Gillibrand calls for excise and carbon taxes to address climate change

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 25, 2019: Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a $10 trillion climate change proposal. Five Democrats will speak at a presidential forum hosted by the National Urban League.        

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (July 9 - 18)

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (July 9 - 18)

Notable Quote of the Day

“Self-funded candidates have had mixed track records. Political scientist Jennifer Steen look at success rates of self-funders in congressional races in her 2006 book, Self-Financed Candidates in Congressional Elections.

She found that, on average, candidates’ odds of winning actually decreased as they spent more on their campaigns, even among candidates who had political experience.

A prominent counterexample, of course, is President Donald Trump, who gave $66 million to his 2016 campaign, though he also raised an additional $130 million from individual donors.
But in 2018, 41 candidates ultimately self-funded to the tune of at least $1 million. Only nine of them won.

Many of the candidates who rely on self-funding are, like Trump, wealthy political outsiders. For them, personal money is a useful buoy until donors begin to take their campaign seriously. Candidates who self-fund typically list their personal contributions as loans to their campaign, though many never raise enough from donors to pay themselves back. Given their poor electoral chances, self-funders also run the risk of losing big in more ways than one.”

– Jessica Piper, Center for Responsive Politics


  • Joe BidenCory BookerJohn DelaneyAmy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan will speak at a presidential forum Thursday hosted by the National Urban League in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Bill de Blasio said he supported forming a commission to examine reparations for black Americans affected by slavery.
  • Booker and Beto O’Rourke held campaign events in Flint, Michigan, following appearances at the NAACP national convention.
  • Steve Bullock wrote an op-ed in Sioux City Journal on Social Security, Medicare, and pharmaceutical costs.
  • Pete Buttigieg discussed his military service in the final episode of the Reclaiming Patriotism podcast. He also attended at least two fundraisers in the Bay Area in California Wednesday.
  • Julián Castro spoke about decertifying police officers involved in shootings of unarmed civilians and Ben Carson’s performance as secretary of housing and urban development in an interview on The Clay Cane Show.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a $10 trillion climate change proposal Thursday. Gillibrand called for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, an excise tax on fossil fuel production, and a $52 per metric ton carbon tax, among other policies.  
  • Michael Kempner, who helped raise more than $3 million for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign as a bundler, will host a fundraiser for Kamala Harris in August.
  • John Hickenlooper will campaign Thursday in Sigourney, Iowa. 
  • Seth Moulton introduced the Automatic Listening and Exploitation Act, which would allow the FTC to penalize companies whose smart devices record user conversations without prompting.
  • In a newly released plan on racial inequality in educationO’Rourke called for increasing diversity among educators, ending disparities in disciplinary actions, and offering student debt relief for teachers.
  • Bernie Sanders released a plan to increase the number of black healthcare professionals, which includes expanding the National Health Service Corps and related programs in underserved areas; increasing the number of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants; and canceling student debt.
  • Joe Sestak will meet with the Des Moines Register editorial board Thursday.
  • Tom Steyer posted a digital ad calling on Nancy Pelosi to cancel the upcoming congressional recess and conduct oversight of Trump.
  • Marianne Williamson tweeted she opposed the Mauna Kea telescope project in Hawaii.


  • Donald Trump vetoed three joint resolutions that would have prohibited certain arms sales in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Italy.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 25, 2015

The New York Times profiled Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and ground game in Iowa.

The Daily Brew: Checking in on the PredictIt presidential race market

Today’s Brew highlights the prices for the presidential nominees on PredictIt as of yesterday + summarizes mid-year fundraising by each party’s campaign committees  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, July 25, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Trump (R), Harris (D) lead PredictIt markets for their respective party’s presidential nomination
  2. Republican and Democratic national party committees have raised over $300 million through June
  3. Know students interested in interning with us? Let’s connect!

Trump (R), Harris (D) lead PredictIt markets for their respective party’s presidential nomination

Kamala Harris led the Democratic primary for president as of yesterday afternoon according to PredictIt, an online political futures market in which users purchase shares relating to the outcome of political events using real money. Last election cycle we partnered with PredictIt to share their information with our readers. Throughout the 2020 cycle, we’re bringing Ballotpedia readers periodic updates on what we’re learning from PredictIt.

Ballotpedia is tracking PredictIt markets relating to the 2020 presidential election, including the general election and Democratic and Republican primaries. Here’s a crash course in how PredictIt’s market works:

  • PredictIt has established markets that correspond to real-world events, such as elections.

  • Investors can buy shares in those markets reflecting a particular outcome, such as whether a candidate will win an election. 

  • The price of a share in each contract rises and falls based on market demand.

  • An investor makes money if more and more people also believe that the same outcome will occur, causing the price of the shares he or she owns to increase. 

  • In election markets, the higher the current price of the contract that corresponds to a particular candidate, the more likely the market believes that candidate will win.

Services such as PredictIt are also being used to gain insight into trends over the lifetime of an election and the event’s probable outcome. 

In the Democratic primary market, only five candidates were priced at 10 cents or more as of July 24—Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Biden, Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg. As of the same time, Donald Trump was priced at 89 cents per contract. Here is a screenshot of the pricing for the Democratic presidential nominee market as of yesterday afternoon:

Predict It Widget 

PredictIt has also created markets to allow people to invest in which candidate will win the Democratic caucus or primary in four early presidential contests—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. As of yesterday afternoon, Bernie Sanders was the favorite to win the New Hampshire primary and Joe Biden was the leading candidate in the other three states.

Click the link below for an overview of the PredictIt markets relating to the 2020 presidential election, including the general election, Democratic primary, and Republican primary.

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Checks and Balances

Republican and Democratic national party committees have raised over $300 million through June  

The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by more than 2-to-1 for the third straight month, according to July filings with the Federal Election Commission. Republicans led in national and Senatorial committee fundraising while Democrats led in House committee fundraising.

Democrats and Republicans each have three major party committees—a national committee, one dedicated to U.S. Senate elections, and one dedicated to U.S. House elections. National party committees plan their presidential nominating conventions, promote the party’s platform, and raise funds to support candidates for all offices. Each party’s Senate and House campaign committees are dedicated to electing members to their respective bodies through recruiting candidates and providing campaign and financial support.  

The table below shows each committee’s receipts, disbursements, cash on hand, and debts owed through the end of June 2019: 

Party fundraising 

These six committees have raised a combined $310.1 million from January 1 to June 30 for the 2020 election cycle. The three Republican committees raised $176.3 million and the Democratic ones have raised $133.8 million.

Know students interested in interning with us? Let’s connect!

Are you a college or university professor with undergraduate or graduate students passionate about politics, communications, or technology? If so, we want to connect with them for our Fall 2019 internship program.

Our interns assist in a variety of duties on our Editorial, Communications, Tech, or Outreach teams. They’ll learn how to publish content on Ballotpedia, learn about all we do to prevent and detect bias in our resources, and work alongside current staff members.

All interns are paid and work remotely and Ballotpedia is also happy to facilitate credit for internship experience. Our Fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, August 26 through Friday, December 13. Interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability.  

Help spread the word about Ballotpedia’s Fall Internship Program! Students can apply and find more information at the link below.



Trump to collect citizenship information through executive order instead of 2020 census

The Checks and Balances Letter delivers news and information from Ballotpedia’s Administrative State Project, including pivotal actions at the federal and state levels related to the separation of powers, due process and the rule of law.

This edition:

In this edition, we review President Donald Trump’s (R) move to acquire citizenship information after federal judges blocked administration efforts to add citizenship status to the 2020 census; an upcoming United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case challenging the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; and a recent SCOTUS ruling that both upheld and limited Auerdeference.

At the state level, we highlight a new Indiana law that moves the state’s administrative law judges (ALJs) from agency control to a centralized panel, as well as a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding the state’s regulatory reform. We also present The Wall Street Journal’s interview with Judge Andrew Oldham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on his forthcoming paper examining the Anti-Federalists’ prescience on the rise of the administrative state.

As always, we wrap up with our Regulatory Tally, which features information about the 174 proposed rules and 262 final rules added to the Federal Register in June and OIRA’s regulatory review activity.

The Checks and Balances Letter

Key readings.jpg

In Washington

Trump to collect citizenship information through executive order instead of 2020 census

What’s the story? President Trump announced on July 11, 2019, that his administration would cease efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census and instead direct federal agencies through executive order to provide the information to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross approved the citizenship question for the 2020 U.S. census as necessary to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The proposed question would have asked, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
The citizenship question was blocked by three federal district court judges on grounds that it violated the Constitution’s Enumeration Clause and the Census Act, and that the administration failed to follow proper procedure.
By a vote of 5-4, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the legality of a citizenship question on the census but effectively barred the administration from including it by remanding the case, Department of Commerce v. New York, to the agency for review.
The ruling invoked precedent from Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe (1971) to evaluate agency decisions beyond the scope of the administrative record.
The dissenting justices argued that the exception opens a new legal avenue for challengers to contest administrative actions based solely on alleged pretextual reasoning by agency decision-makers outside of the administrative record.
Want to go deeper?

SCOTUS agrees to decide whether administrative procedures must be followed to eliminate improperly issued rules

What’s the story? The United States Supreme Court will determine whether the Trump administration can end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through a memorandum rather than rulemaking procedures after it granted certiorari on June 28 in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.
The case could clarify whether federal agencies must follow the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) rulemaking procedures to end programs that were created without following APA procedures. Oral argument is scheduled for November 12, 2019.
The Obama administration created DACA in 2012 to prevent the deportation of young people who were unlawfully brought into the country as children. The program was established through a memorandum rather than APA rulemaking procedures.
The Trump administration on September 5, 2017, rescinded DACA, arguing that the program was unlawful because the Obama administration failed to follow APA rulemaking procedures.
Regents of the University of California sued the administration for failing to follow the APA in rescinding the program.
DHS argued, in part, that the decision to end DACA was exempt from APA rulemaking because it was improperly created.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California barred the administration from rescinding DACA. The administration appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Want to go deeper?

SCOTUS upholds and limits Auer deference

What’s the story? The United States Supreme Court on June 26 unanimously (with concurring opinions) upheld Auerdeference—the practice of federal courts deferring to administrative agencies’ interpretations of ambiguous regulations. However, the ruling also limited application of the principle.
The opinion written by Justice Kagan set the following parameters for Auer deference:
  • 1. Auer deference applies only when a regulation is ambiguous. Courts must first consider the text, structure, history, and purpose of a regulation before deferring to an agency’s reasonable interpretation.
  • 2. Whether the reasonable agency interpretation of a regulation is an authoritative or official position of the agency.
  • 3. Auer deference is only appropriate for regulatory matters that fall within agency expertise.
  • 4. An agency’s interpretation must be a “fair and considered judgment” that does not create unfair surprise for those subject to the regulation. Moreover, courts should not defer to agency interpretations that were only adopted in order to assist the agency in a lawsuit.
Justice Gorsuch authored a concurring opinion, joined by Justices Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh, that criticized the court for not invalidating Auer altogether, noting the court’s responsibility “to say what the law is and afford the people the neutral forum for their disputes that they expect and deserve.”
The case Kisor v. Wilkie involved a marine veteran who challenged a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) interpretation of a regulation that determined the effective date of retroactive disability benefits. The United States Supreme Court unanimously vacated and remanded the judgment of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which had failed to consider whether the VA’s regulation had more than one reasonable meaning. The court instructed the Federal Circuit to reconsider its application of Auer deference in the case.
Want to go deeper?

In the States

Indiana moves ALJ supervision to centralized panel

What’s the story? A new Indiana law shifted oversight of the state’s administrative law judges (ALJs) from state agency supervision to the Office of Administrative Law Proceedings (OALP), housed under the State Personnel Office.
Proponents of Senate Enrolled Act 1223 say that the change protects the independence of ALJs by removing them from agency control.
The OALP has the authority to hire and train ALJs, assign them to cases, and create and enforce a judicial code of conduct.
Eleven agencies have ALJ systems that are governed by separate statutes and, therefore, are exempt from the change.
Want to go deeper?

Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms state REINS Act

What’s the story? The Wisconsin Supreme Court on June 25 ruled 4-2 in Koschkee v. Taylor to affirm that the state’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) must submit new rules to the governor for approval before they take effect.
Wisconsin’s Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, the first state-level REINS Act signed into law in August 2017 by Governor Scott Walker (R), requires state agencies to obtain gubernatorial approval for proposed regulations.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) sued former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D) and the DPI in November 2017 for allegedly violating the state REINS Act by failing to submit statements of scope for proposed rules to the State Department of Administration for approval.
Evers and DPI argued that the state superintendent is a constitutional office not subject to gubernatorial control under the REINS Act.
Koschkee v. Taylor affirmed that DPI exercises delegated legislative power when it promulgates rules and, therefore, its rulemaking activities are subject to control by the state legislature. By passing the REINS Act, the state legislature required DPI to obtain gubernatorial approval prior to promulgating new rules.
Want to go deeper?

How the Anti-Federalists foretold the rise of the administrative state

Judge Andrew Oldham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit spoke to The Wall Street Journal for a July 3 article examining the Anti-Federalists’ views on the evolution of executive power. The Anti-Federalists, Oldham explained, were uneasy about far-reaching executive power. Oldham argues that, in many ways, the Anti-Federalists foresaw the development of the administrative state:

“Judge Oldham is impressed by the prescience of Anti-Federalist concerns ‘about the way executive power would evolve over time.’ In a forthcoming paper for the New York University Journal of Law & Liberty, he quotes the Anti-Federalist Cato (thought to be future Vice President George Clinton), who wrote that the presidency would ‘create a numerous train of dependents’ in the executive branch, so that the president would end up ‘surrounded by expectants and courtiers’—an aristocracy, which might be compared to today’s Washington elite.
“No one in the 18th century could predict the form the federal bureaucracy would take in the 20th century. Yet the Anti-Federalists’ concerns are telling. They worried about ‘the capaciousness of executive power,’ Judge Oldham says, comparing it to ‘the abuses of the past that they’d seen in England.’ The Federalists countered that the separation of powers would prevent any part of the new federal government from becoming too powerful. The legislative, executive and judicial branches were coequal and would check and balance one another.
“Yet in recent decades, as Christopher DeMuth has written, ‘Congress has delegated its lawmaking powers: voting by lopsided margins for goals such as clean air and equality of the sexes, while leaving the hard choices—the real legislating—to specialized executive-branch agencies.’ These administrative agencies not only make rules but enforce and adjudicate them—carrying out the functions of all three governmental branches with nary a check.”

Click here to read the full article.

Regulatory Tally

Federal Register

  • The Federal Register in June reached 31,170 pages. The number of pages at the end of each June during the Obama administration (2009-2016) averaged 37,979 pages.
  • The Federal Register included 174 proposed rules and 262 final rules during June 2019. The regulations included new car title loan regulations, restrictions on flights to Cuba, and updated international mail prices, among other rules.
Want to go deeper?

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

OIRA’s June regulatory review activity included:
  • Review of 37 significant regulatory actions. Between 2009-2016, the Obama administration reviewed an average of 47 significant regulatory actions each June.
  • Recommended changes to 36 proposed rules.
  • Agencies withdrew one rule from the review process.
  • As of July 1, 2019, the OIRA website listed 125 regulatory actions under review.
Want to go deeper?

De Blasio unveils first major policy proposal of presidential campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 24, 2019: Bill de Blasio introduced the first major policy proposal of his campaign on workforce issues. Roughly half of the Democratic field will speak at the NAACP presidential forum in Detroit.

 Facebook Ad Spending (July 15-21)

Notable Quote of the Day

“No southerners are [on the debate stage], unless you count Texans Castro and O’Rourke or border state candidates Biden and Delaney, which I don’t.

So what?

Democrats are abandoning their most successful strategy for winning recent presidential elections: putting a southerner on the ticket. From 1964 until 2008, every victorious Democratic presidential candidate had a southern accent: Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Jimmy Carter in 1974, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and Al Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000.

Arguably, it happened again in 2016 when Hillary Clinton, with her deep Arkansas and southern connections, won the popular vote.”

– D.G. Martin, North Carolina Bookwatch host


  • Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroJohn DelaneyKamala HarrisAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warrenwill speak at the NAACP’s 2020 Presidential Candidates Forum in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday.

  • Michael Bennet appeared on an episode of Hacks on Tap with David Axelrod and Mike Murphy to discuss the state of the Democratic Party.

  • Biden campaigned in New Orleans, Louisiana, with stops at the Youth Empowerment Project and a fundraiser.

  • Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan endorsed Biden.

  • In an op-ed in BuzzFeed NewsBill de Blasio introduced the first major policy proposal of his campaign on workforce issues. He called for two weeks of paid time off for all workers, a national minimum wage of $15, and replacing at-will employment with a “just cause” termination policy.

  • Steve Bullock participated in a 2020 forum series hosted by women’s coworking space company The Riveter in Seattle, Washington.

  • In an interview on Outkick the Coverage with Clay TravisTulsi Gabbarddiscussed sports, the military, and the foreign policy credentials of other candidates.

  • John Hickenlooper wrote an op-ed in Fortune about entrepreneurship and tariffs. 

  • Jay Inslee talked about climate change solutions in an episode of Why Is This Happening with Chris Hayes.

  • O’Rourke discussed his cross-party appeal and Trump’s North Carolina rally in an interview on The View. His wife, Amy O’Rourke, also joined the interview, marking her first national appearance.

  • Tim Ryan talked sports and politics in an episode of Fired Up with Brad Jenkins.

  • Joe Sestak continued to campaign in Iowa, speaking with the Poweshiek County Democrats Tuesday night.

  • Warren introduced the Student Loan Debt Relief Act of 2019 with Rep. James E. Clyburn, which would cancel up to $50,000 of student debt for individuals with a household income of less than $100,000. Partial debt relief would be available for households earning more than $100,000 on a sliding scale.

  • Marianne Williamson spoke about criminal sentencing disparities, white-collar crime, and voter suppression at the NAACP national convention in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday.


  • Donald Trump spoke at the Turning Point Teen Student Action Summit for conservative high school students.

  • Bill Weld will speak at the NAACP’s 2020 Presidential Candidates Forum in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday.

Flashback: July 24, 2015

The New York Times reported that government investigators found classified information on Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The Clinton campaign responded that any classified information found on the server would have been labeled classified after the fact.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: The longest-running trifecta

Today’s Brew identifies those states that have rarely seen recent changes in their trifecta status + announces our newest Learning Journey  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, July 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. One state—Utah—has been a GOP trifecta since 1985
  2. Introducing our newest Learning Journey on deference
  3. Today! Our briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state

Utah has had 34 straight years of trifecta control – the longest active streak in the nation

As I’ve talked about often in the Brew, a state government trifecta describes when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both state legislative chambers. While most states have seen at least one change in their trifecta status within the last 20 years, five states—Nebraska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah—have not had a trifecta change since at least 1999. In Utah, Republicans have controlled the governor’s office, House, and Senate since 1985.

Three more fast facts about trifectas:

  • Four states—Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and New Hampshire— have seen their trifecta status change twice since 2014. Colorado and Illinois both went from having a Democratic trifecta to divided government in 2014 and back to a Democratic trifecta in 2018. Nevada went from a Republican trifecta to divided government in 2016 and to a Democratic trifecta in 2018. New Hampshire went from divided government to a Republican trifecta in 2016 and back to divided government in 2018.

  • Heading into the 2010 elections, there were 25 total trifectas—16 Democratic and nine Republican—in the United States.

  • There have been 62 trifecta changes since 2010.

In 2019, elections could determine the trifecta status of five states—Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. Kentucky and Mississippi are Republican trifectas while New Jersey is a Democratic one. Louisiana and Virginia have a divided government, and in both states, Republicans control the legislature and Democrats the governorship.

There are currently 36 state government trifectas—14 Democratic and 22 Republican—and 14 states with divided government. The 14 states that are governed by Democratic trifectas include 34.4% of the U.S. population, and 41.9% of the U.S. population lives in the 22 states governed by Republican trifectas.


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Briefing: SCOTUS 2018-2019 term and the administrative state
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings in the 69 cases the court heard this term, let’s look back on the rulings impacting the administrative state. 

Introducing our newest Learning Journey on deference 

We’re excited to debut our eighth Learning Journey. As a refresher, our Learning Journeys give you a series of daily emails with information, examples, and exercises to help you broaden your knowledge of U.S. government and politics and help you understand each aspect of a particular concept.

Our most recent journey is on judicial deference. In the context of administrative law, deference applies when a federal court yields to an agency’s interpretation of either a statute that Congress instructed the agency to administer or a regulation promulgated by the agency.

Our Learning Journey here is a 4-day overview of deference in the context of the administrative state. We cover the most commonly applied federal deference doctrines—including Chevron deference, Auer deference, and Skidmore deference—and examine the different approaches to deference in the states. Our journey also features leading support and opposition arguments from administrative law scholars, a look at the future of deference, and various reform proposals. Auer deference—which requires courts to accept an agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation—was the key principle considered in the Supreme Court’s review of Kisor v. Wilkie this past term.

Last week, we introduced a Learning Journey on judicial review, which refers to the power of courts to interpret the law and overturn any legislative or executive actions that are inconsistent with the law. The concept of judicial review dates back to the Supreme Court’s decision in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, which held that “a legislative act contrary to the constitution is not law.” Judicial review is a key concept in administrative law and deference is a principle of judicial review.

If you want to learn more about these principles, taking one of our Learning Journeys is a smart—and free—way to do so. Just click the link below to get started.

Our briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state is today

Later this morning I will be hosting a free Ballotpedia briefing looking back on the Supreme Court’s most recent term. We’ll provide an overview of the term just ended and look ahead to some of the cases and issues that are already on the docket for the 2019-20 term. And we’ll focus in particular on the Court’s rulings from last term that affect the administrative state, involving principles such as deference, judicial review, and the nondelegation doctrine.

We’ve just about wrapped up our preparations for today’s webinar, and I have to admit, I’m genuinely excited about the topics we’ll be discussing. These administrative law principles affect how our three branches of government—executive, judicial, and legislative—interact to shape public policy, and the discussion of these Supreme Court cases provide real-life examples of those principles in action.

The briefing starts at 11 am CST. I hope you can join us in a few hours for this very informative and interesting session. There are still spaces available—click the link below to reserve your spot. And if you cannot make it—signup and you’ll receive an email with the recording.

Ballotpedia depends on the support of our readers.

The Lucy Burns Institute, publisher of Ballotpedia, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Donations to the Lucy Burns Institute or Ballotpedia do not support any candidates or campaigns.


Biden calls for decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating private prisons at federal level


Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 23, 2019: Joe Biden released his criminal justice platform on Tuesday. Kamala Harris introduced two bills on water infrastructure and marijuana-related offenses.


Which presidential election had the highest estimated voter turnout?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Since entering the presidential race, Ms. Warren has taken pictures with more than 38,000 people, her campaign estimates. Ms. Warren says the photos are part of her effort to build what she likes to call a ‘grass-roots movement.’ …

Other Democratic candidates also take pictures with voters, even if they lack the well-orchestrated selfie line that Ms. Warren employs. Senator Bernie Sanders recently started forming a selfie line at his events. Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has promised photos to people who spring for $500 or $1,000 tickets to some grass-roots fund-raisers. …

In a primary race where Democrats have two dozen candidates to choose from, a personal moment with the candidate can make a difference.”

– Thomas Kaplan, Tamir Kalifa, and Eden Weingart, The New York Times 


  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson endorsed Joe Biden Monday, becoming the sixth member of the Congressional Black Caucus to do so. 

  • Biden issued his criminal justice platform Tuesday. He proposes treating rather than incarcerating addicts, increasing funding for drug courts, eliminating sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine cases, and ending the use of private prisons at the federal level. His plan also calls for decriminalizing marijuana, expunging marijuana-related offenses, and categorizing marijuana as a schedule II drug.

  • Bill de Blasio criticized Con Edison’s handling of the heatwave in New York City following outages over the past two weekends. He said its response “would be absolutely unacceptable if it were a public entity.”

  • In an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Cory Booker spoke about today’s political climate and the U.S. Senate.

  • Steve Bullock launched his official campaign merchandise shop.

  • Pete Buttigieg proposed raising the maximum annual earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax from $132,900 to $250,000 to keep the program solvent.

  • John Delaney participated in the “20 Questions for 2020” series on NowThisNews, discussing climate change, unions, and Trump’s businesses.

  • In an interview on The ViewTulsi Gabbard discussed Puerto Rico and her concern with decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings.

  • In response to a report in The New Yorker about Sen. Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand said she did not regret calling for Franken’s resignation following sexual misconduct allegations.

  • Kamala Harris introduced the Water Justice Act Monday, which would call for $250 billion to be spent on water infrastructure and clean and safe drinking water programs.

  • Harris will also introduce the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana, expunge past marijuana-related convictions, and bar the deportation of immigrants based on a marijuana charge.

  • John Hickenlooper posted a digital ad highlighting his experience owning a brewery and serving as governor of Colorado.

  • Jay Inslee attended a forum hosted by several Democratic clubs in Palisades, California.

  • In a Washington Post Live interviewAmy Klobuchar discussed the Affordable Care Act, climate change, and immigration.

  • Seth Moulton spoke about national security and election security, climate change, and cyber issues in an interview on the Evening Beat.

  • Beto O’Rourke toured Ellis Island and hosted a “Bands with Beto” campaign event in New York Monday.

  • The Associated Press profiled the communications network Bernie Sanders has created as an alternative to traditional media.

  • Joe Sestak campaigned in Iowa, speaking to the Clarke County Democrats Monday.

  • Tom Steyer spoke about his policy priorities, diplomatic ties, gun violence, and other issues on WBUR’s Foresight.

  • In a post to Medium, Elizabeth Warren predicted an economic crisis would develop unless the U.S. took several preventive steps. She called for reducing household debt, enforcing leveraged lending guidance, strengthening manufacturing by investing in green research, and eliminating or automatically raising the debt ceiling. 

  • Marianne Williamson discussed establishing a Department of Peace during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

  • In his plan for veterans, Andrew Yang proposed allowing veterans to receive relevant civilian certifications without additional licensing and providing in-state tuition at any public school in any state. Yang also called for increasing funding for veterans crisis lines and changing the Veterans Affairs healthcare network.


  • Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is writing a book titled Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. It will be released on November 5, 2019, roughly one year before the 2020 presidential election.

  • Bill Weld continued to campaign in New Hampshire, speaking at the Manchester Rotary Monday.

Flashback: July 23, 2015

Donald Trump toured the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas.



Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: We’re looking for interns to join our team!

 Today’s Brew debuts Ballotpedia’s fall internship program + provides an overview of Memphis’ municipal elections  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, July 23, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Let’s be coworkers! Apply to Ballotpedia’s internship program
  2. Fewer candidates running for mayor, city council in Memphis compared with 2015
  3. Federal Register surpasses the 35,000-page mark for 2019

Let’s be co-workers! Apply to Ballotpedia’s internship program

We are looking for interns for our Fall 2019 program. Pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested. We are looking for Editorial, Communications, and Tech interns.

As an intern, you will go through a similar onboarding experience to full-time Ballotpedia employees. You will learn how to publish content on Ballotpedia, learn about all we do to prevent and detect bias in our resources, and much more. Following orientation, you will join the Editorial, Communications, or Tech team, working alongside staff members. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about our program.

  • Ballotpedia’s Fall 2019 internship program will run from Monday, August 26 through Friday, December 13. 

  • The internship is a part-time program; interns will work approximately 20 hours per week depending on their availability. 

  • Ballotpedia is happy to facilitate credit for your internship experience if that is available to you. If you will be seeking credit for your internship, and if there is anything that Ballotpedia will need to do to assist you, please include that information in the same file as your cover letter.

  • Several current full-time employees at Ballotpedia started as interns. 

Apply here

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Beyond the Headlines

Now that SCOTUS has wrapped up their 2018-2019 term, let’s look back at how many cases the court heard, how many were overturned, and how the justices ruled. Watch the latest Beyond the Headlines video now

Fewer candidates running for mayor, city council in Memphis compared with 2015 

The filing deadline to run for both mayor and all 13 city council seats passed last week in Memphis, Tennessee. The city is holding general elections on October 3. Memphis is the largest city in Tennessee and the 20th-largest city in the U.S. by population.

Incumbent mayor Jim Strickland faces nine challengers in his bid for a second term. Strickland—who was first elected to Memphis’ city council in 2007—defeated then-Mayor A.C. Wharton in 2015. I don’t live in Memphis, but as a political observer here are a few facts I found interesting when I was talking with our team about the election. 

  • Memphis has two sets of district boundaries for its city council. It has seven regular council districts, with one member elected from each. It is also divided in half to form two super districts that elect an additional three representatives each.

  • As of July 19, 42 candidates had qualified to run for city council, and the applications for another four were still being verified—an average of 3.54 candidates per seat.  Twenty-four candidates are running for the regular council seats and six of seven incumbents are seeking re-election. Twenty-two candidates filed for the six super district seats, including three incumbents. 

  • In the most recent regular election for city council in 2015, 60 candidates ran—an average of 4.62 candidates per seat. That year, all seven incumbents who ran for re-election won.

In the 100 largest cities in the country from 2014 to 2018, 16 of 96 mayors—16.7%—and 127 of 1,002—12.7%—were defeated in their bids for re-election.

Federal Register surpasses the 35,000-page mark for 2019

Here’s something we track regularly at Ballotpedia, but we haven’t provided an update about in the Brew for a few months. Each week, we monitor page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of our Administrative State Project. The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.

Last week, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,312 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 35,002 pages. During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,994 pages for a year-to-date total of 34,752 pages. As of July 19, the 2019 total was more than the 2018 total by 250 pages.

The Trump administration has added an average of 1,207 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of July 19. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.

Our Administrative State Project includes information about the administrative and regulatory activities of the United States government as well as concepts, laws, court cases, executive orders, scholarly work, and other material related to the administrative state. You can get an introduction to some of these principles by joining our free briefing tomorrow on how this term’s Supreme Court rulings affect the administrative state. There’s still time to register by clicking here.

And to stay up to date on actions at both the federal and state level related to rulemaking, the separation of powers, and due process, subscribe to our monthly Checks and Balancesnewsletter.



Klobuchar reaches polling threshold for third debate

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 22, 2019: Amy Klobuchar reached 2 percent support or more in a fourth qualifying poll for the third Democratic presidential debate. Tulsi Gabbard traveled to Puerto Rico to protest Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

There are 12 new candidates running since last week, including two Republicans. In total, 791 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Their [Iowa] trips highlighted that Warren and Sanders are betting their candidacies on divergent strategies, and they believe they can grow in different areas. Warren, faced with questions of electability, is trying to show her message appeals in unlikely places. Sanders, meanwhile, is fishing for votes among older Iowans more likely to support former vice president Joe Biden.”

– Annie Linskey, The Washington Post national political reporter


  • The Des Moines Register and AARP hosted a series of five forums in Iowa last week. Steve BullockPete Buttigieg, and Bernie Sanders participated in Saturday’s event in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Michael Bennet campaigned in New Hampshire Friday and Saturday.
  • Joe Biden visited Las Vegas Saturday, marking his second trip to the Nevada city since launching his 2020 presidential campaign. During the trip, he said that young Democrats were “not a generation of socialists.”
  • Nicholas Burns, who served on the National Security Council staff under the Bush and Clinton administrations, joined the Biden campaign as an adviser.
  • Bill de BlasioJulián Castro, and Elizabeth Warren have added gender pronouns to their Twitter campaign bios, which is a common practice among the transgender community and its supporters.
  • Cory Booker visited the San Diego Comic-Con Friday and criticized Donald Trump’s rhetoric against four minority congresswoman Sunday, comparing him to segregationist George Wallace.
  • Tulsi Gabbard traveled to Puerto Rico to join protests calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. 
  • The Associated Press profiled the state of Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign and her “Trump Broken Promises Tour.”
  • The Mike Gravel campaign called on John DelaneyJohn Hickenlooper, and Tim Ryan to withdraw from the presidential race since none of them qualified for the debates via grassroots fundraising while Gravel had met that threshold.
  • Kamala Harris campaigned in California Friday, including attending an event hosted by Electing Women Bay Area.
  • Hickenlooper appeared on WMUR’s CloseUp in New Hampshire, where he discussed fundraising and why he wanted to remain in the race.
  • In the Daily Kos series Making ProgressJay Inslee spoke about climate change and low-income communities, healthcare, and white nationalism.
  • Amy Klobuchar reached 2 percent support or more in a fourth qualifying poll for the third Democratic presidential debate in September. Klobuchar’s campaign said she had more than 100,000 contributors and was on pace to meet the donor threshold.
  • Wayne Messam spoke at the Young Democrats of America National Convention Friday.
  • In an interview on CNN, Seth Moulton said “having a racist president who incites the kind of violent lines we saw in North Carolina” is grounds for initiating impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  • In an interview with NBC News, Beto O’Rourke discussed the drop in his campaign’s fundraising and polling and his plan going forward.
  • Sanders said his campaign will limit the hours of staffers to ensure they earn the equivalent of a $15 minimum wage.
  • Joe Sestak wrote an op-ed in The Des Moines Register Saturday on escalating tensions with Iran.
  • The New York Times profiled Tom Steyer‘s presidential campaign and media coverage of his wealth.
  • In an interview on CNN, Marianne Williamson discussed the Trumpadministration, constitutional principles, and Rep. Ilhan Omar.
  • On an episode of Recode Decode with Kara SwisherAndrew Yang discussedinnovation and his critique of calls to break up large tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
  • Axios rounded up where the 2020 Democrats stand on Chinese internment camps holding more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.


What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 22, 2015

The Federal Election Commission published Donald Trump’s personal financial disclosure records.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Congressional Democrats try to repeal SALT deduction limits

Today’s Brew highlights efforts to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal IRS regulations + an invitation for you— our Brew readers—to provide us with feedback  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, July 22, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Congress to consider overturning IRS rules limiting state and local tax deductions
  2. Grade Ballotpedia’s coverage of Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis
  3. Join us for our July 24 briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state

Democrats in Congress attempt to overturn IRS rules limiting state and local tax deductions

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limits the amount a taxpayer can deduct to $10,000 for state and local sales, income, and property taxes—also known as the SALT deduction. After that law was enacted, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut changed their state tax laws to allow taxpayers to receive state tax credits for making charitable donations—which can be deducted for federal tax purposes—to certain funds in those states. 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued regulations in June that reduce a taxpayer’s federal charitable tax deduction based on how much of a deduction their state or local governments provide. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Representative Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) introduced companion resolutions last week under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) which would repeal the IRS’ regulation. As of July 19, these resolutions had attracted 61 Democratic cosponsors and one Republican cosponsor—Rep. Peter King (N.Y.).

The CRA allows Congress to overturn any new regulation created by federal administrative agencies. To repeal any rule, a CRA resolution must be approved by both Houses of Congress and signed by the president.

The CRA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. According to the official legislative history of the law, Congress intended to establish a review system to address the complaint that it had allowed federal agencies too much latitude in implementing and interpreting legislation.

Since the law’s creation, 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register have been repealed. Before 2017, Congress had successfully overturned one rule on workplace ergonomics in 2001. Sixteen federal rules have been repealed using the CRA under the Trump administration. Since 1996, 13 attempts to overturn rules under the CRA either failed to pass both Houses or were vetoed by the president.

Learn more



Ballotpedia’s July report card

Ballotpedia exists to serve our readers. We want to make it easier for you to receive neutral, unbiased coverage of the American political system. We are always looking for new ways to improve the quality of our content. Today’s idea – asking you, our readers, for some direct feedback! 

The link below contains our articles about Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Governor of California, and Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida. Our goal is to provide high-quality, neutral, encyclopedic profiles of these governors that give you a good understanding of each person’s role in the American political system. 

We have created a simple rubric that we hope will make it easy for you, our readers, to provide us feedback. The link has a scale for grading articles based on the extent to which the article falls short of, meets, or exceeds your expectations.

We are so grateful for any time you take to help make Ballotpedia a better encyclopedia.

Please help us out, and tell us what you think

Join us for our July 24 briefing on the Supreme Court and the administrative state

ICYMI—sign up for our free briefing this week looking back on the last SCOTUS term (and a sneak peek to next year). The briefing is on July 24 at 11:00 am CST.

We are just 78 days until the next term begins. If you’re like me, that’s an awfully long time to wait for new oral arguments. 

Fortunately, there are still all of last term’s decisions to be reviewed and analyzed, and at Ballotpedia, we have plenty of folks who love to do just that. The briefing will focus in particular on the Court’s rulings from last term that affect the administrative state. 

This includes the Court’s decision in Kisor v. Wilkie, which considered the question of Auerdeference—that is, whether federal courts should defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations in limited circumstances. Although the Court did not overturn Auer, it’s unanimous decision did place clear limitations on which regulatory interpretations qualify for deference. 

We’ll provide an overview of the Court’s entire term and explore its rulings on principles such as the nondelegation doctrine and judicial review to learn what the Court’s decisions indicate for future administrative law cases. 

If this sounds interesting but you’re concerned that it all sounds very complicated, don’t be. Our experts will walk you through these topics so you’ll have a clear understanding. And when it’s done, just imagine the subjects you can bring up at your next barbeque. It’ll be worth it—click the link below to register and join us.

Learn more→


Massachusetts governor proposes amendments to omnibus public-sector labor bill

On July 12, Republican Governor Charlie Baker sent an omnibus public-sector labor bill back to the Democratic state legislature with recommendations for amendments.

  • What does the bill, as adopted, propose? The legislature’s version of H3854 would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
  • What does Baker want to change? In a letter to state legislators, Baker recommended the following changes:
    • Prevent unions from accessing employees’ personal cell phone numbers and using text messages to communicate with members without their written consent.
    • Require unions to give new employees written information explaining their rights to join or refrain from joining a union.
    • Require employees’ written consent before releasing certain information to unions.
    • Require unions to provide notice to state agencies before using buildings for union purposes.
  • What comes next? Lawmakers could adopt an amended version of the bill incorporating some or all of Baker’s proposed changes. Lawmakers could also pass the bill again without making changes. In that case, Baker could veto the bill. A two-thirds vote in both the state House and Senate is required to override the veto. Democrats hold super-majorities (i.e., majorities exceeding the two-thirds necessary for a veto override) in both chambers.

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 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.

Union Station map July 19, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart July 19, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart July 19, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • Governor returned to legislature with amendment July 12.
  • New Hampshire SB18: This bill would allow public employees to authorize voluntary wage deductions for insurance or employee benefits offered in conjunction with their membership in a recognized union.
    • Vetoed July 10.
  • New Hampshire SB148: This bill would require public employers to notify hirees of their right to join or refrain from joining a union. The notification would also include the estimated annual cost of joining a union.
    • Vetoed July 12.