State Legislative Tracker: Sports Bills on the Floor

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March 11, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week's tracker takes a look at sports-related business in state legislatures.

Weekly highlight

As of today, 49 states have kicked off 2013 sessions. Here is an overview of sports topics making headlines in state legislatures this week:

  • Florida: Since 1994, Florida has spent about $300 million helping sports teams pay for repairs, renovation, and construction of stadiums. This legislative session features four such plans: renovations for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, construction of a soccer stadium in Orlando, and improvements for Daytona International Speedway. Senate Budget chair Joe Negron (R), has stated that he won't approve of new bills for sports teams unless the state finds a way to pay for them.[1]
  • Missouri: The Missouri House is now considering a bill from the Senate that would provide tax credits for amateur sporting events. Specifically, the state would pay event sponsors $5 per ticket for events held in the state. With Missouri's current tax rate, each person attending would need to spend about $120 to recoup the cost to the state, a number proponents say is easily attainble. The bill being proposed in the house is unchanged from the Senate version, and Speaker Tim Jones (R) believes the proposal could be on the governor's desk before the Legislature recesses on March 14.[2]
  • New York: The New York State Legislature has considered a UFC-backed bill that would allow mixed martial arts each of the last five years. The bill received Senate approval since 2010, but stalled each year in the Assembly. Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) is unsure if the bill will come up for a vote on the Assembly floor, but stated he would decide the bill's fate with input from the Democratic Assembly Conference.[3]

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of March 11, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently 46 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, California, is meeting in special session concurrent with their regular session. One state has yet to begin its 2013 sessions. Louisiana will convene April 8.

The following states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions:[4]

The following states have ended their regular session:

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, March 11, 2013
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,461 (46.9%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,816 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 40
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 57
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 2
2013 Session Information
Total Special Elections 19
Total Special Sessions 1

There is one special session ongoing this week in California. No additional special sessions have been scheduled.


During his State of the State address on January 24, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for the Legislature to hold a special session concurrent with the regular session in order to bring the state in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act. The special session began January 28 and is expected to last for several months.[5][6]

In recess

As of today, March 11, 2 states' sessions are currently in recess:

Redistricting Roundup.jpg

State news

Redistricting Facts
Maps submitted for vote: 138 out of 142 (97.2%)** No votes on initial maps in the following: ME (2), MT (2)
States that have completed Congressional Maps 42/43 (Maps ordered redrawn: TX)
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 45/50 (Maps unfinished: ME, MT; Maps ordered redrawn: AK, KY, TX)
**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)
See also: Status of redistricting maps after the 2010 census

While the great majority of states have completed their redistricting following the 2010 census, the issue still remains for a handful of states. Maine and Montana are not required to have their maps completed until 2014. Alaska, Kentucky and Texas, however, saw their maps rejected for legal reasons and will have to take up the drawing of maps once again.

Redistricting in Kentucky

See also: Redistricting in Kentucky

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed its redistricting bill after nearly two hours of debate on March 6, 2013. The plan pits incumbents against each other in six districts, while creating seven open districts. The bill passed 53-46, with the House's 45 Republicans joined by Mitchel Denham, Jr. (D) in voting against the plan. Although the legislation can now be considered by the Senate, President Robert Stivers (R) has stated it will not come up for debate in this year's legislative session. The Senate also has no plans to present its own redistricting plan this year.[8]

Redistricting in Ohio

See also: Redistricting in Ohio

Redistricting reform appears to be stalling in the Ohio House of Representatives where Speaker William Batchelder (R) has referred the bill previously approved by the Ohio State Senate to the Constitutional Modernization Commission. The Commission meets only four times a year, and has up to ten years to propose constitutional changes. When asked if he had a timetable on redistricting reform, Batchelder stated that "we’ve got to finish it in less than ten years. Other than that, no." Batchelder has drawn critism from both Republicans and Democrats within Ohio's government for referring this plan for review.[9]

See also: State legislative elections, 2013

A total of 3 of the 99 chambers will hold state legislative elections on November 5, 2013.

The 3 chambers with elections in 2013 are in 2 states. They are:

Louisiana and Mississippi also typically hold elections in odd years. However, legislators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2015.

40 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2013, and 180 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 220 of the country's 7,383 state legislative seats are up for re-election on November 5, 2013.

Signature filing deadlines

See also: Signature requirements and deadlines for 2013 state legislative elections

The state legislative filing deadlines are as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • April 1, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 4, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 100 voters in the legislative district. Candidates are required to disclose any criminal convictions.[10]

  • Virginia:
  • March 28, 2013 (Major party)
  • June 11, 2013 (Independent)

Nomination petitions must contain the signatures of at least 125 qualified voters in the legislative district. Major party candidates are required to submit a primary filing fee equal to 2% of the annual salary for the office sought in effect in the year in which the candidate files. In 2013, the primary filing fee is $352.80.[11]


The state primaries are as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • June 4, 2013
  • Virginia:
  • June 11, 2013
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See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

There are four special elections taking place this week: two in California and one each in Alabama and Mississippi.

California State Senate District 32

Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) was elected to the 35th Congressional District of California on November 6, 2012. A special election to fill the vacancy has been scheduled for March 12, 2013. If a runoff is necessary it will take place on May 14.[12][13][14]

March 12 blanket primary candidates:
Democratic Party Paul Vincent Avila
Democratic Party Joanne Gilbert
Democratic Party Norma Torres Endorsed by state Democratic Party[15]
Democratic Party Larry Walker
Republican Party Kenny Coble
Republican Party Paul Leon

California State Senate District 40

Juan Vargas (D) was elected to the 51st Congressional District of California on November 6, 2012. A special election to fill the vacancy has been scheduled for March 12, 2013. If a runoff is necessary it will take place on May 14.[12][16][17]

March 12 blanket primary candidates:
Democratic Party Ben Hueso
Democratic Party Anna Nevenic
Republican Party Hector Gastelum
Republican Party Xanthi Gionis

Alabama State Senate District 35

Ben Brooks (R) was elected as a circuit judge in Mobile County on November 6, 2012. Once he was sworn into the new position a special election had to be held to fill the vacancy. A special primary was scheduled for January 29, 2013. Candidates had until December 13, 2012 to file. Since no Democrats filed, the primary became the general election. A runoff between the top two vote-getters, Jim Barton and Bill Hightower, took place March 12.[18][19][20]

Candidate Matranga criticized the influence of special interests in the race. As of January 14, the candidates had the following funds in their campaign accounts:[21]

  • Barton: $218,000
  • Hightower: $30,000
  • Matranga: $2,800

If Barton wins the seat, a special election will be called for his seat in the Alabama House of Representatives.

General Election Candidates:
Republican Party Jim Barton Approveda
Republican Party Bill Hightower Approveda
Republican Party Nick Matranga
March 12 Runoff Candidates:
Republican Party Jim Barton
Republican Party Bill Hightower

Mississippi House of Representatives District 36

Longtime Rep. David Gibbs (D) died in office on January 13, 2013. A special election to fill the vacancy will be held March 12, 2013. Candidates had until February 11 to file. A runoff, if necessary, will take place on April 2. Special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan.[22][23]

Independent General election candidates:

Recent results

March 5, 2013

CheckedBoxOffset.jpgRunoffArrow.jpg Georgia House of Representatives District 71
Robert Stokely (R) won election to Georgia House of Representatives District 71 on November 6, 2012. However, on December 14, he stated he would not be accepting the position in order to serve as a Coweta County Magistrate Judge instead. A special election to fill the seat was held February 5. Candidates had until January 9 to qualify. As no candidate won 50 percent of the vote, the top two-vote-getters - Thomas G. Crymes and David J. Stover - met in a runoff on March 5, which Stover won.[24][25][26][27]


  1., "Pro sports teams in Florida seeking help from state," accessed March 11, 2013
  2., "Amateur sports tax credit proposal advances in Missouri Legislature," accessed March 5, 2013
  3., "UFC, New York State Senators implore Assembly Speaker to bring MMA bill up for full vote," March 7, 2013
  4. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed March 11, 2013
  5. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  6. Sacramento Business Journal, " Healthcare reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 State Scape, "Session schedules," accessed March 11, 2013
  8., "Kentucky House passes redistricting plan; final approval unlikely in this session," accessed March 6, 2013
  9. Dayton Daily News, "Redistricting reform stalling in Ohio House," March 9, 2013
  10. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," accessed January 14, 2013 (dead link)
  11. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," accessed January 16, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 KPCC, "Gov. Brown schedules special election for 2 vacant SoCal state Senate seats," January 7, 2013
  13. Champion Newspapers, "Three declare plans to seek vacated State Senate seat," November 20, 2012
  14. Daily Bulletin, "Six Inland Empire politicians plunge into special election for seat in state Senate," January 18, 2013
  15. Daily Facts, "Assemblywoman Norma Torres wins Democratic Party's endorsement in special election," January 26, 2013
  16. Imperial Valley Press, "Special election will fill seat vacated by Vargas," November 14, 2012
  17. U-T San Diego, "2 REPUBLICANS JOIN STATE SENATE RACE," January 19, 2013
  18. Local 15, "Ala. Senate District 35 to Hold Special Election," December 4, 2012
  19., "Three Republicans qualify for state Senate District 35 special election," December 12, 2012
  20. Local 15, "District 35 State Senate Race Goes to a Run-off," January 29, 2013
  21., "Nick Matranga, State Senate candidate, to criticize special interest influence in campaign" January 14, 2013
  22. The Republic, "Bryant sets March 12 special election for Gibbs' successor in Miss. House, with runoff April 2," January 28, 2013
  23. Clarion Ledger, "Senate D36 candidates qualified," February 13, 2013
  24., "Special Election: District 71 state house seat goes to Stover," accessed March 6, 2013
  25. The Citizen, "Stokely turns down House seat for local appointment," December 23, 2012
  27. Times Herald, "State Representative Special Election: Stover, Crymes set for runoff," February 6, 2013

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • March 16: New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough 9
  • March 26: Mississippi House of Representatives District 11
  • April 2: Massachusetts House of Representatives 12th Essex
  • April 2: Massachusetts House of Representatives 28th Middlesex
  • April 2: Missouri House of Representatives District 76
  • April 2: Missouri House of Representatives District 157
  • April 2: Wisconsin State Assembly District 98
  • April 9: Alabama House of Representatives District 97

See also