Welcome to the Wednesday, July 5, Brew.
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Voters decided 10 affirmative action-related ballot measures since 1996, opposing the practice eight times, and supporting it twice
- President Joe Biden issued two executive orders in June, bringing his total to 117
- Percentage of term-limited legislators in Louisiana drops from decade-high rate in 2019
Voters decided 10 affirmative action-related ballot measures since 1996, opposing the practice eight times, and supporting it twice
In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard, let’s look back at affirmative action as it has appeared in various ballot measures over the years.
Voters in seven states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington—have decided 10 ballot measures regarding affirmative action policies over the past three decades.
Voters decided against certain affirmative action policies eight times, either enacting prohibitions or rejecting measures that would have expanded its use. California was the first, prohibiting the practice in 1996, and the most recent, rejecting a measure that would have repealed the existing prohibition in 2020.
Voters decided in favor of affirmative action policies twice, in both cases defeating measures that would have prohibited certain aspects of such policies. These include one measure in California and another in Colorado.
In addition to Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington, above, Florida, Idaho, and New Hampshire had also already enacted laws prohibiting race-based affirmative action in college admissions.
This leaves 41 states and colleges therein directly affected by last week’s ruling, which held that the affirmative action admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs ruling last year, overturning Roe v. Wade and sending abortion regulations back to each state, we saw a record-setting six abortion-related measures on the ballot in 2022:
- Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont established constitutional rights to abortions;
- Voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected measures that would have allowed the state to prohibit abortions; and,
- Voters in Montana rejected a measure called the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.
Currently, there is one affirmative action-related measure pending in Arizona.
Earlier this year, state senators there approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting any governmental entity from implementing an affirmative action policy regarding hiring, promoting, or admitting applicants to a school or position of employment. If it receives a majority vote in the state House, it will appear on the 2024 ballot.
We’ll keep you posted on future measures regarding affirmative action here in the Brew and the page linked below.
President Joe Biden issued two executive orders in June, bringing his total to 117
President Joe Biden (D) issued two executive orders in June, bringing his total to 117 since taking office in January 2021.
Looking at recent presidencies, Biden has the third-highest average at 48 executive orders per year, behind Ronald Reagan (R) with 48 and Donald Trump (R) with 55.
A century ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a president to issue an average of more than 200 executive orders every year.
Here’s a look at the most recent executive orders:
- June 9: Directs federal agencies to develop and implement plans to recruit, train, and retain military and veteran spouses, military caregivers, and survivors with a focus on telework for those who periodically relocate.
- June 23: Directs agencies to ensure insurance providers are covering access to contraception, a requirement under the Affordable Care Act. It also directs agencies to consider other ways to increase access to contraception.
The most executive orders Biden issued in one month was 25 in January 2021, his first month in office. Biden has issued at least one executive order every month since, apart from November 2022 and January 2023.
Since the country’s founding, Franklin Roosevelt (D) issued the most executive orders on average at 307 per year.
William Henry Harrison (Whig) issued no executive orders during his one month in office.
Three presidents issued only one executive order during their respective terms: John Adams (Federalist), James Madison (Democratic-Republican), and James Monroe (Democratic-Republican).
Percentage of term-limited legislators in Louisiana drops from decade-high rate in 2019
Louisiana’s filing deadline for this year’s legislative elections is still a month away. But we already know that 22 lawmakers—six Democrats and 16 Republicans—will not return to office because they have reached their term limits.
Of the four states holding state legislative elections this year, Louisiana is the only one with term limits and one of 16 with limits nationwide.
Lawmakers are limited to three consecutive, four-year terms in a single chamber, after which they must either run in the other chamber or leave office. But a lawmaker who leaves office can later return, restarting the clock for another set of three terms.
The 22 term-limited lawmakers this year represent 15% of all 144 members in the House and Senate. This is down from 2019 when 32% of lawmakers were term-limited, a decade-high figure.
While Republicans have held majorities in both chambers heading into every election since 2011, term limits had a larger effect on Democrats in 2011 and 2015, affecting 16 and 18% of their membership in those cycles.
In 2019, that changed, and term limits began to have a larger effect on Republican officeholders, affecting 33% that year and 16% in 2023.
The drop from 2019 to 2023 is largely due to timing and the fact that most legislators who run for re-election in Louisiana tend to win.
From 2011 to 2019, only 19 legislators who ran for re-election in the state lost, with fewer than 5% of all legislators defeated in those three cycles.
When lawmakers routinely win re-election, it becomes more likely they will eventually reach their term limits unless they voluntarily retire or leave office beforehand.
That’s what happened in 2019 when a large batch of lawmakers, first elected in 2007, reached the end of their third term in office and, subsequently, their term limits.
While we know how many term-limited legislators are in Louisiana this year, there’s still a chance other legislators will also opt against re-election. But we won’t know those numbers until after the candidate filing deadline passes on Aug. 10.
We’ll check back in then to see how things are shaping up ahead of the state’s Oct. 14 primaries!