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Two public-sector labor bills vetoed by New Hampshire governor

On July 10 and July 12, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed two public-sector labor bills, SB18 and SB148.

  • What would the bills do?
    • SB18: This bill would allow public-sector employees to authorize voluntary wage deductions for insurance or employee benefits offered in conjunction with their membership in a recognized union. It would allow employees to withdraw authorization with 30 days written notice.
    • SB148: This bill would require unions to notify new public-sector employees of their right to join or refrain from joining a union. The notification would also include the estimated annual cost of union membership. This bill would also require employers to provide unions with certain personal information about the employees it represents.
  • Why did Sununu veto the bills?
    • In his veto statement for SB18, Sununu said, “Continuing the payroll deduction for a month after a worker has chosen not to continue union membership falls outside the spirit of the Janus ruling and could potentially expose the state, counties, and municipalities to litigation.”
    • In his veto statement for SB148, Sununu said, “Ensuring that public employees are informed of their options related to union membership is important. However, the other provisions laid out in this bill are items that should be negotiated through the collective bargaining process rather than enacted into law through the legislative process.”
  • What is the political makeup of New Hampshire’s state government? Democrats control 58 percent of all House seats and 58 percent of all Senate seats, falling short of the two-thirds majorities required in each chamber to override a veto. Sununu, a Republican, was first elected in 2016 with a margin of victory of 2.3 percent. Sununu was re-elected in 2018 with a margin of victory of 7 percent.
  • What comes next? Because they do not hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats cannot act unilaterally to override Sununu’s vetoes. Lawmakers will not be able to consider a veto override until they reconvene in September.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map August 16, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 16, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart August 16, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have occurred since our last issue.



Proponents of 2020 California split-roll property tax initiative start over with revised version

In California, Schools & Communities First announced that it would file a new version of an initiative to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value. Currently, Proposition 13 (1978) requires the taxable value of residential, commercial, and industrial properties to be based on the property’s purchase price, with an annual adjustment equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. The change was estimated to provide $6.5 billion to $10.5 billion in additional revenue. Both the version of the initiative that has already qualified for the 2020 ballot and the refiled version would allocate revenue from the increased commercial and industrial property taxes to local community college and school districts and to local governments.
 
In 2018, proponents spent $3.5 million to qualify their initiative for the 2020 ballot after initially targeting the 2018 ballot. They filed a new version of the initiative on August 13, however, and announced they would be focusing on a new signature petition drive to put the revised version on the ballot.
 
Tyler Law, a spokesperson for Schools & Communities First, said that the campaign would not officially withdraw the currently qualified initiative from the ballot until the refiled initiative qualifies. Law also said of the new effort, “The committee’s got the money. We’re going to get it on the ballot.”
 
What’s different about the new initiative?
 
  • The qualified initiative would provide an exception from reassessment under the new rules for businesses with property value up to $2 million. The revised version would increase that exception threshold to $3 million.
  • Both versions provide a full property tax exemption for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The new initiative would add additional requirements for a business to qualify for the exemption:
    • independently owned and operated;
    • located in California;
    • owned by California residents; and
    • no major statewide influence on its industry.
  • Both initiatives allocate a portion of revenue to a fund for community college and local school districts, with the fund distributed to schools based on state formulas. The new initiative, however, specifies that 11% of the school fund would go to community colleges, and 89% would go to public schools, charter schools, and county education offices. It would also require a minimum of $100 per full-time student (adjusted annually based on revenue) for each community college and school.
  • The currently qualified initiative would go into effect on January 1, 2020. The new version would go into effect on January 1, 2022, and would phase in the reassessment rules over up to three years for property at least 50% occupied by small businesses.
 
Another difference between the two initiatives is the signature requirement for qualifying them for the ballot. Based on the low turnout of 2014, the currently qualified initiative required 585,407 valid signatures. Proponents spent $3.5 million to collect 855,623 signatures, with 661,306 of them deemed valid. The revised initiative will need to qualify for the ballot according to requirements determined by turnout at the 2018 election. This means they’ll need 997,139 valid signatures, which is the largest initiative signature requirement in California’s history.
 
Ballotpedia’s aggregation of polling on the initiative that has qualified for the ballot showed support for the measure ranging from 46% to 56%, with an average of 51% and the most recent poll showing 54% approval.
 
Law said, “For forty years, California’s novel approach to taxing commercial and industrial property has starved funding for schools and local communities, disadvantaged small and startup businesses, and exacerbated our housing crisis.” Explaining the revised initiative effort, he said, “[A] robust statewide signature gathering organization began prior to the 2018 election, but the ultimate submission and qualification process placed the initiative on the 2020 ballot. As a result, we are refiling the initiative to substantively strengthen the measure, including expansive new small business tax relief, and widen the path to victory in November 2020.”
 
In response to the new initiative, California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said, “This is just another, equally flawed measure aimed at dismantling Proposition 13. Proponents should at least withdraw their existing measure, which they now acknowledge is fatally flawed. However, there are no tweaks or amendments that can be made to this split roll measure that will prevent it from being a major, multi-billion-dollar tax on all Californians in the form of higher prices on everything we buy – from groceries and gasoline to diapers and day care.” Lapsley is the co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, the committee registered to oppose the qualified initiative.
 
 


Judge dismisses GOP petition challenge, leaving the Tucson sanctuary city initiative on the November ballot

On Friday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Douglas Metcalf rejected a lawsuit challenging the initiative signature petition for Tucson’s sanctuary city initiative. The ruling means the initiative will remain on the city’s November 5 ballot after being officially certified on August 6. If the initiative is approved, Tucson would become the first sanctuary city in Arizona.
 
The initiative would include in city code a declaration of the city’s sanctuary status and add a new section that includes provisions to:
 
  • restrict law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibit officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and
  • prohibit city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.
 
The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures for the initiative on July 3, 2019. They needed to collect 9,241 valid signatures by July 5 to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. Through a random sampling of 871 signatures, the Pima County Recorder found that a projected 71.8% of the submitted signatures were valid. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options: (1) approve the initiative, enacting it into law without an election, or (2) put it on the ballot.
 
Three Tucson voters, assisted by the Pima County Republican Party, filed a legal challenge against the sufficiency of the initiative petition. The lawsuit argued that the signature requirement calculated by the city clerk for the initiative of 9,241 was too low and that, according to state law, the requirement should be 12,821. The lawsuit also argued that the Pima County Recorder “only conducted a cursory review of the signatures submitted by the Petitioners, failed to satisfy his statutorily defined duties, and only disqualified 798 signatures despite thousands of facially invalid signatures.” Judge Metcalf rejected the arguments and confirmed that the measure had been properly certified for the ballot.


Federal Register weekly update; highest weekly page total of Trump administration to-date

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.
 
During the week of August 12 to August 16, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 3,076 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 42,798 pages. The week’s Federal Register featured a total of 527 documents, including 405 notices, one presidential document, 52 proposed rules, and 69 final rules.
 
One proposed rule and two final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may 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.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 2,146 pages for a year-to-date total of 42,016 pages. As of August 16, the 2019 total led the 2018 total by 782 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,297 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of August 16. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
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.


Colorado recall on Tuesday rooted in commercial activity zoning conflict

In Colorado, Estes Park Mayor Pro Tem Cody Walker is facing a recall election on August 20. Prior to the recall effort beginning, the city government had approved code changes that would allow for commercial development and activity in some areas that had been zoned for residential use.
 
Recall supporters listed six grounds for Walker’s recall. The allegations were that he (1) changed the city’s development code for personal gain, (2) did not follow proper protocol for approving development projects, (3) proceeded with a development project that violated the zoning regulation’s intended purpose, (4) failed to recuse himself from voting on matters in which he had a conflict of interest, (5) damaged the community’s relationship with the city government, and (6) did not follow the city’s code of conduct and policies.
 
In response to the recall effort, Walker told the Estes Park Trail-Gazette, “I have a long history here. I raised my family here, so I’m interested in making the community better. I think all of these statements are baseless. I was elected to work on issues like parking, housing, community and the business climate. I’m going to keep doing that because [voters] asked me to.”
 
Initially, recall supporters also targeted Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa on the grounds that his supervision of the city’s planning commission was inadequate. In response, Jirsa stated, “The town board nor the mayor does not supervise planning staff. In fact, to do so would be in violation of our policy governance. It isn’t our job.” The recall effort against Jirsa ended when not enough petition signatures were found valid for the recall to move forward. Petitioners were required to submit valid signatures equal to 25 percent of votes cast in the most recent election for that office—553 signatures for Jirsa and 450 signatures for Walker. The town clerk found 391 signatures against Jirsa valid and 454 signatures against Walker valid.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


New Hampshire governor vetoes two public-sector labor bills

On July 10 and July 12, 2019, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed two public-sector labor bills, SB18 and SB148. Here’s what you need to know about them.
 
What would the bills do?
  • SB18 would allow public-sector employees to authorize voluntary wage deductions for insurance or employee benefits offered in conjunction with their membership in a recognized union. It would allow employees to withdraw authorization with 30 days written notice.
  • SB148 would require unions to notify new public-sector employees of their right to join or refrain from joining a union. The notification would also include the estimated annual cost of union membership. This bill would also require employers to provide unions with certain personal information about the employees it represents.
 
Why did Sununu veto the bills?
  • In his veto statement for SB18, Sununu said, “Continuing the payroll deduction for a month after a worker has chosen not to continue union membership falls outside the spirit of the Janus ruling and could potentially expose the state, counties, and municipalities to litigation.”
  • In his veto statement for SB148, Sununu said, “Ensuring that public employees are informed of their options related to union membership is important. However, the other provisions laid out in this bill are items that should be negotiated through the collective bargaining process rather than enacted into law through the legislative process.”
 
What is the political makeup of New Hampshire’s state government?
Democrats control 58 percent of all House seats and 58 percent of all Senate seats, falling short of the two-thirds majorities required in each chamber to override a veto. Sununu, a Republican, was first elected in 2016 with a margin of victory of 2.3 percent. Sununu was re-elected in 2018 with a margin of victory of 7 percent.
 
What comes next?
Because they do not hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats cannot act unilaterally to override Sununu’s vetoes. Lawmakers will not be able to consider a veto override until they reconvene in September.
 


Cameron and Stumbo compete in Kentucky attorney general election, one of seven Kentucky state executive races this year

Daniel Cameron (R) and Gregory Stumbo (D) are running in the general election on November 5, 2019, for Attorney General of Kentucky. Cameron won the Republican primary election on May 21, while Stumbo ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
 
Democrats have held Kentucky’s Attorney General office since 1952, but recent election history suggests that the race could be competitive. Pre-election incumbent Andy Beshear (D) defeated his opponent by a margin of 50.1% to 49.9% in 2015. Beshear is challenging Governor Matt Bevin (R) in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, leaving the attorney general election open. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) won Kentucky with 62.5 percent of the vote.
 
Cameron worked as a law clerk to Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, worked at a private firm in Louisville, and was legal counsel to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Stumbo’s experience includes 30 years in the Kentucky General Assembly and four years as the Attorney General of Kentucky from 2004-2008.
 
Heading into the election, Kentucky is one of 15 states under divided triplex control, meaning that its governor, attorney general, and secretary of state do not belong to the same political party. Either party could gain triplex control in 2019, as the attorney general election is occurring alongside Kentucky’s gubernatorial and secretary of state elections.
 
Three states are holding attorney general elections in 2019: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Of those, Democrats hold two seats and Republicans hold one. Kentucky is also holding state executive elections for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor, and treasurer in 2019.
 


This time next year, we will be between Democratic and Republican National Conventions

In just under a year, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will hold its presidential nominating convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 13-16, 2020. A little over a month later, the Republican National Committee (RNC) will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, from August 24-27, 2020. At both conventions, delegates will select their party’s presidential nominee and vote to adopt a platform outlining the party’s priorities and values.
 
Between now and then, Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses will be held across the country, with the first caucus event taking place in Iowa on February 3, 2020. New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina will also hold primaries in February.
 
Super Tuesday, the day when the largest number of states and territories hold a presidential primary or caucus, will be March 3, 2020. States with more than one-third of the U.S. population are expected to vote on Super Tuesday.
 
The last primary elections will be held at the beginning of June 2020.
 


Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: 23 statewide ballot measures have been certified for 2019

Today’s Brew highlights state-by-state voting patterns in presidential elections + recent initiative activity summarized in our State Ballot Measure Monthly newsletter  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, August 19, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 23 statewide ballot measures have been certified for 2019
  2. Ohio voters have backed the winning presidential candidate 93% of the time since 1900
  3. Quiz: How many 2020 House races has Ballotpedia designated as battleground elections?

23 statewide ballot measures have been certified for 2019 

From July 15 to August 14, only one statewide ballot measure was certified for 2019. The Washington Secretary of State certified a veto referendum that will go before voters on November 5 to determine whether the state can use affirmative action in public employment, education, and contracting.

The number of 2019 statewide ballot measures is 23—in eight states—and the number of 2020 measures is 38. 

By the second Tuesday in August two years ago, 27 measures had been certified for the 2017 ballot. No more measures were added to the ballot that year. This was the fewest number of statewide ballot measures since 1947. 

At this point in the year before even-year elections from 2012 through 2018, an average of 42 measures were certified for the next even-numbered year.  

Here are highlights of ballot measure activity in the past month: 

  • The Utah Supreme Court upheld the legislative alteration of Utah’s 2018 medical marijuana initiative. This alteration removed the provision of the initiative that allowed patients to grow their own marijuana, reduced the number of privately-run dispensaries, and required dispensaries to employ pharmacists to recommend dosages. This alteration was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in December 2018 during a special session called by the governor.
  • Petitioners submitted signatures for a veto referendum petition against 2019 Colorado legislation joining the state into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The NPVIC is an interstate compact to award member states’ presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote. The NPVIC would go into effect if states representing at least 270 electoral college votes adopt the legislation.

Learn more about stories like this in our State Ballot Measure Monthly newsletter. Our latest edition came out last week—read it by clicking the link below.

Learn more

        

 Quarterly Presidential News Briefing

Ohio voters have backed the winning presidential candidate 93% of the time since 1900

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, wrote a book in early 2016 called, “The Bellweather: Why Ohio Picks the President.”

Ohio voters have selected the winning presidential candidate in 28 of 30 election cycles since 1900. The state has the highest accuracy of any state—93%—in backing the winner of the presidential election. 

The two elections during this period where Ohio voted for the candidate who lost the presidential election was 1960, when the state voted for Richard Nixon (R) instead of winning candidate John F. Kennedy (D) 53.3-46.7%, and 1944, when Ohio voted for Thomas E. Dewey (R) over Franklin D. Roosevelt (D), 50.2-49.8%.

Most states have participated in all 30 presidential elections during this time; however, five states and the District of Columbia didn’t participate in their first election until after 1900. Those states are Oklahoma (1908), Arizona (1912), New Mexico (1912), Alaska (1960), Hawaii (1960), and Washington, D.C. (1964).

Washington, D.C., has backed the winning presidential candidate in only 43% of elections—the lowest percentage of all jurisdictions. Voters there have supported the winning candidate in six out of the 14 elections in which it has participated since 1964.

Some states have voted for the same party for president more than 80% of the time. Here are the states that voted for the Democratic presidential candidate five or fewer times since 1900:

  • Alaska—1
  • Indiana—5
  • Kansas—5
  • North Dakota—5
  • South Dakota—3

Here are the states that voted for the Republican presidential candidate five or fewer times since 1900:

  • Hawaii—2
  • Washington, D.C.—0

Third-party candidates won at least one state in four presidential elections since 1900. 

  • 1912, Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt won six states.
  • 1924, Progressive Party candidate Robert M. La Follette Sr. won Wisconsin. 
  • 1948, States’ Rights Democratic Party candidate J. Strom Thurmond won four southern states. 
  • 1968, American Independent Party candidate George Wallace won five southern states.

Learn more→

#BallotTrivia

Quiz: How many 2020 House races has Ballotpedia designated as battleground elections?

Last week, Ballotpedia announced our preliminary assessments of which Senate and House races would be battleground elections for 2020. Battlegrounds are elections that we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in government or to be particularly competitive or compelling.

In 2020, all 435 seats in the U.S. House are up for election. Of those, how many House races has Ballotpedia designated as battlegrounds? Is it: 

A.  38 
B.  56 
C.  73 
D.  91 

 



Primary competitiveness rises for state legislators compared to 2015 and 2017

In 2019, Ballotpedia published primary competitiveness data following each state’s major-party candidate filing deadline. Five states are holding regular statewide elections: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are holding elections for state executive offices, and Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia are holding elections for state legislative seats.
 
A contested primary is defined as one in which voters have a choice on the ballot. As of the report’s publication, 28.8% of all possible state primary races are or were contested this year. This figure is similar to the 28.9% contested primary races in 2015. Comparatively, 16.1% of primaries were contested in 2017. This year, state executive primaries are contested in 67.4% of the races, and state legislative primaries are contested in 26.8% of the races.
 
Approximately 31.2% of the incumbents running for re-election in 2019 face contested primaries. Sixty percent of state executive incumbents face challengers across 25 seats, and 30.1% of state legislative incumbents face challengers across 538 seats. The percentage of state executive incumbents facing opponents is lower than in both 2017 (66.7% across seven seats) and 2015 (68.8% across 25 seats). By contrast, the percentage of state legislative incumbents facing opponents is greater than in both 2017 (16.0% across 220 seats) and 2015 (26.9% across 398 seats).
 


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