Our weekly summary of state & local news highlights the three states that enacted new congressional and state legislative district maps and Delaware’s enactment of school staff vaccine or testing requirements. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the State & Local Tap.
Ballot Measures Update
Thirty-nine statewide measures have been certified for the 2021 ballot in nine states so far.
- Statewide measures for 2021 are finalized. No new measures are expected to be added to the ballot.
- 24 measures are on the Nov. 2 ballot.
- 4 measures are on the Nov. 13 ballot.
- 4 measures were on the ballot on May 18 in Pennsylvania. They were approved.
- 7 bond measures were on the ballot on March 2 in Rhode Island. They were approved.
Sixty statewide measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 29 states so far.
- No new measures were certified for the 2022 ballot last week.
States in session
Eight state legislatures— Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin— are in regular session.
Local Ballot Measures: The Week in Review
In 2021, Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage of elections in America’s 100 largest cities by population and all state capitals. This encompasses every office on the ballot in these cities, including their municipal elections, trial court elections, school board elections, and local ballot measures. Ballotpedia also covers all local recall elections, as well as all local ballot measures in California and a selection of notable local ballot measures about elections and police-related policies. Recent and upcoming local ballot measure elections are listed below:
- Oct. 5 – Alaska: Voters in Juneau will decide a 3% sales tax renewal measure.
- Oct. 12 – Nebraska: Voters in the Ralston Public Schools District will decide a $83.75 million bond issue.
Sixty-four state legislative special elections have been scheduled in 21 states so far this year. Forty-one specials have taken place already. Heading into those races, Democrats had previously controlled 18 of the seats, and Republicans previously controlled 23. One seat flipped from Democratic control to Republican control, and one seat flipped from Republican control to Democratic control.
- In special elections between 2011 and 2020, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year.
- An average of 57 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
- An average of 88 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past five odd years (2011: 94, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017: 98, 2019: 77).
Upcoming special elections include:
Raquel Terán assumes office as Arizona state senator, creates vacancy in state House
Raquel Terán (D) assumed office as the senator for District 30 in the Arizona state Senate on Sept. 28. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Terán (D) to the district on Sept. 15. The seat became vacant in August when former state Sen. Tony Navarrete (D) resigned after being arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor. Terán will serve the remainder of Navarrete’s term, which was set to expire in January 2023.
At the time she was appointed, Terán was serving her second term in the Arizona House of Representatives. Terán ran for the District 30 seat in the state Senate in 2012 and was defeated 51% to 49% by incumbent Robert Meza in the Democratic primary.
Terán’s appointment to the state Senate creates a vacancy in the state House. When a vacancy occurs in the Arizona legislature, the board of county supervisors must select a replacement. Arizona is one of seven states that fill state legislative vacancies through board of county commissioners appointment.
Ann Jennings sworn in as Virginia’s secretary of natural resources
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) appointed Ann Jennings as Virginia’s secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. Jennings was sworn in on Sept. 27.
Jennings replaces outgoing secretary Matthew Stricker, who resigned from his position in September 2021. The press release announcing Strickler’s departure stated he was leaving to pursue “new opportunities where he will continue his excellent work of protecting our nation’s resources.”
Virginia’s secretary of natural and historic resources is an appointed state executive position. The secretary heads the Department of Natural Resources and oversees five departments relating to the area’s natural and historical resources.
Three states enact new congressional, legislative district maps
Three states—Maine, Nebraska, and Oregon—enacted new congressional and legislative district boundaries this week. In all three states, the maps will take effect for the 2022 congressional and state legislative elections.
Maine: Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed legislation enacting redrawn congressional and state legislative district boundaries on Sept. 29. The Maine legislature unanimously approved the state’s new congressional and state Senate maps. The Senate unanimously approved new state House district boundaries and the Maine House approved them, 119-10. A two-thirds majority was required to approve new district boundaries.
Upon signing the new district plans, Gov. Mills released a statement saying, “I applaud Maine’s Apportionment Commission, especially its Chair, former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Donald Alexander, as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for preparing and approving new maps that fulfill our commitment to making sure Maine people are equally and fairly represented in their government. To have done so without rancor and partisanship and under a constrained timeline is something Maine people can be proud of.”
Nebraska: The Nebraska State Legislature approved congressional and state legislative redistricting maps on Sept. 30. Shortly after the legislature’s approval, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed the maps into law.
The congressional maps were approved by a 35-11 vote, with all dissenting votes coming from Democrats. All Republicans in attendance voted in favor of the map, along with four Democrats. The state legislative maps were approved by a 37-7 vote. Five of the seven dissenting votes came from Democrats, and two were cast by Republicans. Eight Democrats voted in favor of the maps, along with twenty-nine Republicans.
Following the approval of the maps, Sen. Justin Wayne (D) said: “It was a very frustrating process, but we got to a good result.” Sen. Lou Ann Linehan (R), chair of the redistricting committee, expressed approval of the maps and, regarding the possibility of partisan impasse, said she was “constantly reminded how capable Sen. Wayne is” during the negotiations.
Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed new congressional and state legislative maps into law on Sept. 27, making Oregon the first state to enact congressional maps. If the maps are not changed by the state supreme court after any possible legal challenges, this would be the third time since 1910 that Oregon’s redistricting maps were approved by the legislature and governor without alteration.
The congressional maps were approved by the state Senate, 18-6, and the state House of Representatives, 33-16. The state legislative maps were approved by the state senate, 18-11, and the House of Representatives, 31-18. The Oregonian said the map created three safe Democratic seats, one safe Republican seat, one seat that leans Democratic, and one seat that is a toss-up.
After signing the maps, Gov. Kate Brown (D) released a statement saying: “My office reviewed the maps contained in the bills passed by the Legislature after they were proposed this weekend. Redistricting is a process that necessarily involves compromise, and I appreciate the Legislature working to balance the various interests of all Oregonians.” Both the enacted congressional and legislative maps were amended after their initial proposal during the redistricting session.
House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R) criticized the maps, saying: “This is by no means over. The illegal congressional map adopted today, clearly drawn for partisan benefit, will not survive legal challenge. Political gerrymandering in Oregon is illegal and drawing congressional lines to ensure five out of six seats for your party long-term is gerrymandering.”
Sonja McCullen assumes office as judge of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals
Sonja McCullen assumed office as judge of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals on Oct. 1. Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) appointed McCullen to the court on Aug. 6, to fill the vacancy created by former judge Derrick H.M. Chan’s retirement in October 2020. The state Senate confirmed McCullen’s appointment on Aug. 27. At the time she was appointed, McCullen served as the deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu.
According to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, McCullen is the first Native Hawaiian to be appointed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in 30 years.
Judges of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals serve 10-year terms and are selected through a version of the assisted appointment method. The governor chooses a nominee from a list prepared by the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission. The governor’s choice is then subject to the advice and consent of the Hawaii State Senate.
Delaware enacts school staff vaccine or testing requirement
On Sept. 28, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced a vaccine or testing requirement for teachers, staff, contractors, and volunteers in K-12 public and private schools, effective Nov. 1.
Delaware was the eighth state to enact such a requirement. Vaccine or testing requirements have been announced in California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. Vaccine requirements, without an option for testing, have been announced in Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington. All requirements have been enacted through executive order.
Illinois’ requirement was the first to take effect on Sept. 19. Delaware’s Nov. 1 deadline will be the latest to take effect,
To read more about school policy responses to the coronavirus during the 2021-2022 academic year, click here.
Young Boozer (R) sworn in as Alabama state treasurer
Young Boozer (R) became the 41st Alabama state treasurer on Oct. 1. Governor Kay Ivey (R) appointed Boozer on Sept. 17, following the resignation of John McMillan (R), effective Sept. 30. McMillan had served as treasurer since 2019.
Boozer previously served as state treasurer from 2011 to 2019. He is the fifth Alabama state treasurer since 1819 that has served two non-consecutive terms as treasurer.
In 2021, Ballotpedia has identified 31 state executive officeholders who have left office before their term end date. Of those, seven were Republican officeholders, seven were Democrats, and 17 were nonpartisan.