By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Redistricting news from Florida and Kansas
- Arizona Supreme Court rules against veto referendum challenging state income law
- No Democrats file for South Dakota’s U.S. House seat for second election cycle
Redistricting news from Florida and Kansas
We’re back with another rundown of the latest redistricting news, this time with updates from Florida and Kansas. First, a reminder of where redistricting stands in the final week of April.
Congressional redistricting has been completed for 89.4% of U.S. House districts. State legislative redistricting has been completed for 94.6% of Senate seats and 96.3% of House seats.
On April 22, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed Florida’s new congressional map into law. The Florida Senate passed the map in a 24-15 vote on April 20. The House approved the map 68-34 on April 21.
This was the second congressional map the state legislature approved. DeSantis vetoed the first version on March 29. Republican leaders said on April 11 they would wait to receive a map from DeSantis, which he proposed April 13.
Florida Politics’s Jacob Ogles wrote, “The most controversial change DeSantis made in his map, this new CD 4 really stands in as the replacement to the Lawson seat. […] The Black population in Jacksonville gets cleaved in half by the St. Johns River after DeSantis vetoed a map drawn by the Florida House that created a Duval-only Black seat.” When DeSantis vetoed the initial map bill, he wrote, “Congressional District 5 [Lawson’s district] in both the primary and secondary maps enacted by the Legislature violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it assigns voters primarily on the basis of race but is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest.”
Florida was apportioned 28 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, one more than it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Florida’s 2022 congressional elections.
On April 25, Wyandotte County District Court Judge Bill Klapper overturned Kansas’ enacted congressional map. Klapper ruled the map was racially and politically gerrymandered, violating the state constitution.
Klapper’s said, “The Court has no difficulty finding, as a factual matter, that Ad Astra 2 is an intentional, effective pro-Republican gerrymander that systemically dilutes the votes of Democratic Kansans.” Klapper also said the state’s new district boundaries “intentionally and effectively dilutes minority votes in violation of the Kansas Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.”
Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed the legislature’s original congressional map on Feb. 3, only for the House and Senate to vote to override her veto. The House overrode Kelly’s veto 85-37. Eighty-five Republicans voted to override the veto. Thirty-six Democrats and one Republican voted to sustain the veto. The Senate voted along party lines, overriding the veto 27-11.. In addition to Kansas, state legislatures have also overridden gubernatorial vetoes of redistricting maps in Kentucky and Maryland. There are 24 state legislatures where one party has a veto-proof majority in both chambers.
On April 26, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) said he would appeal Klapper’s ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court. Schmidt said, “Today’s Wyandotte County District Court decision may be the first redistricting case ever to make use of folk-song lyrics, the Buddha, and personal memories from the judge’s childhood. The state is promptly appealing.” The Kansas City Star’s Jonathan Shorman and Katie Bernard wrote, “The Supreme Court’s review is likely to occur on a highly accelerated timeline. While lawsuits can often last years, Kansas faces multiple looming election-related deadlines, including the June 1 candidate filing cutoff and the Aug. 2 primary election.”
Kansas was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census.
Arizona Supreme Court rules against veto referendum challenging state income law
Eighty-four statewide ballot measures have been certified for the ballot in 32 states for elections in 2022. Today, let’s look at one measure that, as of last week, won’t appear on the ballot in Arizona.
On April 21, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled against a veto referendum to repeal two sections of a June 2021 omnibus appropriations bill that Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law. Sections 13 and 15 of Senate Bill 1828 would reduce the number of income tax brackets from four (ranging from 2.59% to 4.50%) to two (2.55% and 2.98%), and would create a single 2.50% rate if state revenue exceeds a certain amount.
The group Invest In Arizona filed the veto referendum in July 2021, shortly after SB1828 was signed into law. The Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children both backed the campaign. In July, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club challenged the veto referendum as unconstitutional in the Maricopa County Superior Court.
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club argued the Arizona Constitution prohibited veto referendums against bills that provide for support and maintenance of state government and that tax bills fall under this umbrella. Lawyers for the initiative campaign argued that tax decreases do not provide for support and maintenance of state government and so can’t be referred to voters through the veto referendum process.
On Dec. 22, 2021, Maricopa Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled the veto referendum was constitutional. Cooper said that because the veto referendum would leave the state with additional funds, rather than less, it would not hinder the support and maintenance of state government.
On April 21, 2022, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled voters cannot determine the flat tax proposal through the ballot, reversing Cooper’s ruling. The court found that sections 13 and 15 of SB1828 do fall in the support and maintenance exception of the Arizona Constitution. As a result, the referendum has been taken off the ballot, and SB1828 will go into effect in January 2025.
Scot Mussi, the president of Arizona Free Enterprise Club, said the ruling was a “big win for taxpayers in our state”. David Lujan, executive director and CEO of the Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, argued that the flat tax would devastate Arizona’s future, and that it takes away the voice of voters.
There are currently four measures certified for the Arizona ballot.
No Democrats file for South Dakota’s U.S. House seat for second election cycle
Two candidates filed to run for South Dakota’s one U.S. House seat in 2022. The filing deadline was March 29. This is the fewest number of candidates to file for the seat since 2016, when there were also two candidates. Three candidates ran for the seat in 2020, and six candidates ran in 2018.
Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:
- This is the second election cycle in a row with no Democratic House candidate on the ballot.
- Because it has only one U.S. House seat, South Dakota did not need to redistrict after the 2020 census.
- Rep. Dusty Johnson (R) is running for re-election. He was elected in 2018 when Kristi Noem (R) retired to run for governor.
The primary election will take place on June 7, making South Dakota the 20th state to hold a primary election in 2022. The winner of the Republican primary will face no Democratic Party opposition in the general election, so the seat will not change party hands.