Welcome to the Thursday, January 18, Brew.
By: Juan Garcia de Paredes
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Ballotpedia’s new dashboard is your go-to resource for information about police CBAs
- Five candidates are running in the March 5 Republican primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
- Alaska voters may decide on a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave initiative in 2024
Ballotpedia’s new dashboard is your go-to resource for information about police collective bargaining agreements
Ballotpedia today announced the launch of its Police Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) Dashboard. This new resource allows users to find timely, reliable, non-partisan information on police collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in all 50 states and the 100 most populated cities in the U.S.
A police CBA is a contract between a state, city, or other governing entity and a police union to establish certain rights, protections, and provisions for law enforcement officers. CBAs can determine a variety of policing policies and procedures, such as the arbitration process, officer training standards, and wages and benefits.
CBAs are a valuable tool for understanding state and local approaches to police discipline, accountability, and transparency. Ballotpedia’s CBA Dashboard allows users to easily navigate CBA provisions, and compare and contrast CBAs across cities and states.
The data is organized through a series of more than 30 questions on topics such as community oversight, investigations, union authority, and more. Users can browse and compare police CBAs through one or more of the following search fields:
- Question and topic
- State and/or city
- Filter according to whether a CBA addresses a certain question or topic
- Search by text
Interested in learning more about police CBAs or Ballotpedia’s new dashboard? Check out the resources below:
- CBA Dashboard episode of Ballotpedia’s podcast, “On the Ballot” – An in-depth look at our new tool–how it works, some of the big picture data, and why we created it
- CBA Dashboard introductory video tutorial
- CBA Learning Journey – This free email series is your guide to understanding police collective bargaining agreements and takeaways from Ballotpedia’s research on police CBAs in the 50 states and top 100 U.S. cities.
Five candidates are running in the March 5 Republican primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
In four days, New Hampshire Republicans will decide the country’s second presidential nominating contest, continuing the busy stretch of presidential and statewide primaries that will last through September.
Throughout the year, we’ll bring you coverage of the most compelling primaries—the battleground elections we expect to have a meaningful effect on the balance of power in governments or to be particularly competitive.
Today, we’re looking at the March 5 Republican Primary for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, where five candidates, including the incumbent, are running.
Incumbent Tony Gonzales, Victor Avila, Julie Clark, and Brandon Herrera lead in fundraising, endorsements, and media attention.
In March 2023, the Republican Party of Texas censured Gonzales, saying his votes in support of same-sex marriage and for additional firearms restrictions violated the party’s principles. The resolution also said Gonzales’ lack of support for a bill that would have placed additional limits on individuals in the country without legal permission violated party principles. Gonzales was the first person Texas Republicans censured since then-Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R) ahead of the 2018 legislative primaries.
Following Gonzales’ censure, his campaign said: “Today, like every day, Congressman Tony Gonzales went to work on behalf of the people of TX-23…The Republican Party of Texas would be wise to follow his lead and do some actual work.” In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Gonzales said, “The reality is I’ve taken almost 1,400 votes, and the bulk of those have been with the Republican Party.”
After the party censured Gonzales, members of the House Freedom Caucus met separately with Avila, Clark, and Herrera to, according to Punchbowl News, plot “behind the scenes to topple [Gonzales].” The National Republican Congressional Committee said it would continue to support Gonzales.
Gonzales, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, was first elected in 2020. Gonzales has focused on immigration, law enforcement, and economic issues. On border security, Gonzales said he authored legislation to “end catch-and-release[,] combat abuses of America’s asylum laws[, and] increase funding for local law enforcement along the border.”
Avila is a former law enforcement agent who survived a drug cartel ambush in Mexico in 2011. Avila said “keeping the southern border and our community safe has been a lifelong commitment” of his. Avila said he is “the political outsider and battle-tested leader we can rely on to follow through on his promises and deliver real results”.
Clark, a businesswoman, chaired the Medina County Republican Party when it introduced the resolution to censure Gonzales. She said Gonzales is among the “Republicans in name only…[Gonzales] voted for taxpayer funded abortions and even voted against securing our border with a wall.”
Herrera is a firearms manufacturer and host of a YouTube channel focused on firearms-related content. Herrera said he is running because Gonzales had not lived up to his supporters’ values during his time in office.
As of Jan. 4, Gonzales had raised $2.1 million, followed by Clark with $400,000 (including $380,000 in self-funding), Herrera with $320,000, and Avila with $54,000.
Francisco Lopez (R) is also running in the primary.
If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a May 28 runoff.
As of Jan. 16, The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball each rated the general election Solid/Safe Republican. Gonzales was re-elected in 2022 56%-39%. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) defeated Joe Biden (D) 53% to 46% in the district.
Alaska voters may decide on a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave initiative in 2024
On Jan. 10, the Better Jobs for Alaska campaign submitted more than 41,000 signatures for an initiative that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The initiative, which may appear on the November 2024 general election ballot, would:
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 1, 2027.
- Allow employees to accrue a certain amount of hours of paid sick leave per year depending on how many employees their employer has. If the person’s employer has 15 or more employees, the employee could accrue up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year, and if the person’s employer has less than 15 employees, the employee could accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
- Prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees who refuse to attend employer-sponsored meetings regarding religious or political matters.
The current minimum wage in Alaska is $11.73, and the state increased its minimum wage at the beginning of the year.
From 1996 to 2022, 28 minimum wage increase measures were on the ballot. Voters approved 26 (92.86%) and rejected two (7.14%). The last time voters rejected a minimum wage increase measure was in 1996, when measures were defeated in Missouri and Montana.
In 2014, Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 3 69.4%-30.7%. It raised the minimum wage from $7.75 per hour to $9.75 over three years. That initiative also included mechanisms to raise the wage based either on inflation, or to remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater.
Backers need to gather 26,705 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. In Alaska, the number of signatures required for an indirect initiated state statute is equal to 10% of the votes cast in the preceding gubernatorial election. Alaska also has a signature distribution requirement, which requires that signatures equal to 7% of the vote in the last general election must be collected in each of three-fourths of the 40 Alaska House of Representatives districts.
If the lieutenant governor certifies the initiative, it will go to the Alaska State Legislature. The Legislature can either approve the initiative or equivalent legislation, or let it go to the ballot for voters to decide.
A minimum wage increase measure may appear on the 2024 ballot in six other states—California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma.