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Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 14, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 15

  • Stay-at-home orders are set to expire in seven states: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Vermont. Arizona is a Republican trifecta. Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York are Democratic trifectas. Louisiana, Maryland, and Vermont are under divided government.
    • They will be 19th through 25th in the list of states where stay-at-home orders have expired.
    • Of the 18 states where stay-at-home orders have already expired, 13 have Republican governors and five have Democratic governors.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): The following businesses will be allowed to resume operations on May 15, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds (R): salons and barbershops (by appointment only), tattoo parlors, race tracks (without spectators), and social and fraternal clubs. Other businesses, including retail stores and restaurants, have already been allowed to reopen under previous executive orders.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Phase 1 of Louisiana’s reopening plan will take effect on May 15, with the following businesses reopening at 25% capacity: gyms and fitness centers; barber shops and hair/nail salons; gaming establishments; theaters; racetracks (no spectators); museums, zoos, and aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and bars and breweries with food permits. Gaming establishments must register and obtain approval before reopening. No other business owners will be required to do so.
  • Maryland (divided government): Stage 1 of Maryland’s reopening will begin on May 15, according to Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The state’s stay-at-home order will expire at 5:00 p.m. and the following businesses will be allowed to reopen: retail stores (50% capacity), manufacturing, churches and places of worship (50% capacity), and personal services (by appointment only). Not all counties will reopen on May 15. Hogan said that counties could choose to open at their own pace.
  • Montana (divided government): Movie theaters, gyms, and museums in the state will have the option to reopen at limited capacity starting on May 15 if they comply with sanitation and distancing requirements. According to the directive, live performance theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, and pools not in gyms will remain closed to the public.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Four regions—Finger Lakes, North Country, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley—have met criteria in the state’s reopening plan to begin reopening on May 15. In Phase 1, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing can resume, and retail can open for curbside pickup.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and personal services such as salons and barbershops, are scheduled to reopen on May 15. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced on Thursday, May 14 reopenings for the following businesses and activities: private and public campgrounds and state parks (May 21), horse racing with no spectators (May 22), gyms and fitness centers (May 26), public and private swimming pools (May 26), non-contact sports and leagues (May 26), Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle deputy registrar offices for new or renewed driver’s licenses (May 26), and daycares and summer day camps (May 31).
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, bars can reopen with diminished standing room capacity and social distancing measures, organized sports activities may resume, funerals and weddings may resume with social distancing measures, and childcare areas in places of worship can reopen, effective May 15.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Counties that meet prerequisites on testing, tracing, and declining COVID-19 prevalence will be permitted to begin reopening under the state’s plan on May 15. In Phase 1, restaurants and bars will be able to serve customers indoors and personal care and fitness businesses will be able to reopen, contingent on state restrictions. Additionally, retailers will be able to begin a limited reopening statewide for curbside and delivery service, regardless of county phase.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Thirteen more Pennsylvania counties will move into the yellow phase of reopening on May 15: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland. During the yellow phase, theaters and gyms remain closed, but some types of businesses, such as retail, can begin to reopen with restrictions. Bars and restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): The first phase of Virginia’s reopening plan will begin Friday, May 15, for all parts of the state except Northern Virginia, including Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna, and Alexandria. According to Gov. Ralph Northam (D), Northern Virginia will need to see a decline in COVID-19 cases to begin reopening. Under phase one requirements, retail stores can reopen at 50% capacity. Bars and restaurants will also be able to offer outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Many types of businesses will remain closed, including entertainment and public amusement venues. Places of worship can hold services at 50% occupancy.

May 16

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Gov. Brad Little announced that the state would move into the second phase of reopening on May 16. Phase Two will allow restaurant dining rooms to reopen with the approval of local health officials, in addition to indoor gyms and hair salons that meet business protocols. Larger venues like movie theaters and bars and nightclubs will remain closed.
  • New Mexico (Democratic trifecta): Effective May 16, smaller retailers, offices and call centers can reopen at 25 percent capacity, big box stores and larger retailers can reopen at 20 percent capacity, and places of worship can reopen at 10 percent. Under the state’s modified stay-at-home order, which was extended through May 31, everyone in the state is required to wear a face mask in public spaces. The new order does not apply to the northwest corner of the state where community spread is still high. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced the changes on May 13.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): All but Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Wasatch County, Summit County, and Grand County will move from the orange phase to the yellow phase of Utah’s reopening plan on May 16, according to Gov. Gary Herbert (R). Under the yellow phase, limits on gatherings will rise from 20 to 50 people, but face coverings must be worn in public, and individuals should stay 6 feet from others when outside the home. According to the plan, all businesses can reopen under the yellow phase. Businesses that do open must follow social distancing guidelines and industry-specific requirements, such as limiting tables in restaurants to groups of 10 and symptom checking all employees who work in gyms. The plan also eases restrictions on team sports, so long as social distancing guidelines are followed and participants are checked for symptoms. Utah’s plan puts additional restrictions on high-risk individuals across all phases of reopening. It defines high-risk individuals as those with underlying medical conditions, those over the age of 65, and those living in long-term care facilities.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) met with President Trump at the White House. The two discussed the state’s plan for reopening. Polis said he hoped to have restaurants open for dine-in services by the end of the month and skiing areas open in June, but that local authorities would have input on how and when to reopen.
  • North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On May 11, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced that public and private schools in North Dakota could reopen starting June 1 for summer programs, though schools are not required to. Under the order, child care programs, summer school classes, and college admissions testing can resume. The order also does not prohibit schools from offering summer distance learning options.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On May 13, Rhode Island released a set of guidelines for reopening businesses. Additionally, the state released a required template for businesses to fill out detailing their coronavirus control plan. Businesses do not need to submit their plan to the state for review before opening, but they must be able to provide it to the Rhode Island Department of Health if requested.
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jay Inslee (D) released guidance for personal service and professional service businesses in counties allowed to move into Phase 2 before the rest of the state. Under the reopening plan, counties with fewer than 75,000 people with no new COVID-19 cases in the three previous weeks can apply for a waiver to move into the second phase early. According to the guidance Inslee released May 13, if a county is allowed to move into Phase 2, personal services, including barbers and tattoo artists, and professional services, including accountants and attorneys, can reopen May 13 so long as they can meet all safety and health requirements.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On May 13, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in 4-3 ruling, invalidated the executive branch’s stay-at-home order. The court found that Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm overstepped her authority when she extended the stay-at-home order through May 26 on behalf of Gov. Tony Evers (D). It was the first time a state court of last resort struck down a stay-at-home order. The suit was brought by the state legislature. Republican lawmakers asked the court to strike down the stay-at-home order, but stay the implementation for several days to give them and the governor time to develop a replacement plan. The court declined to do this, and restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses were immediately lifted. Under the most recent stay-at-home order, individuals were told to remain at home, with exceptions made for performing essential and other permitted activities. The most recent order allowed retail businesses to offer curbside pick-up and delivery services and golf courses and other outdoor recreation spaces to reopen, subject to social distancing protocols.

Status of stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 14, stay-at-home orders have ended in 18 states. Governors ended stay-at-home orders in 17 states—13 Republican governors and five Democratic governors. Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) administration overstepped its authority in extending that state’s stay-at-home order. Of the 25 states with stay-at-home orders in place, six have Republican governors and 19 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Reopenings status

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.


Featured plan: Texas’ Texans Helping Texans

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On April 27, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) unveiled “Texans Helping Texas: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.” Abbott simultaneously issued the executive order that initiated the first round of business reopenings, effective May 1 and continuing through at least May 18.

Abbott said, “This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts. Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods. We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to COVID-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State.”

Context

  • On March 31, Abbott issued Texas’ statewide stay-at-home order. The order took effect on April 2 and expired on April 30.
  • As of May 13, Texas had 42,403 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,158 deaths. Based on an estimated population of 30 million, the state had 146.2 cases per 100,000 residents and 4.0 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Texas is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Plan details

Guidelines for all individuals:

  • Maintain six feet of distance between individuals who do not reside within the same household.
  • Self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before going into any business.
  • Wash or disinfect hands upon entering a business and after any interaction with employees, customers, or objects.
  • Consider wearing cloth face coverings when entering a business.
  • Avoid group gatherings of more than five individuals.
  • Avoid contact with individuals aged 65 and older.

Guidelines for all employers and employees:

  • Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection practices and personal hygiene.
  • Screen all employees for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing them to enter the business.
    • Send home any employee exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Do not permit an employee with COVID-19 symptoms to return to work until the following criteria have been met:
      • Three days since recovery (resolution of fever without medication) and improvement in symptoms.; at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
      • If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms and wishes to return to work before the above criteria have been met, he or she must have a doctor’s note indicating that he or she has not tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Do not permit an employee who has had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to return to work until completing a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • Require employees to wash hands upon entering the business.
  • Maintain six feet of distance between individuals where possible.
  • Consider requiring employees to wear cloth face coverings.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 1: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 1.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 8: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 8.

Guidelines for businesses opening May 18: The following businesses were permitted to resume operations, subject to capacity restrictions and other guidelines, effective May 18.

Guidelines for counties with five or fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases: Abbott issued an executive order authorizing counties with five or fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases to increase occupancy limits for reopened businesses to up to 50%, subject to the following criteria:

  • The county has created a list of testing opportunities.
  • The county has determined, in consultation with its regional advisory council, that it is prepared for any needed healthcare transfers.
  • The county has created and published COVID-19 information for the public.
  • The county has confirmed that nursing homes; assisted living facilities; industrial, agricultural, and business facilities with large numbers of employees; and city/county jails comply with Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
  • The county has demonstrated that it is prepared to protect vulnerable populations.
  • The county has documented procedures in the event a resident tests positive.
  • The county has reached out to the state to develop plans for contact tracing to occur within 48 hours of a confirmed positive case.

Reactions

  • Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, criticized the plan: “Republicans like Greg Abbott are not here to protect your family. All they care about is making sure their billionaire donors’ interests are protected. Governor Abbott said that he would reevaluate opening Texas up but after four straight days with over 1000 new cases and some of the highest death totals since the crisis began, Abbott decided to throw data and science out the window and continue to fight for his lobbyists and billionaire donors.”
  • James Dickey, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, supported the plan: “Thank you to Governor Abbott and our Republican leaders for getting Texas open for business again. Our economy has taken a tremendous blow but Texans are resilient — and ready to get back to work! We know the Governor is taking the precautions necessary to protect the health and safety of all Texans. We know that it will be Texas and our Texas workers, entrepreneurs, and businesses that will lead the way towards not just an economic comeback here in the great Lone Star State but will lead the way for the country as well. At the end of the day, the Republican policies that led Texas to boom before will lead Texas and the nation to boom again.”
  • Cindy Zolnierek, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, said, “I do hope that businesses take this seriously. I would very strongly monitor to ensure that they’re not exceeding that 25% capacity. Just because we’re seeing some limitations lifted doesn’t mean that we should let up with all the things we’ve been told to do. I think the governor is trying to balance, you know, what we’re all experiencing economically and as well as mental health. I think we have to monitor very, very closely and respond by reinstituting restrictions if we see any change in our current trajectory.”
  • Brandom Gengelbach, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said, “As leaders of the Texas business community, we applaud Gov. Abbott for focusing on the incremental steps necessary to reopen the Texas economy. We recognize this effort will need to balance public health considerations while restarting economic activity in a phased and gradual approach that guards against subsequent spikes in infections. While each of our communities is different, we recognize that businesses play a vital role in enacting specific measures to keep their workforce safe and thereby protecting the entire community. We are encouraged by the governor’s willingness to work collaboratively with the business community.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • California: Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced that the county’s stay-at-home order was extended indefinitely. Several thousand retailers were allowed to reopen last week for pickup service alongside manufacturers.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): On May 13, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed into law a bill allowing any eligible South Carolina voter to request an absentee ballot for the state’s June 9 primary and subsequent runoff elections.
  • Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Bernard Young announced the city will keep its stay-at-home order in place. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced the county will extend its stay-at-home order. The state’s stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire on May 15.


Trump to visit Allentown, Pa.

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
May 14, 2020: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders announced the members of a series of joint task forces. Donald Trump will visit Allentown, Pa., today.  blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Having millions of Americans stand in crowded polling places for hours to cast a ballot on Election Day sounds like the makings of a public health disaster — especially if there is a second surge of COVID-19 infections in the fall, as some experts predict. So now, election officials are looking for ways to hold elections remotely. One option that has been proposed is voting via an app on a smartphone or electronic device, just like Grimmett did last fall (though so far, states seem to only be considering this option for certain groups of voters, such as voters with disabilities).

It seems like an obvious solution: With so much of our daily lives now virtual, why couldn’t our elections be moved online too?

Voting online or via an app has even been tested in small elections a handful of times, but election security experts and even the founder of one of the most prominent voting apps on the market, Voatz, say there’s a laundry list of reasons why this technology isn’t ready for prime time. (Not to mention the fact that 19 percent of Americans still don’t have a smartphone, and as many as 21.3 million Americans still lack access to broadband internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission.)”

– Kaleigh Rogers, FiveThirtyEight

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders announced the members of a series of joint task forces on climate change, criminal justice reform, the economy, education, health care, and immigration. Biden tweeted, “A united party is key to winning the White House this November. The work of the task forces will be essential to identifying ways to build on our progress and not simply turn the clock back to a time before Donald Trump — but transform our country.”

  • Donald Trump will visit an Owens and Minor medical supply distribution center in Allentown, Pa., today. According to CBS Philadelphia, he plans to announce an initiative called the Strategic National Stockpile 2.0. Earlier this week, Trump tweeted, “Looking forward to being in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. I love the State, and for very good reason!”

  • Trump’s administration began working on potential transition plans, which are required by law to be prepared six months before the presidential election.

Flashback: May 14, 2016

The Washington Post reported that a “band of exasperated Republicans — including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a handful of veteran consultants and members of the conservative intelligentsia” was “commissioning private polling, lining up major funding sources­ and courting potential contenders” in hopes of running an independent presidential candidate in the November election.blank

Click here to learn more.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 18 (May 13, 2020)

Heart of the Primaries 2020, Republicans-Issue 18

This week: Karen Handel endorses in Georgia Senate special election, Claire Chase calls on Yvette Herrell to drop out, and Indiana AG Curtis Hill’s law license is suspended

On the news

Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“It’s now clear the Obama-Comey FBI and Justice Department never had anything more substantial than the laughable fiction of the Steele dossier to justify the ‘counterintelligence’ investigation of the Trump campaign. Yet incessant leaks from that supposedly confidential probe wound up consuming the Trump administration’s first months in office — followed by the Bob Mueller-led special counsel investigation that proved nearly the ‘total witch hunt’ that President Trump dubbed it. 

Information released as the Justice Department dropped its charges against Gen. Mike Flynn shows that President Barack Obama, in his final days in office, played a key role in fanning the flames of phony scandal. …

Indeed, the Obama administration went on a full-scale leak offensive — handing the Washington Post, New York Times and others a nonstop torrent of ‘anonymous’ allegations of Trumpite ties to Moscow. It suggested that the investigations were finding a ton of treasonous dirt on Team Trump — when in fact the investigators had come up dry. …

Say this about Obama: He knows how to play dirty.”

Post Editorial Board, New York Post, May 11, 2020

“Trump’s allies in the conservative media and the Justice Department are taking #Obamagate very seriously. This conspiracy theory is informing our foreign policy, millions in tax dollars are being spent in an effort that is going ‘full throttle’ to prove that it is correct, and countless Americans are being fed a faux history involving a crime that supposedly ‘makes Watergate look small time.’ … 

While the mainstream press moves on to other matters or simply mocks the absurdity of the president’s huffing and puffing about #Obamagate, the right-wing media plunge their audiences deeper into it. Some Republican officials who ought to know better are playing along with the scam, while others cower in fear of a microphone because they have convinced themselves that the president spouting insane conspiracy theories about how his wires were tapped by Obama is less important than their vote on the farm bill.

The result is that President Trump gets to live in an alternate reality of his own choosing. One that allows him to level unfounded allegations against his foes without even attempting to interact with anything approaching a fact or a piece of evidence, while never facing any consequences. It’s his longstanding, postmodern m.o.—in business, in his personal life, and in politics: Create a preferred universe of convenient facts, then insist they are true, no matter what.”

Tim Miller, The Bulwark, May 12, 2020

U.S. Congress

Handel endorses Collins in special Senate election in GA 

Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel endorsed U.S. Rep. Doug Collins in the special Senate election in Georgia. Handel said:

“He stood with me when others would not in my own fight against Planned Parenthood, and I worked side-by-side with Doug to pass important pro-life legislation. Most importantly, I trust Doug — to stand up for life, to stand with our president and to stand for our Georgia values.” 

Handel represented Georgia’s 6th Congressional District until she lost to Lucy McBath (D) in 2018. She’s running against McBath again this year.

Collins also received endorsements from U.S Rep. Drew Ferguson, the first member of Georgia’s Republican congressional delegation to endorse in the race, and from Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald (R), the first statewide elected official to endorse him. 

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Kelly Loeffler to the Senate seat after Johnny Isakson (R) resigned in December. Several media outlets reported that President Donald Trump wanted Kemp to appoint Collins. 

As we reported earlier, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) executive director Kevin McLaughlin criticized Collins’ entrance into the special election, saying he was putting the Senate seat and other races in play. 

Loeffler’s endorsers include the NRSC, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Loeffler and Collins are among 21 candidates running in the all-party special election on Nov. 3—six Republicans, eight Democrats, five independents, a Green Party candidate, and a Libertarian. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held Jan. 5, 2021.

Defending Main Street PAC spends $100,000 to help Gibbs in NJ-03

Defending Main Street super PAC spent $25,000 on mailings supporting former Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs and $75,000 opposing businessman David Richter in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District primary

The super PAC is affiliated with the Republican Main Street Partnership. The Partnership’s website says its members “are solution-oriented legislators dedicated to defending Main Street Americans and advancing common-sense policies that can command bipartisan support.”

Gibbs emphasizes her experience as a freeholder and as deputy director of the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative Local 825. Gibbs says she “cut taxes, improved school security, made life easier for working moms, and guaranteed equal pay for equal work” as freeholder. Gibbs says she works to “create jobs, build our infrastructure, and grow our economy” with the Local 825.

Richter was CEO of a construction management firm. Richter says he “knows how to create jobs and knows the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and small business owners who are trying to grow their companies.”

Richter was originally running in the primary for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. After incumbent Rep. Jeff Van Drew changed his affiliation from Democratic to Republican, Richter joined the 3rd District race.

New Jersey’s 3rd includes portions of Burlington and Ocean counties. The Burlington County GOP endorsed Gibbs, and the Ocean County GOP endorsed Richter.

The primary is July 7. The winner will face Andy Kim (D), who defeated incumbent Tom MacArthur (R) 50% to 48.7% in 2018.

Chase calls on Herrell to drop out of NM-02 primary

Claire Chase called on Yvette Herrell to drop out of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District primary after one of Chase’s supporters told the Associated Press that Herrell told him Chase had an extramarital affair while her first husband was in Afghanistan.

Jared Richardson, a supporter of Chase’s, said Herrell called him last month and made the accusation. Herrell said she called Richardson for another reason.

Chase said, “Yvette’s candidacy is no longer viable and she should drop out of this race for the good of the Republican Party.”

Herrell said, “I have never attempted to use personal rumors about Claire in this race, and will never do so. … I will take any legal steps necessary to protect myself against libel.”

As we reported earlier, the candidates have criticized one another’s past comments about President Donald Trump.

The June 2 primary winner will face incumbent Xochitl Torres Small (D), who defeated Herrell 50.9-49.1% in 2018.

State executives

Indiana Supreme Court issues 30-day suspension of Attorney General Curtis Hill’s law license

The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Attorney General Curtis Hill’s (R) license to practice law Monday following an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct. Hill was accused of inappropriately touching four women, including a member of the state Legislature, at a gathering in March 2018. His suspension will be effective for 30 days beginning May 18.

The court’s ruling followed a nearly two-year disciplinary process which started after the four women accused Hill of misconduct in July 2018. Hill denied the allegations and requested an independent investigation. After a three-month investigation, special prosecutor Daniel Siegler announced in October 2018 he would not file charges against Hill.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission began a separate investigation in 2019. The commission filed a motion for a suspension of Hill’s law license last December. The hearing officer, former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby, found that Hill’s behavior had constituted battery and professional misconduct. Selby recommended Hill’s law license be suspended for at least 60 days.

In a statement, Hill said he would accept the court’s decision and named Chief Deputy Attorney General Aaron Negangard as his acting replacement.

Hill’s suspension ends June 17, three days before the state GOP will meet to decide on a nominee for attorney general. Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter and attorney John Westercamp are also seeking the GOP nod. Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R) said Tuesday he was considering joining the race as well. Rokita represented the 4th Congressional District between 2011 and 2019.

In a statement Monday, state GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer said he opposed renominating Hill. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) released a separate statement saying he stood by his July 2018 call for Hill to step down.

Utah gubernatorial candidates meet for candidate forum

The four Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for Utah’s open gubernatorial office met Thursday for their first candidate forum since the convention. Spencer Cox, Greg Hughes, Jon Huntsman, and Thomas Wright discussed the state’s path to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cox defended incumbent Gary Herbert’s (R) response to the virus, saying the idea that officials needed to choose between public health and the economy was a false notion. Cox said Utah’s approach to the virus left it well-positioned to reopen before other states.

Hughes said the state’s approach had been heavy-handed and imposed too many restrictions on public gatherings, local officials, and religious leaders. Hughes said the quickest way to recover from the pandemic would be to lift restrictions he described as infringing on constitutional liberties.

Huntsman said Utah’s response to coronavirus had been strong overall, but more work was needed to provide aid from Utah’s rainy day fund to small businesses. He said the state should consider the pandemic an opportunity to attract businesses from China.

Wright referred to his personal experience as a business owner, saying he had the best understanding of the challenges businesses are facing out of any of the candidates. He also called for the state to repeal its tax on food.

The June 30 primary is open to registered Republicans only.

Legislatures

Ballance faces Manzella in Montana state Senate primary

State Rep. David Bedey (R-86) endorsed Nancy Ballance (R) in her primary against Theresa Manzella (R) for the open Senate District 44 seat in Montana on May 9. Ballance and Manzella were both state representatives during the most recent 2019 legislative session representing House Districts 87 and 85, respectively. The primary reflects a larger divide within Montana’s state legislative Republican caucus between two loosely defined groups: the Solutions Caucus and the .38 Special.

The Ravali Republic described Ballance and Bedey as members of the Solutions Caucus, an unofficial group of 20 Republican House lawmakers who “chose to work across party lines to pass legislation including Medicaid expansion and an $80 million bonding bill” in 2019.

At the end of the 2019 session, Manzella posted a photo of Republican legislators, calling the group the .38 Special. According to Manzella, the number 38 referenced “The 38 [House Republicans] who consistently voted to uphold the Constitutions, adhere to Republican principles and limit government.” 

When she announced her intention to run in May 2019, Ballance, who was term-limited in the House, said, “I have a proven track record of listening to voters and of being able to work with other legislators to create real solutions for Montanans.” Ballance said, “I believe the people of Senate District 44 want actual accomplishments and results, not rhetoric and sound bites.”

Manzella, citing Ballance’s presence in the primary, announced her candidacy for District 44 later that year saying, “I believe it’s my civic duty to give the good citizens of the district a choice,” adding that she had “faith that our citizens prefer the traditional, conservative definition of Republican over the trending ‘progressive’ version threatening our party.”

Montana is one of 14 states with divided government. Republicans hold majorities in the House (57-42) and Senate (30-20) while Democrats control the governorship. The number of votes needed to override a gubernatorial veto in the House and Senate is 67 and 34, respectively.

N.D. Governor supporting candidates challenging incumbent House Appropriations chairman

In April, we reported on the Republican primary in North Dakota’s House District 8. 26-year incumbent Rep. Jeff Delzer (R) chose to remain in a four-way primary after failing to receive his district party’s support at the March 10 GOP convention. The district instead endorsed newcomers Dave Nehring (R) and David Andahl (R).

A flier was recently mailed to voters in support of Delzer’s primary opponents that, according to the Grand Forks Herald, included the disclaimer “paid for by the Dakota Leadership PAC.” According to a statement filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State last week, Governor Doug Burgum (R) donated $195,000 to Dakota Leadership PAC on May 7. The Herald reported that the District 8 primary was “the only legislative race the PAC is involved with so far.”

As the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Delzer has influence over the state’s budget process. Ahead of the 2019 session, Delzer and Burgum clashed after Delzer announced that the legislature would not consider executive budget bills and instead base the budget on its own projections. Columnist Mike Jacobs described the difference between Delzer and Burgum as follows: “Burgum believes in budgeting from plenty—that is to say, let’s fund what we can as opposed to Delzer’s let’s-guard-the-checkbook approach.”

Delzer will face Andahl and Nehring, both endorsed by the District 8 GOP, as well as Bob Wheeler (R) in the June 9 primary. The top-two vote-getters will advance to the general election against likely Democratic nominees Linda Babb and Kathrin Volochenko.

Idaho Statesman endorses challenger to incumbent Rep. Nichols in Republican primary

The Idaho Statesman editorial board endorsed Kirk Adams (R) in the House District 11B Republican primary on Monday. District 11B is currently represented by Rep. Tammy Nichols (R) who is also seeking re-election. 

The editorial board wrote, “We’re endorsing Adams over the incumbent … who, as Adams rightly described her, is more of a political activist than a legislator.” The endorsement mentioned Gov. Brad Little’s (R) stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic. Adams supports the order. Nichols recently spoke at the Disobey Idaho rally held to protest the order.

Nichols said, “If the liberal media and my opponent want to label me as an ‘activist’ because they believe that the work I do in helping people, limiting government, upholding the constitution, and working to get Idahoans back to work is a bad thing…then so be it!” 

Nichols was first elected to the open seat in 2018 after defeating Brian Ertz (D) 77.6-22.4%. She faced Adams and three others in the Republican primary, receiving 38.9 percent of the vote. Adams finished fourth with 15.3 percent. The winner of the June 2 primary will likely face Edward Savala (D). Savala is the only Democrat filed to run for the seat.

Power players

“Citizens United produces some of the most hard-hitting and influential television commercials, web advertisements, and documentaries available. These products delve deeply into the issues that matter most to the future of our country, striking a chord with people that helps awaken them to the importance of a limited government, individual responsibility, free market economy, and traditional American values.” – Citizens United website 

Founded in 1988, Citizens United is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization known for its numerous documentary films and its involvement in the landmark campaign finance case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The organization says it is “dedicated to restoring our government to citizens’ control” and that it “seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security.”

Citizens United is affiliated with the 501(c)(3) Citizens United Foundation, which says it is “dedicated to informing the American people about public policy issues which relate to traditional American values,” the Presidential Coalition, which says it exists to “educate the American public on the value of having principled conservative Republican leadership at all levels of government and to support the conservative ‘farm team,’” and the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, a political action committee.

To view candidates endorsed by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, click here.



Heart of the Primaries 2020, Democrats-Issue 18 (May 13, 2020)

Heart of the Primaries

This week: Progressive groups split endorsements in Kentucky Senate primary, Kennedy launches $1.2 million ad campaign in Massachusetts, and Hillary Clinton endorses in Montana gubernatorial election

On the news

Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.

“Biden leads a largely unified party whose members widely consider his opponent a borderline sociopath who threatens democracy — not to mention prosperity, decency and human life. Under the circumstances, any sensible vice presidential pick will do. But Trump will be waging a culture war that, by November, will be but a few steps shy of civil war. Harris will have cultural resonance in the parts of America — immigrant, brown, black, female — that will be under sharpest attack. She can make manifest what’s at stake in this election, especially to those underwhelmed by the prospect of another old white guy in the Oval Office.

Harris’s face is the future of the Democratic Party, and of the nation, just as Biden is the face of receding power. She complements and strengthens him. She can be Biden’s Biden.”

Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg Opinion, May 10, 2020

“Does it really matter who Joe Biden picks as his running mate? Maybe not, but with Trump in the White House, it might. It doesn’t require massive new votes in California (Democrats got 61.7 percent last time) or New York (Democrats got 59 percent) or Massachusetts (60 percent).

It requires someone who attracts Trump-fatigued Republicans in a few states: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, for example.

Amy Klobuchar fits in those states. She is strongly liberal (a fact too often ignored in a slogan-driven atmosphere), but moderate in presentation and explanation.

If she were to become president, the country would cheer a woman of commitment, competence, and decency.”

Norman Sherman, The Hill, May 10, 2020

U.S. Congress

Progressive groups split endorsements in Senate primary in KY

Four local chapters of Indivisible endorsed Mike Broihier in the Democratic primary for Senate in Kentucky. 

Indivisible’s website says it is “a grassroots movement of thousands of local Indivisible groups with a mission to elect progressive leaders, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda.”

Ryland Barton of radio network WFPL wrote, “The endorsement indicates a split among progressives looking for an alternative to [Amy] McGrath. [State Rep. Charles] Booker was endorsed by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, another statewide progressive political group, in early March.” 

Booker’s endorsers also include the Sunrise Movement and Demand Universal Healthcare. Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson endorsed Broihier.

Amy McGrath, who says she is a progressive on some issues and conservative on others, is running with support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and VoteVets, among others. She had raised $30 million as of March 31. Booker had the second-highest fundraising total in the primary at $316,000.

The primary is June 23. Ten candidates are running. The winner will face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was first elected to the Senate in 1984. 

Salon interviewed Booker, Broihier, and McGrath in April. Each said why they think they’re the candidate to defeat McConnell. 

  • Booker: “I am the only person running that has actually won an election in Kentucky and worked across Kentucky building coalitions, the same type that we have to build now to actually not only beat Mitch McConnell but really transform our future. 

    “Louisville’s still one of the most segregated cities in the country, and so having to deal with structural racism in a very personal level. [In] my family, my grandad fought for desegregation. I’ve had family members lynched, enslaved in Kentucky. And having worked all across the commonwealth in rural communities and Appalachia alike, it’s really given me the ability to speak across seeming divides and build coalitions of folks regardless of party.”

  • Broihier:Over the last couple years it became more and more evident to me that Trump is just the symptom and McConnell is the problem. People like him are the problem. I looked at my resume and said, you know, as a Kentucky farmer, as someone who has taught at UC Berkeley and taught substitute teaching at the local public schools, and as a retired combat veteran, no one has ever run against Mitch McConnell like me before. We’ve been running Republican-lite against McConnell for 35 years and gotten creamed every time.”
  • McGrath: “We need a new generation of leaders who can put their country over their political party to do what’s right for Kentucky and are not bought off by special interests. I spent my entire adult life serving my country while Mitch McConnell has spent 35 years creating the Washington Swamp. I will give everyday Kentuckians a voice in Washington — not just special interests or the wealthiest 1%. I’m the only candidate who has built a team to take him on toe to toe.

Kennedy launches $1.2 million ad campaign in Senate primary in MA

Joseph Kennedy III spent $1.2 million on the first major ad buy of the Sept. 1 Democratic primary for Senate in Massachusetts. 

Kennedy’s ad focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy says, “It will take shared sacrifice and progressive willpower to fix the damage done by President Trump, but together we will recover.” He said he would lead the fight for guaranteed healthcare for all in the Senate. 

Kennedy, who has served in the U.S. House since 2013, faces incumbent Sen. Ed Markey. Markey was first elected to the Senate in 2013. Before that, he served in the U.S. House from 1976 to 2013.

The Boston Globe asked Markey’s campaign if it planned to air TV ads soon. Markey’s campaign manager John Walsh said:

“Senator Markey has always found that the best advertising is doing your job well and right now the voters are responding. From recurring cash payments to providing relief to families and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, finding a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025, and protecting our environment, Senator Markey’s legislative work is delivering real tangible results.”

Markey has released digital videos in recent weeks addressing Kennedy’s criticism that Markey has not been present in Massachusetts or effective at addressing the pandemic. One ad says Kennedy is “playing politics with the coronavirus” and features headlines about Markey’s actions related to COVID-19 in the Senate. Another ad features a former local school committeeman from Markey’s Malden neighborhood saying Markey is in touch with local issues. 

Meanwhile, 10 candidates are running in the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary for a chance to replace Kennedy. Former state Comptroller Tom Shack recently dropped out of that race and endorsed Dave Cavell, a speechwriter for former President Barack Obama (D).

Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC spends for Reardon in IN-01

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD PAC has spent $170,000 on mailers and other activities supporting Mara Candelaria Reardon in Indiana’s 1st Congressional District primary. Reardon is a state representative. She was first elected in 2016. 

This is an open seat in a safe Democratic district. Incumbent Rep. Peter Visclosky, first elected in 1984, is retiring. Fifteen candidates are running in the June 2 primary. According to Daily Kos, there is no clear frontrunner. 

Six candidates reported campaign finance information to the Federal Election Commission for the first quarter of the year. Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott led in fundraising with $441,000. Attorney Sabrina Haake followed with $270,000. Reardon had raised $214,000.

State executives

Hillary Clinton endorses Montana gubernatorial candidate Whitney Williams

2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (D) endorsed Whitney Williams for the Democratic nomination for governor of Montana May 5. Clinton’s endorsement came as Williams and her opponent Mike Cooney hit the airwaves to make their final arguments before voters ahead of the June 2 primary.

Cooney, the state’s current lieutenant governor, launched his first television ad May 5. The ad says Cooney is an experienced and trustworthy leader who assisted incumbent Steve Bullock in his push to expand Medicaid last year. Williams’ first ad, which she launched April 24, said she was the only gubernatorial candidate with experience in disaster recovery.

Among Williams’ other endorsers are former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), EMILY’s List, and the state branch of the National Organization for Women. Cooney’s endorsers include Sen. Jon Tester (D), Gov. Steve Bullock (D), and the state branch of the AFL-CIO.

The June 2 primary is open to all registered voters. 

Democrats’ Indiana gubernatorial nominee selects running mate

Woody Myers, the Democratic nominee for governor of Indiana, announced Friday he had selected former state Rep. Linda Lawson (D) as his running mate.

Lawson, who was first elected in 1998, served in the state House before announcing her retirement in 2018. Lawson was elected minority leader in 2012, becoming the first woman in Indiana history to serve as a legislative leader.

Myers said he picked Lawson because they both had a record of working across partisan lines. Lawson said she brought experience in employment issues to the ticket, saying that she served several terms on the state legislature’s employment committee. 

Party leaders will need to ratify Lawson’s place on the ticket at their virtual convention on June 13 before she formally becomes Myers’ running mate.

The last Democrat to win election as governor of Indiana was Frank O’Bannon in 2000.

Legislatures

Incumbent Minnesota state Senator will file for primary after losing party nomination to challenger

State Sen. Erik Simonson (D-07) announced on May 10 that he would proceed to a contested primary against Jen McEwen (D). According to results released on May 9, McEwen won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s endorsement in the virtual convention for the Duluth-area District 7 over Simonson, receiving 70 percent of the delegate vote to Simonson’s 29 percent. 

The convention was held virtually with participants allowed to vote online or by mail. According to party officials, nearly 400 individuals participated, which was described as “a significant increase over in-person conventions.” 

Simonson criticized the convention format, saying, “Party endorsing conventions have become less and less effective over the past few years.” He said, “in the midst of a global pandemic, the process was even less inclusive than usual.”

McEwen said, “The processes put in place here actually allowed more people to participate” and “showed that democracy is not only possible during this pandemic, but we can find ways to make sure even more people are at the table.” 

Simonson said he “worked hard to build relationships across the aisle,” and that his “moderate and inclusive approach to legislating will resonate with Duluth voters.” According to the Duluth News Tribune, McEwen “has run on a progressive platform, touting health care, clean energy and housing priorities.” 

Simonson was first elected in 2016 after defeating Donna Bergstrom (R) 66-34%. He previously represented District 7B in the state House from 2013-2017. The window to file for a legislative primary extends from May 19 to June 2. The primary will be held on Aug. 11 with the winner likely facing Bergstrom, the 2020 Republican nominee, in the general election.

Orangetown Democratic Committee endorses local village trustee in four-way primary for N.Y. Senate District 38

On May 8, the Orangetown Democratic Committee announced its endorsement of Elijah Reichlin-Melnick in the four-way primary to replace outgoing Sen. David Carlucci (D) in Senate District 38. Reichlin-Melnick will face Justin Sweet, Eudson Francois, and Vladimir Leon in the June 23 primary.

Senate District 38 encompasses most of Rockland County and part of Westchester County. It contains the towns of Orangetown, Clarkstown, Ramapo, and parts of Ossining, each of which consists of several smaller villages. Three of the four Democratic candidates in the primary currently serve as a local elected official in the District.

Reichlin-Melnick has been a member of the Nyack Village Board of Trustees since 2017. He is also legislative director for state Sen. James Skoufis (D) of nearby Senate District 39. Nyack is located in Orangetown.

Sweet is the Clarkstown Town Clerk. He was elected to the position in 2010 after Carlucci, the previous town clerk, chose to run for state Senate. In addition to seeking the Democratic nomination, Sweet received the endorsement from the Working Families Party.

Francois is a member of the Spring Valley Board of Trustees, which is located primarily in Ramapo. He also serves as a Teacher Policy Board Member in the East Ramapo Central School District and is a member of the Spring Valley NAACP.

Leon owns a bakery in Ramapo. He ran for Rockland County Executive in 2013 and 2017 and is on the Board of Directors at the Monsey Medical Center. 

William Weber and Matthew Weinberg are seeking the Republican nomination. District 38 has been represented by a Democrat since Carlucci was first elected in 2010.

Power players

“We are organizing a political revolution to challenge the power of the plutocrats and prioritize the needs of people and our planet. With your support, we are building a national grassroots movement of local groups powerful enough to win progressive issue fights, elect progressive champions, transform the Democratic Party, and get big money out of politics.” – Our Revolution website 

Founded in 2016, Our Revolution is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization created by former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to advocate for progressive policies and support progressive candidates. Sanders said in 2016, “If we are successful, what it will mean is that the progressive message and the issues that I campaigned on will be increasingly spread throughout this country. … The goal here is to do what I think the Democratic establishment has not been very effective in doing. And that is at the grass-roots level, encourage people to get involved, give them the tools they need to win, help them financially.” 

According to Our Revolution’s website, some of the policies it supports are Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, a $15 federal minimum wage, and canceling student debt. 

To view a list of candidates Our Revolution has endorsed in 2020, click here.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 12, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened Friday? Click here.

In addition, join us on Thursday at 11 am CT as we discuss changes to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Reserve your spot here.

Upcoming this week

What is reopening in the next few days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 13

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Beaches in Los Angeles County will reopen. Permitted activities include running, walking, swimming, and surfing. Group sports, picnicking, and sunbathing are prohibited. Face coverings are mandatory for individuals on the sand but not individuals in the water.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will hold a press conference to discuss changes to the business restrictions that are set to expire on May 15. The press conference was originally scheduled for today but was delayed.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): Zion National Park is scheduled to open Wednesday, May 13, though services like the shuttle and the visitors center will not be available. Some attractions, such as Angels Landing and the campgrounds, will also be closed to visitors.

May 15

  • Stay-at-home orders are set to expire in seven states: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont. Arizona is a Republica trifecta. Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York are Democratic trifectas. Louisiana and Vermont are under divided government.
    • They will be 17th through 23rd in the list of states where stay-at-home orders have expired.
    • Of the 16 states where stay-at-home orders have already expired, 12 have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that some parts of the state can reopen on May 15. Three regions—Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley—meet the criteria in the state’s reopening plan. In Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing can resume, and retail can open for curbside pickup.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and personal services such as salons and barbershops, are scheduled to reopen on May 15.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, bars can reopen with diminished standing room capacity and social distancing measures, organized sports activities may resume, funerals and weddings may resume with social distancing measures, and childcare areas in places of worship can reopen, effective May 15.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) unveiled the “Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana” reopening plan. The first phase takes effect on May 15, when the stay-at-home order expires. The following businesses will be permitted to reopen at 25% capacity effective May 15: gyms and fitness centers; barbershops and hair/nail salons; gaming establishments; theaters; racetracks (no spectators); museums, zoos, and aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and bars and breweries with food permits. Individuals, particularly those in high-risk groups, will still be encouraged to stay home. Individuals who do go out in public will be encouraged to wear facial coverings, practice good hygiene, and maintain six feet of distance from others. For businesses, employees who interact with the public must wear facial coverings and enforce social distancing guidelines. Gaming establishments must register and obtain approval before reopening. No other business owners will be required to do so.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Gov. Charlie Baker (R) unveiled a four-phase plan for reopening Massachusetts. Under Phase 1 (“Start”), limited industries will be permitted to reopen, subject to restrictions. In Phase 2 (“Cautious”), additional industries will be permitted to reopen, subject to restrictions and capacity limits. Under Phase 3 (“Vigilant”), more industries will be allowed to reopen, subject to guidance. In Phase 4 (“New Normal”), which is contingent on the development of a vaccine and/or therapeutic treatment, normal activities may resume. The plan does not have specific effective dates or contingencies for phases 1, 2, or 3. Baker also released mandatory safety standards for workplaces.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced Oklahoma was ready to move into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan as intended on May 15. Under Phase 2, vulnerable populations are directed to continue following safer-at-home guidelines. Other individuals are directed to maintain social distancing measures and avoid group socializing, but can consider resuming nonessential travel. Employers are directed to close common areas or enforce social distancing and hygiene measures, honor the requests of vulnerable employees for special accommodations, and implement social distancing measures, including the use of personal protective equipment when working with the public. Also under Phase 2, organized sports activities can reopen under social distancing and sanitation measures, bars can operate with diminished standing room and social distancing and sanitation measures, childcare areas in places of worship can reopen and funerals and weddings can resume with social distancing measures. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals are still prohibited under Phase 2.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced on Monday, May 11, that restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor seating on May 18. Parties will be limited to five people or less, and restaurants will be required to maintain logs of employees and customers for contract tracing purposes. Rhode Island entered the first phase of its reopening plan Saturday, May 9.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced on May 11 that close-contact businesses could reopen beginning Monday, May 18. Businesses in that category include barbershops, hair salons, gyms, and pools. Businesses that reopen must follow specific guidelines, which include, keeping people six feet apart when possible, installing physical barriers at work stations, and putting up signs to remind employees and customers of safety and hygiene practices.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on May 12 that he had signed an executive order allowing Northern Virginia to delay entering the first phase of the reopening plan until May 29. The first phase of Virginia’s reopening plan is scheduled to start Friday, May 15. Officials in some northern counties had requested more time to deal with coronavirus cases.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm had issued an order Monday, May 11, allowing retail stores to reopen with the limitation that they can only serve five customers at a time. The order does not apply to close-contact businesses like barbershops.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 12, 16 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors. Of the 27 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 20 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Reopenings status

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.


Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On May 1, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) unveiled a phased plan to reopen businesses that had been closed during the state’s original stay-at-home order, which took effect on March 24 and expired on May 4. Also on May 1, he issued a modified stay-at-home order which runs through May 31.

The plan provided for businesses to resume operations in waves:

  • May 1: Campgrounds, manufacturing, state parks.
  • May 4: Certain health care facilities/services.
  • May 11: Retail stores, drive-in movie theaters, public and private golf courses, barbers and hair salons.
  • May 18: Restaurants.

Sununu released industry-specific guidance documents for each type of business.

On announcing the plan, Sununu said, “The people of New Hampshire have taken this epidemic incredibly seriously. We have all played a small part in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID19. We all know you are healthier at home, and that continues to be true, but we are also taking steps to reopen our economy in a smart, step-by-step approach that is supported by facts, science and data.”

Context

  • As of May 11, New Hampshire had 3,160 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 133 reported deaths. As of July 2019, New Hampshire had an estimated population of 1.4 million residents. New Hampshire had 232.4 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and 9.8 reported deaths per 100,000 residents as of May 11.
  • New Hampshire has a divided government, with a Republican governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.
  • Sununu’s stay-at-home order took effect on March 24, directing individuals to remain at home (with exceptions made for carrying out essential activities) and placing restrictions on nonessential businesses. The original order was set to expire on May 4. Sununu issued a modified stay-at-home order to replace the original. The modified order was set to expire on May 31. 

Plan details

Modified stay-at-home order (individual guidelines) 

New Hampshire’s modified stay-at-home order is in effect from May 1 through May 31 and directs individuals to stay home, with the following exceptions:

  • Outdoor recreation, subject to social distancing protocols.
  • Essential errands (e.g., trips to the grocery, pharmacy, etc.).
  • Visits with spouses, parents, or children.
  • Providing care for others.
  • Going to a gas station.
  • Ordering and picking up take-out food.
  • Receiving deliveries.
  • Receiving medical or dental care.
  • Going to work.
  • Patronizing or seeking services from essential businesses or businesses authorized to resume operations.

Universal business guidelines

The reopening plan outlined universal guidelines for all New Hampshire employers and employees.

General guidelines for all employers:

  • Employers must require employees who are feeling ill to remain at home.
  • Employers must screen all employees reporting for work for COVID-19 symptoms. Employers must instruct any employee who exhibits or COVID-19 symptoms or answers “yes” to any of the screening questions to leave immediately and seek medical advice.
  • “Employers must strongly promote frequent hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available.” They must also “implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices.”
  • Employers must support the use of face coverings in areas where social distancing is not feasible, implement social distancing guidelines, and modify employee schedules to reduce physical interactions wherever possible. They must permit employees to work from home wherever possible.
  • Employers must, if necessary, update their employee illness policies to comply with current public health recommendations.
  • Employers must “communicate frequently with both employees and customers about steps being taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.”

General guidelines for all employees

  • Employees must stay home if they are feeling ill and seek medical care as appropriate.
  • Employees must increase hygiene practices, wear cloth face coverings, practice social distancing, and abide by employer, local, and state guidelines.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 1

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 1, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Campgrounds: Open only to members or New Hampshire residents; indoor and outdoor gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people; swimming pools and playgrounds closed; group campsites closed; campsite occupancy limited to 6-8 people; no visitors allowed.
  • Manufacturing: Adjust processes to accommodate social distancing (including spacing out equipment, staggering shifts, etc.).
  • State parks: Playgrounds and boat rentals closed; water fountains turned off; public ocean beaches closed.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 4

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 4, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Certain healthcare services: Some non-emergency healthcare services and procedures may resume, subject to sufficient capacity, COVID-19 screening and testing capabilities, and adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 11

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 11, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Retail: Retail businesses may reopen their physical locations at 50% of their normal capacity.
  • Drive-in movie theaters: Minimum 10-feet spacing between cars must be maintained.
  • Public and private golf courses: pro shops and clubhouses remain closed; amenities such as pools, locker rooms, etc. remain closed.
  • Barbers and hair salons: Services available by appointment only; both customers and staff must wear face coverings; services are limited to haircuts and root touch-ups.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 18

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 18, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Restaurants: Outdoor seating permitted with no more than six guests per table; indoor dining remains closed; bar seating remains closed

Reactions

  • Before the May 11 reopening of retail businesses, Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said, “I think that for the retail sector it’s a step forward into a new normal that is going to be part of our daily lives for some time. While I’m sure it will not be without its hiccups or challenges, the sooner that businesses can start learning how to adapt to new guidelines and protocols, the better. I think they’re going to be able to learn from that and improve their operations and how they can most successfully operate in this environment.”
  • Katherine Nevins, owner of an independent bookstore in Warner, said, “How do we determine who is safe to come in and who’s not safe? And after they leave, the environment is potentially not safe for the next customer. It’s just absurd. As a business owner and someone who cares immensely about my community, I would not risk any one.”
  • Jim Roche, president of the Business and Industry Association, sent Sununu a letter urging him to issue an executive order establishing liability protections for businesses as they reopen: “On behalf of the thousands of enterprises we collectively represent in all corners of New Hampshire, we the undersigned respectfully request that you promulgate an emergency order under the powers conferred upon you during this pandemic to create a legal ‘safe harbor’ for employers to protect from COVID-19 related liability litigation. Absent such protection, business of all shapes and sizes will be deterred from reopening or returning to pre-pandemic operations, slowing New Hampshire’s economic recovery.”
  • State Senators Kevin Cavanaugh and Martha Hennesey, both Democrats, sent the governor a letter urging him against granting such liability protections: “Granting blanket immunity to businesses from liability as it relates to spreading the coronavirus would be a grave mistake. It would be a mistake, not only because of the physical danger that it presents to New Hampshire public health, but also the danger it poses to the intricate and complicated legal relationship between employee and employer.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Treasure Valley Classical Academy, a public charter school, announced that it would be the first school to reopen to in-person instruction in Idaho on May 18, if the state moves to Phase Two of Gov. Brad Little’s (R) reopening plan on May 16. The school received approval to reopen from their regional health district. There are 294 students between kindergarten and sixth grade enrolled at the school, which would have nine days remaining until summer break. Idaho schools are permitted to reopen when local social distancing orders are lifted and if schools meet certain State Board of Education criteria. Montana has also permitted local school districts to open to in-person instruction.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Madison County (outside St. Louis) officials will vote this evening on a resolution to reopen the county. The resolution calls Madison a “constitutional republican” and would lift any stay-at-home order there.
  • Michigan (divided government): On May 11, Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart rejected an attempt by Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) to obtain a restraining order to close down a barbershop that had reopened for business on May 4, in violation of an executive order. The state issued a health protection order against Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop in Owosso on May 8. When Manke refused to comply with the order and close his shop, Nessel petitioned Stewart for the restraining order. It is unclear whether Nessel’s office intends to appeal the decision.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On May 11, the Minnesota State Senate, which has a Republican majority, voted 39-28 in favor of a bill that would allow businesses to reopen. They would have to develop a COVID-19 preparedness plan and provide a statement indicating that they will comply with testing protocols and workplace safety measures established by the state department of health and the Centers for Disease Control. It now goes to the Minnesota House of Representatives, which has a Democratic majority. Gov. Tim Walz is also a Democrat.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): The Texas Restaurant Association and a group of bar owners delivered a plan to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for reopening bars and nightclubs.


Biden and Trump campaigns, party committees raise over $60 million each in April

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
May 12, 2020: Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million in April. Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $61.7 million. The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee will meet on Tuesday. blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“Bottom line: By making it a little easier to vote, voting by mail probably increases the likelihood of the marginal Democratic voter engaging in the process. (Though younger and lower-income voters, who tend to vote at lower rates, also tend to not take advantage of voting by mail.) But it also makes it easier for more habitual older voters, who tend to vote more Republican than younger voters, to cast a ballot. Thus, on balance, any associated partisan effects from voting by mail have tended to cancel out.

We should be careful to apply past patterns to 2020, though. The states that moved to universal voting did so gradually, over several election cycles. So we’ve never seen anything on the scale of what we might see in 2020. The obvious implication is that efforts to expand absentee voting in a pandemic might work differently. And maybe there will be partisan differences in who chooses to vote by mail, as we saw in Wisconsin’s primary.

But we may also learn something more about how states implement voting-by-mail systems and what those impacts are. (For example, is postage prepaid? How easy is it to request a ballot? How easy is it to correct a rejected ballot?) We may also see that different campaign tactics are more effective in getting people to vote by mail than getting people to vote in person. At the very least, we’ll almost certainly see tremendous variation on both counts — variation that will give us a new cottage industry of studies that refine our understanding of how vote by mail impacts turnout, or at least how it impacted turnout in 2020.”

– Lee Drutman, FiveThirtyEight 

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million in April.

  • Biden wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post titled “How the White House coronavirus response presents us with a false choice.” Biden said, “States and cities that have attempted to reopen are discovering that the economy isn’t a light switch you can simply flip on — people need confidence to make it run, and that confidence must be earned by credible leadership and demonstrable safety.”

  • The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution regarding contingency plans for the Democratic National Convention.

  • Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $61.7 million in April.

  • Trump tweeted regarding opposition to coronavirus restrictions in Pennsylvania, where he plans to visit this week, “The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!”

Flashback: May 12, 2016

Trump met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a group of Republican senators, and other party leaders in a series of meetings in Washington. Ryan commented, “The goal here is to unify the various wings of the party around common principles so we can go forward unified.” One senator stated, “It was not antagonistic. It was positive. There was a discussion of differences of some issues.”blank

Click here to learn more.



Biden campaign hires new senior staff and plans to continue expanding

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
May 11, 2020: The Biden campaign has hired new senior staff and plans to continue expanding. Trump’s re-election campaign announced the launch of a new coalition, “Moms for Trump.”  blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order on May 8 directing county election officials to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the November 3, 2020, general election.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Michigan has nearly every ingredient going into the 2020 stew. It is a classic swing state that had been reliably Democratic blue in presidential politics until President Trump turned it Republican red in 2016. Now, Mr. Trump trails in polls there. Michigan has a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who is on the shortlist of potential Democratic vice presidential nominees.

More immediately, Michigan has become a case study in the cultural and political divide that has opened up over the coronavirus crisis. It has been hit hard by the virus, and Ms. Whitmer has responded with aggressive orders to limit public movement and business activity. …

On top of all that, Michigan even has the nation’s newest potential presidential contender, Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican who has left the party and voted to impeach the president. He now says he is considering running for the White House as a member of the Libertarian Party. Democrats worry that run could siphon away anti-Trump votes, in Michigan and elsewhere, that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will need.

Michigan’s 16 electoral votes may not, by themselves, prove decisive. But the state looks increasingly like a canary in the 2020 coal mine.”

– Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal 

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden’s campaign hired three senior aides: Natalie Quillian as deputy campaign manager, Saloni Multani as chief financial officer, and Deanna Nesburg as senior adviser for financial operations. According to The Washington Post, upcoming hires “will include an initial doubling of Biden’s 20-person digital staff; new hires in fundraising and organizing; and the appointments of senior officials from the shuttered campaigns of former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).”

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) endorsed Biden at a virtual fundraiser on Friday. He said, “You get it, and you’ve gotten it done over the course of decades. … You’ve been on the front lines of fighting against poverty, ignorance and disease. You have a deep compassion and empathy, you see the world from other people’s eyes.”

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday regarding the Democratic National Convention, “My suggestion to Mr. Perez was get a gigantic stadium and put people six feet apart. So instead of having 80,000 people there you would have 16,000 people there and just do it all in one day.” The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • On Saturday, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced “Moms for Trump,” a coalition that says it will “mobilize and empower mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and nanas across the nation to re-elect President Donald J. Trump by sharing their stories and experiences of the President’s Pro-Family and Pro-America agenda.”

  • Trump commented on the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery on Friday. He said, “So I saw the tape, and it’s very, very disturbing, the tape. … And I will say that that looks like a really good, young guy.” He also said, “You know, it could be something that we didn’t see on tape. There could be a lot of — you know, if you saw things went off tape and then back on tape.”

  • Republican National Convention officials hired Dr. Jeffrey Runge, a former Department of Homeland Security medical director, as the senior advisor for health and safety planning for the convention. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for the week of August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Flashback: May 11, 2016

After Bernie Sanders won the West Virginia Democratic primary on May 10, Trump tweeted, “I don’t want to hit Crazy Bernie Sanders too hard yet because I love watching what he is doing to Crooked Hillary. His time will come!”

Click here to learn more.



SCOTUS continues arguments via teleconference

Ballotpedia's Bold Justice

Welcome to the May 11 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Stay up-to-date on the latest news by following us on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.


We #SCOTUS so you don't have to


Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear six hours of argument this week in cases it had postponed in March and April. The court will use a teleconferencing system to hear oral arguments. Several procedures were announced in a press release on April 28, including rules for which Justices will ask questions, based on seniority.

The court has agreed to hear arguments in 73 cases this term. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS will hear this week:

  • May 11

    • McGirt v. Oklahoma concerns the Indian Major Crimes Act. A jury in Oklahoma’s Wagoner County District Court found Jimcy McGirt guilty of three counts of sex crimes. He was sentenced to 500 years in prison and life in prison without parole.

      McGirt appealed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s court of last resort for criminal matters. The court denied his petition for review. McGirt appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Oklahoma courts lacked jurisdiction to hear his case because of his membership in the Seminole/Creek Nations of Oklahoma and because the alleged crimes occurred in Indian Country.

      The issue (from SCOTUSblog): “Whether the prosecution of an enrolled member of the Creek Tribe for crimes committed within the historical Creek boundaries is subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction.”

    • Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru concerns how courts should decide when an employee is a “minister” for purposes of the “ministerial exception” recognized under Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (2012). It is consolidated with St. James School v. Biel.

      In both cases, two teachers at Catholic schools were not offered contract renewals. Both teachers filed discrimination claims in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against their former employers. The district court ruled that the claims were barred by the ministerial exception to the First Amendment, meaning both schools were protected religious organizations exempted from anti-discrimination employment laws.

      Both teachers appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and denied petition for rehearing and for rehearing en banc in St. James School v. Biel.

      The issue: “Whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment-discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, when the employee carried out important religious functions.”

  • May 12

    • Trump v. Mazars USA concerns Congress’ right to issue subpoenas to the president’s accountants and creditors. It is consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG.

      In both cases, certain U.S. House committees issued subpoenas requesting financial documents. One subpoena was issued to President Donald Trump’s (R) accounting firm, Mazars USA, LLP (“Mazars”). Two others were each issued to Deutsche Bank and the Capital One Financial Corporation.

      The president, acting in his individual capacity, challenged the subpoenas’ validity in U.S. district court. In each case, the district court ruled in favor of the U.S. House committees. The president appealed the lower court rulings, both of which were upheld.

      The issue: “Whether the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, Financial Services Committee, and Intelligence Committee have the ‘constitutional and statutory authority to issue’ subpoenas to President Trump’s accountant and to the president’s creditors ‘demanding private financial records belonging to the president.'”

    • Trump v. Vance concerns the question of presidential immunity. In 2019, New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) opened an investigation into President Trump’s business dealings. Vance issued a subpoena to the president’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, LLP (“Mazars”). The president challenged the subpoena in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing the subpoena violated presidential immunity. The district court dismissed the president’s complaint.

      On appeal, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s dismissal of the complaint and affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction. The president appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The issue: “Whether a grand-jury subpoena served on a custodian of the president’s personal records, demanding production of nearly 10 years’ worth of the president’s financial papers and his tax returns, violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.”

      Article II of the U.S. Constitution details the executive branch of the government. The Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution) provides that the Constitution and federal law take precedence over state constitutions and laws.

  • May 13

    • In Chiafalo v. Washington, Levi Guerra, Esther John, and Peter Chiafalo were nominated as presidential electors for the Washington State Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. The electors were required by Washington law to vote for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, but the electors voted contrary to that law. The Washington secretary of state fined the appellants $1,000 each for failure to vote for the nominee of their party.

      The electors appealed the penalties, challenging their constitutionality. After litigation in state courts, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling upholding the fines.

      The issue (from SCOTUSblog): “Whether enforcement of a Washington state law that threatens a fine for presidential electors who vote contrary to how the law directs is unconstitutional because a state has no power to legally enforce how a presidential elector casts his or her ballot and a state penalizing an elector for exercising his or her constitutional discretion to vote violates the First Amendment.”

    • In Colorado Department of State v. Baca, Micheal Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert Nemanich were state-appointed presidential electors for the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. Colorado law requires the state’s presidential electors to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in the state for the offices of president and vice president.

      After Micheal Baca cast his vote for John Kasich, Colorado’s secretary of state removed him as an elector, discarded his vote, and replaced him with an elector who cast her vote for Hillary Clinton. According to the lower court opinion, “After witnessing Mr. Baca’s removal from office, Ms. Baca and Mr. Nemanich voted for Hillary Clinton despite their desire to vote for John Kasich.”

      The electors filed a civil action against the Colorado Department of State. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed the suit. On appeal, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich’s claims but reversed the district court’s decision related to Michael Baca. The court determined that the nullification of Baca’s vote and his removal from office were unconstitutional.

      The issues: (1) Whether a presidential elector who isn’t allowed to cast an Electoral College ballot contrary to state law has the right to sue their appointing state.

      (2) Does Article II or the 12th Amendment forbid a state from requiring its presidential electors to follow the state’s popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots?


Opinions

SCOTUS has ruled on two cases since our May 4 issue. The court has issued rulings in 31 cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since May 4:

  • May 7

    • Kelly v. United States was argued before the court on January 14, 2020.

      The case: William Baroni and Bridget Kelly were convicted of defrauding federally funded programs, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and conspiracy against civil rights.

      Baroni and Kelly allegedly participated in a scheme to reduce traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which spans Fort Lee, New Jersey, and New York City, to punish Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) 2013 re-election bid. The alleged scheme became known as “Bridgegate.”

      Baroni and Kelly appealed their convictions to the 3rd Circuit, which affirmed the fraud convictions but reversed and vacated the civil rights convictions. Kelly appealed the 3rd Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The outcome: In a unanimous ruling, the court reversed the 3rd Circuit’s decision, overturning Kelly’s and Baroni’s wire fraud and fraud from federally funded programs convictions. The court held Kelly and Baroni could not have violated the federal program fraud or wire fraud laws because their actions were regulatory in nature and did not seek to obtain money or property. Justice Elena Kagan delivered the opinion.

    • United States v. Sineneng-Smith was argued before the court on February 25, 2020.

      The case: Evelyn Sineneng-Smith was convicted on two counts of encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(B)(i). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sentenced Sineneng-Smith to one and a half years in prison and three years of supervised release.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the convictions, vacated the sentence, and remanded the case for resentencing. The 9th Circuit panel ruled 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) was “unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.”

      The government petitioned SCOTUS for review, arguing the 9th Circuit “invalidated an Act of Congress on its face.”

      The outcome: The court vacated the judgment of the 9th Circuit and remanded the case in a 9-0 ruling. The court held that the 9th Circuit’s departure from the principle of party presentation, as set forth by Greenlaw v. United States (2008), by reaching to decide a question that was not raised by the respondent in the case, was an abuse of discretion.

      The party presentation principle is where parties frame the issues for decision and courts generally serve as neutral arbiters of matters the parties present.


Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest, pending further notice:

  • May 12: SCOTUS will hear two hours of oral argument.

  • May 13: SCOTUS will hear two hours of oral argument.

  • May 15: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

  • May 18: SCOTUS will release orders.

  • May 21: SCOTUS will conference.

  • May 26: SCOTUS will release orders.

  • May 28: SCOTUS will conference.


SCOTUS trivia


How does the U.S. Supreme Court issue decisions?


Federal Court action


Confirmations

The Senate has not confirmed any new nominees since our May 4 issue.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 193 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—138 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.


Nominations

President Trump announced two new Article III nominees since our May 4 edition.

The president has announced 257 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.



Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 83 vacancies. As of publication, there were 47 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, an additional six judges have announced their intention to leave active judicial status during Trump’s first term.

For more information on judicial vacancies during Trump’s first term, click here.


Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not reported any new nominees out of committee since our May 4 edition.

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count, published at the start of each month, monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.


Looking ahead


We’ll be back on June 8 with a new edition of Bold Justice.

 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 11, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened Friday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 12

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Retail and consumer businesses can open May 12 under certain guidelines outlined in Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) Responsible RestartOhio plan, including requiring employees to wear face coverings with certain exceptions and limiting capacity to enable social distancing. On May 4, general office workplaces, manufacturing, distribution, and construction were allowed to resume.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 8, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that restaurants, hair and nail salons, and gyms could begin limited operations as of today. Restaurants, bars, and breweries can open with table limits of 8 people and six-foot distances between dining groups. Gyms and salons can open at 50% capacity and with social distancing and sanitation rules.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced the target date for phase one of the state’s reopening is June 1. Carney said phase one will still require vulnerable residents to shelter in place, limit gatherings to 10 people, and schools will remain closed. Restaurants will be allowed to resume limited operations, elective surgeries will be allowed, and gyms can reopen with social distancing practices.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Palm Beach County was allowed to begin reopening Monday. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved the reopening Friday, May 8. On Thursday, May 7, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner sent a letter asking DeSantis to allow the county to reopen under Phase One of the governor’s reopening plan. Palm Beach was initially left out of the plan alongside Broward and Miami-Dade counties, while the rest of the state moved to Phase One.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): The second part of the second stage of the state’s reopening plan takes effect today. Restaurant dining rooms are permitted to reopen at 50% capacity, and personal services (such as hair and nail salons, barber shops, and tattoo parlors) are allowed to resume operations by appointment only.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Phase 1 of Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) plan takes effect today. It includes reopening manufacturing, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships, office-based businesses (at 50% capacity), horse racing (without spectators), and dog grooming and boarding services.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): On May 8, Gov. Janet Mills (D) unveiled a reopening plan for the following 12 rural counties: Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc. Retail businesses in these counties were permitted to resume operations Monday. Restaurants in these counties are set to reopen on May 18.
  • Michigan (divided government): Manufacturing entities were allowed to resume operations. Michigan began its phased reopening process on April 24. We delve into Michigan’s reopening plan in more detail below.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Barber shops, salons, and gyms were allowed to reopen starting Monday, May 11, subject to social distancing and other guidelines. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced the reopenings on May 8.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): Golf courses, barbershops, salons, drive-in movie theaters, and retail locations could reopen Monday under state guidelines, as part of Gov. Chris Sununu’s “Stay-at-Home 2.0” order issued on May 1.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): On Monday, May 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that some parts of the state could start to reopen in phases beginning on May 15. Three regions meet the criteria for reopening—Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley. In phase one, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing may resume. Retail establishments can open for curbside pickup.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Restaurants could open for dine-in services under certain conditions Monday, including allowing no more than 50% of posted occupancy inside and spacing tables 6 to 8 feet apart. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) also lifted boating restrictions.
  • Vermont (divided government): On Monday, May 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that retail businesses will be allowed to reopen May 18. Businesses will need to enforce social distancing requirements, including keeping shoppers six feet apart and only allow in 25% of the legal capacity. Employees will also be required to wear masks.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): At a press conference on Monday, May 11, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that indoor dining at restaurants could resume at 50% capacity on May 21. Restrictions on some recreational activities will also be lifted on that date, including the reopening of state park campgrounds for residents of West Virginia.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced on Monday, May 11, that standalone and strip mall-based retail stores can allow up to five customers at a time to shop in-store. Stores must enforce social distancing requirements, such as keeping shoppers at least six feet apart. Evers also announced that drive-in movie theaters can reopen.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 11, 16 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors. Of the 27 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 20 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Reopenings status

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries.
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.

Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) six-phase “MI Safe Start” plan is broken down by phases of disease spread and allows for eight different regions of the state to progress through phases at different times.

Whitmer said the whole state is currently in Phase 3. She modified the state’s stay-at-home order May 7 allowing certain businesses to reopen, including manufacturing and construction under safety measures. The order is in effect until May 28.

The Safe Start plan does not contain target dates:

New transmission can take some time to become visible, and we need to understand any impact of previous re-engagement activities on new disease spread before evaluating a transition to the next stage. As we move into later phases, or if our progress stalls out, it may take longer to move from one phase to another.

The plan also states that moving to a previous stage is possible.

Moving from one phase to the next, and implementing the regional approach, will depend on answers to the following:

  1. “Is the epidemic growing, flattening, or declining?”
  • Measured by: New cases per million, trends in new daily cases, percentage of positive tests
  1. “Does our health system have the capacity to address current needs as well as a potential increase, should new cases emerge?”
  • Measured by: Hospital capacity, personal protective equipment availability
  1. “Are our testing and tracing efforts sufficient to monitor the epidemic and control its spread?”
  • Measured by: Testing capacity, tracing/containment effectiveness

The plan says of the regional approach:

That inquiry, too, must be holistic: a region with a low rate of infection may have limited hospital capacity, for example, which puts it at relatively greater risk if an outbreak occurs. Where appropriate, however, regional tailoring makes sense for a state as large and diverse as ours.

Restrictions and allowances on businesses and individuals throughout the plan’s six phases are discussed in detail below. The plan also contains 22 best practices workplaces should follow divided into five categories:

  • identifying possible virus introductions
  • social distancing
  • sanitation and hygiene
  • personal protective equipment
  • contact tracing and isolation

Whitmer developed the plan with the guidance of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council, consisting of a healthcare advisory group and a business advisory group. Members include health experts, company CEOs, labor and union leaders, and state department heads.

Context

  • As of May 10, Michigan had 47,138 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,551 reported deaths. As of July 2019, Michigan had an estimated population of 10 million residents. Michigan had 472 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and 45.6 reported deaths per 100,000 residents as of May 10. As of last week, Michigan had the highest COVID-19 fatality rate (deaths divided by cases) of any state at 9.5%. Connecticut had the second-highest fatality rate at 8.8%.
  • Michigan has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
  • Whitmer’s stay-at-home order took effect March 24, directing individuals to remain at home (with exceptions made for carrying out essential activities) and placing restrictions on nonessential businesses. The original order was set to expire April 13. Whitmer has extended the order three times. It now expires on May 28. Modifications to the extended order on April 24 and May 7 allowed some businesses to reopen, including landscaping, retail for curbside pickup, and manufacturing. 
  • Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 10, originally set to expire April 7. Emergency declarations allow the governor to issue stay-at-home orders and other directives. On April 1, Whitmer replaced the previous order with an expanded order declaring a state of emergency and state of disaster, and she requested the state legislature grant a 70-day extension of the declaration. The legislature granted a 23-day extension and denied Whitmer’s second request to extend the order further. On April 30, Whitmer issued two executive orders extending the state of emergency until May 28, one invoking the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 and the other invoking the Emergency Management Act of 1976.
  • Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) are suing Whitmer, arguing that the 1976 law requires the state Legislature’s approval for emergency declarations beyond 28 days. Whitmer says the 1945 law grants the governor authority to declare states of emergency without that limit and is not superseded by the 1976 law. The legislators’ lawsuit argues the 1945 law only applies to local emergencies.

Plan details

Restrictions in place throughout first 5 phases

  • Vulnerable individuals must shelter in place
  • Social distancing—maintaining six feet of distance from others when in public and outdoors
  • Isolation and quarantine: “Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance”
  • Face coverings are required in enclosed public spaces through Phase 4 and required “wherever possible” in Phase 5

Below, the state’s former Phase 1 restrictions and allowances are described, followed by details on what changed or will change in subsequent phases.

Phase 1: Uncontrolled Spread

Definition: “Increasing number of new cases every day, likely to overwhelm the health system.”

Businesses:

  • “Only work that is necessary to protect or sustain life will be permitted”
    • Critical retail (such as grocery stores)
    • Public transportation
    • Restaurants/bars for takeout, delivery, and drive-through only
    • Critical manufacturing
    • Critical construction
    • Food and agriculture
    • Offices open only for critical workers
    • Childcare for critical workers

Individual/social:

  • Walking, hiking, biking permitted
  • Gathering prohibited

Phase 2: Persistent Spread

Definition: “Continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. Only critical infrastructure remains open, with lower-risk recreational activities allowed.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

  • Curbside or delivery for nonessential retail

Individuals:

  • Golfing and motorboating

Phase 3: Flattening

Definition: “Epidemic is no longer increasing and health system capacity is sufficient for current needs. Specified lower-risk businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

  • Manufacturing with safety guidelines (See executive order 2020-77 for guidelines)
  • Construction with safety guidelines  (See executive order 2020-77 for guidelines)
  • Outdoor work with safety guidelines (See executive order 2020-70 for guidelines)
  • Real estate viewings by appointment, no more than four people on-premises at a time
  • Childcare for anyone resuming work

Phase 4: Improving

Definition: “Epidemic clearly decreasing and health system capacity is strong with robust testing and contact tracing. Additional businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

“Most business and organizations will be open throughout this phase under strict safety measures.”

  • Retail with safety guidelines (such as limited capacity)
  • Offices may open, but remote work still required where feasible
  • Summer educational programs in small groups

Individual/social:

  • Small group gatherings with social distancing permitted

Phase 5: Containing 

Definition: “Epidemic levels are extremely low and outbreaks can be quickly contained. Health system capacity is strong with robust testing and tracing. Most businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

  • Restaurants and bars for dine-in with safety guidelines
  • Offices open with safety guidelines
  • Live educational instruction (K-12 and higher education)

Individual/social:

  • Face coverings wherever possible
  • Increase in gathering size limit, maintain social distancing
  • All outdoor recreation allowed

Phase 6: Post-pandemic

Definition: “Community spread is not expected to return (e.g., because of a vaccine) and the economy is fully reopened.” The plan further says, “Reaching this phase would mean that community spread is not expected to return, because of sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment.”

Businesses:

  • “All businesses and organizations open with some lasting safety requirements”

Individual/social:

  • “Minimal to no lasting limitations on personal and/or social activities”

Reactions

  • State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D) said on May 8, “All of us as (Upper Peninsula) legislators were surprised to see that we didn’t have that regional approach or that talk from the governor yesterday. … We’re going to do it safely, but we feel we’re further along and ready to reopen based off of what the governor gave us yesterday with that one-blanket approach where we’re all at level three still.”
  • Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is a member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council. On May 3, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Khaldun why the state was not ready to move to a regional approach yet. She said, “We are still seeing, for example, on the western side of the state that there are actually increases in the rate of rise of cases. … We also know again in some of our rural areas the number of hospital beds is actually not what it should be. Many of our hospitals in our rural areas are actually at capacity.”
  • Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) tweeted on May 7, “At first, the shutdown was to ‘flatten the curve’ so hospitals could manage COVID patients. We’ve done that. Governor today: ‘All the decisions we’ve made are to lower the possibility of that second wave.’ Unemployment still broken. Livelihoods destroyed. Goalposts moved.”
  • Glenn Stevens Jr., vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber, said of Whitmer’s May 7 order, “MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber applaud the Governor for her continued steps to safely re-open our economy. Automotive and manufacturing is not only the backbone of our regional and state economy, it is essential to the functioning of the global supply chain.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Kentucky: Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, blocked the state from enforcing its ban on mass gatherings as applied to religious groups. The plaintiffs had alleged that state orders restricting mass gatherings and closing churches as nonessential businesses violated their First Amendment rights.Tatenhove found for the plaintiffs, writing, “Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to their free exercise claim, and the Court grants their motion for a [temporary restraining order] on that basis. … To stay the prohibition on mass gatherings with respect to religious services which observe the social distancing guidelines promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control, as Tabernacle has promised to do, does not harm the Defendants. Finally, the public interest favors the enjoinment of a constitutional violation.”

    In a press conference on May 9, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) did not say whether his administration would appeal the decision. The case name and number are Tabernacle Baptist Church, Inc. v. Beshear (3:20-cv-0003).

  • Nashville, Tennessee restaurants and retail stores could open Monday, May 11, at half capacity and following other guidelines under Phase One of Mayor John Cooper’s reopening plan. In Tennessee, six counties with their own health departments were responsible for developing their own reopening plans. Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) reopening plan, which applies to the other 89 counties, allowed restaurants and retail businesses to reopen under certain guidelines April 27-29.
  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that he would direct discretionary funding from the federal CARES Act to counties that follow his recommendations on reopening. The announcement came after several counties in the southern and central parts of the state threatened to reopen businesses even though Wolf had not yet moved them into the “yellow” phase of reopening.


Federal judge rejects public school teachers’ attempt to obtain refund of union fees

On April 30, a U.S. district court judge rejected an attempt by two New York state public school teachers to obtain refunds of fees they were required to pay to their union prior to Janus v. AFSCME. In Janus, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that compelling public-sector employees who are not union members to pay union fees (known as agency fees) constitutes a violation of their free-speech and associational rights under the First Amendment.

Who were the parties to the suit?

The plaintiffs were Scott Pellegrino and Christine VanOstrand, both of whom are public school teachers in New York state. Pellegrino was a dues-paying member of his union, but VanOstrand was not. The defendants were the New York State United Teachers, the United Teachers of Northport, the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Attorney General Letitia James (D), and John Wirenius (chair of the state public employment relations board).

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is the New York affiliate of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union. On its website, NYSUT says it represents more than 600,000 current and former employees of the state’s schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities. The United Teachers of Northport (UTN) is an affiliate of NYSUT.

What was at issue?

On June 13, 2018, the plaintiffs filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. They sought the following from the court:

  1. A declaration that the plaintiffs had a constitutional right to refrain from joining, or giving financial support to, a union as a condition of employment
  2. A declaration that the state law allowing for the collection of agency fees was unconstitutional
  3. An injunction barring the union from collecting further agency fees
  4. Refunds of previously paid agency fees
  5. For Pellegrino, a refund of the portion of his previously paid dues equal to what he would have paid in agency fees had he not voluntarily joined the union

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Janus, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims on points 1, 2, and 3, as they were rendered moot.

How did the court rule?

Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled against the plaintiffs, citing the April 15 ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Wholean v. CSEA SEIU Local 2001. Garaufis wrote, “Because Wholean is nearly identical to the case at hand, its holding–’that a party who complied with a directly controlling Supreme Court precedent in collecting fair-share fees cannot be held liable for monetary damages under § 1983’–completely forecloses Plaintiffs’ only remaining claim.”

Garaufis was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton (D).

What are the reactions, and what comes next?

Andy Pallotta, president of NYSUT, approved of the decision and criticized the parties behind this and similar lawsuits, saying, “These suits are part of a larger coordinated effort by anti-labor groups that want unions to spend the time and money to defend them so they can defund and distract us.”

Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys have commented publicly on the decision. It is unclear whether they will appeal.

The case name and number are Pellegrino v. New York State United Teachers (2:18-cv-03439).

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 94 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 May 8, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart May 8, 2020.png

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

Union Station partisan chart May 8, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state, then by bill number. The partisan affiliation of bill sponsor(s) is also provided.

  • California AB3096: Existing law prohibits public employers from deterring or discouraging public employees or applicants from becoming or remaining members of a union. This bill would extend that provision to the University of California.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee reported favorably and re-referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee May 5.
  • New Jersey A3987: This bill would authorize public employers to grant unpaid leaves of absence to employees who are elected or appointed to service as union officers, if such leave is provided for in collective bargaining agreements. It would also authorize public employers to grant paid leaves of absence for this purpose, if such leave is provided for in collective bargaining agreements.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced and referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee.