A dose of redistricting updates

Ballotpedia's Daily Brew

Redistricting review: Sixth Circuit rules Ohio has standing to sue Census Bureau over delayed data 

In last week‘s redistricting review, I wrote about a court case in Ohio concerning the Census Bureau’s timeline for releasing redistricting data. This week—on May 18—a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Ohio has standing to sue U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo (D) over the Census Bureau’s plan to release redistricting data to the states by Sept. 30 instead of the April 1 deadline set forth in federal statutes. 

The Sixth Circuit found that Ohio meets all three requirements for standing to bring a lawsuit: “First, Ohio suffered (and continues to suffer) an informational injury because the Secretary failed to deliver Ohio’s data as the Census Act requires. Second, the injury is traceable to the Secretary because Ohio’s informational injury is the direct result of the Secretary’s failure to produce the required data. And third, Ohio’s injury is redressable.” 

The panel unanimously remanded the case to the district court for further consideration. The three judges on the panel were Martha Daughtrey (a Bill Clinton (D) appointee), David McKeague (a George W. Bush (R) appointee), and Amul Thapar (a Donald Trump (R) appointee). 

How we got here: The state filed its lawsuit (Ohio v. Coggins) against the Census Bureau on Feb. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The state asked that the court “issue an injunction either prohibiting the defendants from delaying the release of Ohio’s redistricting data beyond March 31, 2021, or else requiring the defendants to provide the State with Ohio’s population data at the earliest date this Court deems equitable.” Judge Thomas Rose, a George W. Bush (R) appointee, dismissed the lawsuit on March 24, stating Ohio was requesting an order that “pretends that the Census Bureau could provide census-based redistricting data by March 31, 2021. The Court cannot ‘order a party to jump higher, run faster, or lift more than she is physically capable.’” The state appealed Rose’s decision to the Sixth Circuit, which heard oral argument on May 12. 

A similar lawsuit is pending in Alabama.

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Pennsylvania local primary election results

Yesterday, I briefed you on the statewide ballot measure results following the Pennsylvania primary elections. A lot happened on Tuesday, so let’s dig a little deeper into the results.

Pittsburgh mayoral election

Edward Gainey defeated incumbent Bill Peduto, Tony Moreno, and Michael Thompson in the Democratic primary. No Republicans filed to run in the race. Unless a write-in candidate enters, Gainey will run unopposed in the Nov. 2 general election. Gainey has represented District 24 in the state House since 2013. Peduto was first elected mayor in 2013. He was re-elected in 2017 after winning 68.9% of the vote in the Democratic primary.

Between 2017 and 2020, Ballotpedia tracked 46 incumbent mayors who lost their re-election bids. 

Local ballot measures

In Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, voters approved a ballot initiative to prohibit solitary confinement in the county jail. As of 12:40 AM EST on May 19, the ballot initiative received 69.5% of the vote. In Pittsburgh, which is also located in Allegheny County, voters approved a ballot initiative to prohibit the police from executing warrants without knocking or announcing themselves. It received 81.6% of the vote.

On the eastern side of the state, in Philadelphia, voters approved a charter amendment to provide for an expanded Board of License Inspection Review that can hear and decide cases in three-member panels. The ballot measure received 76.7% of the vote.

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Nevada legislature refers minimum wage amendment to 2022 ballot

It has been a busy spring for statewide ballot measures. In November 2022, Nevada voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would increase the minimum wage for all employees to $12 by 2024. 

In 2019, the legislature passed legislation enacting a minimum wage increase beginning in 2020 at a rate of $8.00 for employees that received health benefits and $9.00 for those who did not. The rate is set to increase incrementally until 2024, when it reaches $11 and $12 for the respective employee tiers. As of January 2021, the minimum wage in Nevada was $8.75 for employees with health benefits, and $9.75 for employees without health benefits. The average state minimum wage in 2021 is about $9.59, up from $9.17 in 2020. 

The constitutional amendment would also remove annual inflation adjustments to the minimum wage—currently capped at 3% of the prior year’s rate—and allow the legislature to pass a minimum wage law setting the rate higher than the constitutionally mandated minimum.

To refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot in Nevada, a majority vote is required in two successive sessions of the state legislature. The legislature passed the proposal in 2019 and 2021. All “yes” votes came from Democrats and all “no” votes came from Republicans with one exception: Last week, Republican state Sen. Keith Pickard joined Democrats in voting “yes.”

So far, 42 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot across 21 states.

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