State Legislative Tracker: 2013 sessions underway in eleven states

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January 7, 2013

Edited by Greg Janetka
This week's tracker features a look at the major topics that the 11 states that have already convened are likely to tackle during 2013.

Weekly highlight

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As of today, 11 states have kicked off 2013 sessions. Here's a quick rundown on what are some early topics:

  • California: With a newly-gained super-majority (which might not last long), Democrats have to decide how to use their new powers, among which is the ability to pass tax increases without any Republican support. Major issues for the session include property taxes for education and tax breaks for students.[1]
  • Idaho: While Republicans hold a solid majority in the state, 2013 looks likely to have a number of fights within the GOP, namely the creation of a state-controlled health exchange, something the governor has supported but legislators have not. Other main issues include school reform, business tax breaks, and ethics rules.[2]
  • Indiana: As Republicans flex their new super-majority, the main topic of discussion will be a new two-year state budget. Gov.-elect Mike Pence (R) is seeking to reduce the state's income tax.[3]
  • Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) is pushing for legislators to address education, energy and domestic violence this year. Democrats, meanwhile, say they want to focus on jobs and strengthening the state's economy. One issue no one can avoid - a new two-year budget that 's facing a $128 million deficit.[4]
  • Massachusetts: As lawmakers settle in for the legislature's 188th session, they'll address revenue shortfalls, transportation financing, gun control, and health care costs.[5]
  • Montana: Legislative leaders say they will focus on economic development, increased natural resource development and reforms to how the state funds education. While Republicans have a clear majority, Democratic Gov.-elect Steve Bullock has said he will veto bills that are out of the mainstream.[6]
  • New Hampshire: The state's budget deficit will top the list of issues in New Hampshire in 2013. Additionally lawmakers will consider education funding, state pensions, and abortion, among other topics.[7]
  • Ohio: As Keith Faber (R) takes over as President of the Senate, the main focus of the legislature will be adopting a new biennial state budget. Additionally, lawmakers will address casino regulation, state collective-bargaining laws, Medicare expansion, and prison overcrowding.[8]
  • Pennsylvania: Like many other states, Pennsylvania lawmakers will have to work on a budget deficit. Other issues include economic development, public pension reform, liquor privatization, and child abuse.[9]
  • Rhode Island: In 2013, legislators will address a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.[10]
  • Wisconsin: Following the extreme polarization of the last two years, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he would push for a more moderate agenda in 2013. Alongside the creation of a new budget, main issues will include job creation, workforce development, tax cuts, education reform and transportation infrastructure.[11]
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Currently 11 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session.

Current sessions capture for the week of January 7, 2013

The following states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions:[12]


Additionally, 22 more states are scheduled to convene this week:


Regular sessions

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Monday, January 7, 2013
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,387 (45.9%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,815 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 36
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 59
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 4
2013 Session Information
Total Special Elections 0
Total Special Sessions 0

There are no special sessions scheduled to take place this week. Overall in 2012, there were 22 special sessions in 18 states.

In recess

As of today, January 7, 3 state's 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 43/43
States that have completed State Legislative Maps 46/50 (Maps unfinished: ME, MT; Maps ordered redrawn: AK, KY)
**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 and Kentucky, however, saw their maps rejected for legal reasons and will have to take up the drawing of maps once again.

Redistricting in Alaska

See also: Redistricting in Alaska

After a lengthy legal battle, the Alaska Supreme Court rejected the legislative plan as passed by the state's redistricting board, ultimately choosing an interim plan for the 2012 elections.

On December 28, 2012, the court ordered the state's redistricting plan be redrawn for the 2014 elections, ruling that the redistricting board did not follow the process as it was instructed to by the court. Following the maps initial rejection, the court had ordered the board to redraw them with a focus on state Constitution requirements, then make changes only if necessary to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act. This latest ruling said the board first drew the districts to comply with the VRA and only then turned to the requirements of the state constitution.[14][15]


Redistricting in Kentucky

See also: Redistricting in Kentucky

Following the Kentucky Supreme Court's rejection of the state's legislative maps in 2012, the Legislature will have to pass new maps prior to the 2014 elections. When that will happen, however, is up in the air. President of the Senate Robert Stivers (R) has shown no desire to rush the process, saying there are more important issues to address first. "I think it would be prudent to really consider not injecting internal politics into the situation. There is no pressing need," Stivers stated.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo (D) is looking to get redistricting done as quickly as possible to avoid it being used later on as a political bargaining chip. "I'm not going to be a part of holding redistricting over somebody's head to vote on something else. We're not going to do that," he said.[16]

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.

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See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

In 2012 there were 45 special elections in 19 states.

There are six special elections taking place this week in California, Georgia, and Mississippi. They are the first to take place in 2013.

California Senate District 4

Doug LaMalfa (R) announced on August 31, 2012 that he would resign his District 4 seat in the California State Senate after the legislature concluded its 2012 session. LaMalfa, who ran for U.S. House of Representatives, decided to resign early so that a special primary could be consolidated with the 2012 general election. On September 5, 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced the special election would take place January 8, 2013, with the primary on November 6, 2012.[17][18] Jim Nielsen (R) initially looked to have won the blanket primary outright, but final returns showed him just short of the 50 percent plus one necessary to avoid a general election.[19][20]

November 6 blanket primary candidates:
General election candidates:
Note: Benjamin Emery was running but dropped out of the race on September 18, 2012.[21] Dan Logue was running but dropped out on October 8, 2012.[22]

Georgia State Senate District 11

John Bulloch (R) resigned his District 11 seat in the Georgia State Senate on December 6, 2012. While he did not initially provide a reason, Bulloch had been hospitalized with meningitis the previous October. Bulloch was re-elected on November 6, 2012 unopposed. The election will take place on January 8, 2013.[23][24]

Republican Party Republican candidates:
Democratic Party Democratic candidates:
Libertarian Party Libertarian candidates:

Georgia State Senate District 21

Chip Rogers (R) resigned his District 21 seat in the Georgia State Senate effective December 5, 2012 in order to take a job with Georgia Public Broadcasting. The election will take place on January 8, 2013.[25][26][27]

Republican Party Republican candidates:

Georgia State Senate District 30

Bill Hamrick (R) resigned his District 30 seat in the Georgia State Senate following his appointment as a Superior Court judge on the Coweta Judicial Circuit in September 2012. A special election will be held to fill the vacancy on January 8, 2013, with a primary on November 6, 2012.[28] With no candidate winning a majority in the Republican primary, the top two vote-getters proceeded to a runoff on December 4, 2012, which Mike Dugan won.[29][30]

Republican Party Republican Primary Candidates:
Republican PartyRepublican runoff candidates:
General Election Candidates:
Republican Party Mike Dugan
Libertarian Party James Camp


Georgia House of Representatives District 21

State Rep. Sean Jerguson (R) announced he will run for the District 21 state senate seat left vacant when Chip Rogers (R) resigned in December 2012. Once his candidacy is certified, Jerguson will have to resign his seat in the House in order to run for the senate. A special election for Jerguson's seat will also take place on January 8, 2013.[31][26][32]

Republican Party Republican candidates:
Democratic Party Democratic candidates:
Independent Independent candidates:


Mississippi House of Representatives District 59

Kevin McGee (R) resigned his District 59 seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives on November 19, 2012, following his criminal prosecution in an ethics case over public contracts that went to his family's company. McGee agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to resolve the case. A special election will be held to fill the vacancy on January 8, 2013. Candidates had until December 10, 2012 to file. Special elections in Mississippi are nonpartisan. A runoff, if necessary, took place January 29.[33][34]

Independent General election candidates:


Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • January 8, 2013: California State Senate District 4
  • January 8, 2013: Georgia State Senate Districts 11, 21 and 30
  • January 8, 2013: Georgia House of Representatives District 21
  • January 8, 2013: Mississippi House of Representatives District 59
  • January 15, 2013: Mississippi State Senate District 16
  • January 22, 2013: Iowa House of Representatives District 52
  • January 26, 2013: Texas State Senate District 6
  • January 29, 2013: Alabama State Senate District 35
  • February 5, 2013: Georgia House of Representatives District 51
  • February 5, 2013: Mississippi State Senate District 28
  • March 2, 2013: Louisiana House of Representatives Districts 65 and 79
  • March 12, 2013: South Carolina House of Representatives District 17

See also

References

  1. San Francisco Chronicle, "Calif. Democrats ponder their new power," December 2, 2012
  2. Idaho Statesman, "Otter facing battles within GOP as Legislature convenes," January 7, 2013
  3. Courier Press, "Legislative preview: $1.2 billion extra will go fast," January 6, 2013
  4. WCSH 6, "Maine legislature to reconvene Tuesday," January 5, 2013
  5. Boston.com, "Mass. formally opens legislative session," January 2, 2013 (dead link)
  6. Billings Gazette, " Legislature again prepare to debate divisive issues," January 6, 2013
  7. Sentinel Source, "After a shake-up, N.H. legislators have new issues to tackle.," January 4, 2013
  8. The Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio Senate’s new leader brings aggressive style," January 6, 2013
  9. Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania lawmakers start settling in," January 2, 2013
  10. Coventry Patch, "This week at the General assembly," January 6, 2013
  11. Wisconsin State Journal, "With state bitterly divided, Walker promises more moderate agenda," January 7, 2013
  12. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed January 7, 2013
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named statescape
  14. Anchorage Daily News, "High court orders redistricting plan be redrawn," December 28, 2012
  15. Alaska Dispatch, "High court orders new redistricting for 2014 Alaska election," December 28, 2012
  16. Kentucky.com, "Ky. lawmakers still wrestling with redistricting," December 30, 2012
  17. Times Standard, "Del Norte state Sen. Doug LaMalfa resigns, special election to be held," September 5, 2012
  18. California Newswire, "Special Election Proclamation by The Governor of The State of California," September 6, 2012
  19. California Secretary of State, "State Senate District four results," accessed November 15, 2012
  20. Appeal Democrat, "Senate runoff looming," November 23, 2012
  21. Red Bluff Daily News, "California state Senate race drops to five candidates," September 2012
  22. Sacramento Bee, "Dan Logue drops out of 4th Senate District special election," October 8, 2012
  23. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Senator from southwest Georgia to step down," December 6, 2012
  24. Albany Herald, "Two officially qualify for special election to fill Bulloch's seat," December 10, 2012
  25. Cherokee Ledger News, "Chip Rogers resigns from Senate to work for public broadcasting," December 5, 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 Cherokee Ledger News, "Special Senate and House elections set," December 6, 2012
  27. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Brandon Beach qualifies for special, says $30K raised," December 10, 2012
  28. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "5 qualify for special election in Georgia’s Senate District 30," September 14, 2012
  29. Times Georgian, "District 30 candidates back on the campaign trail," November 7, 2012 (dead link)
  30. Peach Pundit, "Mike Dugan Defeats Bill Hembree in Senate District 30," December 4, 2012
  31. Cherokee Ledger News, "Sean Jerguson to run for State Senate 21 seat," December 5, 2012
  32. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Qualifying ends for open legislative seats, including Rogers’," December 12, 2012
  33. The Republic, "Bryant sets special election date for House seat vacated by former Rep. Kevin McGee," November 27, 2012
  34. Sun Herald, "4 running in Miss. House election in Rankin County," December 13, 2012