Welcome to the Monday, November 28, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Here’s what is on the ballot in Louisiana’s Dec. 10 elections
- What Democratic control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives could mean for future constitutional amendments
- Subscribe to Hall Pass to learn how the Nov. 8 elections will affect education
Here’s what is on the ballot in Louisiana’s Dec. 10 elections
Welcome back! We hope you had a restful Thanksgiving holiday.
The stretch between Thanksgiving and the new year tends to be a comparatively quiet time in politics, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Throughout December, runoffs will happen in several states (and at least one territory) to decide unresolved elections from Nov. 8, including the U.S. Senate election in Georgia and a mayoral race in Austin, Texas.
Louisiana, the subject of today’s story, will also hold general elections on Dec. 10.
Louisiana’s voting system is unique. Under the Louisiana majority-vote system, all candidates running for local, state, or federal office appear on the same primary ballot regardless of their partisan affiliations. Those primary elections happened on Nov. 8, the same day the rest of the country was voting in general elections. Louisiana candidates who won a simple majority of votes cast on that day won their elections outright. However, in races where no candidate won a majority, the top-two finishers advanced to a Dec. 10 general election.
Around 27% of the Nov. 8 primary elections within our coverage scope will be resolved in the general elections. Here’s a sample of those races.
- Louisiana Public Service Commission District 3: Two of the Commission’s five seats were up for election this year. Incumbent Lambert Boissiere III (D) and Davante Lewis (D) advanced from the Nov. 8 primary. In the primary, Boissiere received 43.2% of the vote and Lewis received 18.3%. The District 4 general election was canceled because incumbent Mike Francis won the election outright.
- Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal 2nd District: Twenty-two intermediate appellate court seats were up for election this year. Donald Johnson (D) and Hunter Green (R) advanced from the Nov. 8 primary. In the primary, Johnson received 42.7% of the vote and Green received 33.2%.
- Louisiana 19th Judicial District Court Section 2 Division G: Gail Horne Ray (D) and Steve Myers (R) advanced to the Dec. 10 special general election. In the primary, Myers received 45.2% of the vote and Ray received 33.9%.
- School board: We’re covering school board general elections in Caddo Parish Public Schools (District 7), Calcasieu Parish Public Schools (Districts 2, 14, and 15), East Baton Rouge Parish School System (District 4, 7, 8, and 9), and St. Tammany Parish Public Schools (Districts 2, 9, and 10).
Voters decided eight legislatively referred constitutional amendments on Nov. 8 (three of which passed), and they will decide three legislatively referred constitutional amendments on Dec. 10. Here’re the three:
- Amendment 1: Adds a section in the Louisiana Constitution that says, “No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state.”
- Amendment 2: Amends the constitution to require senate confirmation of State Civil Service Commission appointees.
- Amendment 3: Amends the constitution to require senate confirmation of State Police Commission appointees.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 10. The absentee/mail-in ballot request deadline is Dec. 6 for in-person or online requests. Mail requests must be received no later than Dec. 6. Early voting is available to all voters, and the window for early voting in the Dec. 10 election is from Nov. 26 through Dec. 3.
Click below to read more about Louisiana’s Dec. 10 runoff and to check your sample ballot.
What Democratic control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives could mean for future constitutional amendments
Democrats won control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the Nov. 8 election for the first time in 12 years, with 102 seats called for Democrats and 100 seats called for Republicans. One of the downstream effects of the chamber changing party control is that it could stop a number of legislatively referred constitutional amendments from reaching the ballot.
On July 8, 2022, the Republican-controlled House and Senate in Pennsylvania passed a package of five constitutional amendments.
- An amendment that would allow a political party’s candidate for governor to choose their own candidate for lieutenant governor
- An amendment that would say that constitution grants no right to an abortion
- An amendment that would require voters to present a voter ID when casting their ballots
- An amendment that would provide for the auditing of elections and election results by the Auditor General or, when the Auditor General stands for election, an independent auditor
- An amendment that would allow the legislature to pass concurrent resolutions, which the governor cannot veto, to disapprove of regulations
In a majority of states, those amendments would next appear on ballots for voters to decide in a future election. In Pennsylvania, however, the state legislature can only refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot after that amendment has received a simple majority vote in each chamber of the legislature over two successive sessions. This is known as a two-session requirement (13 states have a two-session requirement, but in four of those states, an amendment that receives a supermajority in the first round can bypass the second).
What this means is that, unlike last time, the five constitutional amendments passed in July will need to clear a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate.
Historically, the two-session requirement has made it less likely an amendment will appear on the ballot. Between 2010 and 2022, for example, 66 constitutional amendments were referred to the ballot in the 13 states that require two legislative sessions or a supermajority. But 40 constitutional amendments did not make it through the second session in these states, meaning that 37.7% of these constitutional amendments did not make the ballot because they failed during the second legislative session.
When there was a change in party control of the legislature between legislative sessions in this same time period (as happened on Nov. 8 in Pennsylvania), 79% of these constitutional amendments (11 out of 14) failed in the second legislative session. In 2015, for example, the Republican-controlled Nevada legislature approved five constitutional amendments for the first time. Democrats controlled the legislature during the next legislative session in 2017, and four of the five constitutional amendments did not even receive a floor vote. In 2009 and 2010, Democrats controlled the Wisconsin legislature and approved three constitutional amendments. Republicans controlled the legislature during the next legislative session in 2011, and none of the constitutional amendments received a floor vote.
In Pennsylvania, between 2010 and 2022, half of the 14 constitutional amendments failed in the second session.
Currently, the Pennsylvania Senate consists of 28 Republicans, 21 Democrats, and one independent. The House consists of 113 Republicans and 88 Democrats (with two vacant seats). Next year, in the new legislative session, the Senate will consist of 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats, while the 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House will consist of 102 Democrats and 100 Republicans (one seat has still not been called).
You can learn more about two-session requirements for legislatively referred constitutional amendments here, or click below to read about Pennsylvania’s proposed constitutional amendments.
Subscribe to Hall Pass to learn how the Nov. 8 elections will affect education
Hall Pass is a weekly newsletter designed to keep you informed about the conversations driving school board politics and education policy. New editions reach your inbox on Wednesday afternoons. Today, let’s take a look at a story from the Nov. 23 edition on the seven education-related ballot measures voters decided in the Nov. 8 elections.
Click here to subscribe to Hall Pass.
Voters approved six of the measures and rejected one in West Virginia. Here’re the unofficial results.
- New Mexico Constitutional Amendment 1, Land Grant Permanent Fund Distribution for Early Childhood Education Amendment: Constitutional Amendment 1 passed 70.34% to 29.66%. The amendment would increase the annual amount of money distributed from New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to public education and create a new category of spending—early childhood education. Because federal law established the fund, Congress will need to approve the part of the amendment dealing with early childhood education.
- Arizona Proposition 308, In-State Tuition for Non-Citizen Residents Measure: Proposition 308 passed 51.23% to 48.77%. Proposition 308 is a legislatively referred state statute that allows non-citizen students, except those considered to be nonresident aliens under federal law, to receive in-state college tuition under certain conditions.
- Massachusetts Question 1, Tax on Income Above $1 Million for Education and Transportation Amendment: Question 1 passed 52.02% to 47.98%. Question 1 creates an additional 4% tax on income above $1 million to fund public education, roads and bridges, and public transportation. The tax is in addition to the state’s 5% flat income tax, for a total tax rate of 9% on income above $1 million.
- West Virginia Amendment 4, Legislative Approval of the State Board of Education Rules Amendment: Voters rejected this amendment 57.86% to 42.14%. This amendment would have required the State Board of Education to submit its rules or policies to the legislature for approval, amendment, or rejection. The State Board of Education is a nine-member board with nine-year terms. The governor appoints board members and the Senate confirms them.
- Colorado Reduce Income Tax Deduction Amounts to Fund School Meals Program Measure: Voters approved this measure 56.75% to 43.25%. The measure reduces income tax deduction amounts for those earning $300,000 or more from $30,000 for single filers and $60,000 for joint filers to $12,000 for single filers and $16,000 for joint filers. The measure also creates and funds the Healthy School Meals for All Program to provide free meals to Colorado public school students.
- California Proposition 28, Art and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative: The initiative requires a minimum source of annual funding for arts education programs for K-12 public and charter schools.
- Idaho Income and Corporate Tax Changes and Education Funding Advisory Question: Voters approved this advisory question 79.86% to 20.14%. This was a non-binding question, meaning the outcome did not result in a new, changed, repealed, or rejected law or constitutional amendment. The advisory question allowed voters to indicate their support or opposition to the tax changes and education funding enacted by the state legislature.
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