Latest stories

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton completes Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R) completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey recently. Upton, who was first elected in 1986, faces Elena Oelke (R) in the Aug. 4 Republican primary for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District.
Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.
Select responses from Upton’s survey are below. Ballotpedia’s questions are in bold. Please see Upton’s page on Ballotpedia for his full survey responses.
Who are you? Tell us about yourself.
Congressman Fred Upton – known more commonly as “Fred” – is a sincere, hardworking leader who listens to all perspectives and achieves results for folks here in Southwest Michigan.
In the midst of these challenging times, Fred has helped rush coronavirus relief to southwest Michigan families, is working to protect Michigan seniors, and is fighting in Washington to help get our economy on the road to recovery.
Meanwhile, Fred has also continued his efforts to support our extraordinary veterans, protect our country’s national defense, preserve our Great Lakes, and increase opportunities for our agriculture industry.
In D.C. and here at home, Fred is known for his work ethic and has consistently been named one of the “Top 25 Hardest Working Members of Congress.” He delivers results for the folks he represents – always has and always will.
Fred is a graduate of the University of Michigan and remains a die-hard Wolverines fan. He and his wife Amey of 37 years are the proud parents of two children and just had their first grandchild earlier this year.
Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?
“Follow the words of Frederick Douglass: ‘I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.'”
“Get Michigan and the United States on the path to recovery”
“Work to make our nation stronger for ALL Americans”
In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections.
Additional reading:


3,035 major party candidates filed for 2020 Congress elections

As of July 6, 3,035 major party candidates have filed to run for the Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.
So far, 464 candidates are filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, 372—187 Democrats and 185 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
For U.S. House, 3,036 candidates have filed with the FEC to run. Of those, 2,663—1,251 Democrats and 1,412 Republicans—are from one of the two major political parties. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
Thirty-six members of the U.S. House are not seeking re-election in 2020. That includes 27 Republicans and nine Democrats. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election. In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a majority with 233 seats.
Additional reading:


Federal Register tops 40,000 pages

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
From June 29 to July 3, the Federal Register grew by 1,346 pages for a year-to-date total of 40,086 pages. Over the same period in 2019 and 2018, the Federal Register reached 32,254 pages and 31,640 pages, respectively. As of July 3, the 2020 total led the 2019 total by 7,832 pages and the 2018 total by 8,446 pages.
The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
This week’s Federal Register featured the following 486 documents:
• 383 notices
• seven presidential documents
• 39 proposed rules
• 57 final rules
One final rule concerning professional development for pilots was deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that it could have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Trump administration in 2020 has issued 21 significant proposed rules, 31 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of July 3.
Not all rules issued by the Trump administration are regulatory actions. Some rules are deregulatory actions pursuant to President Trump’s (R) Executive Order 13771, which requires federal agencies to eliminate two old significant regulations for each new significant regulation issued.
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018.


OIRA reviewed 72 significant rules in June

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed a total of 72 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies in June 2020. The agency approved 12 rules without changes and approved the intent of 54 rules while recommending changes to their content. Agencies withdrew six rules from the review process.
OIRA reviewed 37 significant regulatory actions in June 2019, 40 significant regulatory actions in June 2018, and 18 significant regulatory actions in June 2017. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 47 significant regulatory actions each June.
OIRA has reviewed a total of 290 significant rules so far in 2020. The agency reviewed a total of 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.
As of July 3, 2020, OIRA’s website listed 138 regulatory actions under review.
OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.


Signatures submitted for Ranked-Choice Voting and “Right to Repair” initiatives before Massachusetts signature deadline on July 1

The second round of 13,374 signatures needed to qualify for the Massachusetts ballot in November was due July 1. Proponents of the Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative submitted over 25,000 unverified signatures, and proponents of the “Right to Repair” Initiative submitted over 26,000 unverified signatures.
The Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative, sponsored by Voter Choice Massachusetts, would enact ranked-choice voting (RCV) for primary and general elections for state executive officials, state legislators, federal congressional representatives, and certain other offices. As of 2019, one state (Maine) had implemented RCV at the state level. Nine states contained jurisdictions that had implemented RCV at some level. Another four states contained jurisdictions that had adopted but not yet implemented RCV in local elections. If the Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative qualifies for the ballot, it will be the first statewide initiative that did so through the collection of electronic signatures, which were ruled permissible after the campaigns behind four circulating petitions settled a lawsuit with state officials over the use of electronic signatures.
The Massachusetts “Right to Repair” Initiative, sponsored by Right to Repair Massachusetts, would give motor vehicle owners and independent repair facilities access to mechanical data in a vehicle’s on-board diagnostics or telematics system. Tommy Hickey, the director of the campaign, said, “Our independent shops are increasingly facing the prospect of having limited or no access to diagnostic and repair information now that automakers are restricting access through rapidly expanding wireless technologies in vehicles not covered under current law.”
Sponsors of two other initiatives—the Nursing Homes Medicaid Ratemaking Initiative and the Beer and Wine in Food Stores Initiative—did not submit signatures before the July 1 deadline.
The Massachusetts Senior Coalition, which sponsored the Nursing Homes Medicaid Ratemaking Initiative, cited the coronavirus as the cause for not being able to collect the required signatures. The campaign said, “There is no doubt that this outcome was affected by the unique and difficult circumstances under which we were forced to collect signatures.”
On June 28, Cumberland Farms, the sponsor of the Beer and Wine in Food Stores Initiative, announced that it would be suspending its campaign. Matt Durand, chairman of the ballot question committee and the head of public policy at Cumberland Farms, said, “It’s become clear that leading an eight-figure ballot measure campaign is not a prudent course of action at this particular moment in history. Make no mistake: the issue of safe and fair competition in the beverage alcohol marketplace remains a top legislative priority for Cumberland Farms and other food stores, just as it remains an important question of public policy for this Commonwealth.” Cumberland Farms said it would try to put the initiative on the 2022 ballot.
The power of initiative is indirect in Massachusetts, which means the Massachusetts General Court must consider any successful initiative proposals. Of the 10 initiatives cleared for circulation in September 2019, four initiative campaigns submitted the first round of 80,239 signatures on November 20, 2019. The Massachusetts General Court did not act on any of the indirect initiatives before the May 5, 2020 deadline, so the campaigns needed to collect a second round of 13,374 signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Between 1996 and 2018, about 54 percent (21 of 39) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots in Massachusetts were approved, and about 46 percent (18 of 39) were defeated.
Ballotpedia has tracked 25 other initiative campaigns that suspended signature gathering activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, 15 lawsuits over signature deadlines and requirements, and three other initiative campaigns that have delayed their efforts to 2022.
Additional reading:


Signatures filed for Arizona ballot initiative designed to reduce prison sentences for persons convicted of non-dangerous offenses

The campaign Arizonans for Second Chances, Rehabilitation, and Public Safety (Second Chances Arizona) reported filing 397,291 signatures for a ballot initiative designed to reduce prison sentences for persons convicted of non-dangerous offenses and expand rehabilitative programs. At least 237,645 (about 59.8 percent) of the submitted signatures need to be valid for the initiative to go before voters on November 3, 2020.
The ballot initiative would define certain crimes as non-dangerous offenses, such as non-violent drug crimes. The ballot initiative would expand earned release credits for persons imprisoned for non-dangerous offenses; allow judges to impose sentences for non-dangerous offenses that are less than prescribed sentencing ranges and terms found in state code; and exclude those convicted of non-dangerous offenses from the process of charging a person as a repeat offender for multiple offenses at a single trial. The ballot initiative would also establish a Victim and First Responder Support Services Fund.
Through March 31, 2020, Second Chances Arizona received $1.27 million, with 99.8 percent from Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ). ASJ is a project of Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides grants to progressive charities and organizations. Along with ASJ, the ACLU of Arizona, American Conservative Union, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Arizona, and FWD.us were involved in crafting the ballot initiative.
Roopali Desai, a lawyer who worked on the developing the proposal, said, “The idea here is that we’re wanting to have people in prison for long enough where it has a deterrent effect, but not so long that it breaks people to the point where they can’t reenter into society. I think voters really understand that, and they want people to have second chances.”
The process of verifying signatures could take until August 26, 2020. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has until July 31 to remove ineligible petition sheets. Counties then have until August 21, 2020, to conduct random samples. Hobbs will then have until August 26 to aggregate the random samples and announce whether the initiative will appear on the ballot.
Additional reading:


Signatures filed for Arizona ‘Invest in Ed’ initiative, which would enact an income tax surcharge for education funding

The campaign Invest in Education reported filing more than 435,000 signatures for a ballot initiative in Arizona to enact a 3.5 percent income tax, in addition to existing income taxes, on income above $250,000 (single filing) or $500,000 (joint filing). The initiative would distribute the revenue to teacher and classroom support staff salaries, teacher mentoring and retention programs, career and technical education programs, and the Arizona Teachers Academy. At least 237,645 (about 54.6 percent) of the submitted signatures need to be valid for the initiative to go before voters on November 3, 2020.
Invest in Education raised $956,338 through March 31, 2020, according to the most recent campaign finance report. The deadline for the next scheduled reports is July 15, 2020. Stand for Children, an organization that advocates for public education funding, provided $726,148 to Invest in Education. Amber Gould, a high school teacher and state director of the National Education Association, is chairperson of the campaign.
In 2018, Invest in Education collected signatures for a similar ballot initiative, which was certified for the ballot as Proposition 207. The Arizona Supreme Court removed Proposition 207 from the ballot on August 29, 2018, in a 5-2 opinion. Justices ruled that the petitions should have used the words percentage points, rather than the percent symbol to describe the tax increases, and stated that income tax brackets would no longer be adjusted for inflation. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry opposed the effort in 2018, contributing $911,812 to the committee opposing Proposition 207.
The process of verifying signatures could take until August 26, 2020. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has until July 31 to remove ineligible petition sheets. Counties then have until August 21, 2020, to conduct random samples. Hobbs will then have until August 26 to aggregate the random samples and announce whether the initiative will appear on the ballot.
Additional reading:


Signatures filed for Arizona ballot initiative on hospital worker minimum wage and new health insurance regulations

The campaign Healthcare Rising AZ reported filing 425,000 signatures for a ballot initiative to establish a minimum wage for hospital workers and enact several changes to healthcare insurance regulations. At least 237,645 (about 55.9 percent) of the submitted signatures need to be valid for the initiative to go before voters on November 3, 2020.
The ballot initiative would establish a minimum wage for direct care hospital workers, including nurses, aides, technicians, janitorial and housekeeping staff, food service workers, and non-managerial administrative staff. The minimum wage for hospital workers would increase 5 percent from the previous year over the course of four years, leveling out at $14.59 per hour.
The ballot initiative would enact several changes to healthcare insurance regulations, including prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions under state law, providing the factors that insurance companies must use to determine premium rates, and prohibiting what the initiative calls surprise out-of-network bills, among other changes. The ballot initiative would also require private hospitals to meet national standards regarding hospital-acquired infections and empower the Arizona Department of Health Services to fine hospitals that do not meet those standards.
Healthcare Rising AZ has the support of the SEIU-UHW West, a labor union for healthcare workers that is based in California. Through March 31, the SEIU-UHW West and affiliated political committees have provided the campaign with $3.22 million. Sean Wherley, a spokesperson for the SEIU-UHW West, said, “SEIU-UHW’s goals are to help people in Arizona build Healthcare Rising Arizona to advocate for better and more affordable healthcare in the state and pass the ballot initiative.” Healthcare Rising AZ chairperson Jenny David, who is a registered nurse, said the campaign reached out to SEIU-UHW West about supporting the ballot initiative. David described the ballot initiative saying, “This package of improvements will fix a number of major problems in our state’s health care system to ensure that everyone can get the affordable coverage and safe care they need. These are sensible, important changes that we need to protect ourselves and ensure quality care.”
Opponents include the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. Ann-Marie Alameddin, the association’s CEO, stated, “This California-based union [SEIU-UHW West], famous for picketing hospitals, is asking Arizonans to vote for an initiative that won’t improve their health care and will end up costing them more. Moreover, it has a track record of using ballot initiatives not to improve health care in Arizona but to leverage its bargaining position with California hospitals.”
In 2020, the SEIU-UHW West is also supporting California Proposition 23, which would implement requirements for staffing, data reporting, and closures at dialysis clinics.
The process of verifying signatures could take until August 26, 2020. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has until July 31 to remove ineligible petition sheets. Counties then have until August 21, 2020, to conduct random samples. Hobbs will then have until August 26 to aggregate the random samples and announce whether the initiative will appear on the ballot.
Additional reading:


Campaign behind Arizona marijuana legalization ballot initiative files signatures for 2020 ballot

On July 1, the campaign Smart and Safe Arizona reported filing 420,000 signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona. At least 237,645 (about 56.6 percent) of the submitted signatures need to be valid.
The process of verifying signatures could take until August 26, 2020. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) has until July 31, 2020, to remove ineligible petition sheets. Counties then have until August 21, 2020, to conduct random samples. Hobbs will then have until August 26 to aggregate the random samples and announce whether the initiative will appear on the ballot.
The ballot initiative would legalize the possession, use, and sale of marijuana and would include a six-plant home-grow provision. The ballot initiative would provide local governments with the power to ban marijuana facilities and testing centers and give local control over elements of regulation, zoning, and licensing. Smart and Safe Arizona also included a provision to expunge some marijuana-related convictions.
In 2016, 51.3 percent of voters rejected a ballot initiative, titled Arizona Proposition 205, that would have legalized marijuana. One of the differences between Proposition 205 and this year’s ballot initiative is the proposed regulatory structure. Whereas Proposition 205 would have established a new government agency, the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control, Smart and Safe Arizona’s proposal would make the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services responsible for adopting rules to regulate marijuana. The excise tax on marijuana sales is also 1 percentage point higher—16%—under this year’s proposal.
Smart and Safe Arizona raised $2.77 million through the most recent campaign finance filings on March 31. The deadline for the next scheduled reports is July 15, 2020. Harvest Enterprises, which is a marijuana business based in Tempe, contributed $1.03 million to Smart and Safe Arizona. Ballotpedia has not identified political action committees opposing the ballot initiative as of July 2. In 2016, opponents raised $6.37 million in their effort to defeat Proposition 205, while supporters raised $6.55 million.
Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Except in Illinois and Vermont, marijuana was legalized through the ballot initiative process.
Going into July, New Jersey and South Dakota were scheduled to vote on ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana in November. Signatures have also been submitted for a legalization initiative in Montana.


Congressional filing period ends in Guam

On June 30, the filing deadline passed to run for U.S. Congress in Guam. The U.S. territory of Guam is represented in Congress by one at-large, non-voting member who is elected every two years. Guam’s current delegate is Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D), who was first elected in 2018.
Rep. San Nicolas and two challengers filed for the seat. One, Robert Underwood, will be on the ballot with San Nicolas in the Democratic primary on August 29. William Castro is the other challenger, and as the only Republican in the race, he will automatically advance to the general election on November 3 and face the winner of the Democratic primary.
The origin of non-voting delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives dates back to the Continental Congress and the establishment of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. Many territories would go on to become states, with Alaska and Hawaii being the most recent to do so in 1959. At that time, Puerto Rico was the only territory left with representation in Congress. Guam gained the right to elect a congressional delegate in 1972. Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands also elect non-voting delegates to Congress.


Bitnami