State Legislative Tracker: Pennsylvania legislator charged with felonies

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March 17, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at a Pennsylvania lawmaker facing felony charges.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state convened a legislative session. Meanwhile, Indiana, Utah and Washington adjourned their 2014 legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Pennsylvania: Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Philadelphia) has been charged with diversion of services and conflict of interest, both felonies, following an investigation into the alleged use of her office to conduct campaign activities. Washington was booked and released on her own recognizance last Wednesday. Upon leaving the police station, she stated that she would fight the case and has since issued no further comment. According to a press release put out the same day by the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Kathleen Kane (D), the case centers around the organization of a fundraiser held each year on Washington's birthday. Over the course of her tenure, Washington allegedly pressured staffers to spend most of their work hours preparing the event by threatening to fire them or docking salaries. She is also said to have used the chamber's graphic design department to make posters and signs, not only for the fundraisers, but also for family functions. The grand jury report quotes Sean McCray, a former chief of staff who was fired in February 2013 after reporting his boss to law enforcement, as having been told, "I am the f***ing senator, I do what the f*** I want, and ain't nobody going to change me." Henry Hockheimer, Washington's attorney, referred to McCray as "a disgruntled former employee" following the report, which he called "thin and specious." The financial loss to the state is said to be at least $30,000 and possibly in excess of $100,000. A preliminary hearing in Washington's case is scheduled for next Wednesday morning. If convicted, Washington faces up to seven years and a maximum $15,000 fine for diversion, as well as up to five years and a maximum $10,000 fine for conflict of interest. Washington is running for re-election this year; she faces two challengers in the May 20 Democratic primary.[1][2][3][4]
  • West Virginia: The legislative session in West Virginia came to a close on March 8. The president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Steve Roberts, said it seemed that "very little happened that helps West Virginia families and working people" during the session. However, West Virginia lawmakers considered the legislative session productive. At the beginning of the session, Freedom Industries had a chemical spill that polluted the water supply for 300,000 people. The legislature was able to create a bill that implements new requirements such as above-ground storage tank inspections and protection plans to prevent future pollutants in drinking water. In addition, a House bill to raise minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 by January 2015, and $8.75 by January 2017, was approved by the Senate and has been sent to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The Senate also approved the House bill to raise teacher wages. The bill proposed a $1,000 across-the-board pay increase for teachers and a two percent raise for service personnel and now awaits gubernatorial approval. The bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks passed the House by 85-15 with two abstentions, though Tomblin and legislative attorneys are concerned that the bill could be considered unconstitutional. The bill restricting the purchase of cold medicines used to make methamphetamine "crumbled during [the] session's final hours." The bill would have allowed counties to make some drugs available by prescription only. Executive director of West Virginian Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Greg Thomas, critiqued that "the 2014 session was a miserable failure" as the legislature did nothing to help create more jobs.[5][6][7]
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Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of March 17, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 33 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Wisconsin, is in special session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[8]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[9]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Thursday, September 18, 2014
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,424 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,818 (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.[10]

In recess

As of today, March 17, there are four state legislatures currently in recess:[11]






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[12] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[13] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[14][15] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[16][17][18] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[19][20] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[21] 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[22][23] 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[24][25] 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[26][27] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[28] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[29] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[30] 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[26] 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 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.[31][32][33]

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[34]

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

March 11, 2014

UncheckedBox.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.[35][36] Raja was unopposed in the March 11 Democratic primary, while Eisnaugle defeated Stephen Vincent Facella in the March 11 Republican primary.[31][37]

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.[38]

The seat was vacant following Stephen Precourt's (R) appointment as the head of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.[39]

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.[40]

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
Democratic PartyMarch 11 Democratic primary candidates:
Republican PartyMarch 11 Republican primary candidates:

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • 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. CBS, "Pa. State Senator LeAnna Washington Charged With Illegal Use of Staff," March 12, 2014
  2. The Inquirer, "Sen. LeAnna Washington charged with misuse of office," March 12-13, 2014
  3. The Times Herald, "Pennsylvania State Senator LeAnna Washington faces criminal charges," March 13, 2014
  4. Associated Press, "Pa. senator accused of ordering political work," March 12, 2014
  5. Herald Star, "Top 5 issues for W.Va. legislative session," March 9, 2014
  6. FSRN, "West Virginia Responds To Massive Chemical Spill With Stricter Regulation," March 10, 2014
  7. The West Virginia Record, "UPDATE: Critics call session 'ludicrous,'" March 12, 2014
  8. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 17, 2014
  9. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed March 17, 2014
  10. Wisconsin Governor's Office, "Governor Scott Walker Calls Special Session, Calls on Legislators to Pass the Blueprint for Prosperity," January 23, 2014
  11. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed March 17, 2014
  12. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  13. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  14. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013
  15. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  16. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  17. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  18. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  19. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  21. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  23. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  25. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  27. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  28. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  29. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  30. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 Pennsylvania Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 3, 2014
  32. ydr.com, "Wagner apparent winner in special state Senate election," March 19, 2014
  33. Pennsylvania Secretary of State, "Official special election results," accessed August 29, 2014
  34. philly.com, "Lt. Gov calls special election to fill vacant Senate seat," January 13, 2014
  35. Orlando Sentinel "Eric Eisnaugle wins special election in Florida House District 44," April 8, 2014
  36. Florida Department of State, "Official special election results," accessed May 7, 2014
  37. sunshinestatenews.com, "Eric Eisnaugle Closer to Tallahassee Return After Big Primary Win," March 11, 2014
  38. sunshinestatenews.com, "Eric Eisnaugle Breezes Back to Florida House after Stunning Special Election Victory," April 8, 2014
  39. Orlando Sentinel, "Special election set to replace Steve Precourt in Florida House," January 12, 2014
  40. Florida Department of Elections, "H44 Notice of Election," accessed January 21, 2014