PGI logo cropped.png
Congressional Millionaire’s Club
The Personal Gain Index shines a light on how members of Congress benefit during their tenure.





State Legislative Tracker: Ethics allegations force another resignation

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
SLP badge.png

Donate.png

June 3, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker takes a look at a resignation, death and some news about legislation.

Weekly highlight

Last week, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas ended their legislative sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Illinois: A same-sex marriage bill endorsed by President Obama failed to come to a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives after its backers could not secure enough votes to pass it. The same legislation passed overwhelmingly in the Illinois State Senate, but the close of business for this legislative session means lawmakers will have to wait until the fall for another chance at passing this legislation.[1]
  • Iowa: Former state lawmaker Tony Bisignano announced he would seek Jack Hatch's (D) state senate seat in 2014 when Hatch runs for governor. Bisignano was a high-ranking member of the Iowa State Senate when he chose not to run for re-election 1997 while he faced charges for possession of a loaded gun. He did not contest the charges and was sentenced to a year's probation and community service.[2]
  • Maine: The House approved a bill requiring law enforcement officials to seek warrants for mobile phone tracking. This bill heads to the Senate though concerns exist about an estimated program cost of $234,000. If passed, Maine would become the first state in the nation to require a warrant for phone tracking rather than a court order.[3]
  • New Jersey: The Senate voted 23-17 to approve a bill that would use state IDs to prove possession of gun permits. This bill sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney authorizes encoding information about firearm training and gun licensing into state-issued ID cards. S2723 is among 10 bills that have been approved by the Senate dealing with gun control in the past month.[4]
  • South Carolina: Sen. Robert Ford (D) resigned on Friday as an ethics committee probed alleged misuse of campaign funds. Ford has been accused of using $47,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses including home improvements and purchases from an adult bookstore. The legislator represented Senate District 42 since his election in 1993.[5]
  • Washington: Sen. Mike Carrell passed away on May 29. He had served in the legislature since 1995, as a Representative from 1995 to 2004 and as a Senator from 2004 until his death. Carrell was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, or pre-leukemia, earlier in the year, and complications arising from his treatment resulted in his death.[6]







[edit]

As of today, June 3, 2013, the following figures represent the cumulative partisan breakdown of the 50 state senates and 49 state houses. In the 50 states, Republicans currently control 51.6% of all seats while Democrats hold 46.9%. All told, Republicans control 57 chambers while Democrats are the majority in 40 chambers. One chamber is tied, while one is non-partisan.


Representation in 50 State Legislatures
Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state legislators 3,471 46.9%
Republican state legislators 3,818 51.6%
Independent (and non-partisan) state legislators 68 0.92%
Third party (and non-voting) legislators 8 0.09%
Vacancies 23 0.31%

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 1,975 state senators.

As of June 3, 2013, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

See also: Partisan composition of state houses

Cumulative numbers

As of July 7, 2014, 1,905 state senators are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state senators 875 44.4%
Republican state senators 1,030 52.2%
Nonpartisan state senators 49 2.48%
Independent state senators 4 0.2%
Third Party state senators 2 0.1%
Vacancies 12 0.61%

Vacancies

As of July 7, 2014, there are 12 vacancies in 8 states.

State Vacancies
Missouri 2
New Hampshire 1
New York 2
South Carolina 1
Texas 2
Virginia 2
Wisconsin 1
Wyoming 1

Independents

As of July 7, 2014, there are 6 state senators in 5 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican.

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Kentucky 1 (Independent)
Maine 1 (Independent)
Rhode Island 1 (Independent)
Vermont 2 (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 5,383 state representatives.

As of June 3, 2013, the breakdown of chamber control by party is as follows:

  • Democratic Party 20 chambers
  • Republican Party 29 chambers

Cumulative numbers

As of July 7, 2014, 5,347 state representatives are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Party Number of Percentage
Democratic state representatives 2,554 47.2%
Republican state representatives 2,793 51.6%
Independent state representatives 13 0.24%
Third party (and nonvoting) representatives 10 0.18%
Vacancies 43 0.79%

Vacancies

As of July 7, 2014, there are 43 state house vacancies in 12 different states.

State Vacancies
Alabama 1
California 1
Connecticut 1
Georgia 1
Illinois 2
Louisiana 1
Massachusetts 5
Missouri 3
Nevada 1
New Hampshire 14
New York 11
Virginia 2

Independents

As of July 7, 2014, there are 23 state representatives in 9 states identifying as independents or parties other than Democratic and Republican.

State Independents/Third Party
Alabama 1 (Independent)
Arkansas 1 (Green)
Georgia 1 (Independent)
Louisiana 2 (Independent)
Maine 7 (3 non-voting Native American representatives, 4 Independent)
Michigan 1 (Independent)
Tennessee 1 (Carter County Republican)
Vermont 9 (5 Vermont Progressive Party, 4 Independent)

Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of June 3, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently 19 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. Three states, California, Texas and Washington, are meeting in special session.

As of April 8, all states states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions.[7]

The following states have ended their regular session:[8]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Friday, July 25, 2014
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,429 (46.4%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,823 (51.8%)
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 38
Total Special Sessions 5

There are three special sessions ongoing this week in California, Texas and Washington. The West Virginia State Legislature held a one-day special session on April 17 to finish remaining business from the regular session.[9] The Mississippi State Legislature held a one-day special session on April 26 to approve incentives for a foreign tire maker to open a plant in the state.[10]

California

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 until May 30.[11][12]

Texas

Gov. Rick Perry (R) called a special session to address redistricting shortly after the regular legislative session ended on May 24. The session began on May 27 and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) hopes that the current interim maps drawn by the court in San Antonio will be adopted.[13]

Washington

On May 13, the Washington State Legislature reconvened for a 30-day special session to pass a budget. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) suggested that while the budget was the most important piece of legislation to pass during this special session, he wanted lawmakers to consider a number of bills that stalled during the regular legislation session, such as drunk driving and gun control laws.[14]

In recess

As of today, June 3, there is 1 state session currently in recess:[15]

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

Five residents of Kentucky have asked a three-judge panel to draw the state's legislative districts in a lawsuit filed by American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky attorney Bill Sharp. These residents' claim that the lack of new maps have left them without adequate representation mirrors a similar lawsuit brought last month by another group of Kentuckians.[16]

Redistricting in Maine

See also: Redistricting in Maine

A redistricting plan has been passed unanimously by the Maine Redistricting Commission, passed it on to the house and senate for approval. According to the state constitution, legislators have until June 11 to pass the plan in both chambers. Should they fail to pass the measure, it will go to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.[17]

Redistricting in Mississippi

See also: Redistricting in Mississippi

The United States Supreme Court declined to comment and upheld a lower court's decision to not intervene in Mississippi's redistricting battle. Current maps drawn in 2012 by the Republican-lead legislature were disputed in court by house Democrats and the NAACP, but the decision by the Supreme Court ends any dispute over the maps.[18]

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.[19]

  • 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 was $352.80.[20]

Primaries

The state primaries are as follows:

  • New Jersey:
  • June 4, 2013
  • Virginia:
  • June 11, 2013

SLP badge.png
See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

There is one special election taking place this week in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire House of Representatives Sullivan District 4

Thomas Donovan (D) resigned due to his health on February 20, 2013.[21] A special election was initially called for July 23, with a primary June 4. Because only one candidate filed from each party, the special election will be held on June 4 instead. Candidates had until April 12 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of State.[22][23]

June 4 special election candidates:
Democratic Party Larry Converse
Republican Party Joe Osgood

Recent results

May 28, 2013

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Massachusetts State Senate First Suffolk District Sen. John A. Hart, Jr. (D) announced on January 28, 2013 that he was resigning his seat in order to take a job at a law firm.[24] A special election was called for May 28, with a primary on April 30.[25] Linda Dorcena Forry won the May 28 special election. Candidates had until March 6 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.[26][27][28]

Democratic Party April 30 Democratic primary:
Republican Party Republican candidates:
May 28 General election candidates:
Democratic Party Linda Dorcena Forry Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Joseph Anthony Ureneck

CheckedBoxOffset.jpg Mississippi House of Representatives District 95 Representative Jessica Upshaw (R) was found dead on March 24, 2013 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A special election was called for May 28, which Patricia H. Willis won. Candidates had until April 29 to file certified nomination papers with the Secretary of State. Special elections in Mississippi are non-partisan.[29][30][31]

Independent General election candidates:

Links/References

  1. washingtonpost.com, "Gay marriage bill stalls in Illinois," May 31, 2013
  2. desmoinesregister.com, "Ex-state senator pledges comeback after scandal," May 29, 2013
  3. Bangor Daily News, “Maine House backs bill to require warrant for cellphone tracking,” May 29, 2013
  4. NJ.com, “N.J. Senate votes to overhaul state’s firearms ID system,” May 30, 2013
  5. WYFF, “SNC Senator resigns amidst ethics investigation,” May 31, 2013
  6. oregonlive.com, "Washington state Sen. Mike Carrell dies at age 69," May 29, 2013
  7. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 20, 2013
  8. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 26, 2013
  9. West Virginia Legislature, "2013 1st Special Session," accessed June 1, 2013
  10. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  11. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  12. Sacramento Business Journal, " Healthcare reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  13. keyetv.com, "Gov. Perry Calls Special Session on Redistricting," accessed May 28, 2013
  14. oregonlive.com, "Washington Legislature special session: 5 things to watch," April 29, 2013
  15. Statenet.com, "Daily Session Summary," accessed June 1, 2013
  16. wkyt.com, "Another federal lawsuit filed over redistricting," May 10, 2013
  17. pressherald.com, "Maine commission unanimously approves redistricting," May 31, 2013
  18. yallpolitics.com, "Mississippi’s Redistricting Saga Ends With A Wimper," May 23, 2013
  19. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," accessed January 14, 2013
  20. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," accessed January 16, 2013
  21. Concord Monitor, "2 Democrats resign from N.H. House, citing health and other reasons," February 20, 2013
  22. unionleader.com, "Filing period for special election for Claremont House seat opens today," April 7, 2013
  23. sos.nh.gov, "New Hampshire Secretary of State," accessed April 15, 2013
  24. Boston Globe, "Hart set to quit state Senate today," January 29, 2013
  25. Boston.com, "Dates set for Mass. state senate special election," February 5, 2013
  26. Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Special State Election First Suffolk Senate District," accessed April 9, 2013
  27. boston.com, "Battle in special election for state senate seat razor close," April 30, 2013
  28. bostonglobe.com, "Dorcena Forry wins state Senate race for ‘Southie seat’," May 29, 2013
  29. sunherald.com, "Date changed for special election for Upshaw seat," April 4, 2013
  30. sunherald.com, "Three from Diamondhead, one from Gulfport, enter House 95 race," April 29, 2013
  31. sunherald.com, "Willis takes House 95 race in South Mississippi," May 29, 2013

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • June 4: New Hampshire House of Representatives Sullivan District 4
  • June 11: Florida House of Representatives District 2
  • June 11: Connecticut House of Representatives District 53
  • June 25: Massachusetts House of Representatives 8th Suffolk
  • June 25: Kentucky House of Representatives District 56
  • July 23: California State Senate District 16
  • July 23: California State Assembly District 52

See also

References

  1. washingtonpost.com, "Gay marriage bill stalls in Illinois," May 31, 2013
  2. desmoinesregister.com, "Ex-state senator pledges comeback after scandal," May 29, 2013
  3. Bangor Daily News, “Maine House backs bill to require warrant for cellphone tracking,” May 29, 2013
  4. NJ.com, “N.J. Senate votes to overhaul state’s firearms ID system,” May 30, 2013
  5. WYFF, “SNC Senator resigns amidst ethics investigation,” May 31, 2013
  6. oregonlive.com, "Washington state Sen. Mike Carrell dies at age 69," May 29, 2013
  7. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 20, 2013
  8. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed May 26, 2013
  9. West Virginia Legislature, "2013 1st Special Session," accessed June 1, 2013
  10. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  11. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  12. Sacramento Business Journal, " Healthcare reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  13. keyetv.com, "Gov. Perry Calls Special Session on Redistricting," accessed May 28, 2013
  14. oregonlive.com, "Washington Legislature special session: 5 things to watch," April 29, 2013
  15. Statenet.com, "Daily Session Summary," accessed June 1, 2013
  16. wkyt.com, "Another federal lawsuit filed over redistricting," May 10, 2013
  17. pressherald.com, "Maine commission unanimously approves redistricting," May 31, 2013
  18. yallpolitics.com, "Mississippi’s Redistricting Saga Ends With A Wimper," May 23, 2013
  19. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," accessed January 14, 2013
  20. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," accessed January 16, 2013
  21. Concord Monitor, "2 Democrats resign from N.H. House, citing health and other reasons," February 20, 2013
  22. unionleader.com, "Filing period for special election for Claremont House seat opens today," April 7, 2013
  23. sos.nh.gov, "New Hampshire Secretary of State," accessed April 15, 2013
  24. Boston Globe, "Hart set to quit state Senate today," January 29, 2013
  25. Boston.com, "Dates set for Mass. state senate special election," February 5, 2013
  26. Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Special State Election First Suffolk Senate District," accessed April 9, 2013
  27. boston.com, "Battle in special election for state senate seat razor close," April 30, 2013
  28. bostonglobe.com, "Dorcena Forry wins state Senate race for ‘Southie seat’," May 29, 2013
  29. sunherald.com, "Date changed for special election for Upshaw seat," April 4, 2013
  30. sunherald.com, "Three from Diamondhead, one from Gulfport, enter House 95 race," April 29, 2013
  31. sunherald.com, "Willis takes House 95 race in South Mississippi," May 29, 2013