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Ellen Morrissey

Ellen Morrissey is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Seven states retain statewide mask requirements

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Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed an executive order ending the statewide mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on July 6. In accordance with CDC guidelines, vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transportation and at public transportation hubs (like bus stations and airports).

Rhode Island was the only state that ended its statewide public mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between July 1 and July 15.

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. At the time of writing, 7 states had statewide mask orders. All 7 states have Democratic governors. Six of the seven states exempted fully vaccinated people from most requirements.

Of the 32 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 16 have Republican governors, and 16 have Democratic governors. Twenty-nine states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



Pennsylvania, Oregon end statewide face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between June 25 and July 1.

Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam lifted the statewide mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on June 28. In accordance with CDC guidelines, vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transportation and at public transportation hubs (like bus stations and airports).

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) ended the statewide mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on June 30. Masks are still required on public transportation, at public transportation hubs, and at medical facilities.

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. At the time of writing, 8 states had statewide mask orders. All 8 states have Democratic governors. Seven of the eight states exempted fully vaccinated people from most requirements.

Of the 31 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 16 have Republican governors, and 15 have Democratic governors. Twenty-eight states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



National Republican Congressional Committee overtakes Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in fundraising, according to June FEC filings

Six party committees have raised a combined $337 million over the first five months of the 2022 election cycle. In May, the committees raised $65 million, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. Here’s a closer look at May’s fundraising numbers:

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised $14.1 million and spent $6.1 million in May, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised $9.9 million and spent $6.0 million. So far in the 2022 election cycle, the NRCC has raised 5.0% more than the DCCC ($59.2 million to $56.3 million). The NRCC overtook the DCCC fundraising lead this month. In April, the DCCC led by 2.7% ($46.3 million to $45.1 million).

The senatorial committees raised less than their house counterparts last month, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) raising $10.4 million and spending $3.9 million and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raising $7.2 million and spending $7.3 million. The gap between the NRSC’s and DSCC’s total fundraising is the widest of the three committee pairs we track. The NRSC has raised 10.9% more than the DSCC so far in the 2022 election cycle ($40.7 million to $36.5 million). The NRSC fundraising lead widened between April and May. In April, the NRSC led by 3.4% ($30.3 million to $29.3 million). 

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, the NRSC also led the DSCC in fundraising but by a wider 24.3% margin ($28.9 million to $22.6 million). The DCCC led the NRCC in fundraising by a 32.3% margin ($49.2 million to $35.5 million).

Between the national committees, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised more in May and the Republican National Committee (RNC) spent more. The DNC raised $12.1 million and spent $8.7 million, while the RNC raised $11.1 million and spent $22.7 million. The DNC has raised 9.9% more than the RNC ($75.9 million to $68.7 million), down from the 10.1% margin in April.

At this time in the 2020 election cycle, the opposite was true. The RNC led the DNC in fundraising by 75.9% ($76.4 million to $34.3 million).

So far in the 2022 election cycle, the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC have raised 0.03% more than the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC ($168.6 million to $168.5 million), down from the Democrats’ 4.7% lead in April.

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State, local governments in conflict over police budget reduction preemption laws

Various state and local governments have come into conflict over laws preempting municipalities from reducing their police department budgets. Preemption occurs when a law at a higher level of government is used to overrule authority at a lower level. In this case, several states have implemented legislation either prohibiting local governments from reducing their police budgets, or instituting penalties on local governments that do so.

Conflict around this issue emerged in 2020 as some municipalities considered reducing their police department budgets, often as part of a policy response to the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Florida was the first of the states to recently pass a police department budget reduction preemption law Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB1 in April 2021. Under the law, a citizen or government official can challenge a police department budget reduction with the Administration Commission. The governor chairs the commission, whose other members are cabinet officials. The Administration Commission would then hold a hearing on the proposed budget change and has the power to approve the budget or amend it. The Commission’s approval or modification of the budget would be final.

In May 2021, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed HB286 into law, which prohibits municipalities from reducing police department budgets more than 5% in a year, or cumulatively over five years, with an exception for budget reductions caused by financial hardship. Police department budget reductions had been proposed in Atlanta and Athens-Clarke County in 2020, but neither municipality reduced their policing budgets.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed Texas’ police department budget reduction preemption bill (HB1900) into law on June 1, 2021. The law imposes penalties on populous municipalities that reduce police department budgets, preventing them from collecting several types of tax revenue and requiring they allow recently annexed areas of the city to vote to void their annexation. HB1900 may apply to the city of Austin, which approved a budget in 2020 that planned to reallocate around $150 million from the police department budget to hiring other public safety responders, beginning new public safety programs, and moving certain departments under police department authority to other state agencies. There is uncertainty surrounding the application of the law to Austin, due to questions regarding the state constitutionality of HB1900 and whether all of Austin’s budget reallocation would qualify as a police department budget reduction.

To read more about police department budget reduction preemption laws as they develop, click here. Ballotpedia currently covers twelve policy areas of preemption conflicts, including coronavirus, energy infrastructure, and firearms. To view all of Ballotpedia’s areas of preemption conflict coverage, click here.

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Incumbent Mark Herring wins Democratic attorney general primary in Virginia

Incumbent Mark Herring (D) defeated Jerrauld “Jay” Jones (D) in the Democratic primary for attorney general on June 8, 2021. Herring received 56.5% of the vote to Jones’ 43.5%.

Herring has served as Virginia’s attorney general since 2014. He was endorsed by U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D) and Don Beyer (D), and The Washington Post. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) endorsed Jones.

Herring led the race in fundraising between January 1, 2020 and May 27, 2021. He raised $3.1 million and spent $1.9 million, while Jones raised $2.2 million and spent $2.0 million.

The general election for attorney general will take place on November 2. The Republican candidate is Jason Miyares (R), who won the May 8 Republican convention.

Herring was first elected in 2013, defeating Republican Mark Obenshain by 907 votes. A Republican candidate has not won statewide office in Virginia since 2009.



Mattie Parker defeats Deborah Peoples in Fort Worth mayoral runoff election

Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples in the Fort Worth mayoral runoff election on June 5, 2021. Parker received 54% of the vote to Peoples’ 46%. Parker and Peoples advanced to the runoff from the general election on May 1, 2021. Incumbent Mayor Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election.

Prior to the election, Parker worked in education and as the chief of staff for the Fort Worth Mayor and City Council. She received endorsements from incumbent Mayor Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), and the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Price was first elected in 2011, and then re-elected in 2015 and 2019. In 2019, Price won with 56% of the vote, and Peoples was the runner-up with 42%. Prior to Price’s 2011 win, Fort Worth had not elected an openly Republican mayor in twenty years. In the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections, Joe Biden (D) and Hillary Clinton (D) won the city with 52% and 56% of the vote, respectively.

Heading into 2021, the mayors of 25 of the country’s 100 largest cities, including Fort Worth were affiliated with the Republican Party. The mayors of 64 of the 100 largest cities were affiliated with the Democratic Party.

To read more about the mayoral runoff election in Fort Worth, click here:

To read more about city election in Fort Worth, click here:



Dallas voters elect four new members to City Council in runoff elections

Dallas, Texas, voters elected four new members to the City Council in the June 5, 2021 city runoff elections.

Elections for six of the 14 seats on the city council advanced to runoffs from the May 1 general election, including three with incumbents. One incumbent lost re-election. In District 14, Paul Ridley defeated incumbent David Blewett 61% to 39%. In District 4, incumbent Carolyn King Arnold defeated Maxie Johnson 55% to 45%. In District 7, incumbent Adam Bazaldua defeated Kevin Felder 64% to 36%.

Blewett was the only incumbent to lose an election in 2021. In 2019, two incumbents lost re-election: Kevin Felder in District 7 and Philip Kingston in District 14, who was defeated by Blewett. In 2017, four incumbents lost re-election and in 2015, all incumbents were re-elected.

In Districts 2, 11, and 13, incumbent councilmembers Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, and Jennifer Staubach Gates did not run for re-election due to term limits. In District 2, Jesse Moreno defeated Sana Syed 58% to 43%. In District 11, Jaynie Schultz defeated Barry Wernick 54% to 46%. In District 13, Gay Donnell Willis defeated Leland Burk 54% to 47%.

The Dallas City Council is the city’s primary legislative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances. All fourteen seats on the Dallas City Council are up for election every two years.

To read more about the 2021 Dallas City Council elections, click here:



Massachusetts, Ohio end face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 29 and June 4.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on May 29, along with other COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals. The state will still require masks in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. Baker recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public settings.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) ended most statewide COVID-19 restrictions including the statewide mask mandate on June 2. The state left mask requirements in place in nursing homes and residential care settings. DeWine recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public indoor settings.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Fifteen states had statewide mask orders as of June 3, including 13 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and two out of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 15 states, at least 13 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 24 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 14 have Republican governors and ten have Democratic governors. Twenty-one states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.



Democrat Melanie Ann Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D) defeated Mark Moores (R) and four other candidates in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election. Stansbury received 63% of the vote to Moore’s 33%.

The election took place after the U.S. Senate confirmed incumbent Debra Haaland (D) as secretary of the on March 15, 2021.

Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She led the race in fundraising and spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, as of May 12 she had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) also ran.

The outcome of this race affected partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Leading up to the election, Democrats had a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. When Stansbury is sworn in, Democrats will have expanded their majority to 220-211.

As of June 1, 2021, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

To read more about New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election, click here.



Delaware, Maine, New Jersey end face-covering requirements

Three states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 21 and May 28.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) ended the statewide indoor mask requirement May 24. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said businesses could require people to show proof of vaccination, but “the state of Maine is not going to enforce this idea of different policies for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, nor do we expect businesses to do so.” The state recommended unvaccinated people continue masking in indoor public spaces. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people still had to wear masks in schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) lifted the state’s indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on May 28. Masks will still be required in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. The six-foot social distancing requirement ended on the same day. Dance floors and standing service at bars and restaurants will also be permitted.

Delaware Gov. Jay Carney (D) signed an order on May 18 ending the statewide mask requirement, effective May 21. Carney said masks were still required in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. The order also strongly encouraged unvaccinated individuals to continue wearing masks in indoor businesses and public settings in compliance with CDC guidelines at the time.

Additionally, Hawaii lifted its outdoor mask requirements and New York lifted mask requirements for children ages two through five. Washington amended its existing mask orders to align with the CDC guidance issued May 13, exempting fully vaccinated individuals from most indoor mask requirements. 

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Seventeen states had statewide mask orders as of May 28, including 13 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and four out of the 27 states with Republican governors. 

Of the 22 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 12 have Republican governors, and ten have Democratic governors. Nineteen states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.