Welcome to the Thursday, September 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Four more states implement universal indoor mask requirements
- Redistricting Roundup: Colorado redistricting commission releases new proposed congressional maps
- MA attorney general clears 17 ballot initiatives for signature gathering
Four additional states implement universal indoor mask requirements
In the past 30 days, four states—Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington—have implemented new indoor mask requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. All four states are Democratic trifectas with Democrats holding the governorship and majorities in the state senate and state house.
- In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced the universal indoor mask requirement on Aug. 26, and the policy took effect on Aug. 30. Illinois had previously lifted its mask requirement, which lasted 407 days between May 1, 2020, and June 11, 2021.
- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on Aug. 11 and an outdoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on Aug. 24. The orders took effect on Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, respectively. Oregon had previously lifted its mask requirement, which lasted for 365 days between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
- On Aug. 17, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) also announced an indoor mask requirement for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. It took effect on Aug. 20. Previously, New Mexico had an indoor mask requirement in place only for unvaccinated individuals. It had lifted the requirement for vaccinated individuals on May 14, 2021
- In Washington, an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals took effect on Aug. 23. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced the policy on Aug. 18. The requirement does not apply to small gatherings or office environments where everyone is vaccinated and interaction with the public is rare or while working alone. Inslee previously lifted the indoor mask requirement for vaccinated individuals on May 13, 2021.
Across the country, three states currently have statewide mask orders for unvaccinated individuals, and seven states have statewide mask orders for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. All 10 of the states have Democratic governors.
In total, 39 states have issued statewide mask requirements. Thirty-two states—16 states with Republican governors and 16 states with Democratic governors—have allowed statewide orders to expire. Three states—Louisiana, Oregon, and Illinois—allowed a statewide order to fully expire and later reinstated a mask order.
Redistricting Roundup: Colorado redistricting commission releases new proposed congressional maps
Colorado: The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commission staff released a proposed congressional district map on Sept. 3. This is the first proposed map the commission released since the U.S. Census Bureau distributed block-level data from the 2020 census to states on Aug. 12. The commission is holding public hearings about the newly released maps during the week of Sept. 7.
The Colorado Supreme Court previously ordered on July 26 that the Commission submit final congressional redistricting plans for approval no later than Oct. 1. Colorado was apportioned eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census—a net gain of one seat for the state.
Connecticut: The Connecticut General Assembly Reapportionment Committee will not create congressional and state legislative district maps by the state’s constitutional deadline of Sept. 15, according to The CT Mirror. If the deadline is not met, redistricting in Connecticut will be decided by a nine-member backup commission consisting of eight members appointed by the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the legislature and a ninth member selected by the eight appointed commission members. Maps determined by the backup commission are not subject to legislative approval. Connecticut previously used this process in 2011 after the committee did not meet the deadline that year.
Iowa: The Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission announced it would release the first draft of proposed state legislative district maps on Sept. 16. The Iowa Constitution states that the Iowa Supreme Court has responsibility for legislative redistricting if the general assembly doesn’t enact new maps before Sept. 15. In April, the Iowa Supreme Court released a statement saying that “the supreme court tentatively plans to meet its constitutional responsibility by implementing a process which permits, to the extent possible, the redistricting framework…to proceed after September 15.”
Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Sept. 7 that he was calling a special session of the state legislature to address redistricting and other issues beginning Sept. 20.
Two Democratic state senators filed a lawsuit in federal district court on Sept. 1 arguing that the legislature cannot legally redraw district maps during a special session since the Texas Constitution requires lawmakers to begin the process after the “first regular session after the publication of each United States decennial census.” The lawsuit asks the court to draw interim maps until the state’s next regular legislative session in January 2023.
MA attorney general clears 17 ballot initiatives for signature gathering
On Sept. 1, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) announced that 17 ballot initiatives of the 30 filed were cleared for signature gathering. The 17 initiatives included 16 initiated state statutes aiming for the 2022 ballot and one initiated constitutional amendment that would appear on the 2024 ballot.
The initiatives cleared for signature gathering address the following issues:
- Changes to alcohol retail licensing,
- Compensation of chief executive officers of hospitals,
- Hospital operating margin limits,
- App-based drivers’ employment classification,
- Voter identification,
- Hate crimes against first responders,
- Commercial retail of fireworks,
- Whale and sea turtle safe fishing gear,
- Gasoline supply,
- Sale of discounted alcoholic beverages,
- Corporate tax disclosures,
- Right to counsel in eviction proceedings,
- Tax credits for individuals who buy zero-emission vehicles, home heating systems, and home solar-powered electricity, and
- No-excuse absentee voting.
In Massachusetts, the number of signatures required to qualify an indirect initiated state statute for the ballot is equal to 3.5% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. No more than one-quarter of the verified signatures on any petition can come from a single county. The process for initiated state statutes in Massachusetts is indirect, which means the legislature has a chance to approve initiatives for which enough signatures are collected without the measure going to the voters. In Massachusetts, signatures for initiated state statutes are collected in two rounds.
The deadline to submit the first round of signatures to the secretary of state is Dec. 1, 2021. Prior to submitting signatures to the secretary of state, the signatures need to be submitted to local registrars by Nov. 17, 2021. If the legislature does not adopt the proposed law by May 4, 2022, petitioners then have until July 6, 2022, to request additional petition forms and submit the second round of signatures.
Proposed constitutional amendments have just one round of signature gathering with the same requirement and deadline as the first round for statutes. If enough signatures are submitted by the deadline, the initiative goes to the legislature, where 25% of all legislators, with senators and representatives voting jointly, must approve the amendment in two successive sessions. If this requirement is met, the initiative goes on the ballot at the next general election. Because of this unique requirement, the earliest an initiated constitutional amendment can reach the ballot is two years following signature submission.
Between 1996 and 2020, an average of three measures appeared on the ballot in Massachusetts during even-numbered election years. About 54% (22 of 41) of the total number of measures that appeared on statewide ballots were approved, and about 46% (19 of 41) were defeated.