State Legislative Tracker: Florida legislature loses redistricting case

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July 14, 2014

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at the controversy over Florida's Congressional redistricting.

Weekly highlight

Last week, no state adjourned its legislative session. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Florida: A federal circuit judge has ruled that the Florida State Legislature acted illegally in passing new congressional district lines after the 2010 census. Several groups including the League of Women Voters and Common Cause filed suit in response to the map adopted in 2012, arguing that two districts violate a 2010 constitutional amendment banning gerrymandering due to the involvement of outside Republican consultants. Florida is a Republican state government trifecta, and of its 27-member congressional delegation, 17 are Republicans.[1] In last Thursday's decision following a 12-day trial, Terry Lewis stated that "Republican political consultants or operatives... made a mockery of the Legislature’s proclaimed transparency and open process of redistricting by doing all of this in the shadow of that process, utilizing the access it gave them to the decision makers, but going to great lengths to conceal from the public their plan and their participation in it."[2] The 5th District is represented by Corrine Brown (D), while the 10th District is represented by Daniel Webster (R); surrounding districts may also need to be withdrawn as a result of the required changes.[3] Brown's majority-minority district, running from Jacksonville to Orlando, was the subject of much criticism when the map was drawn; at trial, the respondents argued that it was drawn in a way to avoid a challenge under the Voting Rights Act and the petitioners claimed it was drawn to isolate Democratic voters for the benefit of the GOP in nearby districts.[4] Much of the redistricting record was discarded by the legislature; Lewis noted that there was no obligation to maintain a record of the redistricting process, but questioned the motive behind the move.[5] The matter is expected to be appealed, meaning that this year's U.S. House elections will likely continue as planned, as Lewis did not state a deadline for drawing a new map.[1]
  • Pennsylvania: On July 10, 2014, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) signed the state's $29.1 billion budget, ten days after the deadline had passed. Corbett refused to sign the budget before the midnight deadline on June 30 because the legislature failed to overhaul the state's pension system. Corbett signed the budget, but used his line-item veto power to cut $65 million in appropriations and another $7.2 million in earmarks from the legislature's budget.[6][7] Facing a massive $1.5 billion deficit, Corbett did not appreciate that the legislature chose to increase it's own budget while refusing to act on pension reform. Corbett has not yet called for a special session but has said, "Pennsylvania's legislature is a full-time legislature. The General Assembly left Harrisburg earlier this month with unfinished business. They need to come back and enact pension reform."[8] Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R), State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R), Senate Appropriations chairman Jake Corman (R) and Senate Republican Whip Pat Browne (R) said in a joint statement, "While we share the desire to enact statewide pension reform, linking pension reform to punitive program cuts is not a successful strategy."[8] Staff in the Pennsylvania General Assembly are investigating whether the Pennsylvania Constitution allows for the use of the line-item veto within the fiscal code, as Corbett did in this case. State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said that the House will attempt to pass pension reform when it returns to session on August 4.[9]
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Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of July 14, 2014
See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2014 session information.

Currently 3 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, Ohio, is in Skeleton Session. Skeleton Session typically includes very short nonvoting sessions instead of regular sessions with a full chamber.[10]

The following states have adjourned their 2014 regular session:[11]

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
Thursday, October 30, 2014
There are 7,383 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,422 (46.3%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,818 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 40
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 58
Total tied or nonpartisan chambers 1
2014 Session Information
Total Special Elections 32
Total Special Sessions 7

In recess

As of today, July 14, there are six state legislatures currently in recess:[12]

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 even years. However, senators are elected to 4-year terms in those states and those will not be up for election again until 2016.

1,097 of the country's 1,972 state senate seats are up for re-election in November 2014, and 4,958 of the country's 5,411 state house seats are up for re-election. Altogether, 6,055 of the country's 7,383 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[13] Red padlock.png 8/19/2014 78
Arizona Red padlock.png 5/28/2014[14] Red padlock.png 8/26/2014 90
Arkansas Red padlock.png 3/3/2014[15][16] Red padlock.png 5/20/2014 78
California Red padlock.png 3/7/2014[17][18][19] Red padlock.png 6/3/2014 88
Colorado Red padlock.png 3/31/2014[20][21] Red padlock.png 6/24/2014 85
Connecticut Red padlock.png 6/10/2014[22] 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[23][24] 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[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[31] 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 take place on July 22 in Connecticut.

Connecticut House of Representatives District 122

See also: Connecticut state legislative special elections, 2014

Ben McGorty (R) defeated Arlene Liscinsky (D) in the special election.[32][33]

The seat was vacant following Lawrence Miller's (R) death.[32]

A special election for the position of Connecticut House of Representatives District 122 has been called for July 22. Candidates were nominated by their party rather than chosen through a primary.[32]

Connecticut House of Representatives, District 122, Special Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBen McGorty 75.3% 1,403
     Democratic Arlene Liscinsky 24.7% 459
Total Votes 1,862

Note: Results provided here are unofficial returns.[34]

July 22 Special election candidates:
Democratic Party Arlene Liscinsky
Republican Party Ben McGorty

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • August 5: Texas State Senate District 4 (Runoff)
  • August 19: Virginia State Senate District 38
  • August 19: Virginia House of Delegates District 48
  • August 19: Virginia House of Delegates District 90
  • November 4: Louisiana House of Representatives District 97

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Associated Press, "Judge rules Florida Legislature broke law on maps," July 10, 2014
  2. Politico, "Judge tosses Florida congressional map," July 10, 2014
  3. The New York Times, "Judge Rules G.O.P. Illegally Redrew Florida Districts," July 10, 2014
  4. The News Service of Florida, "Judge rules Florida Legislature broke law on district maps," July 10, 2014
  5. The Huffington Post, "Florida Illegally Drew Congressional District Boundaries To Benefit GOP, Judge Rules," July 10, 2014
  6. Associated Press, "Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett signs budget, vetoes legislative funding," July 10, 2014
  7. Philly.com, "Corbett signs Pa. budget but vetoes more than $72 million in spending," July 11, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 TribLive, "Gov. Corbett signs Pennsylvania state budget, vetoes legislative funding," July 10, 2014
  9. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "State budget creates schism," July 11, 2014
  10. Cleveland.com, "Ohio's 2014 legislative calendar will be crammed with election-year politicking and backroom pleading: Thomas Suddes," December 15, 2013
  11. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2014," accessed July 7, 2014
  12. StateNet, " Daily Session Summary," accessed July 14, 2014
  13. Alaska Statutes, "Section 15.25, Nomination of Candidates," accessed October 31, 2013
  14. Secretary of State Website, "2014 Election Important Dates," accessed November 4, 2013
  15. Running for Public Office, "A 'Plain English' Handbook for Candidates," 2012 Edition, accessed October 21, 2013 (dead link)
  16. Arkansas Code of 1987, "Title 7, Elections," accessed October 30, 2013
  17. Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of State Senator, Member of the Assembly, "June 3, 2014, Primary Election," accessed October 21, 2013
  18. California Elections Code, "Section 8100-8107," accessed October 28, 2013
  19. California Secretary of State Website, "Key Dates and Deadlines," accessed October 21, 2013
  20. Colorado Secretary of State Website, "Major Political Parties FAQs," accessed October 31, 2013
  21. Colorado Revised Statutes, "Title 1, Elections," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. Connecticut Secretary of State Website, "Frequently Asked Questions, Nominating Papers," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "2013-2014 Dates to Remember," accessed November 6, 2013
  24. 2013 Florida Statutes, "Section 99.061," accessed December 2, 2014
  25. Hawaii State Legislature, "HRS §12-6 Nomination papers: time for filing; fees", accessed May 22, 2013
  26. 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. Official Election Calendar for the State of Nebraska, accessed November 18, 2014
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Connecticut Post, "Slate set for special state House election," June 15, 2014
  33. CTPost.com, "McGorty wins 122nd District seat," July 22, 2014
  34. Shelton Herald, "UPDATED: State rep special election results by polling place," July 23, 2014