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Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 1, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): Starting Dec. 2, all intercounty and out-of-state travelers arriving in Kaua‘i will have to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they can submit a negative test result. 
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the state will begin reopening from its Nov. 16-30 reset under a phased, county-by-county plan starting Dec. 2. At the time of the announcement, 32 of the state’s 33 counties were in the red phase, which prohibits indoor dining, limits gatherings to five people, and limits religious services to 25% capacity.

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Georgia (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the state of emergency through January 8, 2021, and waived restrictions to allow nurses and pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) extended the state’s coronavirus restrictions, including mask and social distancing requirements in certain businesses, through December. 
  • New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced all high-school and youth sports will be banned starting Dec. 5 through at least Jan. 2. Starting Dec. 7, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the state is adding hospital capacity to its color-coded zone mitigation system. Cuomo said he will reimplement PAUSE restrictions if hospital capacity is overwhelmed.  
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On Nov. 30, Health Secretary Rachel Levine announced people as young as 13 years old can now use the state’s exposure notification app with parental permission.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced the state is allocating $50 million in federal funding to help replace lost business revenue resulting from the state’s pause. Businesses can apply to receive up to $50,000, depending on their estimated lost revenue. Raimondo said an additional $50 million from the federal government will go to unemployment checks. Residents on unemployment will receive an additional $200 for every week the state stays under Rhode Island on Pause restrictions. 
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced he had asked hospitals to reevaluate the surge plans they created as part of the state’s reopening plan and consider reducing the number of elective surgeries being performed. 

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,263 lawsuits, in all 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 386 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Nov 24, we have added one lawsuit to our database. We have tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Noteworthy lawsuit:

  • Russo v. University of Delaware: On Nov. 18, a former student sued the University of Delaware, seeking partial tuition reimbursement for campus closures related to COVID-19. In her complaint, filed in the Superior Court of Delaware, Hannah Russo alleges she and her fellow classmates are entitled to refunds on a pro-rata basis for the spring 2020 term. Russo’s attorneys allege the university’s cancellation of “in-person classes and changing all classes to an online/remote format, closing most campus buildings, and requiring all students who could leave campus to do so” constituted a breach of contract. Neither party has commented on the suit to the press. The case is currently assigned to Judge Paul R. Wallace.

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Nov. 24 edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states have adopted a statewide public mask mandate or let a face-covering requirement expire.

Travel restrictions

    Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 26 states issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 14 of those orders have been rescinded.
    • Since Nov. 24, two states have modified their travel restrictions. 

Details:

  • New Jersey – On Nov. 25, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced he was replacing the state’s travel advisory list with a general request that all travelers from outside of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Hawaii – On Nov. 27, Gov. David Ige (D) announced he had approved a request from Kaua’i Mayor Derek Kawakami to require all out-of-state and inter-island travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, even if they have had a negative COVID-19 test. 

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • One federal official has died of COVID-19.
    • Forty-three members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Four state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One hundred thirty-seven state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least three local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 30 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since Nov. 24, three U.S. representatives, one representative-elect, five state representatives, one state senator, one state senator-elect, two governors, two mayors, and one city councilmember tested positive for COVID-19. One U.S. representative entered a self-quarantine. 

Details:

  • On Nov. 24, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 23, Pennsylvania state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R) announced on Facebook he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 24, Michigan state Rep. Kyra Bolden (D) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Arizona state Rep. Andres Cano (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 25, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) announced he would self-quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 25, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Arizona state Rep. Arlando Teller (D) was admitted to the hospital because of complications related to COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Representative-elect Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 27, Las Vegas City Councilmember Victoria Seaman announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced that he and his husband had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 28, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 29, Illinois state Rep. Chris Welch (D) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 29, Maine state Senator-elect Richard Bennett (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Nov. 30, Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Nov. 30, Mayor of Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.



The Runoff Report : Democrats announce GA coordinated runoff campaign leadership, strategy

December 1, 2020

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

Regular election updates

David Perdue posted an ad Monday defending himself against Jon Ossoff’s criticisms of Perdue’s stock trades. A narrator says the Senate Ethics Committee cleared Perdue and that he was not at a Senate briefing on the coronavirus. 

Jon Ossoff kicked off a series of door-knocking events in several cities Tuesday. He also released an ad featuring audio of former President Barack Obama saying Ossoff would fight for voting rights and listen to experts to help get the pandemic under control.

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election updates

Kelly Loeffler campaigned in Atlanta with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) Monday.

Raphael Warnock‘s campaign is holding a fundraiser hosted by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Lisa Borders, former president of the WNBA and Atlanta City Council, Tuesday. Warnock posted an ad Monday saying the value of “love your neighbor as yourself” has been forgotten in Washington and that he would be the voice of ignored communities in the Senate.  

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

Overall campaign updates

  • The Georgia Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Ossoff and Warnock campaigns announced the coordinated runoff campaign’s leadership team. The coordinated campaign is focusing on voter targeting and outreach. The leadership team includes director Jonae Wartel, who ran the early vote program for Stacey Abrams’ 2018 gubernatorial bid and was chief program officer for an initiative training organizers for the 2020 presidential election in battleground states.

The announcement says the coordinated campaign voter outreach and targeting program includes:

  • in-person paid and volunteer door-to-door canvassing that will observe all necessary public health and safety protocols;
  • outreach, engagement and mobilization of key constituencies- specifically black, LatinX, AAPI, and young voters – including those who turned 18 after the November 3rd election and are now eligible to vote in the runoffs;
  • a digital organizing program that uses the sophisticated targeting tools that helped President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris flip the state for the first time in decades; and
  • a multi-channel voter contact and turnout program geared towards educating voters about the unique January 5th runoff election, including the voter registration deadline and in-person early vote dates. This program is targeting voters in the mail, with live phone calls, texts and online.
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner supporting Loeffler and Perdue. It read, in part:

As a Republican governor in a deep-blue state, I know firsthand how one-party monopoly can wreak terrible consequences. 

Although Joe Biden won the White House, Republicans added a governorship in Montana, far exceeded expectations in Senate races, gained seats in the House and in state legislatures. The result was a mandate for moderation and compromise — not for more gridlock, extremism, and dysfunction. 

… 

For the sake of our nation, I urge Georgians to uphold America’s mandate for moderation and compromise by voting to keep David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the U.S. Senate.

Today: Influencer spotlight – Ossoff-Warnock joint fundraising committees

Ossoff and Warnock have two joint fundraising committees. The Ossoff-Warnock Victory Fund includes the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). The Georgia Senate Victory Fund includes the Georgia Federal Elections Committee.

On Nov. 17, Stacey Abrams was the special guest at a virtual fundraiser for Ossoff and Warnock, the proceeds of which went to the Georgia Senate Victory Fund. Tickets ranged from $54 to $15,600.

The Ossoff-Warnock Victory Fund filed its statement of organization Oct. 14. Treasurer Laura Matthews is deputy national finance director at the DSCC.

The Georgia Senate Victory Fund filed an initial statement of organization including the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns July 11. It filed another statement of organization Nov. 5 adding the Georgia Federal Elections Committee. Treasurer Judith Zamore was chief financial officer for Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign.

See yesterday’s Runoff Report for our spotlight on the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund—the joint fundraising committee between Loeffler, Perdue, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.



Federal Register weekly update: More than 3,000 final rules published so far in 2020

Banner with the words "The Administrative State Project"

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

From November 23 to November 27, the Federal Register grew by 1,824 pages for a year-to-date total of 76,418 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 65,906 pages and 62,240 pages, respectively. As of November 27, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 10,512 pages and the 2018 total by 14,178 pages. 

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

Last week’s Federal Register featured the following 516 documents:

• 406 notices

• two presidential documents

• 35 proposed rules

• 73 final rules

One proposed rule concerning critical habitat designation for threatened Caribbean corals was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued 32 significant proposed rules, 65 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of November 27.

Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

Additional reading:

  • Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2019, 2018, and 2017.
  • Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.


Winners certified in Arizona Senate and Iowa’s 2nd, legal challenges developing in New York’s 22nd

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) were up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. Below are recent developments in four battleground races—one for U.S. Senate and three for the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate special election in Arizona: The state of Arizona certified Mark Kelly’s (D) win over Sen. Martha McSally (R) on Nov. 30. Because this is a special election, the winner may be sworn in once the state certifies results. Kelly’s campaign announced that his swearing-in would take place at noon on December 2nd. He will fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term former Sen. John McCain (R) won in 2016.

California’s 21st Congressional District: On Nov. 27, the Associated Press projected that David Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D). Unofficial results showed Valadao ahead by 1,754 votes. Valadao declared victory in the race on November 25, while Cox had not conceded as of November 30. The legal deadline for results certification in the district is December 3rd. 

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: On Nov. 28, Iowa completed a recount in the race between Rita Hart (D) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R). Hart requested a full recount on Nov. 13 when unofficial results showed Miller-Meeks leading by 47 votes. Following the recount, Miller-Meeks reportedly led by six votes out of more than 394,400 cast, making it the closest congressional race in the district since at least 1920. A state canvassing board was set to meet on Nov. 30 to certify the results.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: The result in the race between incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney remains too close to call. Brindisi held an apparent 12-vote lead before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 30, Tenney’s campaign said correction of an error in Herkimer County gave her a 13-vote lead. There are more than 2,000 outstanding disputed absentee or affidavit ballots, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on their fate.

Additional reading:



Chief justice confirmed to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Image of the John Adams Courthouse in Massachusetts

On November 18, 2020, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd was confirmed as the chief justice of the court. Budd was nominated to the position by Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on October 28, 2020. She succeeded former Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who passed away on September 14, 2020. Budd may serve as the chief justice of the court until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Budd was first nominated to the supreme court by Gov. Baker on June 14, 2016, and confirmed by the Governor’s Council on August 10, 2016. She succeeded Justice Fernande Duffly after Duffly’s July 2016 retirement.

Budd was previously a superior court associate justice in Massachusetts. She was nominated to the superior court by Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in July 2009 and assumed office in September 2009.

In 2020, there have been 22 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. One vacancy occurred when a chief justice died, and 21 vacancies were caused by retirements.

Additional reading:



Democrats gain veto-proof majority in New York State Senate

Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the New York State Senate after enough remaining races were called over the weekend to bring them to a two-thirds majority in the chamber. Democrats already held a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly. In New York, two-thirds of members in both chambers must vote to override a veto, which is 100 of the 150 members in the New York State Assembly and 42 of the 63 members in the New York State Senate.

The status of a veto-proof majority has changed in four states as a result of the 2020 elections. These results are subject to change as more votes are counted and elections are certified.

– In Connecticut, Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

– In Delaware, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in the state House and gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

– In Nevada, Democrats lost a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly. 

– In New York, Democrats maintained a veto-proof majority in the state Assembly and gained a veto-proof majority in the state Senate.

The veto override power can play a role in conflicts between state legislatures and governors. Conflict can occur when legislatures vote to override gubernatorial vetoes or in court cases related to vetoes and the override power. Although it has the potential to create conflict, the veto override power is rarely used. According to political scientists Peverill Squire and Gary Moncrief in 2010, only about five percent of vetoes are overridden.

Prior to April 2018, factions in the New York State Senate included the mainline Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and an offshoot of the Democratic Party called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Republicans controlled the chamber from 2012 to 2018 through an alliance with the IDC and Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder. In April 2018, the eight members of the IDC rejoined the mainline Democratic conference, but Felder stayed with the Republicans, giving them an effective 32-31 majority in the chamber. In the November 2018 elections, Democrats expanded their majority to 40-23, giving them full control of the state Senate for the second time since 1964.

Forty-four states held regularly-scheduled state legislative elections on Nov 3. At the time of the election, there were 22 state legislatures where one party had a veto-proof majority in both chambers; 16 held by Republicans and six held by Democrats. Twenty of those states held legislative elections in 2020.

Additional reading:



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: November 30, 2020



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Introducing Ballotpedia’s Runoff Report, a daily newsletter on Georgia’s runoffs and the fight for Senate control

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate and Democrats 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate will come down to Georgia’s runoff elections. 

On Nov. 30, we launched Runoff Report, a daily newsletter providing the latest on each runoff and the overarching fight for Senate control. Here’s the type of stories you can expect to find: 

  • Balanced coverage of candidates’ statements, events, and activities
  • Campaign ad comparisons
  • Policy/issue position comparisons
  • Campaign events with national political figures 
  • Satellite spending summaries
  • Features on the major state and national influencers involved in the races
  • Historical context on Senate runoffs in the state
  • Voting trends in the state and key counties

Georgia was the only state to hold two Senate elections in 2020: a regularly scheduled election and a special election to complete the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Kelly Loeffler (R) to succeed Isakson, who resigned at the end of 2019. She and Raphael Warnock (D), senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, are running to complete the term ending in January 2023. David Perdue (R), first elected in 2014, is seeking re-election in the other race. He faces Jon Ossoff (D), who ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017. 

Georgia holds runoffs when no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the general election. 

Additional reading: 



Ballotpedia has tracked 132 lawsuits regarding public-sector union policy since Janus decision

On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (Janus v. AFSCME), ruling that public-sector unions cannot compel non-member employees to pay fees covering the costs of non-political union activities. This decision overturned precedent established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977.

In the wake of Janus, individuals and advocacy groups across the nation have filed over 100 new lawsuits involving a wide array of public-sector labor laws and union practices. To date, we have tracked 132 post-Janus lawsuits. At least 58 of these lawsuits involve attempts to obtain refunds for fees that employees had to pay to unions prior to Janus. At least 57 involve challenges to membership withdrawal procedures (namely, laws or policies that allow union members to resign their membership only during specified periods of times).

Of these 132 lawsuits, 129 have been filed in the federal courts. Fifty-five suits have been filed in the Ninth Circuit alone, 42.7% of all federal post-Janus lawsuits. The Ninth Circuit encompasses federal district courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The Third Circuit has seen the second-greatest number of post-Janus lawsuits: 22, or 17% of the total. The Third Circuit’s jurisdiction encompasses Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Additional reading: 



Special primary runoff election to be held in Georgia State Senate district

The District 39 seat in the Georgia State Senate is up for election in a special Democratic primary runoff on December 1. The primary election took place on November 3, and the top two vote recipients—Sonya Halpern and Linda Pritchett—advanced to the runoff.

The special election became necessary after incumbent Nikema Williams (D) withdrew from the regularly scheduled election after advancing from the Democratic primary. Williams withdrew her bid for re-election after she was chosen by the Democratic Party of Georgia to replace incumbent candidate John Lewis (D) on the general election ballot for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District race after Lewis’ death on July 17, 2020. Since no Republican or third-party candidates filed for the seat, the winner of the Democratic primary runoff will replace Williams.

Georgia has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 35-21 margin and the state House by a 105-74 margin with one vacancy.

As of November, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2020 in 27 states. Between 2011 and 2019, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.

Additional reading:



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