with the passage of three measures that address school employees’ health insurance, prison overcrowding and lottery monitor games. A special session was called after there was a consensus in both chambers on the three issues, though the measures that passed are only short term fixes. Lawmakers are expected to develop long-term solutions in next year's regular session.[1] On school employee health insurance, lawmakers approved a package that will eliminate health coverage for 4,000 part-time employees and the spouses of employees. This will save school districts an estimated $7.2 million per year.[2] To deal with prison overcrowding, lawmakers approved a measure that would free up $6.3 million from the state Central Services Fund to fund up to 604 prison beds. Lawmakers also passed a measure that prohibits the state lottery from adding fast-paced monitor games.[2] The moratorium on the prohibition will end on March 13, 2015. Unlike games such as Powerball and Mega Millions, where drawings are twice a week, monitor games allow the players to pick numbers on video monitors and find out whether or not they won instantly. Critics of monitor games say that it encourages irresponsible gambling.[3] Sen. Jimmy Hickey (R), who sponsored the measure, said that he plans on pushing for a permanent ban on monitor games in next year's session. Hickey compromised from a total ban to a moratorium in the special session to gain support from the House Rules Committee.[4] Governor Mike Beebe (D) signed into law all three measures on June 3.[5]
  • Pennsylvania: A $29.1 billion budget remains unsigned after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) declined to enact it as soon as it reached his desk a week ago. The House passed the budget mostly along party lines 90 minutes before last Monday's deadline, but Corbett said he would not sign the budget until the legislature moved on a proposed overhaul of the state's pension system.[6][7] The House responded on Wednesday by delaying a vote on the matter until after a summer study period. The pension bill was first sent to the Human Services Committee following a motion from its chair, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R), who cited "too many unanswered questions" about the overhaul. It was then pulled out of committee in exchange for the delay. Corbett said the following day that his staff was continuing to review the budget.[6] The pension bill, which would draw down the state system and introduce individual investment accounts, is one of Corbett's main goals in office; he previously suggested that Democratic legislators add needed votes in return for allowing a tax increase on cigarettes to fund Philadelphia public schools to go forward, which was poorly received.[8][9] The budget increases spending on social programs by $950 million but does not introduce new taxes; it relies on one-time transfers from small accounts belonging to the state.[10] While the legislature settled the budget, it remains at odds over delivering the year's fiscal code, the directions on carrying out the spending of the budget; Corbett has noted an awareness of "an interplay between the fiscal code and the budget."[6]
  • South Carolina: Gov. Nikki Haley (R) promised to improve South Carolina's roads if she is re-elected in November. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D) wants to allow "well-regulated, upscale" casinos into the state's tourist areas to bring in a new tax revenue that would go to fixing roads and bridges.[11] While Haley is opposed to casinos in the state, she is waiting to provide a plan for funding roadwork until after the election. Haley said that she will "show legislators in January how to find funding for roads" through the same methods she used to map out a funding plan for education.[12] Rutherford said in a statement that "Governor Haley doesn't have a plan to fix [state] roads."[11] Using a non-binding question on the June 10 primary ballot, Rutherford found that 80 percent of Democratic voters support allowing casinos in the Myrtle Beach area.[13] Currently, the majority of the state's roadwork is funded by federal matches and a 16-cent-per-gallon tax, which has not gone up since 1987. The Senate Finance Committee had a plan last year to improve the roads by redirecting the revenues from vehicle sales tax, borrowing money, raising fees and increasing gas tax by four cents over ten years, but it died without a floor debate. Gov. Haley "has repeatedly promised to veto any bill that increases gas tax."[14] Additionally, Haley does not want to raise the cost of transportation through taxes as she believes that it hurts the businesses in the state, as well as the ones wanting to come to the state.[12] South Carolina's Department of Transportation says that bringing roads to good conditions will cost an additional $1.5 billion every year for over twenty years.[14]

As of today, July 7, 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 46.4%. All told, Republicans control 58 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 40 chambers. One chamber is nonpartisan.

Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,429 46.4%
Republican state legislators 3,823 51.8%
Independent (and nonpartisan) state legislators 66 0.89%
Third party (and nonvoting) legislators 12 0.16%
Vacancies 55 0.74%

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 July 7, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers
  • Independent 1 chamber (Nebraska)
See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Cumulative numbers

As of March 2, 2015, 1,908 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. This total is updated monthly.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 825 41.8%
Republican state senators 1,083 54.6%
Nonpartisan state senators 49 2.48%
Independent state senators 3 0.2%
Third Party state senators 1 0.1%
Vacancies 15 0.76%


As of March 2, 2015, there are 15 vacancies in 11 states. This total is updated monthly.

State Vacancies
Arkansas 2
California 3
Connecticut 1
Florida 1
Idaho 1
Kentucky 1
Oklahoma 1
Pennsylvania 1
Utah 2
West Virginia 1
Wisconsin 1


As of March 2, 2015, there are four state senators in four states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican. This total is updated monthly.

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Mississippi 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 1 (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 5,411 state representatives.

As of July 9, 2014, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers
See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of March 2, 2015, 5,357 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. This total is updated monthly.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,343 43.4%
Republican state representatives 3,014 55.5%
Independent state representatives 19 0.35%
Third party representatives 6 0.11%
Vacancies 25 0.46%


As of March 2, 2015, there are 25 state house vacancies in 14 different states. This total is updated monthly.

State Vacancies
Connecticut 2
Florida 3
Hawaii 1
Illinois 2
Louisiana 3
Maine 1
Maryland 3
Massachusetts 2
Missouri 1
New Hampshire 1
New York 1
Pennsylvania 1
South Carolina 1
Texas 3


As of March 2, 2015, there are 25 state representatives in 10 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican. Three members of the Maine House of Representatives are non-voting Native American representatives. This total is updated monthly.

State Independents/Third Party
Alaska 1 (Independent)
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 2 (Independent)
Maine 7 (3 non-voting Native American representatives, 4 Independent)
Missouri 1 (Independent)
New Hampshire 1 (Independent)
North Carolina 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 12 (6 Vermont Progressive Party, 6 Independent)
Virginia 1 (Independent)

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of July 7, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 3 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Ohio, is in Skeleton Session. Skeleton Session typically includes very short nonvoting sessions instead of regular sessions with a full chamber.[15]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[16]

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Wednesday, March 4, 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 30
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 68
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2015 Session Information
Total Special Elections 20
Total Special Sessions 1

In recess

As of today, July 7, there are six state legislatures currently in recess:[17]

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 even years. However, senators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2016.

1,097 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2014, and 4,958 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 6,055 of the country's 7,383 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[18] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[19] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[20][21] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[22][23][24] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[25][26] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[27] 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[28][29] 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[30] 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[31][32] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[33] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[34] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[35] 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[36] 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 July 22 in Connecticut.

Connecticut House of Representatives District 122

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Ben McGorty (R) defeated Arlene Liscinsky (D) in the special election.[37][38]

The seat was vacant following Lawrence Miller's (R) death.[37]

A special election for the position of Connecticut House of Representatives District 122 has been called for July 22. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary.[37]

Connecticut House of Representatives, District 122, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBen McGorty 75.3% 1,403
     Democratic Arlene Liscinsky 24.7% 459
Total Votes 1,862

Note: Results provided here are unofficial returns.[39]

July 22 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Arlene Liscinsky
Republican Party Ben McGorty

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • August 5: Texas State Senate District 4 (Runoff)
  • August 19: Virginia State Senate District 38
  • August 19: Virginia House of Delegates District 48
  • August 19: Virginia House of Delegates District 90
  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also


  1. Times Record, "Arkansas Legislature: Lawmakers To Revisit Issues Of Special Session Next Year," July 3, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Arkansas News, "Special session bills win House, Senate approval," July 1, 2014
  3. Arkansas News, "Lottery monitor games lucrative, controversial," accessed July 3, 2014
  4. The Republic, "With session over, Arkansas lawmakers look for long-term answers on insurance, lotto, prisons," July 2, 2014
  5., "Beebe signs bills from special session into law," July 3, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 WITF, "Pension bill put off until fall as Corbett reviews budget," July 2, 2014
  7. PennLive, "Pa. House passes 2014-15 budget, sending plan to Gov. Tom Corbett for approval," June 30, 2014
  8. Associated Press, "State House suspends debate on public pension bill," July 1, 2014 (dead link)
  9. WITF, "Corbett links pension bill to Philly schools funding," June 29, 2014
  10. WGAL, "Pa. State House passes budget plan, Corbett will not sign," July 1, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 WLTX 19, "Casinos To Be Proposed for Myrtle Beach Area," July 2, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Island Packet, "Critics have dim view of Haley roads plan," July 2, 2014
  13. The State, "Should SC bet on casinos to pay for road repairs?," July 2, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Trucker, "South Carolina's Haley: I'll provide road-funding plan in January," July 1, 2014
  15., "Ohio's 2014 legislative calendar will be crammed with election-year politicking and backroom pleading: Thomas Suddes," December 15, 2013
  16. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed July 7, 2014
  17. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed July 7, 2014
  18. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  20. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013 (dead link)
  21. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  22. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  23. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  24. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  25. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  26. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  27. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  28. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  29. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  30. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  31. 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  32. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  33. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  34. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  35. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  36. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Connecticut Post, "Slate set for special state House election," June 15, 2014
  38., "McGorty wins 122nd District seat," July 22, 2014
  39. Shelton Herald, "UPDATED: State rep special election results by polling place," July 23, 2014