CategoryFederal

Coronavirus daily update: March 20, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 20, 2020, as of Friday afternoon.
Federal responses
  • Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced S.3548, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). According to The Hill, the CARES Act includes the following provisions:
    • $1,200 in direct cash payments for individuals making up to $75,000 annually, with an additional $500 per child
    • Delay the federal tax filing deadline to July 15
    • $208 billion in loans for major industries
    • $300 billion in loans for small businesses
    • Delay payments on federal student loans for three months, with a possible extension of another three months
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the federal tax filing deadline would be delayed to July 15.
  • The United States and Mexico mutually agreed to close the border to non-essential traffic.
Election changes
  • Overview to date:
    • Twelve states have changed primary, municipal, or special election dates.
    • One state (New York) has adjusted candidate filing requirements.
    • Four states have either implemented or attempted to implement changes to voting procedures.
    • Political parties in six states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
  • Details:
    • Indiana postponed its primary election to June 2.
    • North Carolina postponed the Republican primary runoff for the 11th Congressional District to June 23.
    • Texas postponed the special election for Texas Senate District 14 to July 14.
    • The Virginia Department of Elections announced that all voters will be eligible to vote absentee in May’s municipal elections.
State legislative changes
  • Overview to date:
    • Sixteen state legislatures have suspended their sessions.
    • Two (Maine and Maryland) have adjourned early.
    • Five have implemented partial suspensions.
  • Details:
    • The Delaware General Assembly suspended its session for an indefinite period. The suspension had initially been scheduled to last through March 24.
    • Oklahoma State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R) announced a partial suspension of legislative activity in the State Senate beginning March 18 and ending March 20.
State court changes
  • Overview to date:
    • Thirty-two states have suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
    • Sixteen states have suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.
    • Two states, West Virginia and Wyoming, have made no changes to their court schedules on the state or local level due to coronavirus.
  • Details:
    • The Alaska Supreme Court is suspending all superior and district court proceedings until April 3.
School closures
  • Overview to date:
    • Forty-five of 50 states have ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 45 states served 48.4 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 95.7 percent of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States.
  • Details:
    • California – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order Thursday night closed the schools that remained open in the state. Newsom did not announce an end date for the order.
    • Hawaii – The Hawaii Department of Education announced that the statewide school closure, scheduled to end March 30, was extended to April 7.
    • Missouri – Gov. Mike Parsons announced that all schools in the state had closed. The schools were closed by local action rather than statewide announcement.
    • Chicago – Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that Chicago Public Schools would remain closed from March 30 to April 20. At the time of the announcement, all schools in Illinois were closed until March 30.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians
Federal officials who have entered quarantine
  • U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (R-NY)
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
  • U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC)
  • U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS)
  • U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ)
  • U.S. Rep. David Price (D-NC)
State officials who have tested positive for coronavirus
  • State Rep. Jane Garibay (D-CT)
  • State Rep. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-NY)
  • State Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-CO)
  • State Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D-HI)
Local officials who have entered quarantine
  • Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (WI)
  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D-PA)

Additional reading:



U.S. Supreme Court postpones March sitting, closes indefinitely

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it was postponing the 11 hours of oral arguments originally scheduled during its March sitting. In a press release, the court said the delay was “in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19.”

The court has heard arguments in 59 of the 73 cases it accepted to hear this term. As of February 26, the court had issued decisions in 12 cases and dismissed one case without a decision this term.

The court had previously announced on March 12 that it was closing to the public indefinitely, beginning at 4:30 p.m. that day. The court posted on its website, “Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Supreme Court Building will be closed to the public from 4:30 p.m. on March 12, 2020, until further notice.”

The court noted it planned to hold a private conference of the justices on March 20 and release orders from the conference on March 23.

The court last postponed arguments in October 1918 in response to the Spanish flu epidemic. In August 1793 and 1798, argument calendars were shortened in response to yellow fever outbreaks.

Additional reading:


March 26 is the deadline to file for congressional office in Virginia

The statewide filing deadline to run for elected office in Virginia is on March 26, 2020. For prospective candidates seeking to run for a congressional office, Virginia is holding elections for one U.S. Senate seat and 11 U.S. House seats.

U.S. Senate: The Class II Senate seat currently held by Mark Warner (D) is up for election.

U.S. House of Representatives: All 11 of Virginia’s congressional district seats are up for election. The incumbent for each district is:
  • District 1: Rob Wittman (R)
  • District 2: Elaine Luria (D)
  • District 3: Bobby Scott (D)
  • District 4: Donald McEachin (D)
  • District 5: Denver Riggleman (R)
  • District 6: Ben Cline (R)
  • District 7: Abigail Spanberger (D)
  • District 8: Don Beyer (D)
  • District 9: Morgan Griffith (R)
  • District 10: Jennifer Wexton (D)
  • District 11: Gerald Connolly (D)

The primary is scheduled for June 9, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Virginia’s statewide filing deadline is the 26th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on March 30 in New Jersey.

Additional reading:


Coronavirus daily update: March 19, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for March 19, 2020.

Federal responses
  1. Last night, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 6201, the second coronavirus relief bill. It passed the Senate earlier in the afternoon by a 90-8 vote and passed the House on Monday by a 363-40 vote. Lawmakers are expecting to work out another bill in the coming days that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said should include direct payments to individuals.
  2. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Steven Daines (R-Mont.), and Angus King (I-Maine) filed legislation seeking to delay the federal tax filing deadline for 90 days to align with the move made on March 17 by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to delay the payment of taxes 90 days. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) sent Mnuchin a letter requesting the same.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Nine states changed primary or municipal election dates.
  2. One state (New York) adjusted its candidate filing requirements.
  3. Three states have either implemented or attempted to implement changes to its voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in six states have made changes to party events on a statewide basis.
Details:
  1. Connecticut – Governor Ned Lamont (D) announced the postponement of the state’s presidential preference primary to June 2.
  2. Minnesota – The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party voted to conduct all local and district-level caucuses online. The Republican Party voted to conduct local conventions online.
  3. Missouri – The Missouri GOP voted to cancel its county caucuses.
State legislative changes
Overview to date:
  1. Sixteen state legislatures have suspended their sessions.
  2. Two states (Maine and Maryland) have adjourned early.
  3. Four states have implemented partial suspensions.
Details:
  1. Mississippi – The Mississippi State Legislature suspended its session, effective March 18, through April 1.
  2. New Hampshire – The New Hampshire General Court announced it would extend the suspension of its session through April 10. The suspension was originally set to end on March 20.
State court changes
  1. Arizona – The Arizona Supreme Court updated its order from March 16 to recommend that all proceedings be avoided to the greatest extent possible until further notice. The court also ordered new petit juries scheduled from March 18 to April 17 be rescheduled.
  2. Kansas – The Kansas Supreme Court issued an order that suspended all jury trials and restricted courts to emergency operations.
  3. Washington – The Washington Supreme Court suspended all criminal and civil jury trials until after April 24.
School closures
Overview to date
  1. Forty-three of 50 states have ordered a statewide school closure. The remaining states are leaving school closures up to local officials. Those 43 states served 41.2 million students during the 2016-2017 school year, accounting for 81.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the United States. California accounts for 6.3 million of the 9.4 million students in a state without statewide closures.
Details:
  1. Texas – Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed an executive order closing schools statewide from March 20 until April 3. Texas was the 42nd state to order statewide closures. It served 5.4 million public school students during the ’16-’17 school year.
  2. Indiana – Governor Eric Holcombe (R) signed an executive order closing schools statewide until May 1. Previously, Holcombe granted schools a 20-day waiver that allowed school districts to close on days of their choosing. Indiana was the 43rd state to order statewide closures. It served 1 million public school students during the ’16-’17 school year.

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians

Utah – U.S. Representative Ben McAdams (D) announced on March 18 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Florida
  1. U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R) announced on March 18 that he tested positive for coronavirus.
  2. U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson (D) announced on March 19 that she was entering a self-quarantine after contact with another member of the U.S. House who later tested positive for coronavirus.
  3. U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy (D) announced on March 18 that she was entering a self-quarantine after learning another member of Congress tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D) announced on March 18 that he was entering a self-quarantine after learning he had been in contact with a family friend who tested positive for coronavirus.
Georgia
  1. State Senator Brandon Beach (R) announced on March 18 that he tested positive for coronavirus.
  2. U.S. Representative Drew Ferguson (R) announced on March 18 that he was entering a self-quarantine after learning he had been in contact with a member of Congress who tested positive for coronavirus.
  3. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) announced a self-quarantine on March 18 after learning Brandon Beach tested positive for coronavirus. He recommended Georgia lawmakers enter a quarantine until March 30.
  4. State Senators Renee Unterman (R) and Randy Robertson (R) also decided to self-quarantine.

Kansas – Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple (D) announced on March 18 that he, along with City Council members Brandon Johnson, Becky Tuttle, and James Clendenin, would enter self-quarantine due to possible exposure from a conference they attended in Washington D.C.

Louisiana – U.S. Representative Steve Scalise (R) announced on March 18 that he was entering a self-quarantine for two weeks after learning U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart tested positive for coronavirus.

Missouri – U.S. Representative Ann Wagner (R) announced on March 18 that she was entering a self-quarantine after a colleague tested positive for coronavirus.

New York – U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D) announced on March 18 that she was entering a self-quarantine after learning she had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Oklahoma – U.S. Representative Kendra Horn (D) announced on March 19 that she was entering a self-quarantine after contact with another member of the U.S. House who later tested positive for coronavirus.

Read more:
  1. Political responses to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  2. Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  3. Federal, state, and local government policy changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  4. Political incumbents, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  5. Changes to state legislative sessions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  6. School closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  7. State court closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020
  8. Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020


Former Rep. Hunter sentenced to 11 months in prison

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) was sentenced on March 17 to 11 months in prison for using campaign funds for personal expenses.

The United States Justice Department began an investigation into the potential misuse of campaign funds by Hunter in March 2017. The House Ethics Committee alleged that Hunter “may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries, and other goods, services, and expenses.”

In June 2019, Hunter’s wife pleaded guilty to knowingly and willingly using campaign funds with her husband for their family’s benefit, agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign funds for extramarital affairs with five women, including an aide. Hunter pleaded guilty to using $200,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses on December 3, 2019.

Hunter announced that he would resign from the U.S. House on December 6, 2019. He submitted his letter of resignation to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on January 7, 2020.

California’s 50th Congressional District remains vacant. The seat will be filled in January 2021 following the regular election set to take place on November 3. Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) and Darrell Issa (R) advanced from the district’s top-two primary on March 3.

Additional Reading:


Trump signs coronavirus relief bill into law

President Donald Trump (R) signed into law a coronavirus relief bill in the evening of March 18, 2020. The bill had been passed in the U.S. Senate earlier in the day by a margin of 90–8. The law provides funding for paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, expanded unemployment insurance, and food assistance programs.



Congressional filing deadlines pass in Maine, Colorado, and Utah

The filing deadlines to run for elected office in Maine, Colorado, and Utah have passed. Maine’s filing deadline was March 16, Colorado’s was March 17, and Utah’s was March 19.

In Maine, prospective candidates filed for the following federal offices:
  • U.S. Senate (1 seat)
  • U.S. House (2 seats)
  • There are no open-seat races since every incumbent filed to run for re-election.
In Colorado, prospective candidates filed for the following federal offices:
  • U.S. Senate (1 seat)
  • U.S. House (7 seats)
  • Note: Federal candidates are not required to file with the Colorado Secretary of State but may be nominated through party assemblies. Ballotpedia will post a complete list of candidates who have qualified for the ballot once it is published by the Colorado Secretary of State.
In Utah, prospective candidates filed for the following federal offices:
  • U.S. House (4 seats)
  • Note: In Utah, federal candidates may be nominated through party conventions that have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ballotpedia will post a complete list of candidates who have qualified for the ballot once it is published by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

The primary in Maine is scheduled for June 9, 2020, while the primary in both Colorado and Utah is scheduled for June 30. The general election in all three states is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Maine, Colorado, and Utah’s statewide filing deadlines are the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on March 26, 2020, in Virginia.

Maine and Colorado have Democratic state government trifectas, while Utah has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

Additional reading:


Illinois congressional primaries see 1 incumbent defeated; 11 incumbents advance without primary challengers

Illinois held statewide major party primaries on March 17, 2020. All 18 U.S. House districts were on the ballot, along with the Class II U.S. Senate seat currently held by Dick Durbin (D). The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Eighteen incumbents filed for re-election; Illinois’ 15th Congressional District incumbent John Shimkus (R) was the only federal officeholder in Illinois who did not file for re-election. All but one incumbent on the primary ballot advanced to the general election. 3rd District incumbent Dan Lipinski (D) lost to challenger Marie Newman in the Democratic primary.

Two seats had no candidates on either the Democratic or Republican primary ballot. In the 8th District, no Republicans filed for the ballot, and in the 18th District, no Democrats filed for the ballot. All other seats saw at least one candidate from the Democratic or Republican parties in the primary. Eleven incumbents were unopposed in the primary and advanced automatically to the general. No Republican incumbents faced challengers. In addition to Lipinski, the following incumbents faced primary opposition: Bobby Rush (D-1), Robin Kelly (D-2), Mike Quigley (D-5), Danny K. Davis (D-7), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8), and Bill Foster (D-11).

Entering the 2020 election, the U.S. congressional delegation from Illinois has two Democratic U.S. Senators, 13 Democratic U.S. Representatives, and five Republican U.S. Representatives. The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 35 out of 100 Senate seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one independent, and five vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Additional reading:


Senate confirms Danly to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The U.S. Senate confirmed Richard Danly on March 12 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). President Donald Trump (R) nominated Danly, who previously served as the FERC’s general counsel, in fall 2019. The Senate voted 52-40 to confirm Danly to the commission.

Danly’s confirmation filled one of two vacant seats on the five-person commission. The Hill reported that “Danly’s nomination was somewhat controversial, as, in a break from tradition, a Democrat was not nominated alongside him to fill a vacant Democratic seat on the five-member board.” The three other current members of the commission are chairperson Neil Chatterjee, Richard Glick, and Bernard L. McNamee. All were nominated by Pres. Trump. Commissioners serve five-year terms.

The FERC is an independent federal agency responsible for regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, crude oil, and natural gas. In addition, FERC regulates hydroelectric dams and oversees utility mergers.



Oberweis wins IL-14 Republican primary

Jim Oberweis won the Republican primary for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District on March 17, defeating six other candidates. With 100% of precincts reporting, Oberweis received 25.6% of the vote, followed by Sue Rezin with 22.8%, Catalina Lauf with 20.1%, Ted Gradel with 13.3%, and James Marter with 11%. Jerry Evans and Anthony Catella also ran in the primary. Oberweis will run in the district’s general election on Nov. 3, 2020.

Three groups—Illinois Conservatives PAC; Our Future, Our Fight PAC; and the New Prosperity Foundation—spent a combined $1.14 million opposing candidates in the race. Of that total, around $1.08 million was spent opposing Oberweis, roughly 94% of all oppositional satellite spending.

Illinois’ 14th Congressional District is one of 31 U.S. House districts that Donald Trump (R) won in the 2016 presidential election and a Democratic House candidate won in 2018.

All 435 House districts will be up for election on Nov. 3, 2020, and the results will determine the partisan balance of the U.S. House in the 117th Congress. As of March 2020, Democrats have a 232-197 advantage over Republicans. If Republicans win 18 Democratic-controlled districts, they will win control of the House. If Democrats hold as many districts, they will maintain their control of the chamber.