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

A daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day  

Ballotpedia, The Encyclopedia of American Politics

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery, where we track the status of reopening in all 50 states. Today we look at the extension of emergency orders in Delaware, Georgia, Maine, and Maryland, limits on gatherings in Michigan, travel restrictions, and more. Want to know what happened Tuesday? Click here. Our next edition will be published on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced mitigation policies will be implemented in Region 9 starting Oct. 31, in Region 3 starting Nov. 1, and in Region 6 starting on Nov. 2.  Bars and restaurants will not be able to offer indoor service, and outdoor service will have to close by 11 p.m. every night. Gatherings will be limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of a room’s 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 Oct. 30, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the public health emergency order through Dec. 9 and the COVID-19 emergency order through Nov. 15.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Oct. 29, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced $2 million in CARES Act funding to support the development of a nanovaccine. The University of Iowa and Iowa State University are spearheading the initiative.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Oct. 29, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a new coronavirus order limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people. The order does not affect facilities and establishments with fixed seating, like stadiums. The order also restricts the number of people who can sit at a table in a bar or restaurant to six.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Gov. Tate Reeves (R) extended the state’s additional mitigation measures to seven more counties, bringing the total number of counties under the order to 16, effective Oct. 28. The order limits gatherings to 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. It also requires masks in all indoor public places where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On Oct. 30, Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced gatherings are limited to 10 people (down from 15), and spectators are not allowed at youth sporting events for the next two weeks. Ice rinks and other indoor sports facilities will also be closed for one week starting Nov. 2. Raimondo also extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through Dec. 2.

Daily feature: Travel restrictions

Every Friday, we take a closer look at the restrictions governors and state agencies have placed on interstate travelers, including a recap of the week’s travel-related news. To see our full coverage of travel restrictions enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.



To date, 25 states issued at least one executive order restricting interstate travel. Of the 25 executive orders governors or state agencies issued restricting out-of-state visitors, at least 14 have been rescinded. Eleven states have active travel restrictions.

Weekly recap

  • On Oct. 28, Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that Massachusetts had been added to the quarantine list. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) urged New Yorkers to limit non-essential travel to Massachusetts and other neighboring states.
  • On Oct. 27, Gov. David Ige (D) added Japan to the state’s pre-travel testing program, which allows travelers to the state to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and avoid the 14-day self-quarantine requirement. The tests need to have been taken within 72 hours before travelers arrive on the islands.

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic.

  • On Oct. 26, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) filed suit in the 19th Judicial District Court, challenging a Louisiana House of Representative petition. The petition would terminate the governor’s public health emergency proclamation and end Covid-19 restrictions in the state, including business occupancy limits, a statewide mask mandate, and guidelines for churches and schools. Sixty-five of the House’s 73 Republican members have signed the petition. Under state law, a majority of members in either legislative chamber may sign a petition to unilaterally revoke an emergency declaration. After issuing the petition, the House of Representatives released a statement: “The House has exhausted every available legislative remedy and has been left with no other option but to exercise its legislative right to terminate the governor’s emergency order.” Edwards alleges the petition is “an unconstitutional attempt by the members of one house of the Legislature—without bicameral action or presentment to the Governor—to unilaterally prohibit him from exercising his constitutional and statutory authority.” Edwards says the House has “caused and will continue to cause confusion in the State of Louisiana regarding the enforceability of the Governor’s proclamation.” The governor has asked the court to “declare the Petition null, void and unenforceable.”

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October 2020 breakdown of state legislative party membership: 46.80% Democrats, 52.07% Republicans

Image of donkey and elephant to symbolize the Democratic and Republican parties.

46.80% of all state legislators are Democrats and 52.07% are Republicans, according to Ballotpedia’s October partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures at the end of every month. This refers to which political party holds the majority of seats in each chamber. Republicans hold a majority in 59 chambers and Democrats hold a majority in 39 chambers. Alaska’s chamber is the only one to have a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

Nationally, the state legislatures include 1,972 state senators and 5,411 state representatives. Democrats hold 875 state Senate seats—gaining one since September—and 2,580 state House seats—up one from last month. Republicans hold 3,844 of the 7,383 state legislative seats—1,084 state Senate seats (up three seats) and 2,760 state House seats (up one from last month). Independent or third-party legislators hold 34 seats, of which 30 are state House seats and four state Senate seats. There are 50 vacant seats.

In the October prior to the 2016 general election, Democrats held 818 state Senate seats (57 fewer than today) and 2,332 state House seats (a decrease of 248), while Republicans held 1,086 state Senate seats (an additional two when compared to today) and 3,016 state House seats (an increase of 256).

Additional reading:

U.S. Department of Labor proposes changes to union reporting requirements

U.S. Department of Labor proposes changes to union reporting requirements           

On Oct. 13, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a series of proposed changes to reporting requirements for unions subject to the disclosure provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).


Enacted in 1959, LMRDA requires certain unions to file annual financial reports. These reports must include the following information:

  • The reporting union’s assets and liabilities at the beginning and end of the fiscal year.
  • All revenues and their sources.
  • Salary and other compensation for any union officer or employee receiving $10,000 or more from the union in a reporting year.
  • Direct and indirect loans made to union officers, employees, or members. 
  • Direct and indirect loans to businesses. 
  • Union membership figures. 

LMRDA grants the secretary of labor the “authority to issue, amend, and rescind rules and regulations prescribing the form and publication of reports” required under the law. Since 2012, the labor secretary has delegated this authority to the director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards. The forms used for these reports are referred to as LM-2 forms. 

Unions that represent public-sector workers exclusively are not subject to these requirements. Unions representing both private-sector and public-sector workers are required to file reports. 

Proposed changes  

The revised LM-2 forms would require unions to:  

  • Disclose whether an officer or employee receiving $10,000 or more from the union also received $10,000 or more from another union. 
  • Disclose the existence and, if applicable, amount of a union’s strike fund. 
  • Report the date of the latest change to a union’s bylaws. 
  • Report sales and purchases of investments and fixed assets as four distinct entries.
  • Report spending for political activities and lobbying as two distinct entries. 
  • Provide more detailed information about membership (e.g., membership status, how many members are paying full dues, etc.).

The proposed changes do not directly affect the exemption for unions representing only public-sector workers. 

What are the reactions, and what comes next?   

Edwin Hill, Jr., an international representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, opposed the proposal: “I do not see the necessity to further burden local union offices with additional documentation regarding their financial responsibility to its members and in accordance with existing laws. … [The existing report form]  suits the needs of interested and regulatory parties as it stands today.” 

Writing for the National Legal and Policy Center, Carl Horowitz supported the proposed changes: “Labor leaders understandably oppose this. But the proposal rule change addresses real problems, which however frequently detected and punished, require adequate tools.” 

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 13. The comment period for this proposed rule change is open through Dec. 14. For more information about the next steps in the rulemaking process, click here

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bill 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. 

Number of relevant bill by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.

Weekly Presidential News Briefing: October 30, 2020

This week we discuss early voting, the Supreme Court’s ruling on ballot deadlines, and compare the candidates’ stances on Social Security.

Share the latest from the campaign trail.


Presidential Race Ratings

Inside Elections updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Tilt Republican to Toss Up.
  • Georgia and North Carolina moved from Toss Up to Tilt Democratic.

The Cook Political Report updated its race ratings on October 28, 2020:

  • Texas moved from Leans Republican to Toss Up.

Notable Quotes of the Week

“For Mr. Biden, an all-in strategy could carry risks.

Mrs. Clinton was criticized for not visiting Wisconsin in the general election, even as she campaigned during the final days of the race in Arizona, which Mr. Trump ended up winning. Some of her former aides later acknowledged they put too many resources in states that wound up not being competitive.

Mr. Trump’s team during the current campaign has frequently pointed to polling in 2016 that showed Mrs. Clinton leading in the final weeks and has noted that Mr. Trump was significantly outspent.”

– Sabrina Siddiqui and Ken ThomasThe Wall Street Journal

“But I would argue that Trump and his campaign will make the same mistake they made in 2018 if they focus on an issue that is of limited interest to voters outside the two parties’ bases.  On the Friday before the midterm election two years ago, Republicans got a gift when the monthly jobs report announced that 250,000 jobs had been created, in what was then a 49-year low. Even a former economic adviser to Biden called it ‘pretty much everything you could want in a monthly jobs report.’

But rather than playing their strongest card — Trump’s historic record of job creation versus the Obama-Biden weak economic recovery — Republicans spent the weekend before the election talking about immigration and the caravans heading toward the border.  Immigration is important, but in the big scheme of things, the economy and Trump’s record-setting progress were more important to more voters. But that’s not what they heard.”

– David Winston, adviser to congressional Republicans

Week in Review

Trump on the campaign trail • On Monday, Trump held three rallies in Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Trump campaigned in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.• On Wednesday, Trump held two rallies in Arizona.• On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Tampa.• On Friday, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.Biden on the campaign trail • On Monday, Biden visited Pennsylvania.• On Tuesday, Biden campaigned in Atlanta and Warm Springs, Georgia.• On Thursday, Biden held rallies in Broward County and Tampa in Florida.• On Friday, Biden is campaigning in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

More than 84 million ballots cast early in the general election

As of Friday afternoon, 84.7 million early votes had been cast in the general election, according to the United States Election Project.

More than 9 million ballots have been cast early in Texas, surpassing the state’s total number of votes in the 2016 presidential election. Other states at 85% or more of the 2016 turnout are Washington, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Spending in presidential election exceeds $6 billion

The Center for Responsive Politics projected that spending in the presidential election will exceed $6.6 billion, more than doubling the $2.4 billion spent in the 2016 election.

Advertising Analytics reported that Donald Trump, including joint spending with the Republican National Committee, had reserved $27.3 million in ad buys between Monday and November 3. Joe Bidenreserved $42.9 million over the same time period.

Michael Bloomberg’s PAC, Independence USA, is planning to spend $15 million on advertising campaigns in Ohio and Texas for Biden.

The pro-Trump America First placed $2.5 million in national ads to run through Election Day.

Ballot deadline cases reach SCOTUS

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin will only be counted if they are received by November 3.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to expedite consideration of a Republican challenge to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that extended the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots until November 6 for ballots postmarked by November 3.

The Supreme Court also declined to intervene in a North Carolina case, leaving the deadline for ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received by November 13.

Eighth Circuit panel grants injunction in Minnesota deadline case 

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that postmarked Minnesota ballots received after Election Day but before November 10 will be separated from other ballots until a final decision is made on whether they should be counted.

Trump, Biden on the campaign trail in Rust Belt

Donald Trump is campaigning across Pennsylvania on Saturday with events in Bucks County, Reading, and Butler.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Michigan on Saturday. He will hold a joint rally with former President Barack Obama.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Campaign Ad Spotlight

Candidates on the Issues: Social Security

What we’re reading this week

Flashback:  October 26-30, 2016

  • October 26, 2016: Hillary Clinton campaigned in Florida on her 69th birthday.
  • October 27, 2016: Michelle Obama campaigned with Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.
  • October 28, 2016: James Comey notified Congress that the FBI was reviewing additional emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private email use.
  • October 29, 2016: Donald Trump questioned mail-in voting in Colorado during a rally in the state.
  • October 30, 2016: The Presidential Mask Index, which correctly predicted the presidential winner of every election since 1996 based on Halloween mask sales, projected Donald Trump would win.

5,904 state legislative seats up for election on November 3

Forty-four states and five United States territories—American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S Virgin Islands—are holding state legislative general elections on November 3, 2020. There are 5,904 seats up for regular election, and 15 seats up for special election, meaning 5,919 state legislative seats are on the ballot on November 3. Incumbents running for re-election make up 82.4 percent (4,870) of the candidates running for the state legislative seats. Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia are the six states not holding regular state legislative elections in 2020. 

Additional reading:

Ballotpedia to cover 2,449 local seats on November 3

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

There are 2,336 local seats on the ballot this November in America’s 100 largest cities based on population, the 200 largest school districts based on student enrollment, and Washington, D.C. Ballotpedia is also covering a cumulative 113 seats in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. Incumbents are on the ballot for 1,869 seats out of the total 2,449 seats Ballotpedia is covering. Mayoral offices account for 118 seats. With 98 incumbent mayors in November 3 races, 20 mayorships will be won by non-incumbents. 

Additional reading:

196 state executive seats up on November 3

Image of a red sign with the words "Polling Place" a pointing arrow.

Ballotpedia is covering 196 state executive seats across 29 states, Washington, D.C., and the five U.S. territories on November 3. Our coverage includes 13 governors, 10 lieutenant governors, 10 attorneys general, seven secretaries of state, and 156 down-ballot seats. There are 118 incumbents on the ballot, leaving 78 seats guaranteed to go to newcomers. Governors in Montana, Utah, and American Samoa did not file for re-election.

Additional reading:

Wheeler, Iannarone face off in Portland, Oregon, mayoral election

Image of City Hall in Portland, Oregon.

Incumbent Ted Wheeler and Sarah Iannarone are running for mayor of Portland, Oregon on November 3. Teressa Raiford is a write-in candidate.

Nineteen candidates ran in the May 19 primary. Wheeler received 49.1%—short of the majority needed to win the election outright. Iannarone received 24%, and Raiford received 8.5%. As the top two vote-getters, Wheeler and Iannarone advanced to the general election.

Wheeler says he has led on police reform and the city’s COVID-19 response. He says the city needs continued leadership to get through these challenges. Iannarone says Wheeler hasn’t shown leadership and describes herself as the progressive alternative.

Wheeler has support from United for Portland, a group that formed in October and includes the Services Employees International Union, the Portland Business Alliance, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and the Portland NAACP. Iannarone’s endorsers include Our Revolution and the Oregon Progressive Party.

Before being elected mayor, Wheeler served as Oregon’s Democratic state treasurer from 2010 to 2017. Iannarone is an urban policy consultant and has served on several City of Portland committees. 

The mayoral race is nonpartisan. As of October 2020, 63 mayors in the largest 100 cities by population are affiliated with the Democratic Party, 29 are affiliated with the Republican Party, three are independents, and five identify as nonpartisan or unaffiliated. While most mayoral elections in the 100 largest cities are nonpartisan, most officeholders are affiliated with a political party. 

Additional reading:

SCOTUS to hear arguments in five cases in first week of November

Image of the front of the United States Supreme Court building

On November 2, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States will begin its November sitting. All arguments during its November and December sittings will be conducted via teleconference with live audio. The court made the decision to hold proceedings this way in accordance with public health guidance in response to COVID-19.

In the first week of November, the court will hear arguments in five cases. Each case will be allotted one hour for oral argument:

November 2

• In U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, the Sierra Club challenged a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule and a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, Services). During that litigation, the Sierra Club submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for draft documents from a consultation between the three agencies that took place between 2011 and 2014. The Services released some documents but withheld others under FOIA Exemption 5. The Sierra Club sued Services in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which ruled Services had to disclose some documents but could withhold others. On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s decision. The government petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

The issues: Whether FOIA’s Exemption 5 protects draft documents from compelled disclosure if the documents were (1) created during a formal interagency consultation process under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and (2) later modified in the consultation process.

• In Salinas v. United States Railroad Retirement Board, Manfredo Salinas applied for disability annuity with the United States Railroad Retirement Board’s Disability Benefits Division in 2006. The application was denied. Salinas appealed to the Board to reconsider. The Board denied the request. In 2013, Salinas filed a new application for disability annuity. The Board granted the annuity. Salinas appealed the annuity’s start date and the amount and requested that his prior applications be reviewed. The Board denied the request. On appeal, the 5th Circuit dismissed Salinas’ petition for review. In 2019, Salinas petitioned SCOTUS for review.

The issue: Whether, under Section 5(f) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act and Section 8 of the Railroad Retirement Act, the Railroad Retirement Board’s denial of a request to reopen a prior benefits determination is a final decision that is subject to judicial review.

November 3

• In Jones v. Mississippi, Brett Jones, a fifteen-year-old, killed his grandfather. Jones was tried for murder in the Circuit Court of Lee County, Mississippi. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama (2012), the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the county circuit court to hold a sentencing rehearing. The circuit court resentenced Jones to life in prison without parole. Jones appealed to the Mississippi Court of Appeals, which rejected his argument to reverse the sentence. The state supreme court then held oral arguments for the case before dismissing it. Jones petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

The issue: Whether the 8th Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is permanently incorrigible before imposing a sentence of life without parole.

• In Borden v. United States, Charles Borden Jr. pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, relying on the 6th Circuit Court’s decision in United States v. Verwiebe (2017) sentenced Borden to nine years and seven months of imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). Borden objected to his sentence, arguing the district court’s application of Verwiebe to his case violated due process protections. On appeal, the 6th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Borden petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

The issue: Does the “use of force” clause in the ACCA encompass crimes with a mens rea of mere recklessness?

November 4

• In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services began an investigation into two of its foster care provider agents for potential violations of the city’s anti-discrimination laws in 2018. The investigation was based on an allegation that the agencies refused to work with same-sex couples seeking to become foster parents. One of the agencies was a religious nonprofit organization, Catholic Social Services (“CSS”). CSS confirmed that it would not certify same-sex couples as foster parents. The city stopped referring foster children to the agency. CSS filed suit against the city in district court, citing violations of its rights under the First Amendment and under Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Protection Act. The district court denied the request. CSS appealed to the 3rd Circuit, seeking emergency injunctive relief pending appeal. The circuit court denied the request. Then, CSS filed an emergency application to the Supreme Court for an injunction pending appeal or an immediate grant of certiorari. The Court denied the request. On appeal, the 3rd Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Sharonell Fulton petitioned the Supreme Court for review.

The issues:

(1) Whether free exercise plaintiffs can only succeed by proving a particular type of discrimination claim—namely that the government would allow the same conduct by someone who held different religious views—as two circuits have held, or whether courts must consider other evidence that a law is not neutral and generally applicable, as six circuits have held?

(2) Whether Employment Division v. Smith should be revisited?

(3) Whether a government violates the First Amendment by conditioning a religious agency’s ability to participate in the foster care system on taking actions and making statements that directly contradict the agency’s religious beliefs?

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the upcoming dates of interest in November:

• November 2: SCOTUS will release orders and hear arguments in two cases.

• November 3: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

• November 4: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.

• November 6: SCOTUS will conference.

• November 9: SCOTUS will release orders and hear arguments in two cases.

• November 10: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.

• November 13: SCOTUS will conference

• November 16: SCOTUS will release orders.

• November 20: SCOTUS will conference.

• November 23: SCOTUS will release orders.

• November 30: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.

As of October 28, SCOTUS has agreed to hear 41 cases during its 2020-2021 term. Of those, 12 were originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 term but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional reading:

Hawaii governor appoints Eddins to state supreme court

Image of the Hawaii Supreme Court building in Honolulu.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) appointed Todd Eddins to the Hawaii Supreme Court on October 23, 2020. Pending confirmation from the Hawaii State Senate, Eddins will succeed Justice Richard W. Pollack, who retired on June 30, 2020, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 years. Eddins is Ige’s first nominee to the five-member supreme court.

Under Hawaii law, state supreme court justices are selected through the assisted appointment method. The governor chooses an appointee from a list of candidates submitted by the judicial nominating commission. The nominee requires confirmation from the Hawaii State Senate.

Eddins became a judge of the O’ahu First Circuit of Hawaii in 2017 after being appointed by Gov. Ige on February 9. The Hawaii State Senate confirmed Eddins on March 3, 2017.

Before his appointment to the O’ahu First Circuit, Eddins worked as a trial lawyer for the Office of the Public Defender. He also served as a clerk for Justice Yoshimi Hayashi of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Eddins earned an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from the University of Hawaii, where he was the executive editor of the University of Hawaii Law Review.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. As of October 2020, three judges on the court were appointed by a Democratic governor, and one judge on the court was appointed by a Republican governor.

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: