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The Daily Brew: 164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016
  2. Ballot measures certification update
  3. Special elections happening today

164 recall efforts so far in 2021, the most since 2016

Ballotpedia has published our eighth mid-year recall report. In the first half of 2021, we tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This is the most recall efforts we’ve tracked through this point in the year since 2016, when we tracked 189 efforts against 265 officials. 

Here are some key findings from our 2021 report:

  • Forty-eight percent of officials facing recall petitions were school board members, the highest share for that group of officials since 2015. From June 2016 to June 2020, school board members accounted for 15% to 27% of officials named in recall efforts. City council members—the officials who drew the most efforts from 2016 to 2020—account for 25% of officials facing recall efforts in 2021. 
  • California had the most officials facing recall elections of any state (78) for the fifth time in the past six years. However, Alaska had the most recalls per 100,000 residents with 0.55. By that metric, California had the 10th-most recalls with 0.11 per 100,000 residents.
  • We’ve tracked 77 recall efforts related to the coronavirus and government responses in 2020 and 2021, part of 395 total efforts from 2020 to 2021.

One-hundred-four of the 164 recall efforts we’ve tracked so far have been resolved. Of the 104, 77 did not make the ballot, 12 were defeated, and nine resulted in officials being removed from office. In addition, six targeted officials resigned.

Several of the most notable recall efforts are those against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem (R), Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and six of the nine school board members in Virginia’s Loudoun County school district.

You can browse the full report at the link below.

Keep reading

Ballot measures certification update

Our Ballots team has been hard at work tracking the statewide ballot measures certified for both 2021 and 2022. Since we’re at the halfway point through the year, I wanted to provide you with a quick update on how the landscape is shaping up.

2021

  • As of June 13, 28 statewide ballot measures are certified for the 2021 ballot in seven states.
    • 15 measures are certified for the Nov. 2 ballot.
    • 2 measures are certified for the Oct. 9 ballot.
    • 4 measures were on the ballot on May 18 in Pennsylvania. They were approved.
    • 7 bond measures were on the ballot on March 2 in Rhode Island. They were approved.

2022

  • Fifty-four statewide ballot measures are certified for the 2022 ballot in 26 states.
    • 44 measures are legislatively referred amendments
    • 4 are ballot initiatives
    • 1 is a veto referendum
    • 5 are legislatively referred state statutes

Here are some quick stats on where things stood with ballot measures by the second week of June in past years.

  • In odd-numbered years from 2011 through 2019, an average of 16 measures had been certified for that year’s ballot. An average of 31 were certified by the end of the year.
  • In even-numbered years from 2012 through 2020, an average of 37 measures had been certified for the ballot. An average of 173 measures were ultimately certified for even-year ballots during those years. 

Keep reading 

Special elections happening today

Georgia and Wisconsin are holding state legislative special elections today, June 15. Here’s a rundown:

  • Georgia House of Representatives
    • District 34: The seat became vacant on April 30 after Bert Reeves (R) resigned to become Georgia Institute of Technology’s vice president of university relations. Five candidates (two Democrats, two Republicans, and one Libertarian) are running in the general election.
    • District 156: The seat became vacant on April 13 after Greg Morris (R) resigned to join the Georgia Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board. One Democrat and two Republicans are running in the general election.
  • Wisconsin State Assembly District 37: The seat became vacant on April 23, 2021, after John Jagler (R) was sworn into the Wisconsin State Senate. He won a special election for state Senate District 13 on April 6 of the same year. Eight candidates are running in the Republican primary.

Keep reading 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #266: June 14, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Mask requirements, business restrictions easing in California
  • Statewide coronavirus emergency orders extended in Maine and Delaware
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Friday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

California (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will end the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and lift most state restrictions on business activity statewide June 15. Social distancing restrictions and all remaining capacity limits will end. Indoor events with more than 5,000 people will have to require proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test from all attendees.
  • Fully vaccinated residents will be exempt from the statewide mask mandate starting June 15. Fully vaccinated residents still have to wear masks on public transit (and in transportation hubs like airports), in indoor childcare and K-12 school settings, in healthcare settings, and in congregate settings (including prisons and homeless shelters). Masks will still be required for unvaccinated people in all indoor public settings and businesses. 

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Alaska (divided government): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) made the announcement May 14.

Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until July 13.

Iowa (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) made the announcement May 10.

Kansas (divided government): All state government offices will return to in-person operations starting June 13. Masks will still be required in state buildings.

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until June 30. Mills said she will end the coronavirus emergency on that day. 

Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) made the announcement May 10.

Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs June 12. Gov. Mike Parson (R) made the announcement May 11. 

North Carolina (divided government): On June 11, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued an executive order extending certain pandemic-related measures, including state eviction prohibitions and face-covering requirements in certain settings.

Vermont (divided government): 

  • On June 14, Gov. Phil Scott (R) lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state, including capacity restrictions and mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals. The restrictions were lifted after 80% of eligible state residents received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Reopening had initially been scheduled for July 4.
  • On June 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced there would be new walk-in vaccination clinics open statewide over the weekend. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here.

Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On June 11, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a $3 million pilot for the Return to Earn Grant Program, which would match payments from certain small businesses to provide newly hired employees with a bonus of up to $1,000.

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On June 10, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) extended a proclamation allowing for the expansion of the Family Emergency Assistance Program, allowing individuals and families without children to apply for benefits through the program.

This time last year: Monday, June 15, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, June 15, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Hampshire’s statewide stay-at-home order expired on June 15. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued Emergency Order #17 on March 26. The order directed individuals in the state to stay at home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
  • Travel restrictions:
    • Arkansas Secretary of Health Nathaniel Smith allowed the 14-day travel quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers coming from coronavirus hot spot areas—including New York and New Jersey—to expire. 
  • Election changes:
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Judge Abdul Kallon issued a preliminary injunction barring election officials from enforcing witness and photo ID requirements for select voters casting absentee ballots in the July 14 runoff elections.


State and Local Tap: Newsom signature removal deadline passes

Intro: Our weekly summary of state & local news brings you an update on the Gavin Newsom recall effort and the statewide Democratic nominees from Virginia. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the State & Local Tap.

Ballot Measures Update

Twenty-eight statewide measures have been certified for the 2021 ballot in seven states so far.

Three new measures were certified for the 2021 ballot last week: 

Forty-four statewide measures have been certified for the 2022 ballot in 26 states so far.

Six new measures were certified for the 2022 ballot last week:

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for three additional 2022 initiatives in California and Michigan.

States in session

Thirteen states—Arizona, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire,  New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin—are in regular session.

Local Ballot Measures: The Week in Review

In 2021, Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage of elections in America’s 100 largest cities by population and all state capitals. This encompasses every office on the ballot in these cities, including their municipal elections, trial court elections, school board elections, and local ballot measures. Ballotpedia also covers all local recall elections, as well as all local ballot measures in California and a selection of notable local ballot measures about elections and police-related policies. Recent and upcoming local ballot measure elections are listed below:

Special Elections

Thirty-nine state legislative special elections have been scheduled in 17 states so far this year. Twenty-eight (28) specials have taken place already. Heading into those races, Democrats had previously controlled 14 seats, and Republicans previously controlled 14. No seats have changed party hands as a result of the special elections.

  • In special elections between 2011 and 2020, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) saw an average net gain of four seats nationally each year.
  • An average of 57 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
  • An average of 88 seats were filled through special elections in each of the past five odd years (2011: 94, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017: 98, 2019: 77).

Upcoming special elections include:

June 12

June 15

June 22

Jack Ciattarelli wins New Jersey gubernatorial Republican primary

Former New Jersey Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated Philip Rizzo, Hirsh Singh, and Brian Levine for the Republican nomination in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. Ciattarelli received 49.4% of the vote, followed by Rizzo with 25.9%, Singh with 21.5%, and Levine with 3.2%.

Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on Nov. 2, along with Gregg Mele (L), Joanna Kuniansky (Socialist Workers), Justin Maldonado (I), and David Winkler (I).

The general election will determine New Jersey’s trifecta status for the next four years. A Murphy victory would maintain Democratic trifecta control, while a Ciattarelli victory would create a divided government. Election forecasters expect the Democratic party to retain control of the state legislature.

As of June 1, two of the three major race rating outlets rated the general election as Solid Democratic, and the third rated it as Likely Democratic. Still, Republicans have had success in the state’s gubernatorial races in the recent past. Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held the governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held the governorship for 14 years.

Newsom signature removal deadline passes; counties have until June 22 to verify the number of remaining signatures

June 8 was the deadline for voters who signed the petition to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to request their names be removed from the petitions. County election offices now have until June 22 to report the number of remaining signatures to the California Secretary of State. If at least 1,495,709 signatures remain, the recall process will move forward. Supporters turned in 1,719,943 valid signatures by the March 17 submission deadline.

If sufficient signatures remain following the removal request deadline, the recall will be certified and move to a budgeting and scheduling phase. Based on the remaining procedural steps required by state law for the recall campaign, an election is likely to take place in October or November 2021.

Newsom was elected as California’s governor in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only successful recall campaign was in 2003 when voters recalled then-Gov. Gray Davis (D). Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was chosen as Davis’ replacement.

A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required. In the 2003 recall of Davis, 135 candidates ran and the winner received 48.58 percent of the vote.

South Carolina ends COVID-19 emergency orders

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) declined to extend the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency, allowing it to expire on June 6. McMaster first declared a state of emergency in response to the pandemic on March 13, 2020, and extended it every 15 days as required by South Carolina law.  

Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources unavailable to them during non-emergencies, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, and to waive or suspend certain rules and regulations. Governors and state agencies relied on emergency power authority to enact lockdown and stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and other restrictions on businesses and individuals.

South Carolina is the eighth state to end a statewide COVID-19 emergency. Before that, on June 4, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed Assembly, No. 5820. This bill ended the statewide public health emergency while allowing Murphy to retain some emergency power authority related to vaccination efforts, testing, and coordination of local health departments. 

Statewide mask orders end in Illinois, Kentucky

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) moved the state to Phase 5 of reopening June 11, ending the statewide mask mandate. The state still requires masks in schools, public transit, hospitals, and congregate facilities like prisons and homeless shelters. Masks are also recommended in indoor public spaces for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) ended the statewide mask requirement, remaining social distancing requirements, and all capacity restrictions June 11. However, vaccinated and unvaccinated people still have to wear masks on public transit, at schools, and in healthcare settings.

In total, 39 states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. As of June 11, 13 states had statewide mask orders, including 11 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and two of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 13 states, at least 11 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Virginia Democrats pick statewide nominees

Virginia Democrats picked their statewide nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general on June 8. Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012. 

Governor

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) defeated four candidates to win the gubernatorial nomination. McAuliffe received 62% of the vote, followed by former Del. Jennifer Carrol Foy (D) and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), who received 20% and 12% of the vote respectively. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) and Del. Lee Carter (D) both received less than 5% of the vote. McAuliffe will face Glenn Youngkin (R) in the general election.

McAuliffe previously served as Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. Virginia’s constitution prevents the governor from running for a second consecutive term, though former governors may serve non-consecutive terms. Mills Goodwin (D), elected in 1965 and 1973, is the most recent governor to serve non-consecutive terms.

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a gubernatorial nomination in the state’s history. The outcome of this race will affect Virginia’s trifecta status. In 2019, Virginia became a Democratic trifecta after winning majorities in the state House and Senate. In addition to the statewide elections, all 100 House seats are up for election this year.

Lieutenant governor

Delegate Hala Ayala (D) defeated five other candidates to win the lieutenant gubernatorial nomination, receiving 39% of the vote, followed by Del. Sam Rasoul’s 25%. No other candidate received over 15% of the vote. Ayala will face Winsome Sears (R) in the general election.

Of the four lieutenant governors elected since 2002, three were Democrats, and one was a Republican. Two of them, Tim Kaine (D) and Ralph Northam (D), later became governor. The lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years and, unlike the governor, may seek re-election.

Attorney general

Incumbent Mark Herring (D) defeated Del. Jerrauld “Jay” Jones to win the attorney general nomination. Herring received 56.5% of the vote to Jones’ 43.5%. Herring will face Del. Jason Miyares (R) in the general election.

Voters first elected Herring to the attorney general position in 2013. He won re-election in 2017 and is seeking re-election to a third consecutive term. No Virginia attorney general has served three consecutive terms since the 1945 re-election of Abram Penn Staples (D).

Illinois enacts state legislative, supreme court maps

Illinois became the first state to enact new district maps in this redistricting cycle on June 4, when Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed into law new maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Illinois’ five state supreme court districts were last redrawn in 1964. Cook County (home to Chicago) forms a single district, but it is allocated three seats on the seven-member court. Downstate Illinois is divided into four districts, each with one seat on the court. The state constitution allows state lawmakers to redraw supreme court districts at any time. According to The Chicago Tribune, “lawmakers have traditionally used boundaries for the circuit, appellate and Supreme Court laid out in a 1964 overhaul of the state’s court system.” 

In Illinois, the General Assembly is responsible for redistricting. On May 28, the General Assembly approved the state legislative redistricting plan (HB2777) and the supreme court redistricting plan (SB0642). 

Because the U.S. Census Bureau does not expect to deliver granular redistricting data to the states until mid-August, Illinois lawmakers used population estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) to draft the new maps before the June 30 deadline set by the state’s constitution.

On June 9, Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie filed suit in U.S. district court, challenging the use of ACS data during the drafting process. The plaintiffs argue that “[ACS] estimates are not intended to be, and are not, a proper substitute for the official census counts.” They go on to allege that “because it uses ACS estimates for population data, the Redistricting Plan does not ensure that the Senate and Representative Districts satisfy the constitutional mandate of substantially equal populations [among districts].” They are asking the court to declare the enacted maps unconstitutional and to appoint either a bipartisan legislative commission or a special master (an outside expert) to draft new maps. 

It is not clear when lawmakers will begin the congressional redistricting process. The state constitution sets no deadline for congressional redistricting.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman resigns

Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman resigned on June 11. Guzman’s replacement will be Gov. Greg Abbott‘s (R) fifth nominee to the nine-member supreme court. At the time of Guzman’s resignation, all nine judges on the court identified with the Republican party. 

Governor Rick Perry (R) appointed Guzman in 2009. She was elected to a full term in 2010, becoming the first Latina woman elected to statewide office in Texas. Guzman was re-elected in 2016, defeating Democrat Savannah Robinson, 56% to 39%.

Before she was appointed to the state supreme court, Guzman served as a district judge for Texas’ 309th District Court and an appellate judge for Texas’ Fourteenth Court of Appeals.

Under Texas law, in the event of a midterm vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement. The Texas State Senate must then confirm the nominee. Appointees serve until the next general election, in which he or she must participate in a partisan election to remain on the bench for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Mike Nearman expelled from OR state House

The Oregon House of Representatives voted to expel state Rep. Mike Nearman (R) on June 10. Nearman’s colleagues expelled him due to video footage that showed him helping protesters, some of whom were armed, enter the state Capitol building on December 21, 2020. This led to a struggle between the protesters and police officers, causing injuries and property damage. 

The resolution to expel Nearman passed 59-1, with only Nearman voting against. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Nearman is the first person to have ever been expelled from the Oregon Legislature. 

Nearman was first elected to represent District 23 in the Oregon state House in 2014, defeating incumbent Jim Thompson (R) in the Republican primary. Before he entered politics, Nearman worked in software engineering and tech support. 

There have been 52 state legislative vacancies in 30 states so far in 2021. Thirty-seven of those vacancies have been filled. Two other state legislators have been expelled this year; Luke Simons (R-ND) and Rick Roeber (R-MO). 



Federal Tap: Senate confirms first Biden-appointed judges

Our weekly summary of federal news highlights Biden’s first judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate and Val Demings’ announcement that she’s running for the U.S. Senate seat from Florida. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the Federal Tap.

Status of the Federal Branches

Is Congress in session?

Both the House and Senate are in session next week. Click here to see the full calendar for the first session of the 117th Congress.

Is the Supreme Court in session?

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments next week. To learn about the 2020-2021 term, click here.

Where was the president last week?

  • On Monday and Tuesday, Biden remained in Washington, D.C.
  • On Wednesday, Biden delivered remarks to U.S. Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom.
  • On Thursday, Biden participated in a bilateral meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom.

What’s the latest with the federal judiciary?

  • 83 federal judicial vacancies
  • 15 pending nominations
  • 30 future federal judicial vacancies

U.S. Supreme Court accepts case for next term

The U.S. Supreme Court issued orders on June 7 emanating from their June 3 conference. The court accepted one new case to be argued during the upcoming 2021-2022 term: Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga. The case concerns the state-secrets privilege and originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. 

Three residents of Southern California who practice Islam filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. district court against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They alleged that the FBI paid a confidential informant to surveil Muslims based solely on their religious identity for more than a year as part of a counterterrorism investigation and that the program included unlawful searches and anti-Muslim discrimination. The FBI asserted the state-secrets privilege and moved to dismiss the case. The district court dismissed all but one of the plaintiffs’ claims. On appeal, the 9th Circuit upheld in part and reversed in part the district court’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings to review the case’s evidence for privilege.

To date, the court has accepted 19 cases for argument next term. Including FBI v. Fazaga, the court has granted review in four cases originating from the 9th Circuit. 

SCOTUS issues rulings in two cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings in two cases. Sanchez v. Mayorkas was decided on Monday, June 7, and Borden v. United States was decided by the court on Thursday, June 10.

Sanchez v. Mayorkas concerned grants of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to non-citizens. In a unanimous ruling, SCOTUS upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling, holding that a TPS recipient who unlawfully entered the country is not eligible for lawful-permanent-resident (LPR) status solely based on their TPS grant. Justice Elena Kagan authored the court’s majority opinion. 

Borden v. United States concerned the “use of force” clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). In a 5-4 opinion, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that a reckless offense cannot qualify as a “violent felony” if it only requires a mens rea of recklessness–a less culpable mental state than purpose or knowledge. Justice Elena Kagan delivered the court’s majority opinion, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett.

To date, the court has decided 44 cases, and 21 are yet to be decided this term.

Senate confirms first Biden-appointed judges

Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed three of President Joe Biden’s (D) federal judicial nominees to Article III courts, marking the first federal judicial confirmations of the Biden administration. Two were confirmed on June 8, and one nominee was confirmed on June 10.

  • Julien Xavier Neals, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, by a 66-33 vote.
  • Regina Rodriguez, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, by a 72-28 vote.
  • Zahid Quraishi, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, by an 81-16 vote.

The three confirmed nominees were officially nominated by Biden on April 19 and had their nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 28. Each of the nominees was rated as well qualified by the American Bar Association.

The confirmed nominees will join their respective courts upon receiving their judicial commissions and taking their judicial oaths.

Ballotpedia’s polling index shows presidential approval at 53%, congressional approval at 26%

Ballotpedia’s polling index showed President Joe Biden (D) at 53% approval and 41% disapproval as of June 11. At this time last month, his approval rating was also at 53%.

The highest approval rating Biden has received during his tenure is 55%, last seen on May 26. The lowest approval rating he has received is 51% on March 29.

Congressional approval is at 26%, and disapproval is at 60%, according to our index. At this time last month, congressional approval was at 30%.

The highest approval rating the 117th Congress has received is 30%, last seen on May 11. The lowest approval rating it has received is 20%, last seen on March 3.

At this time during the tenure of former President Donald Trump (R), presidential approval was at 42%, and congressional approval was at 18%. To see more comparisons between Biden and Trump administration polling, click here.

Demings announces run for U.S. Senate from Florida

U.S. Rep. Val Demings (D) officially announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate on June 9. Demings currently represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Marco Rubio (R) is Florida’s incumbent U.S. Senator who is up for election in 2022. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

Demings announced she was running in a three-minute video in which she discussed how her upbringing and experiences had given her “tireless faith that things can always get better.” Demings said in the video, “I have never tired of representing Florida. Not for one single moment.”

Demings first ran for Florida’s 10th Congressional District seat in 2012, losing to incumbent Daniel Webster (R), 51% to 48%. She ran again in 2016 to represent District 10 after Webster decided to run in the 11th District. Demings defeated Thuy Lowe (R), 65% to 35% in 2016. She was re-elected in 2018 and 2020.

Demings is the 12th member of the House of Representatives to announce they are retiring or seeking another office. Six of those are Democrats, and six are Republicans. Demings is one of four members who are seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Biden makes first overseas trip to Europe as president

President Joe Biden (D) began his first trip abroad as president on June 9 with a trip to the United Kingdom, where he met British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the following day. Biden will remain overseas until June 16. Here’s the rest of his schedule:

  • June 11-13: Biden will attend the G7 summit and hold bilateral meanings with other G7 leaders. He will also meet with Queen Elizabeth II.
  • June 14: Biden will be in Brussels, meeting with NATO leaders and holding a private session with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
  • June 15: Biden will continue to attend NATO meetings before flying to Geneva.
  • June 16: Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #265: June 11, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Mask requirements ending in Illinois and Kentucky
  • Pandemic-related unemployment benefits ending in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

Alaska (divided government): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) made the announcement May 14.

Iowa (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) made the announcement May 10.

Kansas (divided government): All state government offices will return to in-person operations starting June 13. Masks will still be required in state buildings.

Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) made the announcement May 10.

Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Parson (R) made the announcement May 11. 

Vermont (divided government): On June 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced there would be new walk-in vaccination clinics open across the state over the weekend. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state is entering Phase 5 of reopening June 11. The statewide mask requirement is ending, and all remaining businesses and events can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is ending the statewide mask requirement, remaining social distancing requirements, and all capacity restrictions June 11. 
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

North Carolina (divided government): On June 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a vaccine incentive program that will run from June 23 to Aug. 4. Adults who receive a vaccination starting on June 10 will be entered into four drawings for a $1 million cash prize, and people between the ages of 12 and 17 will be entered into four drawings for a $125,000 scholarship prize towards the post-secondary education of their choice.

Pennsylvania (divided government): 

  • The General Assembly voted to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus emergency declaration June 10. HR106 passed 30-20 in the state Senate June 10. The state House voted 121-81 to approve the Senate version later in the day. The change is effective immediately. Wolf already ended all remaining mitigation measures May 31 except the requirement for unvaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. HR106 does not affect the health secretary’s authority to require masks. 
  • Voters passed two ballot measures on May 18 to limit a governor’s emergency powers. Pennsylvania governors can now only issue 21-day state of emergency orders. After 21 days, the General Assembly can extend or end emergency orders through a majority vote. Previously, the legislature needed a two-thirds majority to overturn an emergency order.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until July 9.

This time last year: Thursday, June 11, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Thursday, June 11, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state and returning travelers through July 31. Ige first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
  • Election changes:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB167 into law, extending the deadline for a ballot-qualified party to notify the state of its presidential nominee from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25.


Union Station: Unions sue to block West Virginia law prohibiting paycheck deductions

Unions suing to block West Virginia law prohibiting paycheck deductions 

Twelve unions in West Virginia have filed suit in state court to block a law from going into effect next week that would prohibit public-sector union members from having dues withdrawn from their paychecks.

About the law

Republican-sponsored House Bill 2009, the ‘Paycheck Protection Act,’ passed the Senate 20-13 on March 16 and passed the House as amended 55-43 on March 19. Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed the bill on March 30. It was enacted in May with an effective date of June 17.  

Among the law‘s provisions is a ban on “deductions and assignments of earnings for union, labor organization, or club dues or fees” from the paychecks of state, county, and certain municipal employees, including teachers and other school personnel.

The unions’ suit

Twelve unions, including the West Virginia AFL-CIO, West Virginia Education Association, and West Virginia Troopers Association, filed their complaint in the Kanawha County Circuit Court on May 20. The complaint says:

In particular, Petitioners seek preliminary and permanent injunctions and a declaratory judgment to enjoin and invalidate a recently enacted West Virginia law, House Bill 2009 or the “Paycheck Protection Act” … which selectively prohibits the long-standing practice and contractual rights of public employees and their employers to have union dues automatically deducted from the employees’ paychecks. Petitioners seek an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Act against public employers from dismantling a practice that has, for more than fifty years, permitted public employees and employers to agree to have union dues withheld from their paychecks.

The unions claim the act violates the equal protection and contracts clauses of the state constitution and “discriminates against the viewpoints of certain employees and their affiliated associations thereby violating the free speech rights of union and union members.”

According to the West Virginia Education Association, Judge Tera Salango will hear the case on June 14. 

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the law was “clearly retaliation for standing together for public schools by going on strike in 2018 and 2019.”  In 2018, West Virginia teachers went on strike for nine days. In 2019, teachers participated in a two-day strike.  

Justice was first elected governor in 2016 as a Democrat. On Aug. 3, 2017, Justice 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

Josh Sword, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said, “As is clearly stated in our circuit court filing, the so-called Paycheck Protection Act discriminates against organized public employees who seek to ensure safe workplaces and fair treatment by their employers, and was passed by this legislative majority purely out of spite. … House Bill 2009 selectively and discriminately prohibits paycheck deductions for public employees and their unions, a practice that has gone on for more than 50 years without a problem, while still allowing hundreds of other paycheck deductions to remain in place.”

Sen. Charles Trump (R) said, “The purpose of this bill, in my mind, is not for retribution or to punish or any such thing. … It recognizes the reality of our 21st century life, and that is we do not need to have organizations making deductions from people’s paychecks for these things anymore. It’s too easy now. Anyone who wants to belong to a club or a labor organization or a country club can easily have an automatic withdrawal set up from his or her checking account.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 93 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. 

  • 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.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed June 4.  
  • Delaware HB237: This bill would grant select law enforcement officers the right of organization and representation.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced and assigned to the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee June 9.  
  • 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.
    • Marked as unfinished business June 9. 
  • Oregon SB580: This bill would amend the definition of “employment relations” in ORS 243.650 to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Passed third reading in House June 7. 



New York mayoral primaries preview – The Daily Brew for 06/11/21

Welcome to the Friday, June 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing the New York mayoral race
  2. Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state
  3. #Fridaytrivia

Previewing the New York mayoral race

The New York mayoral primaries are on June 22—less than two weeks away. As the date approaches, let’s take a look at what we know about the races.

Sixteen Democrats and three Republicans are running in the primary elections. There will be both Democratic and Republican primaries. The winners will advance to the general election on Nov. 2.

The primary election will feature the first use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to win the election, and votes for eliminated candidates are redistributed based on the next preference on the ballot. Official tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix mistakes they may make on their ballots, such as forgetting to sign them.

Among the Democratic candidates, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former Wall Street executive Raymond McGuire, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have received the most media attention and noteworthy endorsements.

The three Republicans are the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers founder Fernando Mateo, retired NYPD officer William Pepitone, and financier Sara Tirschwell.

Garcia topped an Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters conducted May 23-24 with 21% support in the first round and 55% support in the eleventh and final round of ranked-choice voting. The margin of error was 4.1%. Adams and Yang, who led in earlier polls, rounded out the final three.

Garcia’s performance in polling has improved following endorsements from The New York Times and the New York Daily News. Other recent key endorsements in the race include Rep. John Liu (D-N.Y.) for Yang, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for Wiley, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) for Adams.

Stringer, who lost endorsements following allegations of sexual misconduct that Stringer denied, received a boost from the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers in May through a $4 million television and digital ad campaign.

Additional key spending in the race includes $500,000 from investor George Soros to a pro-Wiley super PAC and $1 million from oil executive John Hess to a pro-McGuire group.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election. De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and won re-election in 2017 with 66% of the vote. Including de Blasio, four of the previous six mayors were Democrats.

Mayoral elections are being held in 31 of the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2021. The mayors of 64 of the country’s 100 largest cities are currently affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Keep reading

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned as Texas secretary of state effective May 31, after the Nominations Committee of the Texas State Senate did not take up her nomination for another term. Since Texas is one of eight states where the governor selects the secretary of state, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint Hughs’ successor. Abbott has appointed four secretaries of state so far since he took office in 2015.

Governor Abbott appointed Hughs on August 19, 2019, to succeed David Whitley (R) after he did not receive enough confirmation votes from the state Senate to remain in office. At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of a secretary of state’s nomination in order for a nominee to be confirmed. Hughs previously served as the chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

The Texas secretary of state serves as the chief election officer, assists election officials at the county level, and ensures that election laws are uniform throughout Texas. Additionally, the secretary publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public.

Here are a few fun facts about the office of secretary of state:

  • The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states.
  • The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.
  • In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the office is called the secretary of the commonwealth and differs only in name.
  • Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. In the other 12, the secretary is appointed by either the governor or the state legislature.

Keep reading 

#Fridaytrivia

We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the status of redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census results. I recently wrote about how Illinois lawmakers approved revised maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court. Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation on June 4 establishing the new maps. In that edition, I told you about the last time Illinois redrew state supreme court districts.

So for today’s question, I’m asking: When was the last time state supreme court districts were redrawn in Illinois?

  1. 1964
  2. 1991
  3. 2011
  4. 1983


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

Recommended subject line: Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Kentucky
  • The end of social distancing in Maine schools
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • Federal responses
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state will enter Phase 5 of reopening June 11. On that day, the statewide mask requirement will end, and large events and gatherings can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) will end the statewide mask requirement for everyone (including unvaccinated people) on June 11.
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced all social distancing requirements will be lifted for schools in Fall 2021. Mills said she expected all schools to offer full-time, in-person instruction when the requirement ends. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, June 9, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) confirmed that venues that can hold 10,000 or more people will still be restricted to 75% capacity once the state lifts most COVID-19 restrictions. Inslee said he would lift most restrictions once 70% of eligible residents get vaccinated. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 8 edition of the newsletter. As of June 9, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

We last looked at school closures and reopenings on June 3. Since then, no states changed school reopening guidelines.

Nationwide:

  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 15,432,755 students (30.51% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,123,137 students (2.22% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 33,628,303 students (66.48% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 24 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since June 3, one state has announced plans to alter its travel restrictions.   

Details:

  • Hawaii – Governor David Ige (D) announced that fully vaccinated travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii will be able to bypass the quarantine or test requirement when flying in from out of state beginning June 15. He also announced all inter-county travel restrictions will end on June 15.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On June 8, Department of Defense (DoD) press secretary John Kirby announced the DoD would close three mass vaccination sites, leaving five in operation around the country. The DoD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operated 35 sites earlier in the year when demand for vaccines was highest.
  • On June 3, President Joe Biden (D) announced the U.S will share 25 million coronavirus doses with foreign countries. Nineteen million will go to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX initiative, while the remainder will go directly to countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

This time last year: Friday, June 12, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Friday, June 12, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed HB1169 into law, reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.
    • California Judge Perry Parker of the Sutter County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order suspending Executive Order N-67-20, which authorized counties to consolidate polling places in the Nov. 3 general election, provided the counties offered three days of early voting.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #263: June 9, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • A vaccination campaign in Wisconsin
  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Oregon
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective June 11, 11 counties will be in the state’s High Risk level, four will be at Moderate Risk, and 21 will have Lower Risk restrictions. In the current period from June 4 -10, 13 counties are in the state’s High Risk level, four are at Moderate Risk, and 19 have Lower Risk restrictions. To see restrictions in a specific county or risk level, click here.

South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) allowed the statewide coronavirus emergency order to expire June 7. McMaster declared the emergency March 13, 2020. 

Wisconsin (divided government): On Tuesday, June 8, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced he was re-launching the “You Stop the Spread” campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The campaign will include television, radio, and billboard ads. The campaign was initially launched in September 2020 to encourage people to wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

  • On Tuesday, June 8, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data showing that half of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 


The Daily Brew: Results from Tuesday’s statewide primaries

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey
  2. Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice
  3. May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey

Here are some results from yesterday’s state executive primaries from New Jersey and Virginia:

Virginia

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe defeated four other candidates to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. With 94% of precincts reporting, McAuliffe had received 62% of the vote, followed by former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20% and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 11%. McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and was the national chairman of Hillary Clinton’s (D) 2008 presidential campaign. 

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a governor’s race in the state’s history. McAuliffe will face Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin—who won his party’s nod at a May 8 convention—in the general election. 

Hala Ayala won the six-candidate Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. With 97% of precincts reporting. Ayala had 38.6% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul with 25.5% and Mark Levine with 12%. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. Two of the state’s last four lieutenant governors, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor.

Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012.

New Jersey

Former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated three other candidates to win the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Philip Rizzo with 26% and Hirsh Singh with 22%. Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on Nov. 2.

Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held New Jersey’s governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held it for 14. The last Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two incumbent Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.  

Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice 

The Maine Senate confirmed Valerie Stanfill as the chief justice of the state’s highest court on June 3. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Stanfill on May 10 to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired in April 2020. Stanfill is Mills’ third appointment to the court. Democratic governors have appointed six of Maine’s seven state supreme court justices.

Maine is one of 14 states that select the chief justice of their highest court by gubernatorial appointment. State supreme courts in 23 states select their chief justice by chamber vote, seven by popular vote, and six by seniority.

Ballotpedia’s study of partisanship on state supreme courts identified one of Maine’s current state supreme court justices as a strong Democrat, three as mild Democrats, and two whose partisan affiliation could not be conclusively determined. To explore our analysis of partisanship of state supreme courts in Maine and across the country, click here for the full study.

Read on 

May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Each month, we crunch the numbers on the partisan affiliation of the country’s 7,383 state legislators. Ballotpedia’s partisan count of state legislative seats at the end of May determined that 54.3% of state legislators are Republicans and 44.9% are Democrats. During May, Democrats had a net loss of one seat, while Republicans had a net gain of one. Compared to May a year ago, Democrats have lost 142 state legislative seats, while Republicans have gained 153 seats. 

Republicans currently control 61 state legislative chambers, while Democrats control 37. One chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives, has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties. At the end of May, Republicans held 1,091 state Senate seats and 2,918 state House seats. Democrats held 867 state Senate seats and 2,450 state House seats. Third-party or independent officeholders held 38 seats, and there were 19 vacancies.

Read on