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Trump signs third coronavirus relief package

President Donald Trump signed the coronavirus aid relief and economic security act — or CARES Act — March 27, following the U.S. House approving the legislation earlier that day by a voice vote. The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to pass the package March 25.
The $2 trillion package is the third bill signed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It includes funds for assisting large and small businesses, state and local government programs, and aid in the form of individual payments.


Daily coronavirus update: March 27, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 27, 2020.
Federal responses
  • President Donald Trump (R) signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. The U.S. House approved the relief package earlier in the day by a voice vote. The legislation includes $2 trillion in relief funds, and a $1,200 payment to individuals making less than $75,000 per year.
  • Trump announced that he would use the Defense Production Act to compel General Motors to produce ventilators.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  • Fifteen states and one territory changed state-level primary or general election dates. Six states changed municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  • Six states adjusted their candidate filing procedures.
  • Twelve states implemented changes to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in nine states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  • Montana – Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a directive authorizing counties to conduct upcoming elections entirely by mail.
  • Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed HB 197 into law, rescheduling the state’s primary election for April 28.
  • Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a bill into law postponing the state’s primary election to June 2. It was originally scheduled for April 28.
  • Utah – Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed an executive order authorizing candidates and/or their campaigns to send petition sheets to voters electronically. The order also authorized voters to return signed petition sheets electronically or by mail.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  • Ballotpedia has tracked 14 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  • Arizona – The campaign for an initiative to establish a right to know the original source of campaign media spending suspended its signature drive. At least two other previously active Arizona initiative petition drives have suspended signature gathering as well: one concerning voting and campaign finance policies, and one to enact hospital worker minimum wage and insurance regulations.
  • Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Secretary of State officially paused the signature gathering window for initiative petitions until the governor lifts the state’s emergency declaration.
  • Oregon –  The campaign for an initiative to decriminalize drugs and establish an addiction treatment program suspended in-person signature gathering efforts.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  • To date, 261 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Thirty-one significant bills have been enacted into law, about 12 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  • Twenty-three state legislatures suspended their sessions. Two of those (New York and Vermont) have since reopened.
  • Thirteen legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  • Seven state legislatures are in regular session. One state (Arkansas) is in a special session.
  • One state (Minnesota) has partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  • Arkansas – Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) issued a proclamation convening a special session of the state legislature to begin March 26 and continuing indefinitely.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
Details:
  • Wyoming – Effective March 23, the Wyoming Supreme Court suspended in-person proceedings through at least April 10, except in certain specified instances. The court encouraged judges to use video or telephone when possible, and to reschedule civil trials and criminal trials “subject to the requirement that defendants be provided speedy trials as required by law.”
  • Idaho  – The Idaho Supreme Court ordered only emergency hearings and proceedings be conducted, suspended civil trials, and delayed criminal trials at least 30 days from their original start date.
  • Kentucky – The Kentucky Supreme Court extended their original order limiting in-person court proceedings through April 24.
  • Michigan – In a joint statement by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and the Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, judges, law enforcement, and prosecutors are encouraged to coordinate the expanded use of appearance citations and summons, when appropriate and legally permissible, rather than custodial arrests and arrest warrants to proactively reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Maine – The Maine Supreme Court has suspended all grand and petit jury proceedings for the months of April and May.
  • Mississippi – The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the suspension of a criminal procedure rule that prohibited the use of interactive equipment for probation violation hearings and felony sentencing.
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  • So far, 23 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Five of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 18 announced end dates.
Details:
  • Oklahoma – Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued a safer at home order, effective March 25 to April 15. Schools were already closed through the end of the academic year so they were not impacted by this order.
School closures
Overview to date:
  • Forty-seven states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 47 states served 49.6 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 98% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  • Five states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
Details:
  • Alabama – Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that schools statewide would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 6.
  • New Mexico – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. Prior to the announcement, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 6.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Federal officials who tested positive for coronavirus
  • Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
Federal officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
  • Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (D-TX)
Federal officials who tested negative for coronavirus
  • Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
State officials who tested positive for coronavirus
  • State Rep. Matthew Gambill (R-GA)
  • State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-MI)
  • State Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-GA)
State officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • All 56 members of the Georgia State Senate.


FLRA formally proposes rule change allowing federal workers to stop paying union dues after first year of membership

On March 19, the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would allow federal workers to stop paying union dues at any time after a statutory one-year period of dues payment. Up to this point, federal workers have only been permitted to rescind their union-dues assignments at one-year intervals.

What is at issue?

Section 7115(a) of the Federal Service Labor‑Management Relations Statute states, “[If] an agency has received from an employee in an appropriate unit a written assignment which authorizes the agency to deduct from the pay of the employee amounts for the payment of regular and periodic dues of the exclusive representative of the unit, the agency shall honor the assignment and make an appropriate allotment pursuant to the assignment.” The statute states that “any such assignment may not be revoked for a period of [one] year.”

In the past, the FLRA has interpreted the latter portion of the law to mean that union-dues payroll deduction authorizations can only be revoked in one-year intervals. After the Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the Office of Personnel Management petitioned the FLRA for guidance on Janus’ applicability to § 7115(a).

On Feb. 14, the FLRA issued a 2-1 decision rejecting its earlier interpretations of § 7115(a). FLRA Chairwoman Colleen Duffy Kiko wrote the following in the decision “Although the Authority has stated that the wording in § 7115(a) ‘must be interpreted’ to mean that dues assignments may be revoked only at one‑year intervals following the first year, in fact, the Authority made a policy judgment to impose annual revocation periods after the first year of an assignment. In other words, notwithstanding previous assertions otherwise, § 7115(a) neither compels, nor even supports, the existing policy on annual revocation windows. Because it remains our privilege and responsibility to interpret the Statute in a manner that is consistent with an efficient and effective government, we cannot allow our decisions or statements of policy to merely rubber-stamp what was said in the past.”

What are the reactions?

  • On March 19, Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said, “The Authority’s proposed rule is contrary to both settled law and Congressional intent that clearly establish that dues allotments are only revocable at yearly intervals. That they would push forward with this kind of union busting in the midst of a pandemic, while front-line federal employees like VA caregivers, airport screeners, food inspectors, and other personnel are being forced to fight the administration for basic safety protocols and personal protective equipment, is truly disgraceful.”
  • On Feb. 26, Michael J. Reitz, executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said, “This ruling matters because unions often erect bureaucratic barriers to trap workers into membership, barriers the Mackinac Center has repeatedly challenged in court and won. … The end result is that federal employees, who were already in a right-to-work status, may leave the union at any time. Thus, one million federal employees could choose that opportunity.”

What comes next?

On Feb. 18, National Treasury Employees Union petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to block the proposed rule change. The court has not yet taken up the case. In the meantime, the rulemaking process will proceed. A public comment period opened on March 19 and will close on April 9.

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 93 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 March 27, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart March 27, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart March 27, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number.

  • Vermont S0254: This bill would require public employers to provide unions with employee contact information. It would provide for the automatic deduction of union dues from members’ paychecks, and it would permit unions to meet with new employees to provide them with information regarding union membership.
    • Senate Health and Welfare Committee reported favorably March 27.
    • Democratic sponsorship.


Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: March 21-27, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: March 21-27, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.        

Notable Quotes of the Week

“June 2 had been an afterthought on the Democratic primary calendar. Ever since Joseph R. Biden Jr. seized the mantle of front-runner, voters in New Jersey and a few other states scheduled to vote that day assumed the Democratic horse race would be over before their primaries rolled around.

But with numerous states pushing back voting to June 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the date has gained sudden prominence. It now confers a huge bounty of delegates, second only to Super Tuesday in early March, with Indiana, Pennsylvania and others moving to hold their primaries on the first Tuesday in June.

Although Mr. Biden has built an all but insurmountable lead, June 2 — which is a long 10 weeks away — will be his first chance to clinch the presidential nomination. Only then would the former vice president have a definitive reason to press for the withdrawal of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has shown no inclination to leave a race that feels frozen in place.”

– Trip GabrielThe New York Times

“America has a history of unifying in trying times and rallying around the president. But after years of deep division, in the earliest, head-spinning days of the pandemic, a fractured electorate largely viewed Trump’s performance through the lens they chose long ago. But the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. The body count will rise; the economy will almost certainly crater. Trump’s political fate may be left up to the sliver of moderates in the middle, who will choose whether to blame him for the crisis spiraling on his watch.”

– Claire Galofaro and Tamara Lush, Associated Press

Week in Review

States change primary dates in response to coronavirus

A number of states have made changes to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what changed this week in the presidential election.

  • Delaware: Gov. John Carney (D) postponed the April 28 presidential primary to June 2. The state also expanded the definition of sick or physically disabled for absentee voting eligibility to apply to asymptomatic individuals who are self-quarantining or social distancing.
  • Georgia: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) announced the state would mail absentee ballot request forms to all active voters for the May 19 primary election.
  • Indiana: The Indiana Election Commission temporarily suspended absentee voting eligibility requirements, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 2 primary.
  • Michigan: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced the state would mail absentee ballot applications to all voters in the May 5 election.
  • Montana: Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a directive authorizing counties to conduct June 2 primary elections by mail.
  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a law postponing the state’s primary from April 28 to June 2.
  • Puerto Rico: The Democratic Party of Puerto Rico postponed its March 29 primary to April 26.
  • Rhode Island: Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an executive order postponing the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2.

The next presidential primary with in-person voting is scheduled for April 7 in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers (D) has encouraged voters to cast their ballots by mail. On March 20, a federal judge extended the deadline to electronically register to vote in Wisconsin’s primaries to March 30.

Read more about changes in election procedures due to the coronavirus here.

Sanders wins Democrats Abroad primary

According to vote totals released Monday, Bernie Sanders won the Democrats Abroad primary with 58% of the vote. This gives Sanders nine of the group’s delegates. Joe Biden won 23% and the remaining four delegates.

The Democrats Abroad primary was conducted over one week from March 3-10 and was open to all U.S. citizens living abroad who did not vote in a state or territorial primary. Sanders won the primary in 2016 with 69% of the vote and nine delegates.

The Republican Party does not have a similar primary election for voters abroad. Donald Trump has already clinched the Republican presidential nomination. He crossed the delegate threshold—1,276 delegates—on March 17, 2020.

Candidates weigh in on coronavirus relief

BidenSanders, and Trump each weighed in on the coronavirus relief bill and associated policies over the past week.

On Wednesday, Sanders spoke on the Senate floor against a proposal to remove a provision from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that would provide an additional $600 a week in unemployment payments for four months to workers who were laid off. The proposal to remove the provision was defeated, and the bill passed the chamber 96-0. He later said on the radio show 1A, “While this bill did not go anywhere near as far as I thought it should go, what it did do is expand unemployment benefits in a way that has never taken place before.”

On Wednesday, Biden appeared in interviews with CNN and The View from his home. He said Trump should have enacted the Defense Production Act months ago. The following day, Biden tweeted, “The relief bill passed by Congress was a good start, but now we need to:

  • Forgive at least $10,000 of student loan debt per person
  • Provide emergency paid sick leave to everyone who needs it
  • Ensure no one has to pay for COVID-19 treatment or an eventual vaccine”

On Wednesday, Trump said of the relief bill, “The Democrats have treated us fairly, and I really believe we‘ve had a very good back-and-forth and I say that with respect to [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer.” The following day, he wrote a letter to the nations’ governors on classifying counties by their risk of coronavirus. “This is what we envision: Our expanded testing capacities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus.”

Campaigns continue to operate remotely

Biden and Sanders stayed off the campaign trail this week, opting instead for virtual events. Over the weekend, both candidates made appearances in the comments section of DJ D-Nice’s Instagram Live virtual dance party, which drew over 100,000 viewers at its peak.

On Sunday, Sanders live-streamed a virtual roundtable on the healthcare and economic impacts of the coronavirus with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

On Wednesday, in addition to launching a newsletter, Biden announced he would begin a podcast, which he described as “a program to share some more of [his] ideas and plans and to bring on some experts and people [he’s] worked with in the White House.”

Trump participated in a Fox News virtual town hall alongside the White House Coronavirus Task Force. During the town hall, Trump said he hoped to have people back to work by Easter.

Trump campaign, Priorities USA spar over coronavirus ads

On Wednesday, Priorities USA Action began running an ad in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin criticizing Trump’s statements about the coronavirus. The same day, the Trump campaign sent cease-and-desist letters to television stations with the threat of legal action.

In the letter, the campaign argues the ad was cut in such a way as to “fraudulently and maliciously imply that President Trump called the coronavirus outbreak a ‘hoax.’”

On Twitter, Guy Cecil of Priorities USA said, “Donald Trump issued a cease and desist letter to try to stop this ad from airing because he doesn’t want Americans to know the truth.”

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Becca Rast is a Democratic staffer with experience in campaign strategy and political organizing. Rast graduated from Brown University with a degree in environmental studies in 2013.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Jessica King (D-Penn.) U.S. House campaign, campaign manager

Other experience:

  • 2016-2017: Lancaster Stands Up, co-founder and member of leadership team
  • 2014-2017: 350.org, youth engagement coordinator

What she says about Sanders: “Bernie Sanders is the real deal because he’s spent his entire career fighting neoliberalism. From his first victory the year after Reagan was elected to leading the progressive populist insurgencey [sic] in the Democratic Party. He has stood for justice and with the 99% forever.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: March 21-25, 2016

  • March 23, 2016: Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary. Bush dropped out of the running Feb. 20.
  • March 24, 2016: The Los Angeles Times published an interview with Bernie Sanders in which he stated that he planned on making the case to the party’s superdelegates that he was the stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton.
  • March 25, 2016: A group of tribal leaders across Washington endorsed Hillary Clinton the day before the state’s Democratic presidential caucuses.
  • March 26, 2016: Bernie Sanders won the Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington Democratic caucuses.
  • March 27, 2016: Trump and Sanders were interviewed on ABC’s This Week.

Which state has lost the most DNC delegates since the 2016 convention?



Filing deadline for congressional offices passes in Virginia

On March 26, 2020, the statewide filing deadline passed to run for elected office in Virginia. Candidates filed for congressional offices only, as no state-level offices are up for election in Virginia in 2020.
• U.S. Senate: One Class II Senate seat is up for election. The incumbent, Mark Warner (D), announced his intention to seek re-election for the seat.
• U.S. House of Representatives: All 11 of Virginia’s congressional district seats are up for election. Virginia has not yet released its candidate list, so an official listing of filed candidates is not currently available to the public. As of the publication of this article, seven of the 11 incumbents announced their intention to seek re-election to their seats, leaving four open seats. These numbers may change once the official candidate list is released.

The primary is scheduled for June 9, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Virginia’s statewide filing deadline was the 25th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadlines are on March 30 in New Jersey and South Carolina.

Additional reading:
United States Senate election in Virginia, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections in Virginia, 2020
Ballot access for major and minor party candidates
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020



Biden and Sanders respond to coronavirus relief bill

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 27, 2020: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders responded to the coronavirus relief bill. Trump wrote a letter to governors about classifying counties by coronavirus risk level.

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. blank    blankblank   

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Becca Rast is a Democratic staffer with experience in campaign strategy and political organizing. Rast graduated from Brown University with a degree in environmental studies in 2013.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 Jessica King (D-Penn.) U.S. House campaign, campaign manager

Other experience:

  • 2016-2017: Lancaster Stands Up, co-founder and member of leadership team

  • 2014-2017: 350.org, youth engagement coordinator

What she says about Sanders: “Bernie Sanders is the real deal because he’s spent his entire career fighting neoliberalism. From his first victory the year after Reagan was elected to leading the progressive populist insurgencey [sic] in the Democratic Party. He has stood for justice and with the 99% forever.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“Cuomo’s rise is an unalloyed benefit for his state and the nation’s largest city, but it is not an unalloyed benefit for his party. To almost any sentient observer, it looks like the Democrats have picked the wrong guy to oppose Trump this fall. But the Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. They can’t simply stride out across the wet paint now that Biden has effectively won the nomination. He won it in open primaries, with settled rules, and there’s no way to change them.

Biden won’t offer the party an easy escape. He won’t suddenly renounce the prize he has sought his entire adult life.”

– Charles Lipson, RealClearPolitics

Democrats

  • Joe Biden tweeted, “The relief bill passed by Congress was a good start, but now we need to:

    • Forgive at least $10,000 of student loan debt per person
    • Provide emergency paid sick leave to everyone who needs it
    • Ensure no one has to pay for COVID-19 treatment or an eventual vaccine”

He also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s Quarantine Minilogue.

  • Bernie Sanders said on the radio show 1A, “While this bill did not go anywhere near as far as I thought it should go, what it did do is expand unemployment benefits in a way that has never taken place before. … It more or less guarantees unemployment benefits for all American workers … and what this bill says is that for four months you’re going to get $600 more a week than you otherwise would have gotten.”

Republicans

  • Donald Trump wrote a letter to the nations’ governors on classifying counties by their risk of coronavirus. “This is what we envision: Our expanded testing capacities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus.” He also gave a telephone interview on Fox News’ Hannity.

  • On March 25, the Trump campaign sent cease-and-desist letters to television stations regarding a Priorities USA ad criticizing Trump’s statements about the coronavirus.

Flashback: March 27, 2016

Trump and Sanders were interviewed on ABC’s This Week.blank

Click here to learn more.



Wisconsin will vote on Marsy’s Law amendment and other local measures on April 7

Wisconsin will be the fourteenth state to vote on a Marsy’s Law amendment on April 7. The amendment would add 14 additional rights to the existing list of crime victims’ rights in section 9m of Article I of the state Constitution. The additional enumerated rights include a right to privacy; a right to the protection of information; a right to be present at all criminal proceedings and hearings; a right to reasonable protection from the alleged criminal; a right to be notified of the release, escape, or death of the alleged criminal in a timely manner; a right to speak in any hearing related to the rights of the victim; a right to submit information about the case to authorities; a right to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the alleged criminal; and a right to be informed of all rights and protections granted by the constitutional amendment and related laws.

Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin is leading the campaign in support of the ballot measure. As of February 10, 2020, the committee reported receiving over $500,000 in loans from Marsy’s Law for All, the national foundation that has funded 13 statewide Marsy’s Law ballot measure campaigns. It was founded in 2009 by Henry Nicholas, the co-founder of Broadcom Corp. Nicholas was the sponsor of the first Marsy’s Law, which was on the ballot in California as Proposition 9 in 2008. The legislation is named after Henry Nicholas’ sister Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. All 13 campaigns received majority voter approval; however, two of those amendments were overturned in Montana and Kentucky. The 2019 election results in Pennsylvania have not been certified because of a pending court case regarding the constitutionality of the amendment.

Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-21), a legislative sponsor of the amendment, said, “Crime victims should have a voice in the criminal justice process. … Marsy’s Law will help level the legal playing field while still preserving a fair justice system.” The ACLU of Wisconsin opposes the measure. In legislative testimony, the ACLU said, “Victim’s rights cannot be equated to the rights of the accused because they serve very different roles. Defendants’ rights are in the constitution because they are rights against the state, not because they are valued more by society than are those of victims.”

From 2006 to 2019, a total of five legislatively referred constitutional amendments appeared on Wisconsin ballots. All but one were approved.

Ballotpedia is also covering two local ballot measures in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Schools voters will decide on a referendum that would incrementally increase its annual revenue limit by a total of $87 million over four years and maintain that level thereafter with an estimated property tax of $1,118 per $100,000 of assessed property value (an increase of $160). The 1993-1994 school year was the first year Wisconsin enforced school revenue limits across the state. A revenue limit is the maximum amount of revenue the district is allowed to raise via property taxes according to state law. In 2018, 157 school districts placed similar referendums on Wisconsin ballots, and 90 percent passed.

Milwaukee County voters will be voting on a nonbinding advisory question regarding redistricting procedures in Wisconsin. Support for the question advises the Wisconsin State Legislature to create a nonpartisan redistricting plan for state legislative and congressional boundaries. Six other towns and six other counties in Wisconsin are featuring similar nonbinding redistricting questions on ballots in April.

The deadline for online voter registration was extended to March 30 by a district court ruling. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 2. Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration. All polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time on election day.



Maryland Senate passes Maryland Renaming Court of Appeals Amendment

Maryland and New York are the only states in the nation that do not call its court of last resort the supreme court, but that could change after November 3, 2020.

On March 13, 2020, the Maryland Senate passed Senate Bill 0393 by a vote of 45-1. If the bill is passed by the General Assembly, it will appear on the November 3, 2020, ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

Maryland’s court of last resort is currently called the Maryland Court of Appeals. The bill seeks to make the following changes:

  1. Rename the Maryland Appellate Court to be the Supreme Court of Maryland,
  2. Rename the Court of Special Appeals to be the Maryland Appellate Court,
  3. Change the title of a Judge of the Court of Appeals to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland, and
  4. Change the name of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland.

In order to add a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to the ballot in Maryland, it must be approved by at least 60% of both houses of the legislature.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Douglas Peters (D), Sen. Jill Carter (D), Sen. Brian Feldman (D), Sen. Guy Guzzone (D), Sen. Nancy King (D), Sen. Susan Lee (D), Sen. William Smith (D), Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D), and Sen. Chris West (R).



Daily coronavirus update: March 26, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 26, 2020.
Federal responses
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House would move to approve the third coronavirus relief package on Friday. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation by a 96-0 vote on Wednesday night. The legislation includes $1,200 in direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  • Fourteen states and one territory changed state-level primary or general election dates. Six states changed municipal election dates on a statewide basis.
  • Five states adjusted their candidate filing procedures.
  • Eleven states implemented changes to their voting procedures.
  • Political parties in nine states made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  • The Indiana Election Commission authorized the temporary suspension of the state’s statutory absentee voting eligibility requirements, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 2 primary election.
  • On Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers unanimously approved legislation extending mail-in voting in the state’s primary election to April 28 and canceling in-person voting entirely. The governor indicated he intends to sign the bill into law. Ohio’s primary was originally scheduled for March 17.
  • Also on Wednesday, Pennsylvania lawmakers unanimously approved a bill postponing the state’s primary election, originally scheduled for April 28, to June 2. The governor said he intends to sign the bill.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  • Ballotpedia tracked 10 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Three states changed ballot measure procedures.
Details:
  • Oregon – Henry Wessinger, who filed an initiative petition on behalf of State of Safety Action, announced that the campaign would not circulate its initiative petition targeting the 2020 ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative would have provided regulations regarding firearms and firearm storage.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  • To date, 253 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Twenty-nine significant bills have been enacted into law, about 11 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. For a complete list of enacted legislation, see here.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  • Twenty-three state legislatures suspended their sessions.
  • Two states (Maine and Maryland) adjourned early.
  • Four states implemented partial suspensions.
Details:
  • The Connecticut State Legislature extended its suspension, originally set to expire at the end of this month, to April 13.
  • The Minnesota State Legislature reconvened its session on March 26. The session was previously suspended through April 14.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  • Thirty-three states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
  • One state had no change to their court schedule.
Details:
  • The Maryland Court of Appeals extended its previous March 13 order restricting in-person proceedings and jury trials through May 1.
  • The Tennessee Supreme Court extended its original March 14 order through April 30. They further ordered local presiding judges to develop a written plan to address issues regarding the incarceration of nonviolent offenders to reduce the jail population by March 30.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court extended restrictions for public access to court proceedings.
State shutdowns
Overview to date:
  • So far, 22 of the 50 states issued statewide shutdown orders. Six of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 16 announced end dates.
Details:
  • Colorado – Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 26 to April 11. This does not affect the statewide school closure, which lasts through April 17.
  • Minnesota – Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 27 to April 10. The statewide school closure, initially scheduled to end March 27, was extended.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued a stay-at-home order, effective from March 27 to May 4. The statewide school closure, initially scheduled to end April 3, was extended.
School closures
Overview to date
  • 46 of 50 states ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 46 states served 48.7 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 96.2% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
Details:
  • Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 31, was extended through April 24.
  • Massachusetts – Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end April 6, was extended through May 4.
  • Minnesota – Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 27, was extended through May 1.
  • New Hampshire – Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued a stay-at-home order, extending the statewide school closure through May 1. Prior to the order, schools were scheduled to reopen on April 6.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Education announced that schools would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. It became the third state to close schools for the rest of the year.
  • West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that all schools would remain closed through April 20. The school closure was initially announced to be indefinite.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Federal officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)
  • Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
State officials who tested positive for coronavirus
  • State Rep. Michael Day (D-MA)
  • State Rep. Clinton Calabrese (D-NJ)
  • State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-GA)
State officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • State Sen. William Ligon (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Frank Ginn (R-GA)
  • State Sen. Carden Summers (R-GA)
Local officials who self-quarantined for coronavirus
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn (D-CA)


Sanders speaks on unemployment payments in coronavirus relief package

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
March 26, 2020: Bernie Sanders spoke on the Senate floor against removing an additional $600 in unemployment payments from the coronavirus relief package. Joe Biden announced a newsletter and podcast. blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Notable Quote of the Day

“June 2 had been an afterthought on the Democratic primary calendar. Ever since Joseph R. Biden Jr. seized the mantle of front-runner, voters in New Jersey and a few other states scheduled to vote that day assumed the Democratic horse race would be over before their primaries rolled around.

But with numerous states pushing back voting to June 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the date has gained sudden prominence. It now confers a huge bounty of delegates, second only to Super Tuesday in early March, with Indiana, Pennsylvania and others moving to hold their primaries on the first Tuesday in June.

Although Mr. Biden has built an all but insurmountable lead, June 2 — which is a long 10 weeks away — will be his first chance to clinch the presidential nomination. Only then would the former vice president have a definitive reason to press for the withdrawal of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has shown no inclination to leave a race that feels frozen in place.”

– Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

Democrats

  • Joe Biden announced Wednesday he would launch a podcast, which he described as “a program to share some more of [his] ideas and plans and to bring on some experts and people [he’s] worked with in the White House.” He also launched a newsletter.

  • Bernie Sanders spoke on the Senate floor against a proposal to remove a provision from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that would provide an additional $600 a week in unemployment payments for four months to workers who were laid off. The proposal to remove the provision was defeated, and the bill passed the chamber 96-0.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump tweeted, “The LameStream Media is the dominant force in trying to get me to keep our Country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success.” He also said of the coronavirus relief bill, “The Democrats have treated us fairly, and I really believe we‘ve had a very good back-and-forth and I say that with respect to [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer.”

Flashback: March 26, 2016

Bernie Sanders won the Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington Democratic caucuses.

Click here to learn more.



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