State Legislative Tracker: Illinois senator pleads guilty

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April 29, 2013

Edited by Joel Williams
This week's tracker takes a look at a state senator pleading guilty and two interesting pieces of legislation.

Weekly highlight

Last week three states, Arkansas, Indiana, and Montana ended their sessions. Here is a brief look at issues making headlines across the country:

  • Illinois: Sen. Donne Trotter (D) was sentenced to sixty hours of community service and a year of court supervision after he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct. Prosecutors agreed to drop his felony charge for attempting to board an aircraft with a weapon as part of the plea deal. If convicted of the felony, Trotter would have lost his job in the Illinois State Senate along with his pension.[1]
  • Missouri: Sen. Ryan McKenna (D) offered a hand-written amendment to a higher education funding bill that would have banned anyone over the age of eight from wearing seersucker suits in Missouri. "Any person living in this state aged 8 and under may wear seersucker suits at their leisure. Any person over the age of 8 living in this state may not wear seersucker suits because adults look ridiculous in seersucker suits," read the amendment, which was eventually withdrawn. McKenna admitted that "[i]t probably wasn't germane to the bill. It was all in jest anyway."[2]
  • Tennessee: The Tennessee State Senate is set to vote on a bill this week that would give state legislators the power to select nominees for United States Senate in future elections. Under the proposal, lawmakers from both parties would select their candidates for the general election instead of allowing voters to choose in a primary. This would bring Tennessee closer to the old system where state lawmakers directly chose the state's senators, a practice abolished in 1913 by the 17th Amendment.[3]





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Regular sessions

Current sessions capture for the week of April 29, 2013
See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
Click here to see a chart of each state's 2013 session information.

Currently 29 out of 50 state legislatures are meeting in regular session. One state, California, is meeting in special session concurrent with their regular session.

As of April 8, all states states have convened their 2013 legislative sessions.[4]

The following states have ended their regular session:[5]

Special sessions

Snapshot of State Legislatures:
April 29, 2013
There are 7,384 Total State Legislators
Total Democratic state legislators 3,461 (46.9%)
Total Republican state legislators 3,825 (51.7%)
There are 99 Total State Legislative Chambers
Total Democratic Party-controlled chambers 40
Total Republican Party-controlled chambers 57
Total tied or non-partisan chambers 2
2013 Session Information
Total Special Elections 30
Total Special Sessions 2

There is one special session ongoing this week in California. 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.[6]

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 for several months.[7][8]

In recess

As of today, April 29, 4 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 Alaska

See also: Redistricting in Alaska

Alaska's Redistricting Board has asked the state supreme court to clarify its ruling on whether the board must re-draw all of the state's legislative districts from scratch. Critics are now concerned that the new maps may not be ready for the 2014 election and would have to be held under the same interim maps as 2012. John Torgerson, chairman of the board, said they are waiting on a decision in the Shelby County case before moving forward.[10]

Redistricting in Kentucky

See also: Redistricting in Kentucky

Local officials and residents in northern Kentucky have taken the state and a litany of state legislators to court over redistricting. The lawsuit asks the court to impose a deadline of November 4 for redistricting, and offers a plaintiff-drawn map for use should the legislature not approve its own redistricting plan in time. As the legislature is not set to convene again until January 2014, if legislators have to redraw maps by November it will require a special session.[11]

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.[12]

  • 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.[13]

Primaries

The state primaries are as follows:

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

See also: State legislative special elections, 2013

There are no special elections taking place this week. The next special election is scheduled for May 7.

Recent results

April 16, 2013

Rep. Joe Gardner (D) died in office on February 4, 2013. A special election to fill the vacancy was held March 26, 2013. As no candidate took more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters - Anderson Boothe and Lataisha M. Jackson - met in a runoff election on April 16, which Jackson won. Special elections in Mississippi are non-partisan.[14][15][16]

Independent General election candidates:
Independent April 16 Runoff Election Candidates:

Links/References

  1. huffingtonpost.com, "Donne Trotter, Illinois State Senator Facing Weapons Charge, Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor," April 24, 2013
  2. riverfronttimes.com, "Sen. Ryan McKenna's Proposal: Ban Seersucker Suits in Missouri (Kids 8 and Under Exempt)," April 25, 2013
  3. tennesseean.com, "TN lawmakers seek power to select U.S. Senate nominees," May 30, 2013
  4. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed April 29, 2013
  5. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed April 29, 2013
  6. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  7. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  8. Sacramento Business Journal, " Health care reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 State Scape, "Session schedules," accessed April 29, 2013
  10. adn.com, "Redistricting Board asks Supreme Court to clarify ruling," April 23, 2013
  11. nky.cincinnati.com, "N.Ky. residents sue for redistricting," April 26, 2013
  12. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," Accessed January 14, 2013
  13. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," Accessed January 16, 2013
  14. SunHerald.com, "5 on ballot in House District 11 election," March 1, 2013
  15. wjtv.com, "2 in runoff in House District 11 election," March 27, 2013
  16. therepublic.com, "Lataisha Jackson wins House District 11 runoff in Tate, Panola counties," April 17, 2013

Looking ahead

Upcoming special elections include:

  • May 7: Alabama House of Representatives District 11
  • May 7: Michigan State Senate District 27
  • May 14: California State Senate District 32
  • May 21: Alabama House of Representatives District 97
  • May 21: California State Senate District 16
  • May 21: California State Assembly District 80
  • May 21: Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 42
  • May 21: Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 95
  • May 28: Massachusetts State Senate First Suffolk District
  • May 28: Mississippi House of Representatives District 95

See also

References

  1. huffingtonpost.com, "Donne Trotter, Illinois State Senator Facing Weapons Charge, Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor," April 24, 2013
  2. riverfronttimes.com, "Sen. Ryan McKenna's Proposal: Ban Seersucker Suits in Missouri (Kids 8 and Under Exempt)," April 25, 2013
  3. tennesseean.com, "TN lawmakers seek power to select U.S. Senate nominees," May 30, 2013
  4. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed April 29, 2013
  5. Stateside Associates, " Session Calendar 2013," accessed April 29, 2013
  6. sunherald.com, "Mississippi lawmakers pass incentives for tire maker," April 26, 2013
  7. Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown calls for special session of Legislature on healthcare," January 24, 2013
  8. Sacramento Business Journal, " Health care reform special session starts," January 28, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 State Scape, "Session schedules," accessed April 29, 2013
  10. adn.com, "Redistricting Board asks Supreme Court to clarify ruling," April 23, 2013
  11. nky.cincinnati.com, "N.Ky. residents sue for redistricting," April 26, 2013
  12. New Jersey Department of State, "Petition filing instruction sheet," Accessed January 14, 2013
  13. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Candidacy Requirements for House of Delegates," Accessed January 16, 2013
  14. SunHerald.com, "5 on ballot in House District 11 election," March 1, 2013
  15. wjtv.com, "2 in runoff in House District 11 election," March 27, 2013
  16. therepublic.com, "Lataisha Jackson wins House District 11 runoff in Tate, Panola counties," April 17, 2013