Author

Jerrick Adams

Jerrick Adams is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

State redistricting deadlines in 2021, 2022, and 2023

The U.S. Census Bureau announced in February that it would deliver the detailed datasets needed for redistricting to the states by Sep. 30, 2021, after the original April 1, 2021, deadline. Some states’ own redistricting deadlines predate the Census Bureau’s projected data delivery date, prompting states to consider postponements or alternative data sources.

State redistricting deadlines generally take one of three forms:

Constitutional deadlines are set out explicitly in state constitutions. Altering these deadlines typically requires either a constitutional amendment or a court order.

Statutory deadlines are set by state legislatures. They are subject to change at the legislature’s discretion.

• Redistricting deadlines can also be inferred from candidate filing deadlines. For example, if a state sets its filing deadline for congressional candidates for Feb. 1, 2022, it can be inferred that the congressional maps must be fixed by that point.

Congressional redistricting deadlines

Maine’s constitutional June 1, 2021, deadline for congressional redistricting is the earliest such deadline of any state. Five states – Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, and Ohio – have congressional redistricting deadlines in the third quarter of 2021. Another six states – Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington – have deadlines in the final quarter of 2021. The remaining states have deadlines in 2022.

State legislative redistricting deadlines

Indiana’s deadline for state legislative redistricting, which is set by statute, is April 29, 2021, earlier than that of any other state. Five other states – Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, and Oklahoma – have state legislative redistricting deadlines in the second quarter of 2021. Another eight states – Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont – have deadlines in the third quarter of 2021. Nine states – Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington – have deadlines in the final quarter of the year. The remaining states have deadlines in either 2022 or, in the case of Montana, 2023.

Additional reading:



First quarter report on donor disclosure legislation

First quarter report on donor disclosure legislation  

Thus far this year, state legislatures have enacted two donor disclosure bills, down from six during the same period in 2019 and up from zero during the same period in 2020. Let’s take a closer look at how legislative activity in the first three months of 2021 compares to 2019 and 2020.

First quarter: 2021

In the first three months 2021, Ballotpedia has tracked 36 state bills dealing in some substantive way with donor disclosure policy. 

Geographic concentration: Lawmakers in 15 states, highlighted in varying shades of green on the map below, introduced donor disclosure bills in the first quarter of 2021. Ten bills have been introduced in New York, more than in any other state. 

Sponsorship: Of these 36 bills, Democrats have sponsored 16 (44.44 percent). Republicans have sponsored 11 (30.56 percent). Bipartisan groups or committees have sponsored the rest. 

Enacted bills: Two bills were enacted into law in the first three months of this year:

  • South Dakota HB1079: This bill prohibits executive agencies and officials from requiring nonprofits to make disclosures beyond those required under state and federal law.
    • Sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee. Enacted into law on March 3.
  • South Dakota SB103: This bill prohibits public agencies from requiring any person or nonprofit to provide identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors. It would also prohibit the disclosure of any such information currently in the possession of a public agency.
    • Republican sponsorship. Enacted into law on March 29.

How this compares to legislative activity in 2019 and 2020

At this same point in 2019, lawmakers in 34 states had introduced 73 donor disclosure bills, 50.68 percent fewer than in 2021. In the first three months of 2020, lawmakers in 19 states had introduced 45 relevant bills, 20 percent fewer than in 2021.

Democrats introduced more bills than Republicans in the first quarters of 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Enactments in the first quarter of 2019 (6) outpaced enactments in 2021: 

  • North Dakota HB1037: This bill reenacted previously rescinded disclosure requirements for contributions made to ballot measure campaigns.
  • South Dakota SB114: This bill required that campaign contributions by minors be attributed to their parents for campaign finance disclosure and reporting purposes.
  • Utah HB0131: This bill required political issues committees to disclose certain contributions within three days of receipt.
  • Utah HB0319: This bill established disclosure requirements for entities spending money on ballot proposition advertisements.
  • West Virginia SB622: This bill made general revisions to the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
  • Wyoming SF0018: This bill amended the state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws.

Enactments in 2021 outpaced 2020, when no donor disclosure bills were enacted into law in the first quarter. 

What we’re reading

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Arkansas SB535: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Withdrawn, amended, and re-referred to Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on April 5.
  • Tennessee HB0159: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • House Government Operations Committee hearing scheduled for April 5.
  • Tennessee SB1608: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing scheduled for March 30.
  • West Virginia HB2932: This bill would prohibit a state agency from imposing additional requirements beyond those currently in statute regarding the registration, reporting or operation of a charitable organization.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for March 30.

Thank you for reading! Let us know what you think! Reply to this email with any feedback or recommendations.



Union Station: Tenth Circuit rules in favor of AFSCME in union dues case

Tenth Circuit rules in favor of AFSCME in union dues case

On March 26, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico’s decision in Hendrickson v. AFSCME Council 18. The lower court had dismissed the suit, which alleged that the union’s policy of restricting membership resignation to certain opt-out windows and New Mexico statutes granting unions exclusive representation on matters of public policy violated the First Amendment.

Parties to the suit

The plaintiff was Brett Hendrickson, a quality control specialist employed by the New Mexico Human Services Department. The Liberty Justice Center, which says it “fights for the constitutional rights of American families, workers, advocates and entrepreneurs,” represented Hendrickson.

The defendants were American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 18 and New Mexico’s governor and attorney general in their official capacities.

What’s at issue, and how the lower court ruled

Hendrickson filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Nov. 30, 2018. His attorneys said AFSCME Council 18 had “violated Hendrickson’s First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of association by refusing to allow him to withdraw his membership until an arbitrary two-week window of time and by continuing to charge him union dues based solely on a union card which could not have constituted ‘affirmative consent’ because it was signed before the Janus decision.” Hendrickson’s suit also claimed that New Mexico statutes granting unions exclusive representation on matters of public policy violated the First Amendment. He sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages “in the amount of all dues deducted and remitted to the Union since he became a member.”

On Jan. 22, 2020, Judge Robert Brack, a George W. Bush appointee, dismissed the lawsuit, citing several of Hendrickson’s claims as moot, and granted the AFSCME Council 18’s motion for summary judgment. Brack wrote:

Hendrickson fails to point to any decision that applied Janus to void a union membership contract under similar circumstances. On the contrary, each court that examined this issue has rejected the claim that Janus entitles union members to resign and stop paying dues on their own—rather than on the contract’s—terms… As part of the contract, he knowingly agreed that he could only revoke his dues deduction authorization during a two-week opt-out window. He does not allege that he was coerced, and the parties agree that he was not required by state law to join. He could have paid a lesser fair share fee as a nonmember, but instead, he chose to join the Union.

Hendrickson appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on Feb. 19, 2020. 

How the Tenth Circuit ruled

The three-judge panel—Judges Scott Matheson, Carlos Lucero, and Carolyn McHugh—unanimously affirmed the district court’s ruling on March 26.

Writing for the court, Matheson said:

In Janus, the Court said the First Amendment right against compelled speech protects non-members of public sector unions from having to pay “agency” or “fair share” fees—fees that compensate the union for collective bargaining but not for partisan activity. Mr. Hendrickson contends that, under Janus, the Union cannot (1) retain dues that had been deducted from his paycheck, or (2) serve as his exclusive bargaining representative. The district court dismissed these claims. … 

We affirm the district court’s decisions to grant the Union’s motion for summary judgment and the New Mexico Defendants’ motion to dismiss. We remand to the district court with instructions to amend its judgment to reflect that (1) the dismissal of Mr. Hendrickson’s request for prospective relief on Count 1 as moot and (2) the dismissal of Count 2 against the New Mexico Defendants based on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity, are both “without prejudice.” 

President Barack Obama appointed Matheson and McHugh to the court. President Bill Clinton appointed Lucero.

Hendrickson has 14 days to file a petition for rehearing.

The case name and number are Hendrickson v. AFSCME Council 18, et al. (20-2018). 

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 86 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Arizona SB1268: This bill would establish annual disclosure requirements for public-sector unions.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • House Rules Committee hearing March 29.  
  • Arkansas SB341: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining on the part of public-sector employees.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee hearing March 30. 
  • Connecticut SB00908: This bill would require public employers to furnish unions with personal contact information of employees belonging to the bargaining unit the union represents. It would also require employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations.
    • Referred to Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis March 29. 
  • Florida H0835: This bill would require that unions certified as bargaining agents for educational support employees include certain information in registration renewal applications. The bill would also require such unions whose full dues-paying membership is less than 50 percent to petition the state for recertification. 
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Added to State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee agenda March 30.
  • Illinois HB0646: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to legislative assistants.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Re-referred to House Rules Committee March 27. 
  • Illinois HB3891: This bill would establish that police union contracts no longer supersede state law.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Re-referred to House Rules Committee March 27.
  • Illinois HB3892: This bill would limit peace officer contract negotiations to the subject of wages only.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Re-referred to House Rules Committee March 27. 
  • Indiana SB0251: This bill would establish that a school employee can leave a union at any time. It would also require an employee to annually authorize any payroll deductions of union dues.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • House Employment, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing April 1. 
  • Maine LD52: This bill would allow educational policies related to preparation and planning time and transfer of teachers to be subjects of collective bargaining negotiations.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Education and Cultural Affairs Committee hearing March 29. 
  • Maryland HB894: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for certain community college employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Passed both chambers as of March 29. 
  • Maryland SB138: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the Baltimore County Public Library.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Re-referred to House Appropriations Committee March 30.
  • Maryland SB746: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for certain community college employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Appropriations Committee reported favorably March 30.  
  • Maryland SB9: This bill would make revisions to the collective bargaining process for employees of the University System of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee Hearing April 1. 
  • New Hampshire SB61: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee executive session March 30. 
  • Oregon HB3029: This bill would require the Employment Relations Board to develop procedures for authorizations designating bargaining unit representatives.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • House Business and Labor Committee work session scheduled for April 5. 
  • Oregon SB580: This bill would amend the law’s definition of “employment relations” to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Senate Education Committee work session March 31. 
  • Washington SB5133: This bill amends the definition of a “confidential employee” for the purposes of collective bargaining.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee executive session March 31. 



Federal judge strikes down 5% petition requirement for minor-party and unaffiliated U.S. House candidates in Georgia

On March 29, 2021, Judge Leigh Martin May, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, struck down a Georgia law requiring minor-party and unaffiliated candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives to submit petitions signed by at least 5 percent of the district’s registered voters in order to appear on the ballot. May ruled this requirement “overburdens [voters’ and candidates’] rights to vote and to associate with their preferred political party, and so it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

May contrasted the 5-percent signature requirement for U.S. House candidates with the 1-percent requirement for statewide candidates, “The [Georgia] General Assembly has deemed a 1% petition signature requirement adequate to guard against ballot crowding and frivolous candidacies on a statewide basis. It is not immediately clear why candidates for non-statewide office must clear a proportionally higher hurdle, the 5% petition signature requirement. [The state] has not offered any explanation for this disparity.” 

May has not yet ordered a remedy. She directed the plaintiffs (the Libertarian Party of Georgia) to submit a brief within three weeks on proposed remedies. The state will then have an opportunity to respond to this proposal before May issues further guidance. 

Under the 5-percent signature requirement, originally enacted in 1943, no minor-party candidate for the U.S. House has qualified for placement on the general election ballot. In 2020, minor-party or unaffiliated candidates would have needed between 19,777 and 26,539 signatures in order to qualify for the ballot (the number varies by congressional district). 

It is not clear whether the state will appeal the decision.

Additional Reading:



South Dakota governor signs bill barring public agencies from collecting or releasing nonprofit donor information


South Dakota governor signs bill barring public agencies from collecting or releasing nonprofit donor information   

On March 21, the South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) SB103 into law, barring public agencies from requiring individuals or groups to disclose identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors. 

South Dakota is the first – and to date only – state that has enacted donor disclosure legislation in 2021. It is one of seven states that have passed laws explicitly barring public entities from collecting or releasing information about a nonprofit’s donors (the others are Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia)

What the bill does

SB103 prohibits any public agency (including state and municipal government units and courts) from:

  • Requiring a tax-exempt nonprofit to provide a public agency with “personal affiliation information,” defined as “any list, record, register, registry, roll, roster, or other compilation of any kind that directly or indirectly identifies a natural person as a member, supporter, volunteer, or donor of financial or nonfinancial support to any nonprofit corporation.” 
  • Publicly disclosing any such information a public agency may already possess. 
  • Requiring a current or prospective contractor to provide a public agency with a list of the nonprofits “to which it has provided financial or nonfinancial support.” 

The legislation does not bar public agencies from furnishing personal information about a nonprofit’s donors, supporters, etc., for:

  • Campaign finance reporting requirements.
  • A lawful warrant for personal affiliation information.
  • A lawful request for discovery of personal affiliation information in litigation, if the requestor “demonstrates a compelling need” for the information and “obtains a protective order barring disclosure” of information to anyone not named in the litigation.
  • A sales or use tax audit of a nonprofit by the Department of Revenue.
  • An audit, examination, or investigation of a nonprofit corporation conducted under state law.

Other states considering similar legislation: Arkansas (SB535), Iowa (HF309, HSB28, and SSB1036), Nebraska (LB370), and Tennessee (HB0159 and SB1608). All four states are Republican trifectas. The map below shows these states in light green. States shaded in dark green have enacted laws to this effect.

Legislative history   

Sens. Casey Crabtree and James Bolin and Reps. Kirk Chaffee, Tim Goodwin, and Tim Reed – all Republicans – introduced SB103 on Jan. 26. The state Senate approved the bill on Feb. 17, sending it to the South Dakota House of Representatives. On March 3, the House approved an amended version of the bill 55-13, with 55 Republicans voting in favor and eight Democrats and five Republicans voting against it. The Senate unanimously agreed to the amendments on March 8. Noem signed SB103 into law on March 21.

Political context: South Dakota is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. South Dakota has been a Republican trifecta since 1995.

Other relevant legislation in South Dakota

HB1079, signed into law on March 3, prohibits any executive branch entity (e.g., the governor, the secretary of state, etc.) from requiring “any annual filing or reporting of a nonprofit corporation or charitable trust that is more stringent, restrictive, or expansive than that required by state or federal law.” It does not apply to information required “to determine eligibility for or compliance with a state grant or contract.” The bill also exempts information required for, or obtained during, a state fraud investigation or enforcement action.

Support and opposition

Support

  • Mark Miller, an attorney for Noem, said the following in support of HB1079: “What is this bill about? It’s really about the American way of life. … It’s also meant to return us to the traditional role of anonymity in support for certain causes that one believes in.” 
  • Dale Bartscher, executive director of South Dakota Right to Life, wrote in an op-ed for the Rapid City Journal: “With the passage of this legislation the privacy of South Dakota citizens would be protected, and information about the causes we support – whether it’s a church, local food bank, or social issue organization such as South Dakota Right to Life.  This legislation would assure that our protected private information – would be kept away from the prying eyes of government officials, the media, and activists who want to target us for our beliefs.”

Opposition

  • Rep. Ryan Cwach (D), who voted against both SB103 and HB1079, said, “We expect accountability and we expect transparency from our government, and so the idea that we want to try and keep how people are influencing our government anonymous goes against the whole bedrock of our society.”
  • Michael Beckel, research director of Issue One, said, “State agencies seeking to investigate politically active dark money groups would have less information available about such groups if there is no reporting of these groups’ donors to the state. Without being able to see the money flowing into these groups, it could be harder for investigators to connect the dots or to see the networks of wealthy individuals and special interests pumping cash into these groups.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 36 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Illinois HB3735: This bill would require a political committee to include a list of the committee’s top contributors (i.e., those who give $50,000 or more) on specified advertisements and communications.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Re-referred to the House Rules Committee on March 27.
  • Iowa HF309: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Sponsorship not specified.
    • Senate Judiciary Committee reported favorably on March 24.
  • Maine LD1284: This bill would repeal a law requiring communications financed by independent expenditures include a statement listing the top three funders of the entity making the independent expenditure. It would also specify that only party committees and political action committees, and not individuals, are required to file reports of independent expenditures aggregating in excess of $250 during any one candidate’s election.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced and referred to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on March 25.
  • Tennessee SB1608: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing scheduled for March 30.

Thank you for reading! Let us know what you think! Reply to this email with any feedback or recommendations. 



Teacher sues LA union over ‘defund the police’ stance

Teacher sues Los Angeles union over ‘defund the police’ stance

On March 16, a Los Angeles teacher filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against his former union over its support for removing school police officers.

Parties to the suit

The plaintiff is Los Angeles public school teacher Glenn Laird. Attorneys from the Freedom Foundation, which says its mission is “to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government,” represent the plaintiff. 

The defendants are United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the attorney general of California. 

What is at issue

According to Laird’s complaint, UTLA “joined a public campaign to ‘defund the police’ and remove officers from campus,” a stance he morally opposed. Laird’s attorneys said he had “witnessed students strangled, stabbed, and even shot to death,” and that “[i]n many cases, the ready presence of campus police officers was the difference between life and death.” After one incident in which a student was killed, Laird “fiercely supported keeping a continued police presence on campus to be able to deal with threats to student safety on a moment’s notice.”

A June 2020 statement from the UTLA Board of Directors said: 

As the Board of Directors of UTLA, an ethnically and racially diverse body, we believe that we do not need armed police roaming our halls, we need counselors who are provided with resources, nurses with sufficient medical supplies, and librarians with enough books. That is why we voted to call for the elimination of the LAUSD school police budget and redirect resources to student needs, with a particular focus on the needs of Black students.

Laird, who had been a member of the union since 1983, attempted to resign his membership and end his dues authorization starting in June 2020. UTLA refused to end his membership until December 2020, during the union’s opt-out period, and continued collecting dues through January 2021. In February 2018, UTLA modified its authorization agreement to implement an opt-out window during which members could revoke deduction authorization. However, Laird’s attorneys argue that because he struck out the relevant portion of his authorization agreement, which UTLA accepted in 2018, the opt-out period did not apply to him. 

Laird’s attorneys argue that the union violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and ask the court for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages.   

Reactions to the suit

Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe said, “We don’t believe the ‘escape window’ would be constitutional under any circumstances. … But it’s even more unenforceable if the worker clearly did not agree to be bound by it in the first place.”

UTLA officials have not commented publicly on the lawsuit.

What comes next? 

The case is currently assigned to Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha, a Donald Trump appointee. No hearings have been scheduled yet. The case name and number are Glenn Laird v. United Teachers Los Angeles et al., 2:21-cv-02313.   

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 84 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Arizona SB1268: This bill would establish annual disclosure requirements for public-sector unions.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Commerce Committee reported favorably March 23.  
  • Arkansas SB341: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining on the part of public-sector employees.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House passed amended bill, transmitted back to the Senate and re-referred to Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee March 22.    
  • Florida S1014: This bill would require that unions certified as bargaining agents for educational support employees include certain information in registration renewal applications. The bill would also require such unions whose full dues-paying membership is less than 50 percent to petition the state for recertification. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee substitute bill read for the first time March 23. 
  • Illinois HB2521: This bill would allow electronic signatures on petitions submitted for selecting an exclusive bargaining representative. It would allow certification elections to be conducted electronically. It would also prohibit an employer from promising or taking action against an employee for participating in a strike.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor and Commerce Committee hearing March 26. 
  • Illinois HB3891: This bill would establish that police union contracts no longer supersede state law.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor and Commerce Committee hearing March 26. 
  • Illinois HB3892: This bill would limit peace officer contract negotiations to the subject of wages only.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor and Commerce Committee hearing March 26. 
  • Maine LD52: This bill would allow educational policies related to preparation and planning time and transfer of teachers to be subjects of collective bargaining negotiations.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Education and Cultural Affairs Committee hearing scheduled for March 29.  
  • Maine LD97: This bill would bar public-sector and private-sector employers from requiring employees to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Labor and Housing Committee hearing March 24.  
  • Maryland SB138: This bill would extend collective bargaining rights to employees of the Baltimore County Public Library.  
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Second reading passed with amendments March 24. 
  • Maryland SB746: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for certain community college employees.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate passed March 19, referred to House Appropriations Committee March 20.  
  • Maryland SB9: This bill would make revisions to the collective bargaining process for employees of the University System of Maryland.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate passed March 18, House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for April 1.  
  • New Hampshire SB61: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee hearing March 25. Executive session scheduled for March 30.   
  • Oklahoma SB634: This bill would require annual authorizations for payroll dues deductions for school employees.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Second reading in the House March 22, referred to Rules Committee.  
  • Oregon HB3029: This bill would require the Employment Relations Board to develop procedures for authorizations designating bargaining unit representatives.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Business and Labor Committee work session scheduled for April 5. 
  • Oregon SB580: This bill would amend the law’s definition of “employment relations” to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Education Committee work session scheduled for March 31.   
  • Tennessee HJR0072: A constitutional amendment that would bar any person, corporation, or governmental entity from denying employment due to an individual’s affiliation status with a union or other employee organization.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee hearing March 24. 
  • Washington SB5133: This bill amends the definition of a “confidential employee” for the purposes of collective bargaining.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for March 30.  



U.S. House passes donor disclosure requirements as part of larger election policy bill


U.S. House passes donor disclosure requirements as part of larger election policy bill    

On March 3, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR1, legislation that would expand donor disclosure requirements for corporations, unions, and nonprofit groups making expenditures in federal elections. It is now pending in the U.S. Senate.

What the bill would do

Under Title IV, Section 4111, of HR1, any covered organization (such as a corporation, labor union, or 501(c) nonprofit) spending more than $10,000 on campaign-related expenses in a federal election cycle would be subject to regular reporting requirements. Each campaign finance report would have to include the following information:

  • The organization’s name and principal place of business. A corporation would provide a list of its owners, including names and addresses.
  • The amount of each campaign-related expenditure exceeding $1,000, including the name and address of the recipient.
  • A certification by the organization’s chief executive officer that campaign-related expenditures were “not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, authorized committee, or agent of a candidate, political party, or agent of a political party.”
  • For all donors contributing $10,000 or more in an election cycle, the name and address of the donor, the date and amount of the contribution, and the aggregate amount given by the donor during the election cycle covered in the report.

Organizations do not have to disclose contributions from donors who specify that they do not want their contributions used for political purposes.. HR1 also suspends these reporting requirements “if the inclusion of the information would subject [the donor] to serious threats, harassment, or reprisals.” 

HR1 does not focus exclusively on donor disclosure regulations. It would also implement a number of changes to voter registration, absentee/mail-in voting, early voting, and redistricting policies. 

Arguments

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, which supports HR1, these donor disclosure provisions are necessary “to curb dark money, counter foreign interference in U.S. elections, and make it harder to sidestep campaign contribution limits.”

The lack of donor disclosure deprives voters of critical information about who is trying to influence them and what those spenders want from the government. It is donor disclosure, as the Citizens United court itself pointed out, that allows voters to determine whether elected leaders “are in the pocket of so-called ‘moneyed interests.'”

The Heritage Foundation says that these provisions would “impose onerous legal and administrative compliance burdens and costs on candidates, citizens, civil groups, unions, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.”

Many of these provisions violate the First Amendment, protect incumbents, and reduce the accountability of politicians to the public; its onerous disclosure requirements for nonprofit organizations would subject their members and donors to intimidation and harassment—the modern equivalent of the type of disclosure requirements the U.S. Supreme Court in NAACP v. Alabama (1958) held violated associational rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Legislative history, and what comes next   

HR1 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 4 and debated on March 2. The House approved HR1 by a vote of 220-210 on March 3, with all but one present Democrat (Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson) voting in favor and all present Republicans voting against it. The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate on March 11. 

Political context: The U.S. Senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris (D), as president of the Senate, casts the decisive vote in the event of a tie, giving Democrats an effective majority, but not a filibuster-proof one. 

The term filibuster describes any effort to block Senate action on a bill by speaking at length, introducing multiple procedural motions, or engaging in other obstructive tactics. Under the Senate’s principle of unlimited debate, a filibuster can, in theory, extend debate on an issue indefinitely. To prevent this, and to end a filibuster, Senate rules allow for the invocation of cloture, which closes debate on an issue and forces a vote. It takes 60 votes in the Senate to invoke cloture. 

Some Democrats have proposed eliminating or reforming the filibuster in order to pass HR1 and other legislation. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “I support discussing any proposal that ends the misuse of the filibuster as a weapon of mass obstruction. If the Senate retains the filibuster, we must change the rules so that a senator who wants to bring our government to a standstill endures — at least — some discomfort in the process. We need new rules that actually promote debate.” However, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have both expressed resistance to this idea. Manchin said, “Everybody’s talking, there’s so many different ideas out there. They’re all talking. And that’s it, there’s nothing wrong with it, that’s healthy when you want to talk about everything. But the bottom line is, you can’t get rid of the shoulder. … You cannot get rid of the filibuster unless your intention is to destroy the Senate.”

It is unclear whether Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would support eliminating or reforming the filibuster in order to aid passage of HR1. Schumer said, “We Democrats … believe we need big, bold change. We hope our Republican colleagues will work with us to produce that change. We will try to get them to work with us. But if not, we will put our heads together and figure out how to go, and everything is on the table.”

On March 17, Schumer and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D) and Amy Klobuchar (D) introduced S1, the companion bill to HR1, in the Senate. It has not yet been assigned to a committee, and no Senate hearings have yet been scheduled.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 35 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • Idaho H0245: This bill would prohibit foreign contributions, independent expenditures, and electioneering in Idaho election campaigns.
    • Sponsorship not specified.
    • The Senate State Affairs Committee reported the bill favorably on March 19.
  • Illinois HB3735: This bill would require a political committee to include a list of the committee’s top contributors (i.e., those who give $50,000 or more) on specified advertisements and communications.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • The bill was assigned to the House Ethics and Elections Committee on March 16.
  • Iowa HF309: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Sponsorship not specified sponsorship.
    • A Senate subcommittee reported the bill favorably on March 16.
  • Montana SB162: This bill would redefine “electioneering communication” to exempt any “communication by a religious organization exempt from federal income tax when compliance with [state campaign finance laws] would burden the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practice.”
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The bill was tabled in the House State Administration Committee on March 18.
  • Rhode Island S0620: This bill would revise the definition of a “business entity” under the state’s campaign finance laws to include nonprofits.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended the bill be held for further study on March 18.
  • Tennessee HB0159: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The House Civil Justice Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for March 24.
  • Tennessee SB1608: This bill would prohibit a public agency from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The Senate State and Local Government Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for March 23.
  • Wyoming SF0153: This bill would prohibit state and local governmental entities from requiring any person to provide nonprofit affiliation information or otherwise compel the release of nonprofit affiliation information.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • The bill died in committee on March 19.

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Public employee strike bill enacted

West Virginia public employee strike bill enacted without governor’s signature

West Virginia Senate Bill 11, which makes public employee strikes illegal, was enacted on March 16 without Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) signature. It will go into effect on June 2. 

About the bill

Senate Bill 11 codified the 1990 West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruling in Jefferson County Board of Education v. Jefferson County Education Association. That decision upheld a circuit court ruling that a Jefferson County public school teachers’ strike was illegal. The Supreme Court of Appeals concluded, “In short, we decline to alter the common law judicially. Public employees have no right to strike in the absence of express legislation or, at the very least, appropriate statutory provisions for collective bargaining, mediation, and arbitration. In view of our legislature’s silence on these complex issues, we decline to intervene.”  

In 2018, West Virginia teachers went on strike for nine days. A year later, teachers participated in a two-day strike.  

The newly-enacted law says, “Public employees in West Virginia have no right, statutory or otherwise, to engage in collective bargaining, mediation, or arbitration, and any work stoppage or strike by public employees is hereby declared to be unlawful.” The law says striking is grounds for termination and requires forfeiture of prorated pay to the county board of education. 

The Republican-sponsored bill first passed the Senate 20-12 on Feb. 22. An amended version passed the House 51-44 on March 2 with 23 Republicans voting against it. The Senate amended the House version and passed the bill a second time on March 3 by the same margin. The final version of the bill passed the House 53-42 on March 4, with two Republicans changing their votes to support the bill. 

The bill was sent to Gov. Justice on March 10. According to the state constitution, “Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall have been presented to him shall be a law, in the same manner as if he had signed it.” Without Justice’s signature or veto, the bill became law on March 16. 

Justice was first elected governor in 2016 as a Democrat. On August 3, 2017, he announced he was switching parties, giving Republicans trifecta control of the state. Republicans currently hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

Perspectives 

Supporting 

  • Sen. Patricia Rucker (R), the bill’s lead sponsor, said, “This bill simply clarifies work stoppages are illegal. This bill simply clarifies that it was not the legislature’s intent to facilitate illegal work stoppages. … This actually frees up the county boards of education to know how to act in the future. This is not a retaliatory bill.” 
  • Sen. Eric Tarr (R) said, “I’ve had parent after parent after parent reach out to me, through this pandemic especially, to say they’re worried for their kids. … They have not been able to get instruction in a consistent manner for four years. … This actually requires a superintendent to take pause — and do you automatically cave to organizations that cheer our teachers on to fail our children?”

Opposing 

  • Sen. Mike Caputo (D) said, “This bill does nothing to move West Virginia forward. It does nothing to further that profession. It’s mean-spirited — and I think it’s in retaliation for people standing up for what they believe in.”
  • American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia President Fred Albert said, “Not only is SB 11 a perfect example of [an attack against public education], it’s a redundant one at that. Public employee strikes are already illegal in West Virginia and have been for decades. The public doesn’t want retaliatory bills; they want to see the passage of bills that will positively affect our schools and help our students succeed.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 84 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s) 

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. 

  • Arizona SB1268: This bill would establish annual disclosure requirements for public-sector unions. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Commerce Committee hearing scheduled for March 23.
  • Arkansas SB341: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining on the part of public-sector employees. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee reported favorably with amendment March 16. 
  • Florida S1014: This bill would require unions certified as bargaining agents for educational support employees include certain information in registration renewal applications. The bill would also require such unions whose full dues-paying membership is less than 50 percent to petition the state for recertification. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee reported favorably March 17.  
  • Illinois HB3891: This bill would establish that police union contracts no longer supersede state law. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Referred to House Labor and Commerce Committee March 16.
  • Illinois HB3892: This bill would limit peace officer contract negotiations to the subject of wages only. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Referred to House Labor and Commerce Committee March 16.
  • Maine LD449: Existing law requires public employers and collective bargaining agents to meet within 10 days of receiving written notice of a request for a bargaining meeting.  This applies only if the parties have not otherwise agreed in an earlier contract. This bill would eliminate that exception. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Labor and Housing Committee hearing March 17. 
  • Maine LD52: This bill would allow educational policies related to preparation and planning time and transfer of teachers to be subjects of collective bargaining negotiations. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Education and Cultural Affairs Committee hearing scheduled for March 29. 
  • Maryland HB1321: This bill would bar employers from requiring employees to become, remain, or refrain from becoming members of a union as a condition of employment.
    • Republian sponsorship.  
    • House Economic Matters Committee reported unfavorably March 17. 
  • Maryland HB894: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for certain community college employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Appropriations Committee reported favorably with amendment March 18. 
  • Maryland SB556: This bill would establish a separate collective bargaining unit for teachers at the Maryland School for the Deaf. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Passed second reading.
  • Maryland SB746: This bill would establish collective bargaining rights for certain community college employees. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Senate Finance Committee reported favorably March 17. 
  • Maryland SB9: This bill would make revisions to the collective bargaining process for employees of the University System of Maryland. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Passed second reading. 
  • New Hampshire SB61: This bill would prohibit collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services executive session scheduled for March 30. 
  • Oregon HB3029: This bill would require the Employment Relations Board to develop procedures for authorizations designating bargaining unit representatives. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Business and Labor Committee work session March 15. 
  • Tennessee HJR0072: A constitutional amendment that would bar any person, corporation, or governmental entity from denying employment due to an individual’s affiliation status with a union or other employee organization. 
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • House Commerce Committee reported favorably March 16. Referred to House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.  
  • Washington SB5133: This bill amends the definition of a “confidential employee” for the purposes of collective bargaining. 
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee executive session March 19. 
  • West Virginia HB3124: This bill would permit collective bargaining by public-sector employees. 
    • Bipartisan sponsorship. 
    • Referred to House Government Organization Committee March 12. 
  • West Virginia SB11: This bill would prohibit public-sector employees from striking.
    • Republican sponsorship. 
    • Enacted without governor’s signature March 16.  



Michigan Court of Claims invalidates absentee/mail-in ballot rule as improperly established

On March 9, 2021, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray invalidated an absentee/mail-in ballot rule instituted by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) in the run-up to the November 3, 2020, general election. Murray held that Benson’s rule, which directed local clerks to presume validity when verifying signatures on absentee/mail-in ballot applications and return envelopes, had been issued in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

Benson’s guidance, issued on October 6, 2020, directed local clerks to treat signatures as valid if there are “any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope signature as compared to the signature on file.” “Redeeming qualities” are described as including, but not being limited to, “similar distinctive flourishes” and “more matching features than non-matching features.” Allegan County Clerk Robert Genetski and the Republican Party of Michigan filed suit against Benson, alleging that her guidance violated the state’s election laws and the Administrative Procedures Act. The plaintiffs asked that the court strike down the guidance as unlawful and enjoin its enforcement in future elections.

Murray sided with the plaintiffs, finding that Benson’s guidance was in fact a rule “that should have been promulgated in accordance with the APA. And absent compliance with the APA, the ‘rule’ is invalid.” Under the Administrative Procedures Act, a state agency is required to follow formal rulemaking procedures (e.g., when establishing policies that “do not merely interpret or explain the statute of rules from which the agency derives its authority,” but rather “establish the substantive standards implementing the program.”)

It is unclear whether the state will appeal Murray’s decision.

Background: Last year, 39 states, including Michigan, modified their administrative and/or statutory election procedures ahead of the general election. These modifications (and, in some cases, the lack thereof) triggered a wave of litigation activity. In the run-up to the general election, there were at least 425 lawsuits, and subsequent appeals, filed, 242 of which dealt primarily with absentee/mail-in voting procedures. Although courts issued orders in most of these cases before November 3, 2020, they did not necessarily make final rulings on the questions of law presented in those cases. Murray’s ruling is an example of a post-2020 court action addressing the ultimate legality of policies implemented in 2020. Although a ruling like this one will not have an effect on the 2020 election, it will bear on the conduct of future elections.

Other recent examples of noteworthy post-2020 court actions include the following:

• Virginia: On January 13, 2021, Judge William Eldridge signed a consent decree between the parties in Reed v. Virginia Department of Elections. One of the conditions of the agreement was that the Virginia Department of Elections rescind an administrative rule, which was in place during the 2020 election cycle, that allowed for absentee/mail-in ballots returned with illegible postmarks to be counted, provided that the ballots were signed on or before Election Day.

• Arizona: Earlier this month, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah ordered the Republican Party of Arizona to pay the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State $18,238 in legal fees, finding that the party had acted “in bad faith” in filing a lawsuit last year to postpone certification of the state’s election results. An attorney for the Arizona GOP said the party would appeal Hannah’s order.

Additional Reading:



Minnesota GOP to elect new chair in April

Last week, we brought you a story about conflicts within the Democratic Party of Nevada. Today, we turn to a similar event in Minnesota, where two party leaders are engaged in a race for party chair.

In April, the Republican Party of Minnesota will hold an election for party chair. Two-term incumbent Jennifer Carnahan is seeking a third term against state Senator Mark Koran (R). Approximately 340 party members from around the state will meet in a virtual convention to vote for the next chair. These party members were selected at 121 local conventions, also known as basic political operating units (BPOUs), 60 of which were directly managed by Carnahan and state party staffers. Koran has alleged that this constitutes a conflict of interest: “It’s a massive conflict of interest. Free, fair, open and transparent elections have to be the basic foundation of what we do. If you have distrust in the process, it’s difficult to get people to accept the results of those conventions.” Carnahan has denied the allegation: “There was no impropriety. … The real conflict of interest here is [Koran] trying to serve in the state Legislature and trying to run the party at the same time.”

Joe Witthuhn, a party member and Carnahan supporter who helped conduct some BPOUs, said, “If I thought she rigged even one individual vote, I would not support her anymore.” Nathan Raddatz, a party member and Koran supporter said, “The best thing would have been to pull the party out of this and let the individual districts hire somebody, to alleviate accusations of a party and the current chair rigging the election.”

The Star Tribune has described the race for chair as a crucial event in shaping the party’s prospects heading into 2022: “Whoever wins the party leadership race in April will have to immediately focus on 2022, when the governor’s office will be on the ballot, along with all 201 legislative seats. DFL Gov. Tim Walz is expected to run for a second term, but no front runner has emerged on the GOP side.”

Additional Reading: