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Revision as of 15:38, 28 January 2014

Ballotpedia News



News headlines

News about: elections, politicians and candidates at all levels of government: elections, congress, state executive officials, state legislatures, recall elections, ballot measures and school boards. You can find a full list of projects here.

[edit]



Conflicting rulings on federal exchange tax credits

By Phil Heidenreich

The E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse

Washington, D.C.: Federal tax credits through the Internal Revenue Service were both struck down and upheld in the latest rulings regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Halbig in Halbig v. Burwell. The court determined that the law's written language, allowing tax credits to those using exchanges "established by the State," meant that only those using the state exchanges were eligible for tax credits but not those using the federal exchange. Judge Thomas Griffith, who wrote the opinion of the court, explained the discrepancy, writing, "On its face, this provision authorizes tax credits for insurance purchased on an Exchange established by one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. See 42 U.S.C. § 18024(d). But the Internal Revenue Service has interpreted section 36B broadly to authorize the subsidy also for insurance purchased on an Exchange established by the federal government under section 1321 of the Act." The decision came in at 2-1.[1] Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of Burwell in King v. Burwell, claiming the language was ambiguous, upholding the legality of the tax credits.[2]

Halbig argued that the Congress passed the law with the intention of motivating the states to create their own exchanges by offering them tax credits, with the federal exchange intended as a fallback option. Thirty-six states run through the federal exchange and if the ruling were to withstand review and likely appeals, an estimated 7.3 million people would lose their tax credits, totaling about $36.1 billion.[3]

A U.S. Department of Justice quickly stated that the department would seek an en banc review of the Halbig decision, claiming, "We believe that this decision is incorrect, inconsistent with congressional intent, different from previous rulings, and at odds with the goal of the law: to make health care affordable no matter where people live."[4] Two other similar cases are pending in district courts.[1]


What's on the ballot today? - July 22, 2014

By Ballotpedia staff

Vote button.jpg
July 22, 2014 elections
ConnecticutGeorgia

The Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat, where more than $9 million in campaign funds were raised, and control of the troubled DeKalb County School District, which will see an incumbent versus incumbent battle, are at stake in today's Georgia primary runoff election.

In the north east, Connecticut is holding a special election for the District 122 seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Although he led the field in the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, former Dollar General CEO and political neophyte David Perdue may struggle to win the runoff. Rep. Jack Kingston led Perdue in all eight polls conducted since the primary, although Perdue did pull within the margin of error in two of the more recent polls. Kingston also holds the financial advantage after raising $6,180,841 through the most recent reporting period. This nearly doubled Perdue's $3,378,195, despite the former businessman's significant personal wealth.[5][6] Several key endorsements have fallen Kingston's way, as well, including support from defeated primary candidates Karen Handel and Reps. Phil Gingrey and Tom Price.[7][8][9]

Whomever triumphs in the runoff election will face Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, who won an overwhelming victory in the primary with 75 percent of the vote. Nunn enjoys high name recognition as the daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn (D).[10] Nunn has polled competitively against both Kingston and Perdue. Neither of the Republican hopefuls have led Nunn in a poll since May 2014, although several of the more recent polls have fallen within the margin of error.

Other Georgia congressional elections include runoffs for three U.S. House seats. Both the Democratic and the Republican nominees for the GA-01 seat will be determined by runoff elections. The seat was vacated as a result of Rep. Jack Kingston running for the U.S. Senate seat. Rep. Paul C. Broun's unsuccessful bid for the same seat opened up his GA-10 seat, as well. The winner of the Republican primary runoff will compete with Democratic nominee Ken Dious in the November general election. No Democrats filed for the GA-11 seat opened by Rep. Phil Gingrey's Senate campaign, which means that the winner of the Republican primary runoff will win the seat uncontested in November.

At the opposite end of the ballot, eight Georgia school districts are holding runoff elections for a total of 12 seats. Seven of the races for those seats include incumbents campaigning for re-election, but one race in particular features two incumbents battling for the same seat.

In the DeKalb County School District, District 4 incumbent Jim McMahan and District 8 incumbent Karen Carter are competing for the District 4 seat. The school board is shrinking from nine to seven seats as part of the election, which eliminates Carter's existing seat and places her in the redrawn District 4. Carter was one of the six school board members appointed by Governor Nathan Deal (R) in March 2013. Governor Deal previously dismissed six elected board members in February 2013 after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the district under "accredited probation" status. This probation stemmed from an audit that revealed issues with board governance, unethical practices and fiscal mismanagement.[11][12] On January 21, 2014, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced that the district was no longer under probation and had been moved up to "accreditation warned" status.[13]

In Connecticut, Arlene Liscinsky (D) is facing Ben McGorty (R) for the District 122 seat vacated by former Rep. Lawrence Miller (R), who died in office after serving since 1991. Both candidates were nominated by their political party instead of through a primary election. The Connecticut House of Representatives is solidly Democratic with a ratio of 97 representatives compared to just 53 Republican officeholders, so the result of this special election will not shift the balance of power in that governing body.[14]


Primary runoff preview: Georgia state executive official elections, 2014

Georgia

By Maresa Strano

July 21, 2014 Election Preview
StateExecLogo.png

Jump to the section for:
*Georgia State Superintendent of Schools

ATLANTA, Georgia: Georgia voters faced six contested state executive primary races on May 20, two of which, the Democratic and Republican primaries for Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, prompted runoffs.[15] Since neither field managed to produce a definitive victor—that is, no one received at least 50 percent of the primary vote—the top two vote-getters from each race must face off on July 22 to decide who will advance to the general election: state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan and former Decatur School Board Chairwoman Valarie Wilson for the Democrats; chief academic officer for the state Department of Education Mike Buck and veteran Irwin County educator Richard Woods for the Republicans.[16][17] [18][19]

The superintendent seat is the only open seat out of the ten state executive offices up for election in the 2014 electoral cycle. Rather than seek a second term as superintendent in 2014, first term Republican incumbent John Barge chose to run for governor. He was defeated by incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal in the Republican primary on May 20, 2014. Barge's term expires on January 12, 2015, at which time he will have to cede the superintendent's office to his elected successor.

The superintendent is charged by state law to "carry out and enforce all the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education and the laws governing the schools receiving state aid." Additionally, he is directed to make recommendations to the board on matters related to the "welfare and efficiency" of the public school system.[20]

Georgia election law requires a candidate to earn a majority (at least 50 percent) of the primary election vote in order to automatically move on with the party's nomination.[21] If no candidate reaches that threshold, the two candidates with the highest number of votes compete in a runoff, which, effective in 2014, will take place "on the Tuesday of the ninth week" following the primary. The timetable was revised under House Bill 310 and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal in January 2014; Prior to 2014, runoffs were regularly held three weeks after the preceding primary.[22]

Georgia is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[23][24][25] Below, Ballotpedia has put together a recap of the May 20 Democratic and Republican primaries for Georgia State Superintendent of Schools and a brief preview of the upcoming runoffs.

In Georgia, polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Any voter who is waiting in line to vote at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.[26]




Pharmacy ownership battle may soon begin in North Dakota

By Ryan Byrne

North Dakota
While “third time’s the charm” is a common phrase of encouragement in the United States, proponents of pharmacy ownership reform in North Dakota may be soon saying “fourth time’s the charm.” After failing to get an initiative on the ballot twice and having their cause trounced in the state legislature, approximately 23,961 signatures were submitted on July 18, 2014 to get a Pharmacy Ownership Initiative on the ballot.[27] Initiative supporters have been trying since 2009 to change ND Century Code 43-15-35, a unique law requiring pharmacies to be majority-owned by a licensed pharmacist or pharmacists.[28] The law effectively bans chain retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Walgreens, from operating pharmacies in North Dakota.[29]

Issues brought up by both sides include rural access to pharmacies, drug prices and consumer choice. Supporters of the initiative say the current law results in higher drug prices and unrightfully limits ownership.[27] Opponents, including the North Dakota Pharmacists Association, argue that repealing the law would actually decrease competition, increase drug prices and limit rural access. Steve Boehning, president of the association, stated, "The exact opposite happens [without the law]. The market becomes dominated by the three large chains [Walmart, Walgreens and CVS]."[29]

In May 2014, Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R) was skeptical initiative proponents had enough time to get the measure on the ballot, saying, "I got the impression they (supporters) want to get it on the November ballot. They don’t have much time."[30] Jaeger approved the initiative for signature collection on June 3, just 45 days before supporters submitted signatures to his office. The required due date for signatures is August 6, 2014.[31] The required valid signature total is 13,452 versus the 23,961 unvalidated signatures turned in. The secretary of state's office will announce whether the initiative made the ballot by August 22, 2014 at the latest.[27]


State Legislative Tracker: Redistricting controversies in two states

Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a look at the issues surrounding redistricting in Florida and Texas.



January 2014


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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Washington Post, "BREAKING — D.C. Circuit strikes down tax credits in federal exchanges," July 22, 2014
  2. Reuters, "Separate U.S. appeals court upholds subsidies under Obama health law," July 22, 2014
  3. Politico, "D.C. Appeals court strikes Obamacare subsidies," July 22, 2014
  4. Politico, "DOJ to appeal ‘incorrect’ Halbig ruling," July 22, 2014
  5. Federal Election Commission, "Jack Kingston 2014 Summary reports," accessed November 12, 2013
  6. Federal Election Commission, "David Perdue 2014 Summary reports," accessed November 12, 2013
  7. Online Athens, "Phil Gingrey endorses Jack Kingston for Senate," June 5, 2014
  8. The Hill, "Tom Price endorses Kingston in Georgia," May 30, 2014
  9. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Karen Handel to endorse Jack Kingston in Georgia Senate race," May 27, 2014
  10. POLITICO, "Likely Ga. hopeful Michelle Nunn to meet with Obama," July 11, 2013
  11. CBS Atlanta, "Governor Deal Suspends DeKalb School Board Members," February 25, 2013
  12. Governor Nathan Deal - Office of the Governor, "Deal names new members of DeKalb County school board," March 13, 2013
  13. The Augusta Chronicle, "Deal praises DeKalb County schools, no longer on probation," January 21, 2014
  14. Connecticut Post, "Slate set for special state House election," June 15, 2014
  15. Georgia Election Results, Secretary of State, "Primary Statewide Election Results," accessed July 21, 2014
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named morgan
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named wilson
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named buck
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named woods
  20. Georgia Code, "20-2-34," accessed September 15, 2011
  21. National Conference of State Legislatures, "Primary Runoffs," accessed July 21, 2014
  22. Georgia General Assembly, "Legislation: 2013-2014 Regular Session - HB 310 Elections; ethics in government; revise definitions; provisions," accessed July 21, 2014
  23. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  24. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  25. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  26. Official Code of Georgia, "Title 21, Chapter 2, Section 403," accessed January 3, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 The Jamestown Sun, "Pharmacy measure sponsors submit 10,000 extra signatures," July 19, 2014
  28. North Dakota Legislature, "North Dakota Century Code Chapter 43-14: Pharmacists," accessed May 23, 2014
  29. 29.0 29.1 The Jamestown Sun, "Pharmacy law again target of proposed ballot measure," May 31, 2014
  30. The Bismarck Tribune, "Pharmacy petition under review," May 22, 2014
  31. North Dakota Secretary of State, "Time Line for Statutory Initiative Relating to the Operation of a Pharmacy," accessed July 21, 2014