State Legislative Tracker: Vermont removes medical marijuana limit

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May 12, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at Vermont's latest marijuana legislation.

Weekly highlight

Last week, Colorado, Connecticut and Vermont adjourned their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Missouri: Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer which sells directly to customers rather than franchised dealerships, has cried foul after changes were made to a bill making its way through the Missouri legislature. Last Wednesday night, the Senate passed an amended version of a bipartisan House bill that would change laws regarding "all-terrain vehicles," "recreational off-highway vehicles," and "utility vehicles." Under changes that the House will likely approve before the bill heads to Gov. Jay Nixon (D), the definition of "franchisor" would include "any manufacturer of new motor vehicles" with a physical business presence in Missouri for the sake of marketing, effectively preventing Tesla from selling cars there. Franchisors are currently barred from selling new automobiles except through franchisees, which Tesla argues hurts it because it has no dealerships. Tesla issued a statement through its company blog, calling the amended bill "a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri." The legislature is due to end its session on Friday. Company president Elon Musk, who deemed the legislation "a monopoly creation bill" in a tweet, has advocated for direct sales on the basis that dealerships stand to profit more from conventional vehicles, while dealers argue that the franchise model is more consumer-friendly. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission moved to ban direct vehicle sales in March, joining Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Maryland. Also in March, Tesla made compromises with the Ohio State Legislature and the New York Automobile Dealers Association to maintain existing retail stores but halt expansion.[1][2][3][4][5]
  • Oklahoma: On May 1, 2014, the Oklahoma State Senate voted 39-0 to override the veto of House Bill 2461, which deals with federal gun regulations. This came a little more than a week after the House voted 86-3 to override the veto. The bill gives law enforcement agencies 15 days to sign off on applications for law-abiding citizens to purchase automatic weapons, silencers and other gun-related devices. Supporters of the bill argued that some law enforcement agencies refuse to sign off on applications and that there are no laws in Oklahoma that prohibit the action. House Bill 2461 was one of fifteen vetoes signed by Gov. Mary Fallin (R) on April 29. This override is the first since Fallin became governor in 2011. Fallin said that she vetoed the 15 House bills because she considered them unnecessary and thought that the legislature should have spent their time on more important issues, like pension reform and repairs to the Capitol building. Rep. Mike Turner (R) said of the override that "[t]he right to keep and possess firearms is sacred to Americans, and especially to Oklahomans. Oklahomans overwhelmingly oppose gun restrictions, particularly those forced upon us by federal bureaucrats." The bill will become law on November 1, 2014.[6][7][8][9]
  • Vermont: On April 30, the Vermont State Legislature passed a bill that would remove the limit of the number of people able to obtain medical marijuana. Currently, only 1,000 Vermont residents are able to receive marijuana from one of four dispensaries. Sen. Jeanette White (D) supports the bill, saying that some of the people who needed medical marijuana and could not register for it were forced to buy it illegally. The bill would also allow for the production of pot oil, which can be used to treat some seizures. The House Ways and Means Committee called for an addition to the bill that would study "what the effects might be if Vermont were to follow Colorado and Washington State in legalizing, regulating and taxing the drug." Some lawmakers, however, such as Rep. Kurt Wright (R), are uncertain of the measure because they think that it would cause the public to believe that Vermont is going to legalize marijuana. Those who support is say it is "just about gathering information." The bill is now on its way to Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), who is supportive of studying the tax issue.[10][11][12]


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Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of May 12, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 14 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Virginia, is in special session. California is in special session concurrent with its regular session.

The following states have convened their 2014 regular session:[13]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[14]

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 27
Total Special Sessions 3
California

The California State Legislature is meeting in a special session concurrent with its regular session to discuss a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to change the state's rainy day fund. Brown's proposal would require the state to save some of the revenue from capital gains taxes. He hopes to have his proposal approved by the legislature and on the 2014 ballot. California's rainy day fund has existed since 2004 but has been empty for a majority of that time.[15]

Virginia

The Virginia State Legislature is meeting in special session to try and pass an estimated $96 billion budget for the next two years. The session is not expected to end quickly, as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and the Republican-led House disagree over whether the state should accept further Medicaid funding from the federal government. This special session is required as the legislature failed to pass a budget during the yearly regular session. Should no agreement be reached by July 1, Virginia's government could shut down.[16]

In recess

As of today, May 12, there are three state legislature 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 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[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][31] 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[32][33] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 112
Maine Red padlock.png 3/17/2014[34] Red padlock.png 6/10/2014 85
Maryland Red padlock.png 2/25/2014[35] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 119
Massachusetts Red padlock.png 6/3/2014[36] 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[32] 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 be the Texas State Senate District 4 runoff in August. The date is unannounced as of today.

Recent election results

May 10, 2014

RunoffArrow.jpg Texas State Senate District 4

See also: Texas state legislative special elections, 2014

Gordy Bunch (R), Brandon Creighton (R), Michael Galloway (R) and Steve Toth (R) faced off in the special election, which took place on May 10.[37][38] Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters - Creighton and Toth - advanced to a runoff election on August 5, which Creighton won.[39][40]

The seat was vacant following Tommy Williams's (R) retirement on October 26, 2013.

A special election for the position of Texas State Senate District 4 was called for May 10. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 10, 2014.[41]

Texas State Senate, District 4, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBrandon Creighton 67.4% 15,232
     Republican Steve Toth 32.6% 7,373
Total Votes 22,605
May 10 Special election candidates:
Republican Party Gordy Bunch
Republican Party Brandon Creighton Approveda
Republican Party Michael Galloway
Republican Party Steve Toth Approveda
August Runoff candidates:
Republican Party Brandon Creighton
Republican Party Steve Toth

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also

References

  1. Jalopnik, "Missouri Could Block Tesla Sales In Legislative 'Sneak Attack,' May 8, 2014
  2. Bloomberg News, "Tesla Dealer Fight Continues as Missouri Weighs Direct Sales Ban," May 8, 2014
  3. Reuters, "Missouri debates barring direct car sales in challenge to Tesla," May 8, 2014
  4. CNNMoney, "Tesla reaches deal to keep selling in New York," March 29, 2014
  5. Forbes, "Tesla Declares Victory In Ohio, But The Map Tells A Different Story," March 28, 2014
  6. www.muskogeephoenix.com, "Senate overrides Fallin’s veto on gun bill," accessed May 8, 2014
  7. newsok.com/, "Oklahoma Legislature overrides veto of firearms bill," accessed May 8, 2014
  8. newsok.com/, "Oklahoma House votes 86-3 to override governor's veto on gun bill," accessed May 8, 2014
  9. watchdog.org, "Pro-gun group leads revolt, OK House overrides governor’s veto," accessed May 8, 2014
  10. North Country Public Radio, "Bill in Vermont House would study legalizing pot," April 24, 2014
  11. WCAX, "Vt. Senate approves expanding medical marijuana law," May 2, 2014
  12. The State, "Vermont Legislature passes medical marijuana bill," May 3, 2014
  13. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed May 12, 2014
  14. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed May 12, 2014
  15. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown calls legislative special session to debate reserve plan," April 16, 2014
  16. wjla.com, "Virginia General Assembly returns for special session," March 23, 2014
  17. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed May 12, 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
  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. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hi
  31. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 2014 Kentucky Election Calendar, accessed November 12, 2013
  33. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Candidate Qualifications and Filing Fees" accessed November 26, 2011
  34. Maine Secretary of State "State of Maine 2014 Candidate's Guide to Ballot Access," accessed February 11, 2014
  35. The State Board of Elections, "Candidacy," accessed November 5, 2013
  36. 2014 Massachusetts State Primary and State Election Schedule, accessed December 2, 2013
  37. Texas Secretary of State, "Official candidate list," accessed March 14, 2014
  38. yourhoustonnews.com, "ELECTION 2014: Senate District 4 race headed for runoff," May 10, 2014
  39. Texas Secretary of State, "Runoff Election Declaration," accessed June 2, 2014
  40. Texas Tribune, "Creighton Easily Wins Special State Senate Race," August 5, 2014
  41. kxan.com, "Special state Senate election date set," November 7, 2013