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The Daily Brew: Elections in nine states today

Welcome to the Tuesday, April 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Your help is needed today
  2. Elections in nine states today
  3. How states select supreme court chief justices

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Elections in nine states today

Voters will decide statewide, state legislative, and local elections today in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Here’s a summary of some of the races we’ve been following closely:

  • Wisconsin is electing a new superintendent of public instruction. Former Superintendent Tony Evers (D) was elected governor in 2018. His replacement, Carolyn Stanford Taylor, is not seeking a full term. 
    • Several Democratic members of Congress and the state legislature endorsed Jill Underly in the race. State Sens. Alberta Darling (R) and Lena Taylor (D) endorsed Deborah Kerr.
  • Anchorage, Alaska, is voting for a new mayor. To win today, a candidate needs at least 45% of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the two candidates with the most votes will compete in a runoff election on May 11. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) resigned from office in October 2020. Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson is not running in the election.
    • Six candidates have led in fundraising and endorsements. Planned Parenthood endorsed Forrest Dunbar, George Martinez, and Bill Falsey. Six Republican state legislators endorsed Mike Robbins. State Sen. Natasha A. Von Imhof (R) endorsed Bill Evans. Former Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell (R) endorsed David Bronson
  • Fourteen school districts in Oklahoma are holding general elections. Elections were scheduled for 35 seats across 26 school districts within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope this year, but 17 of those seats will not be on the ballot because only one candidate filed. The 48.6% unopposed rate is the lowest since Ballotpedia began tracking this figure in 2014. 
    • For races that had more than two candidates file, primary elections were held on Feb. 9. Candidates were able to win the primary outright if they received more than 50% of the vote.

April 6 is the 4th-largest election day our team is covering in 2021, with more than 200 elections within our coverage scope. Our 3rd-largest election day is right around the corner on May 1, when we’ll be covering several local elections in Texas.

Read on 

How states select supreme court chief justices

On April 1, Max Baer (D) was sworn in as the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  He succeeded former Chief Justice Thomas Saylor (R), who stepped down the same day in preparation for his December 2021 retirement. 

Chief justices are the lead judicial administrative officers within multi-judge courts. They work alongside the clerks of court overseeing day-to-day operations.

Pennsylvania is one of six states where the supreme court chief justice is determined based on seniority. Ballotpedia has categorized four methods of chief justice selection:

  • Appointment: The governor, state legislature, or other body appoints the chief justice. Fourteen states use this method.
  • Chamber vote: The court’s justices choose a chief justice. Twenty-two states use this method.
  • Popular vote: Voters elect the chief justice. Eight states use this method.
  • Seniority: The chief justice is determined based on length of service on the court.

One recent change to the chief justice selection method was in 2015, when Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment to transition from the seniority method to the chamber vote method. 

Read on 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 5, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24/72 hours?

  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced March 23 he would end the statewide mask mandate on April 6. Holcomb said local officials could still enact stricter restrictions, and masks will still be required in schools.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): 
    • Residents 16 and older will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine on April 6.
    • On April 3, the first public performance on Broadway occurred since all 41 theaters closed on March 12, 2020. Dancer Savion Glover and actor Nathan Lane performed one at a time before a socially distanced and masked audience of 150.

Since our last edition

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

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): On April 2, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced the state would expand vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 years of age and older on April 5. The Alabama Department of Corrections announced it would begin vaccinating inmates on April 12.
  • California (Democratic trifecta): On April 2, the state announced that indoor venues can reopen for events beginning April 15. Capacity limits will be based on the county’s color tier and whether the event has testing and vaccination requirements.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Friday, April 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an order banning government entities from issuing vaccine passports. The order also prohibits businesses from requiring vaccine passports. 
  • Kansas (divided government): On Thursday, April 1, the Legislative Coordinating Council (LLC) voted 5-2 (with one absence) to end Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) statewide mask mandate. The LLC is a committee composed of eight legislators. Senate Bill 40, signed by Kelly on March 24, allows the LLC to vote to end COVID-19 executive orders. The LLC’s decision does not affect local mask mandates. 
  • Maryland (divided government): On Thursday, April 1, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that residents 16 and older can pre-register to receive a coronavirus vaccine. People who pre-register will be notified when they become eligible to receive a vaccine. 
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Residents 55 and older with a medical condition became eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine Monday, April 5. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) made the announcement April 2. Baker also announced the state has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) list of medical conditions that increase the risk of COVID-19. People with a condition on that list are now eligible for a vaccine. 
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, April 1, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) announced that all K-12 schools must return students to full-time, in-person instruction by April 19. Sununu said parents will still have the option of requesting remote learning.  
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): On April 2, Oregon expanded vaccine eligibility to include all family members of frontline workers and any resident with a condition on the CDC’s expanded list of underlying health conditions.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On April 5, Pennsylvania entered Phase 1B of vaccinations. This next phase of eligibility includes first responders and manufacturing, education, and public transit workers.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): On April 5, Rhode Island expanded vaccine eligibility to all individuals 50 years of age and older.
  • Vermont (divided government): 
    • Effective April 5, residents 40 and older are now eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. 
    • On Thursday, April 1, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced on Twitter that residents 16 and older who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. 
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): On Saturday, April 3, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on Sunday, April 18. 

This time last year: Monday, April 6, 2020

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

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

Monday, April 6, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • The “Stay Home Missouri” order took effect. It directed individuals to stay home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses. Governor Mike Parson (R) and Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services Randall Williams issued the order on April 3, and it was originally set to expire on April 24, 2020.
  • School closures:
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before this order, schools in the state were closed through April 17.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 15 to April 29.
  • Election changes:
    • The Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Governor Tony Evers’ (D) order postponing in-person voting in the spring election, scheduled for April 7, 2020, to June 9, in a 4-2 decision. As a result, in-person voting took place as scheduled on April 7.
    • Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued an order authorizing political parties that nominate by convention to postpone those conventions or conduct them remotely.


The Daily Brew: One year ago this week: GM contract announced for ventilators

If you celebrate it, Happy Easter! We hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Welcome to the Monday, April 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. COVID-19 policy changes and events – one year ago this week
  2. Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee nominates city council president as lieutenant governor
  3. SCOTUS to hold argument session in May

COVID-19 policy changes and events – one year ago this week

On Friday, we shared the current map detailing the status of coronavirus vaccination availability by state. One year ago this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $500 million contract with General Motors to produce 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act.

This is our third in a new series looking back at policy changes and other significant events related to the coronavirus pandemic from one year ago that week. These entries highlight stay-at-home orders, school closures, travel restrictions, changed election dates, and more from a year ago.

Here’s a collection of other coronavirus-related responses from one year ago.

  • Stay-at-home orders: 
    • The Stay Home Missouri order took effect in Missouri on April 6, 2020. It directed individuals in the state to stay home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
    • Executive Order 2020-21 took effect in South Carolina on April 7, 2020. The order directed individuals to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state.
    • South Carolina was the last state to implement a stay-at-home order (of the ones that did). In total, 43 states issued stay-at-home orders.
  • Travel restrictions: 
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued an order on April 8 requiring all visitors over 18 entering Utah through airports or roadways to complete a travel declaration within three hours.
    • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered all people traveling to Arizona from areas of the country with widespread COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days on April 9, 2020.
  • School closures: 
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year on April 6. Prior to this order, schools in the state were closed through April 17, 2020.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 10, 2020, to April 24 on April 7.
    • At this point, all states had closed schools to in-person instruction.
  • Election changes:
    • The Wisconsin state supreme court voted 4-2 on April 6, 2020, to block an executive order issued earlier in the day by Gov. Tony Evers (D) postponing in-person voting in the spring election, scheduled for April 7, 2020, to June 9. As a result, in-person voting took place as scheduled on April 7.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on April 8, 2020 that he would issue an executive order suspending existing eligibility criteria for absentee voting, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 23, 2020, election.
    • On April 8, 2020, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) postponed Georgia’s statewide and presidential primaries to June 9, 2020, and its primary runoff to August 11. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of its statewide primary.

For the most recent coronavirus news, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.

Read on

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee nominates city council president as lieutenant governor

Here’s an update on the Rhode Island lieutenant governor vacancy, which I shared with you last month.

Last week, Governor Daniel McKee (D) nominated Providence City Council President Sabina Matos as lieutenant governor. Before her nomination, Matos had been serving on the Providence City Council since 2010. 

Here’s some background on the story.

McKee was responsible for choosing a new lieutenant governor after he left the position to be sworn in as governor on March 2. He replaced Gina Raimondo (D) as governor when she resigned to become U.S. secretary of commerce under the Biden administration.

Under the Rhode Island Constitution, if the governor resigns, the lieutenant governor fills the office until the next election. Neither the constitution nor state law prescribes how the lieutenant governor’s office is filled if the incumbent resigns. In 1997, when Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand resigned, Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed his replacement. McKee referred to that event when saying that he, as governor, would select the next lieutenant governor.

According to NBC, around 80 people applied for the position. Upon selecting Matos, McKee said, “I was looking for someone to be a true governing partner…someone who shares my commitment to supporting our 39 cities and towns and our small businesses, and that’s exactly what I found in Sabina.” If confirmed by the Rhode Island Senate, Matos will be Rhode Island’s first lieutenant governor who is a person of color.

Forty-five states have a lieutenant governor. In Hawaii, the lieutenant governor also serves as the secretary of state. In Tennessee and West Virginia, the president of the Senate also serves as lieutenant governor and is elected from within the legislature. The five states without the office are Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Read on 

SCOTUS to hold argument session in May

The U.S. Supreme Court is continuing its term by scheduling one case for argument on May 4, the second year in a row the court will hear arguments in May. During the 2019-2020 term, the court heard 13 cases in May. During the two terms prior to the 2019-2020 term, the court only heard cases up to late April.

The case, Terry v. United States, was originally scheduled for argument on April 20. The Biden administration had changed the U.S. Department of Justice’s position in the case after the case was scheduled, so the court appointed a lawyer to argue in place of the U.S. government and rescheduled the oral argument.

Terry is the only case currently scheduled for the May sitting. The court is scheduled to hear 14 cases during its April sitting, set to begin on April 19.

If you love all things SCOTUS, then you won’t want to miss our upcoming briefing, which will bring you an update on SCOTUS in 2021. With the end of the current Supreme Court term coming up, it’s time to take a look at what’s new since our last briefing. In this call, our team will walk you through the following:

  • Changes in court membership
  • How the court continues to operate under COVID-19
  • Updates and analysis on this term’s cases
  • A look ahead to the next term

You’ll leave this briefing with a better understanding of how this term compares to previous terms. Be sure to secure your spot by registering below!

Register here today! 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: April 2, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

This time last year: Friday, April 3, 2020

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

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

Friday, April 3, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’ (R) Executive Order 1466 took effect. It directed people to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state. Reeves issued the order April 1.
  • Travel restrictions
    • Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) issued an executive order requiring all out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for two weeks. Individuals providing essential services were exempt. The order directed state agencies, such as the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority, to post the order at all major points of entry into the state.
    • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) issued an order requiring out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
  • School closures:
    • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) extended the statewide school closure from April 3 through April 24 as part of a stay-at-home order.
    • Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) extended the statewide school closure from April 17 to April 30
  • Election changes:
    • Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee (R) signed two orders authorizing candidates to submit qualifying documents, including signed petitions, electronically.
    • The Democratic Party of Maine canceled its state convention, originally scheduled for May 29-30, 2020.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court postponed the oral arguments scheduled for its April sitting. The court was scheduled to hear eight cases from April 20 to April 29.

1918 influenza pandemic

As part of our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic last year, we looked back at stories from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic to see how America met the challenges of a national health emergency. More than 50 million people perished from the disease worldwide, including about 675,000 in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest pandemics in recorded history. To see a complete list of 1918 stories on Ballotpedia, click here

On Jan. 31, 1919, the San Antonio Express reported on the decline in influenza cases in the city and efforts to keep another wave at bay. 

That the influenza pandemic in San Antonio now is a matter of history was the statement Thursday afternoon of City Health Officer King. Dr. King based his opinion on the reports of new cases during the present week. Thursday’s report indicated only eight new cases, which has been the average maintained this week. 

“The epidemic is over as far as this season is concerned,” said Dr. King. “Recent reports indicate that as a certainty, but we cannot afford to let up on our health regulations. People should continue to exercise the greatest precautions to prevent a recurrence of the disease.”

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.

On Feb. 10, 1919, the Oregon Daily Journal reported on the suspension of a mask mandate in Portland in response to a decline in influenza cases. 

Influenza masks will not be worn in Portland, according to a proclamation issued Saturday by John G. Abele, city health officer. An ordinance was recently passed by the city council requiring the wearing of masks in certain places under heavy penalty while the epidemic was prevalent. 

Since there has been such a decided decrease in the number of influenza cases, the edict has been issued that it is no longer considered epidemic and that the ordinance shall, therefore, be suspended. Health bureau officers recommend that the vigilance of the people be continued and no further drastic measures will then be necessary.

The consolidated health bureau, under the direction of Dr. Sommers, closed its doors Saturday afternoon. Any further cases developing in Portland will be handled by the city or county health officers. In ordering the close of the office, Dr. Sommers believes the epidemic practically over.

Click here to read the original article, courtesy of the University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine and Michigan Publishing’s Influenza Encyclopedia.



The Daily Brew: In 21 states, all residents 16+ eligible for coronavirus vaccine

Welcome to the Friday, April 2, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 21 states
  2. Rita Hart (D) withdraws IA-02 election results challenge
  3. The Final Four (legged) round of Barking Brackets

All residents 16+ now eligible for coronavirus vaccine in 21 states

In last week‘s coronavirus vaccine update, we noted that all residents 16 and older were eligible to register for the coronavirus vaccine in seven states. Now, all residents 16+ are eligible for a vaccine in 21 states. Of those 21, five have Democratic governors and 16 have Republican governors.

Latest changes

Note: Below, we provide information on previous and current statewide eligibility by age group. We do not include information on eligibility for younger individuals deemed essential workers or those with underlying health conditions. Keep in mind many states and counties still have waitlists, so vaccines for everyone 16+ might not be immediately available.

Residents 16+ in the following states became eligible to register for vaccines since our last update:

The following states are currently scheduled to open vaccinations to everyone 16+ in the coming week:

  • Florida: April 5
  • Idaho: April 5
  • Iowa: April 5
  • Kentucky: April 5
  • Michigan: April 5
  • Nebraska: April 5
  • Nevada: April 5
  • New Mexico: April 5
  • South Dakota: April 5
  • Tennessee: April 5
  • Wisconsin: April 5
  • Delaware: April 6
  • New York: April 6
  • North Carolina: April 7
  • Missouri: April 9

Vaccine eligibility is changing rapidly across the country. Our daily newsletter Documenting America’s Path to Recovery delivers the latest coronavirus-related updates to subscribers’ inboxes each weekday. Click here to subscribe.

Read on

Rita Hart (D) withdraws IA-02 election results challenge

The 2020 congressional election cycle has officially wrapped. 

On March 31, Rita Hart (D) dropped her petition to the House Administration Committee to investigate last year’s election results in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. House Administration Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) said the committee would suspend its investigation.

Hart said she ended her challenge “after many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest.” 

“Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted,” Hart said, “the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans.”

Here’s a quick reminder of how we got here.

  • According to certified results, Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) won the election by six votes. 
  • After the Nov. 3, 2020, general election, Iowa officials conducted three recounts. Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) first ordered recounts in two counties. 
  • On Nov. 13, Hart requested a full recount in all 24 counties in the district. 
  • After that recount, Miller-Meeks was certified as the winner on Nov. 30. 
  • On Dec. 2, Hart announced she would contest the election with the House Administration Committee. Her challenge said 22 ballots were wrongfully excluded and the recount didn’t comply with state law or the U.S. Constitution.
  • Miller-Meeks was provisionally seated in the House on Jan. 3.
  • On Mar. 10, the House Administration Committee voted 6-3 to consider Hart’s challenge.

The 2020 race in the 2nd District had the narrowest margin of victory in a U.S. House race since 1984, when Francis McCloskey (D) defeated Richard McIntyre (R) by four votes in Indiana’s 8th District. 

According to a 2016 Congressional Research Service report, out of 107 election challenges filed with the House between 1933 and 2009, the candidate who contested the election won three times. 

Read on 

The Final Four(legged) round



Dogs have become one of the most pup-ular companions for presidents to have during their time in office. Whether they’re running around on the lawn, attending secret meetings, or getting dressed up for special events, First Dogs help to give a glimpse into life in the White House. 

In the spirit of March Madness, Ballotpedia is hosting our first ever Barking Brackets tournament! We have four comPETitors who have advanced from the preliminary rounds. Take a look at these First Furiends and vote your favorite through to the cham-PAW-ionship!

Vote now



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

Tenth Circuit rules in favor of AFSCME in union dues case

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

Parties to the suit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the Tenth Circuit ruled

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

Writing for the court, Matheson said:

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

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

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

Hendrickson has 14 days to file a petition for rehearing.

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

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

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

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

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

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



13 states sue Biden admin over ARPA tax rule

Recommended subject line: 13 states sue Biden admin over ARPA tax rule

April 1, 2021: Thirteen states, led by Republican attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia, sued the Biden administration regarding a tax provision in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Every weekday, Ballotpedia is tracking key presidential appointments, executive actions, and policy developments from the Biden administration.

  • There are no committee hearings scheduled Thursday. The Senate stands adjourned until April 12 for a full session.

News

  • Thirteen states, led by Republican attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia, sued the Biden administration on Wednesday regarding a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act that prohibits states from using federal aid to offset tax cuts. The other states involved in the lawsuit aree Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement regarding this issue last week, “Nothing in the Act prevents States from enacting a broad variety of tax cuts. It simply provides that funding received under the Act may not be used to offset a reduction in net tax revenue resulting from certain changes in state law.”
  • Biden issued several proclamations on Wednesday acknowledging monthly awareness programs related to the justice system, cancer, organ donation, child abuse prevention, sexual assault prevention, financial education, transgender visibility, and labor organizing.
  • NPR reported that the Biden administration was considering revamping the asylum system to process cases more quickly. Under this plan, some asylum cases from the southern border would be processed by the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Justice. 
  • The Biden administration ended Trump-era restrictions on transgender servicemembers. Troops will be allowed to serve under their self-identified gender and receive medical treatments related to transitioning.
  • Biden is convening his first in-person Cabinet meeting on Thursday. The meeting will focus on the American Jobs Plan and the federal response to COVID-19. Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, will attend the meeting along with other confirmed Cabinet members.

Transition in Context: Congressional Approval Rating

The following chart compares congressional approval ratings during the administrations of Presidents Donald Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D) on a week-over-week basis. This number is taken from the 30-day average of polls conducted by a select list of polling organizations and outlets. Click here to read the list of polling organizations used.

Congress’ approval rating during the ninth week of President Biden’s term was 26.5%, about the same as the week before. At the same point in President Trump’s term, Congress’ approval rating was 20.4%, down 1.7 percentage points from the week before.

What We’re Reading



The Daily Brew: Q&A on recent mail-in ballot ruling

Welcome to the Thursday, April 1, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Q&A with our election policy expert on a recent mail-in ballot court ruling
  2. Biden announces first judicial nominees
  3. Local roundup: Voters to decide mayoral, other local office elections in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 6

Q&A with our election policy expert on a recent mail-in ballot court ruling

On March 9, the Michigan Court of Claims invalidated an absentee/mail-in ballot rule that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) put in place before last November’s elections. 

That rule—put in place on Oct. 6—directed local clerks to treat signatures on absentee/mail-in ballot applications and return envelopes as valid if there were “any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope signature as compared to the signature on file.” Redeeming qualities included “similar distinctive flourishes” and “more matching features than non-matching features.” 

To try and better understand the judge’s ruling, I turned to our election policy expert, Jerrick Adams. Here’s a brief summary of our exchange. My questions are bolded below.

This rule was already in effect in 2020, and the election already happened. Does this have any retroactive effect?

No. But the ruling affects future elections because it invalidated Benson’s guidance. It’s also an example of a post-2020 court action addressing the ultimate legality of policies implemented in 2020.

Michigan was one of 39 states that modified its general election procedures last year. These modifications—and, sometimes, the lack thereof—triggered a wave of litigation. Before the general election, there were at least 425 lawsuits and appeals filed. Two-hundred forty-two of those dealt primarily with absentee/mail-in voting procedures. 

Courts issued orders in most of these cases before the election, but they did not necessarily make final rulings on the questions of law presented in those cases. 

Who filed the lawsuit and why?

Allegan County Clerk Robert Genetski (R) and the Republican Party of Michigan sued Benson, alleging her guidance violated the state’s election laws and the Administrative Procedures Act. The court sided with the plaintiffs.

Why did the court say Benson’s rule should have complied with the Administrative Procedures Act?

The ruling cited a previous court ruling that said a state agency must follow formal rulemaking procedures under the APA (holding public hearings and consulting with state legislators and legislative staffers, for example) when establishing policies that “do not merely interpret or explain the statute of rules from which the agency derives its authority,” but rather “establish the substantive standards implementing the program.” 

The court ruled, “Policy determinations like the one at issue—which places a thumb on the scale in favor of a signature’s validity—should be made pursuant to properly promulgated rules under the APA or by the Legislature.”

Thanks, Jerrick!

It is unclear whether the state will appeal the decision. You can find information on other post-2020 cases here

Read on

Biden announces first judicial nominees

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced his first batch of federal judicial nominations. As a brief reminder: Presidents nominate and the Senate confirms federal judges. Over the past 40 years, each president appointed the following number of Article III judges in their first term:

  • Ronald Reagan: 166
  • George H.W. Bush: 193
  • Bill Clinton: 203
  • George W. Bush: 204
  • Barack Obama: 173
  • Donald Trump: 234

On March 30, Biden announced his intent to nominate 11 individuals to federal judgeships. Of those, 10 nominations would be for Article III judgeships with lifetime terms:

  • Ketanji Brown Jackson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Tiffany Cunningham, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • Regina Rodriguez, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • Florence Pan, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Deborah Boardman, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Lydia Kay Griggsby, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Julien Neals, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Zahid Quraishi, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Margaret Strickland, U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Rupa Ranga Puttagunta to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which is not an Article III judgeship. These judges are appointed to 15-year terms.

As of his inauguration in January 2021, President Biden inherited 46 Article III vacancies: two vacancies in the U.S. courts of appeal, 43 vacancies in the U.S. district courts, and one vacancy on the U.S. Court of International Trade. There are 70 current Article III vacancies of 870 total Article III judgeships.  

President Donald Trump (R) submitted his first Article III judicial nomination—Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court—on Jan. 31, 2017. Trump submitted his first non-SCOTUS Article III nomination—Amul Thapar to the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit—on March 21, 2017. Thapar was Trump’s only March federal judge nomination.

At the start of his first term, President Trump inherited 108 Article III federal judicial vacancies

Read on 

Local roundup: Voters to decide mayoral, other local office elections in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 6

Thirty-one of the 100 largest cities by population are holding mayoral elections in 2021. Let’s take a look at one of those races today. The city of Anchorage, Alaska, is holding a nonpartisan general election for mayor on April 6. Fourteen candidates are running. Media attention has been focused on six candidates: David Bronson, Forrest Dunbar, Bill Evans, Bill Falsey, George Martinez, and Mike Robbins. 

Dunbar ran for U.S. House as a Democrat in 2014. Planned Parenthood endorsed Dunbar, Martinez, and Falsey. Robbins is the chairman of the Republican Party of Alaska for District 26 of the Alaska House of Representatives, and six Republican state legislators endorsed him. State Sen. Natasha A. Von Imhof (R) endorsed Evans. Former Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell (R) endorsed Bronson. 

A candidate needs to win at least 45% of the vote to win the April 6 election. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the two with the most votes will head to a runoff on May 11.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (D) resigned from office in October 2020. The Anchorage Assembly selected Austin Quinn-Davidson to serve as acting mayor until a successor is elected and sworn in.

Four school board seats and 11 propositions are also on the Anchorage ballot on April 6.

Eight other states besides Alaska are holding local and special state legislative elections on April 6: California, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. See our elections calendar for a list of elections within our coverage scope and links to more information.

Read on 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: March 31, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced a revised timeline for vaccine distribution. The state is aiming to open eligibility to everyone 50 and older April 1.
  • Minnesota (divided government): Starting April 1, seated indoor events (like concerts) of up to 3,000 people and unseated events of up to 1,500 people will be allowed.
  • Montana (Republican trifecta): Residents 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 1. Currently, the state is in Phase 1B+, which allows vaccinations for everyone 60 and older.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta):
    • Starting April 1, large sports venues (that hold more than 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 outdoors) will open at 10% capacity indoors or 20% capacity outdoors. Outdoor performing arts venues can also reopen at 20% capacity.
    • Domestic travelers will not have to quarantine when arriving from out-of-state starting April 1. All travelers will still have to fill out the Traveler Health Form before arriving in the state. Currently, individuals must have two negative COVID-19 test results to avoid the 14-day quarantine requirement. The first test must be from within three days before arriving in the state. Travelers must quarantine for three days and then take the second test on the fourth day. If both tests come back negative, the visitors can end quarantine.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced he would ease some coronavirus restrictions on April 1. The limit on indoor social gatherings will increase from 10 to 50 people, while the limit on outdoor gatherings will increase from 25 to 100. Indoor and outdoor events at entertainment venues will be limited to 30% capacity, although indoor events will be prohibited from accommodating more than 500 people. Similarly, in-person graduations will be limited to 30% capacity, with no more than 5,000 people at outside ceremonies or 500 people inside.

Since our last edition

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

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): 
    • Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) lifted the state’s mask requirement on March 30. The requirement first took effect July 20. Businesses can still require patrons to wear masks. Arkansas is the seventh state to lift a statewide public mask requirement. 
    • On March 30, Hutchinson also expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older. Previously, individuals in Phase 1-C (including residents 65 and older) were eligible for vaccination.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced everyone 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination starting April 6. Currently, everyone 65 and older or 16 and older with state-defined moderate- and high-risk underlying conditions is eligible.
  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) lifted some mitigation measures on March 31. Six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing are still required in all businesses, but most businesses (including restaurants, bars, gyms, malls, salons, and casinos) no longer have capacity limits. Bars and restaurants can serve alcohol with no curfew. Businesses and venues (like reception halls) that host large gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity, with an indoor limit of 500 people. Indoor and outdoor sporting events are limited to 50% capacity.
  • New Hampshire (Republican trifecta): Residents 30 and older are eligible for vaccination starting March 31. Residents 40 and older had been eligible since March 25.
  • North Carolina (divided government): 
    • The rest of Group 4 is eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine starting March 31. Group 4 includes a range of essential workers, some of whom were eligible March 17.
    • On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) extended a statewide eviction moratorium through June 30. 
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program for youth summer camps licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The program will provide staff and campers with rapid antigen tests. 
  • Vermont (divided government): On Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that out-of-state college students are ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine. Scott said that could change in the future if the state receives enough vaccine doses.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Wednesday, March 31, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Gov. Tony Evers (D) overstepped his authority when he declared several states of emergency since the start of the pandemic without input from the legislature. In the majority opinion, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote that under the relevant state statute, only a joint resolution from the legislature can extend a state of emergency beyond 60 days. Evers first declared a state of emergency in March 2020. The ruling invalidates the current emergency order, which includes a statewide mask mandate. 

This time last year: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) extended the stay-at-home order to all 67 counties in the state. Previously, the order affected 26 counties. 
    • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued Executive Order 2020-07, which directed individuals to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state.
  • School closures:
    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced schools would be physically closed for the remainder of the school year.
    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the order, the state’s school closure was scheduled to end April 24.
  • Election changes:
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) issued a proclamation establishing deadlines for the state’s all-mail primary election.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued Executive Order 18-20, postponing West Virginia’s statewide primary election to June 9, 2020. The primary was originally scheduled to take place May 12.


The Daily Brew: Congress to review 5 rules under CRA

Welcome to the Wednesday, March 31, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Democrats introduce 5 CRA resolutions to reject Trump administration rules
  2. Judge strikes down 5% signature requirement for some U.S. House candidates in GA
  3. Kim Janey sworn in as acting Boston mayor

Democrats introduce 5 CRA resolutions to reject Trump administration rules

Democratic members of Congress have introduced five resolutions under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to review federal rules issued during the recent Trump administration. The CRA allows Congress to vote on rejecting regulatory rules that federal administrative agencies have issued. 

Here’s how the process works. To reject a rule, both chambers of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the rule. CRA resolutions are not subject to filibuster, meaning only a simple majority is required to pass them. President Joe Biden would then have to sign the resolution into law. Congress has until Apr 4, 2021, under the CRA to reject any regulatory rules the Trump administration issued after Aug. 21, 2020. 

Since the CRA’s enactment in 1996, Congress has repealed 17 out of the more than 90,000 rules published in the Federal Register. Sixteen of those instances occurred during the Trump administration. In 2001, during George W. Bush’s (R) presidency, Congress reversed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule issued during Bill Clinton’s (D) presidency. 

Here’s a summary of the rules each current resolution seeks to block. To learn more about each, including arguments for and against, click the links:

  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) introduced companion resolutions to block an October 2020 rule from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The rule aims to determine when banks are the true lender in situations where banks provide the money for third-party organizations to extend credit to borrowers. 
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam) introduced companion resolutions to block a November 2020 rule from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The rule changed regulations governing shareholder proposal submissions. 
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced companion resolutions to block an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule from September 2020. The resolution would restore the Obama administration’s methane standards that the EPA reversed during the Trump administration. 
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced companion resolutions to block an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule changing the conciliation process, which is an alternative to litigation. 
  • Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution to block a rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that sets expiration dates for HHS regulations unless the agency reviews those regulations according to Regulatory Flexibility Act requirements. As of March 30, no companion resolution had been filed in the Senate.

Want to learn more about this legislation? Sign up today for our Learning Journey on the Congressional Review Act. 

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Judge strikes down 5% signature requirement for some U.S. House candidates in GA

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

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

Those running for the U.S. House as Democrats or Republicans—the two parties Georgia officially recognizes—do not need to collect signatures if they pay a qualifying fee. Third-party and unaffiliated candidates must do both.

May contrasted the 5% signature requirement for U.S. House candidates with the 1% requirement for statewide candidates, saying the state legislature “has deemed a 1% petition signature requirement adequate to guard against ballot crowding and frivolous candidacies on a statewide basis. It is not immediately clear why candidates for non-statewide office must clear a proportionally higher hurdle.” 

May directed the plaintiffs—the Libertarian Party of Georgia—to submit a brief on proposed remedies within three weeks. The state will then have an opportunity to respond to this proposal before May issues further guidance. 

All but five states require unaffiliated U.S. House candidates to submit signature petitions.

Read on

Kim Janey sworn in as acting Boston mayor

Kim Janey became the acting mayor of Boston on Mar. 22, after the U.S. Senate confirmed former Mayor Marty Walsh as secretary of labor. Janey is the first Black person and first woman to serve as Boston mayor.

Janey is president of the Boston City Council and its District 7 councilor and will maintain those roles as acting mayor. According to the Boston Herald, Janey will be a ‘non-participating member’ of the council — meaning she won’t attend meetings.”

Boston will hold a regularly scheduled mayoral election on Nov. 2. The filing deadline is May 18. Janey has not yet announced whether she will run in the election. 

While municipal offices in Boston are officially nonpartisan, Janey is a member of the Boston Ward 12 Democratic Committee. Before serving as secretary of labor and mayor, Walsh was a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

According to 2013 Census Bureau data, Boston was the 24th-largest city in the U.S. with around 646,000 residents. Among the mayors of the country’s 100 largest cities, there are currently 64 Democrats, 25 Republicans, four independents, and seven who are not affiliated with either party.

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