Seattle city council elections decided

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, August 14, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Seattle City Council general election candidates set after primary
  2. Phoenix voters to decide citizen initiatives on light rail, city pensions
  3. Department of Justice seeks to decertify union representing immigration judges

Seattle City Council general election candidates set after primary

All three incumbents running for re-election in Seattle’s seven nonpartisan city council elections on August 6 advanced to the November 5 general election. Results will not be certified until August 20 from Seattle’s vote-by-mail process, but media outlets have projected winners—that is, the top two finishers—in each contest.

Re-election races for incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant will each feature an opposing candidate endorsed by the local Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. Incumbent Debora Juarez was herself endorsed by that group.

The elections are occurring a year after the city council unanimously passed and then repealed a head tax proposal that was opposed by the city’s business community, including the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Amazon. Sawant voted against the repeal, and Herbold was a main supporter of the initial proposal.

One candidate backed by the Chamber of Commerce and one endorsed by the King County Democrats advanced to the general election in each of the four open-seat council elections. Between seven and 14 candidates ran in each.

Overall, the seven primary races saw $874,000 in independent expenditures, which was more than the 2015 primary and general elections combined—the last time these same seven seats were up for election. The Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which raised $250,000 from Amazon, spent more than $377,000 in support of nine endorsed candidates and opposing Herbold and Sawant in the primary.

This is also the second election in the last 100 years in which councilmembers are being elected by district. From 1910 to 2013, all Seattle city councilmembers were elected at large.


Phoenix voters to decide citizen initiatives on light rail, city pensions

Voters in Phoenix will decide two citizen initiatives that would amend the city’s charter in a special ballot initiative election August 27. Proponents of each measure needed to submit 20,510 valid signatures—15% of ballots cast in the previous mayoral election—to qualify their initiative for the ballot. 

Proposition 105 would:

  • end construction of light rail extensions;

  • redirect funds from light rail projects to other transportation infrastructure improvements in Phoenix; and

  • prohibit funding other light rail development, with an exception for PHX Sky Train—an automated electric train that serves the area around Phoenix International Airport.

Building a Better Phoenix sponsored the initiative petition effort and is leading the campaign in support of Proposition 105. Proponents say that many city roads are in urgent need of repair and funding is being wasted on light rail when it should be directed to roads, and that light rail use is declining. Opponents state that the initiative would reverse previous decisions made by voters to approve funding for light rail expansion and that the city would lose federal and regional funding for light rail development. 

Proposition 106 would:

  • require annual assessments of the city’s pension debt based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the 10-year average return on investment;

  • limit budget growth if pensions are not 90% funded;

  • earmark revenue over the budget limit to paying down pension debt, with exceptions for police, fire, and first responder services; and

  • require city officials to reimburse the city for pension benefit employer contributions.

Responsible Budgets Inc. led the initiative petition drive for Proposition 106. Proponents of the measure state that it requires accurate accounting and transparency of the city’s pension liabilities and a long-term solution to the city’s pension obligations. Opponents say the initiative would prevent the city from fully funding services—such as parks, libraries, senior centers, and homeless services—and would reduce the value of the city’s pension plan for fire and police employees and other city officials.

Invest in PHX, Vote no on 105 and 106 is leading the campaign in opposition to both Proposition 105 and Proposition 106. 

Phoenix voters approved six charter amendments in 2018 that were placed on the ballot by city council vote.  

Department of Justice seeks to decertify union representing immigration judges

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced August 9 that it was petitioning the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ)—the federal labor union representing immigration judges.

Immigration judges are a type of federal administrative adjudicator employed by the DOJ to preside over special classes of administrative proceedings pertaining to immigration, including removal proceedings. The department employed 424 judges as of May 2019 and requested funding to hire up to an additional 100 judges in 2020. 

Although immigration judges and other types of administrative judges have the word judge in their job title, they are part of the executive, rather than the judicial branch. They are not judges as described in Article III of the U.S. Constitution.

The Department of Justice claims that immigration judges are management officials and, therefore, cannot legally participate in collective bargaining activities. Federal law defines management officials as “any individual employed by an agency in a position the duties and responsibilities of which require or authorize the individual to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency.” Decertification of the NAIJ could give DOJ officials more control over the work schedules and caseloads of immigration judges.

Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the NAIJ, said in a statement, “We are trial court judges who make decisions on the basis of case specific facts and the nation’s immigration laws. We do not set policies, and we don’t manage staff.”

In March 2018, the Department of Justice instituted a quota of 700 cases per year for immigration judges. As of May 2019, there was a backlog of 892,000 immigration cases. 

The FLRA rejected a similar application by the Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration to decertify the NAIJ in 2000.


Castro releases ad directed at Trump

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 14, 2019: Julián Castro released an ad criticizing Donald Trump. John Hickenlooper is considering a Senate run, according to a New York Times report.


Notable Quote of the Day

“The repeated and direct attention to swing-state cities [Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee] at this early stage in the primary reflects a growing urgency to address the failures of the 2016 Democratic campaign, as well as the belief that Mr. Trump could win again if the party focuses on appealing to white, blue-collar swing voters in the Rust Belt, and makes less frequent overtures to core constituencies like people of color and young people.”

– Nick Corasaniti, The New York Times


  • Michael Bennet released a new book called Dividing America that details Russia’s disinformation campaign during the 2016 election.

  • Bill de Blasio appeared on Fox Business’ Bulls & Bears to promote his plan to make the top tax rate on the richest one percent approximately 70 percent.

  • Steve Bullock criticized the fundraising threshold for the third and fourth debate after Tom Steyer met the threshold following large online ad campaigns. “We’re kidding ourselves if we’re calling a $10 million purchase of 130,000 donors a demonstration of grassroots support,” he said.

  • Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders addressed union members at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades annual convention in Las Vegas.

  • Julián Castro purchased airtime during Fox & Friends to air a new ad directed at Trump, criticizing his rhetoric about immigrants.

  • In an interview on Fox News, John Delaney said Democrats needed “someone who can actually capture the center” to be able to defeat Trump.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand signed on to an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case involving restrictions on gun transportation.

  • The New York Times reported that John Hickenlooper was considering dropping his presidential bid to run for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

  • Jay Inslee launched his first Donor Dash, seeking as many donors as possible in 48 hours.

  • Tim Ryan discussed gun safety legislation in an interview on CNN’s New Day.

  • Joe Sestak wrote an op-ed in the Daily Caller about this presidential campaign.

  • Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs endorsed Elizabeth Warren.

  • Marianne Williamson discussed morality in politics and her previous statements about antidepressants on Late Night with Seth Meyers


  • Donald Trump said he was delaying a portion of the tariffs on Chinese imports until Dec. 15 to prevent any negative effect on holiday sales.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Stacey Abrams announced that she would not run for president, focusing instead on combating voter suppression. 

Special Guest Analysis

Jim Ellis is a 35-year political veteran who now analyzes election data for major corporations, associations, and legislative advocacy firms. He is president of EllisInsight, LLC. We invited him to share analysis on the state of Texas in the 2020 election.

Since late July, Republican House members have been announcing their retirements in rapid-fire succession. Though the number of open seats has recently increased by 60%, we still see an aggregate of only 14 retirements and 2 vacancies. This pales in comparison to the open seat number from the four past election cycles during this present decade, all falling between 47 and 64, inclusive.

Though the total open seat count is low, the partisan division within this sector is extremely lopsided. Eleven districts are Republican-held.

Of the 11 Republican open seats, six appear competitive or highly competitive. Included in this group are three of the four Texas open seats, the ones concentrated in the Houston (TX-22), San Antonio/El Paso (TX-23), and Dallas (TX-24) metro areas. Of the three Democratic openings, only one, the southeastern district of Iowa (IA-2), could conceivably be contested. All of the regular election open seats, however, will host highly competitive partisan primary elections.

The media argument comes to the forefront that the Texas seats are particularly vulnerable because the state is changing, and the new demographics clearly favor the Democrats. While true to a degree, it must be remembered that all four of the Lone Star State open seats still elected a Republican even within the “blue wave” election, and it’s clear that the GOP will still field energetic candidates capable of winning in all districts.  

Furthermore, the eventual Democratic presidential nominee calling for the elimination of the fossil fuels industry in ten years cuts to the heart of the Texas economy, a message that should prove devastating for the party’s congressional candidates in such an energy-dependent state.

While the latest retirement trend doesn’t make re-claiming the House majority any easier for the Republican challengers, the development doesn’t in and of itself necessarily preclude such an outcome, either.

Flashback: August 14, 2015

Eighteen presidential candidates were set to visit the 11-day 2015 Iowa State Fair.

Trump raises $12 million at fundraisers in Hamptons

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 12, 2019: Donald Trump raised $12 million from two fundraisers Friday. The 2020 Democrats gathered in Iowa to speak at the Soapbox and a gun violence forum.

There are nine new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats, three Republicans, and one Green. In total, 816 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Seniors are the likeliest to actually cast ballots, with two-thirds of them voting in the 2018 midterms compared with 53% of the overall voting-age population. While the electorate in presidential years skews younger than in midterm ones, no Democratic presidential candidate has won seniors since Al Gore in 2000, and for the past five presidential-election cycles, every Republican nominee has won a larger share of seniors than his predecessor.”

– Michelle Hackman, The Wall Street Journal


Nearly the entire Democratic field was in Iowa over the weekend. Seventeen candidates participated in a forum on gun violence hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. Here are some more highlights of what the candidates discussed during their Iowa trips.

  • Michael Bennet discussed income inequality and education while campaigning in Ames.
  • Joe Biden discussed biometric weapons and individualizing weapons to authorized owners. He wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled “Banning Assault Weapons Works.”
  • Bill de Blasio called for a boycott of Walmart, saying there should be consequences for gun retailers.
  • Cory Booker focused his speech at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on gun violence and regulation. He also campaigned in Milwaukee Sunday.
  • While campaigning in Nevada, Iowa, Steve Bullock spoke about healthcare, campaign finance, and the federal debt ceiling.
  • Pete Buttigieg attended the forum on gun violence in Iowa before campaigning in Austin, Texas.
  • Julián Castro discussed tariffs and how trade policy was affecting farmers.
  • Appearing at the Soapbox, John Delaney spoke about racism, his healthcare plan, climate change, and infrastructure.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed national security, foreign policy, and criminal justice at the Soapbox Friday.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand criticized Iowa political leadership for supporting a pro-gun amendment to the state constitution.
  • Kamala Harris discussed the existence of racism in the United States, before and after the Trump administration.
  • John Hickenlooper described what he called his pragmatic progressive policies on the economy and the environment.
  • During a campaign stop in Nevada, Iowa, Jay Inslee discussed climate change and electability.
  • Amy Klobuchar spoke about immigration, climate change, workforce training, and the rural-urban divide at the Soapbox.
  • Tim Ryan discussed education, mental health, and manufacturing at the Soapbox.
  • Bernie Sanders said candidates needed to focus on policy that addresses the concerns of working families during a speech at the Wing Ding.
  • While speaking at the Soapbox, Joe Sestak discussed healthcare, globalism, and cancer research funding.
  • Appearing at the Wing Ding, Tom Steyer said his business experience would allow him to directly challenge Trump.
  • Elizabeth Warren introduced her gun violence platform, seeking to reduce the number of gun deaths in the country by 80 percent. Her plan would create a federal licensing program, cap firearm purchases, change the laws to protect survivors of domestic abuse, and raise taxes on gun manufacturers.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke about morality in politics and addressed criticism of her campaign.
  • Andrew Yang discussed accidental gun deaths involving children and personalized weapons at the forum on gun violence.


  • Donald Trump raised $12 million at two fundraisers in the Hamptons Friday.
  • Bill Weld campaigned in New Hampshire Saturday, where he said his strategy was to enlarge the electorate. He was in Iowa Sunday for a speech at the Soapbox at the state fair.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 12, 2015

Hillary Clinton hired Heather Stone as the campaign’s chief of staff and Craig Smith as a paid consultant.

The Daily Brew: White House agency has reviewed 235 rules in 2019

Today’s Brew highlights the number of reviews by the White House’s regulatory affairs office + Washington voters will decide affirmative action policy in 2019

 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, August 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. White House agency reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July
  2. Washington voters to decide state affirmative action policy in November
  3. Special election to be held to replace sole Republican on Los Angeles city council

White House agency reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July

You may not be familiar with it, but the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a federal office within the Office of Management and Budget that reviews the actions of other federal agencies. It was created in 1993 by an executive order issued by President Clinton.

OIRA’s responsibilities include regulatory review, clearance and approval of government information collection requests, and oversight of government statistical practices and privacy policies. It is also responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions—rules that may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities—made by federal agencies.

OIRA reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July issued by federal agencies. It approved one rule without changes and approved the intent of 45 rules while recommending changes to their content. Five rules were withdrawn.

As part of its review process, OIRA examines the rulemaking agency’s analysis of the costs and benefits of the rule. It also attempts to ensure that executive agency policies reflect the priorities of the president. OIRA has 90 days—with a possible 30- day extension—to complete its review of a significant regulatory action. 

OIRA has reviewed 235 significant rules so far in 2019. The agency reviewed 355 significant rules in 2018 and 237 significant rules in 2017. OIRA’s website listed 120 regulatory actions under review as of August 8.

Learn more



Washington voters to decide state affirmative action policy in November 

Washington voters will decide November 5 whether to allow affirmative action to be used when considering a person for public education or public employment opportunities. Referendum Measure 88 (R-88) will appear on the ballot before voters as a veto referendum. This referendum petition effort seeks to overturn the legislature’s approval of Initiative 1000 (I-1000), which would allow affirmative action without the use of quotas by the state of Washington. 

The path to the ballot for R-88 is an example of the chain reaction of our political process in action. A series of political events led to this point, so buckle up for a summary of how we got here: 

  • I-1000 originally qualified for the 2019 ballot February 7 through a successful petition drive. As an Initiative to the Legislature—the name of indirect initiatives in Washington—the state legislature had two options: a) approve it or b) have voters decide it as a statewide ballot measure. 
  • I-1000 was approved by the legislature in April by a 56-42 vote in the state House and a 26-22 vote in the state Senate, with all votes in favor coming from Democratic legislators. 
  • Following the approval of I-1000 by the legislature, a campaign was started to place a veto referendum before voters. That campaign—R-88—was certified August 7, requiring that voters decide whether or not to enact I-1000 through a vote on R-88.

Washington Initiative 200, approved by voters in 1998, banned affirmative action, discrimination, and preferential treatment based on certain characteristics, such as race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. I-1000 was designed to explicitly allow the state of Washington to implement affirmative action laws and policies while continuing to ban discrimination and preferential treatment—meaning those characteristics could not be the sole or deciding factor when considering a person for education or employment opportunities.

I-1000 was sponsored by the One WA Equality Campaign and was supported by Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) and the NAACP. Regarding I-1000, Inslee said, “I-1000 is a well-considered approach to updating our state’s policies and ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in government contracts, employment and schools.”

Let People Vote led the R-88 petition drive and is leading the campaign for a vote against I-1000 at the November election. Let People Vote stated, “I-1000…would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of races, sex, color, age, ethnicity, or national origin, as required by Washington Civil Rights Act, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races.”

Washington voters have decided 37 statewide veto referendum measures since 1914. Thirty, or 81%, have resulted in the targeted bill being repealed. Two previous referendum efforts were filed against Initiatives to the Legislature—such as I-1000—that were approved by the legislature rather than being placed on the ballot. Both veto referendums—one in 1943 and the other in 1995—succeeded in overturning the initiative. 

The map below identifies the 23 states that provide for citizen-initiated veto referendums: States in a darker shade have had more veto referendums. Between 1906 and 2018, voters decided 521 veto referendums in 23 states, repealing 340—65.3%—of the targeted laws.

States with veto referendum ballot measures

Learn more→

Special election to be held to replace sole Republican on Los Angeles city council

The city of Los Angeles is holding a nonpartisan special election August 13 for one of 15 city council seats. John Lee and Loraine Lundquist advanced from a primary field of 15 candidates June 4.  

Mitchell Englander—who was the only Republican on the city council—resigned his seat in December 2018 to work for a sports and entertainment firm.

Lee finished first in the primary, receiving 19.2% of the vote. He was endorsed by the L.A. Jobs PAC, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lee is Englander’s former chief of staff and is described by the Los Angeles Times as a Republican. Lundquist—who was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times and Our Revolution—was second in the primary with 19%. Lundquist is a university professor and describes herself as a Democrat. 

Los Angeles voters approved a change to the city charter in 2015 that moves municipal primary and general elections to June and November of even-numbered years beginning in 2020 to align them with federal and state elections. The seven even-numbered city council seats will be up for election in 2020 and the eight odd-numbered districts will be up for election in 2022.

Learn more→


Yang qualifies for next two primary debates with new poll

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 9, 2019: Andrew Yang became the ninth candidate to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates. Most of the 2020 Democratic field will be in Iowa this weekend at the state fair.

Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Mike Frosolone is a Democratic staffer with experience organizing in Midwestern states.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2014 Staci Appel U.S. House campaign (IA-03), field director
  • 2012 Michigan state legislative elections, House Democratic organizer
  • 2010 Dan Muhlbauer Iowa House of Representatives campaign, campaign manager

Other experience:

  • 2015-2019: Iowa House Democrats, caucus director
  • 2008-2010: Service Employees International Union, organizer

What he says about Booker:

“Cory’s performance serves as a validation for the folks who have committed their early support to his campaign.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“The [Iowa] State Fair is like half time. We’ve had the first two quarters of the game. We have the 3rd and 4th quarters to play still. If you’re a fan of the NBA, nothing happens until the 4th quarter. I wouldn’t be satisfied being ahead at half time.”

– Jeff Link, Iowa Democratic political strategist


  • The Iowa State Fair continues and more Democrats are scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Cory BookerKirsten GillibrandKamala HarrisJohn HickenlooperJay InsleeAmy KlobucharTim RyanJoe Sestak, and Elizabeth Warren will speak Saturday. Michael BennetBill de BlasioBernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer are scheduled Sunday.
  • Bennet campaigned in Ohio Thursday, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland and attending a fundraiser.
  • Booker issued draft legislation of the Climate Stewardship Act Thursday. The bill would call for planting 4 billion trees by 2030 and 15 billion by 2050 to off-set domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Agriculture and other agencies would receive up to $25 billion annually to develop more voluntary programs for climate-friendly agricultural practices.
  • Joe Biden will speak at the Wing Ding in Iowa Friday night.
  • Steve Bullock will continue to campaign in Iowa on Friday and Saturday.
  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled his plan for improving rural healthcare through a “Medicare for All Who Want It” system. He would also expand loan forgiveness programs for healthcare professionals and the Conrad 30 waiver program, which waives a reentry requirement for some foreign doctors committing to work in underserved or rural areas.
  • In a Medium post, Klobuchar outlined her anti-domestic terrorism proposal. She called for prioritizing law enforcement tracking, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes and white nationalist activity. Under her plan, people with violent misdemeanor hate crime convictions would be barred from purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • Seth Moulton advocated abolishing the filibuster in a series of tweets on Thursday.
  • Marianne Williamson will continue to campaign in Iowa Friday and Saturday.
  • Andrew Yang qualified for the third and fourth Democratic presidential primary debates, reaching the polling threshold of 2 percent or more in a fourth eligible poll. Yang previously announced he had reached the grassroots fundraising bar and the polling threshold last week before the Democratic National Committee clarified its polling rules, leaving Yang one short.


  • Donald Trump departs for his New Jersey golf club Friday as part of his annual August holiday.
  • Bill Weld, along with BookerButtigieg, and Sandersparticipated in a presidential candidate’s forum at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Miami Thursday. Weld will also speak at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. 

Flashback: August 8, 2015

John Kasich said he supported a pathway to legal status for the 11 million immigrants living in the United States without legal permission

Massachusetts governor vetoes omnibus public-sector labor bill

On August 2, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) vetoed an omnibus public-sector labor bill after the legislature declined to adopt amendments he had earlier proposed.

  • What does the bill propose? The legislature’s version of H3854 would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
  • What were Baker’s amendments to the bill, and how did the legislature respond?
    • In a letter to state lawmakers dated July 15, Baker recommended the following changes:
      • Prevent unions from accessing employees’ personal cell phone numbers and using text messages to communicate with members without their written consent.
      • Require unions to give new employees written information explaining their rights to join or refrain from joining a union.
      • Require employees’ written consent before releasing certain information to unions.
      • Require unions to provide notice to state agencies before using buildings for union purposes.
    • On July 22, the House voted 128-29 to reject Baker’s amendments. The Senate followed suit on July 25 by a vote of 34-5. The House and Senate re-approved the legislation on July 31, sending it back to the governor for his action.
  • What are the reactions?
    • AFL-CIO president Steve Tolman said, “The legislation passed by both the House and Senate to ensure that public-sector unions remain a strong force for economic fairness in the wake of the Janus Supreme Court ruling received overwhelming bipartisan support after a thorough debate. We urge both branches to override Governor Baker’s veto.”
    • Christopher Carlozzi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “The Governor offered a very common-sense amendment that provided labor unions an opportunity to collect their reasonable fees, while still protecting the rights of workers. The legislature chose to pacify a handful of labor leaders, rather than address serious privacy concerns for public employees.”
  • What is the political makeup of Massachusetts? Democrats control 79 percent of all House seats and 85 percent of all Senate seats, exceeding the two-thirds majorities required in each chamber to override a veto. Baker, a Republican, was first elected in 2014 with a margin of victory of 1.9 percent. Baker was re-elected in 2018 with a margin of victory of 32.5 percent.
  • What comes next? Because they hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats could override Baker’s veto. Lawmakers will not be able to consider a veto override until they reconvene in September.


The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 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 August 9, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 9, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart August 9, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

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

  • Michigan HB4821: This bill would allow public school employers to use public resources to collect union dues.
    • Introduced and referred to Education Committee Aug. 6.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Tucson voters to decide sanctuary city status

Today’s Brew highlights a 2019 ballot measure regarding Tucson’s sanctuary city status + the number of judges appointed by Trump compared with other presidents  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Aug. 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on Nov. 5
  2. Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years
  3. What’s the tea?

Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on November 5

Tucson voters head to the polls Nov. 5 to decide a ballot measure that, if approved, would make Tucson Arizona’s first sanctuary city.

The initiative would include a declaration of Tucson’s sanctuary status and add a new section to the city’s code that would:

  • restrict law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibit officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and
  • prohibit city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.

The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures on July 3, two days before the deadline, to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. They were required to collect 9,241 valid signatures. The Pima County Recorder reviewed a random sample of petition signatures and determined there were enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options—either approve the initiative and enact it into law without an election, or put it on the ballot. The council voted August 6 to place the measure on the ballot. 

All three of Tucson’s Democratic mayoral candidates—Randi Dorman, Regina Romero, and Steve Farley—and independent mayoral candidate Ed Ackerley oppose the initiative. Tucson will hold partisan primary elections for mayor and three city council seats Aug. 27. The general election is Nov. 5. U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R) and declared 2020 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) have also stated that they oppose the measure. 

Ballotpedia’s analysis of municipal immigration policies in August 2017 found that 32 of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population self-identified as sanctuary cities or maintained sanctuary policies. At that time, 30 of the 32 cities that identified as sanctuary jurisdictions had Democratic mayors. The other two had Republican mayors.

Learn more


Beyond the headlines

Currently, there are 22 Republican and 14 Democratic trifectas. With 5 states holding elections this year those totals could change.

Find out how in our latest episode of Beyond the Headlines.???????

Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years 

Three years into his presidency, Donald Trump has appointed 146 Article III federal judges through August 1. Looking back through history to the Theodore Roosevelt administration, only Bill Clinton appointed more judges—156—through the same point during his first term. 

Presidents appoint Article III federal judges for what can be life terms and must be confirmed by the Senate. These include judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. District Courts, and the Court of International Trade. 

From the Theodore Roosevelt administration to the present, the average number of presidential judicial appointments through Aug. 1 of their third year in office is just over 80. 

Here are some other takeaways about presidential judicial appointments through this point:

  • The median number of Supreme Court appointments is two. William Taft (R) appointed the most—five. Trump has appointed 2 justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—so far.
  • The median number of U.S Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump has appointed the most among this group of presidents through Aug. 1 of this third year with 43. His 43 appointments comprise 24% of the 179 judgeships on the appeals courts.
  • The median number of U.S. District Court appointees is 54, with Clinton appointing the most with 128. Trump has appointed 99 district court judges, or 15% of the 677 district court judgeships.

Learn more→

Here’s another weekly edition of our ”What’s the tea?” question so you can tell us what you think.  

Please click on the answer that most closely matches your opinion. 

The August 8th edition of the Brew included two local election stories—from the district attorney primary in Queens, New York, to city council and local ballot races in Seattle. 

Do you feel that news about local politics and government gets covered adequately in your area—not just on Ballotpedia, but from all sources?


2020 Democrats travel to Iowa for state fair

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 8, 2019: The 2020 Democrats converge upon Iowa as the state fair begins Thursday. Kamala Harris made a six-figure ad buy in Iowa.


Notable Quote of the Day

“When we talk about how gender and sexism affect elections, usually what we’re really talking about is how women fare. But gender has always been an important factor on the campaign trail, even when both major-party candidates are the same sex. ‘When two men are running against each other, we end up with a contest between two different versions of masculinity,’ said Jackson Katz, an educator and the author of Man Enough?: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity. …

Take the 2004 campaign, for instance. George W. Bush and John Kerry both leaned hard into photo ops that would emphasize their machismo — taking excursions to shooting ranges, posing with veterans and troops, even riding motorcycles. But Republicans, in particular, sought to portray Kerry as effeminate and unpatriotic, like when he was mocked for ‘looking French.’ Meanwhile, Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards (who was later criticized for his expensive haircuts) was infamously dubbed ‘the Breck Girl of politics’ by Republican strategists because of his attention to his coiffure.

So any candidate who runs against Trump will have to grapple with this dynamic — even if the Democrats ultimately nominate a man.”

– Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, FiveThirtyEight senior writer


  • The Iowa State Fair begins today and most of the Democratic field is scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Julián CastroJohn DelaneyTulsi GabbardMarianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang will speak Friday.

  • Michael Bennet appeared on The Daily Show Wednesday night, discussing his legislative record and policy proposals. 

  • Joe Biden opened several campaign offices in Iowa Wednesday and appeared at the launch of the Iowa City office.

  • Cory Booker held his first campaign event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wednesday night.

  • Steve Bullock spoke at the National Press Club about gun violence, racism, and electability.

  • Pete Buttigieg campaigned in Orlando, Florida, attending a private event with members of the Puerto Rican community and a grassroots rally.

  • Buttigieg hired Mike Baccio as his in-house chief information security officer, which Politico called a first for a major 2020 presidential candidate. He also expanded his campaign in New Hampshire, bringing the total number of staffers to 40.

  • Mike Gravel, who suspended his presidential campaign Tuesday, clarified that he was endorsing both Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.

  • Kamala Harris made her first 2020 ad buy, spending $145,000 on an ad introducing herself to voters that will air in Iowa for a week beginning Thursday.

  • John Hickenlooper wrote an op-ed in The Des Moines Register criticizing the Trump administration’s tariffs.

  • Amy Klobuchar kicked off her Heartland Tour Wednesday. She will campaign across Iowa for four days.

  • The Jamaican Information Service interviewed Wayne Messam about his heritage and U.S. relations with Jamaica.

  • Seth Moulton denied a Washington Post report that said he planned to lay off at least half of his staff, saying his campaign had recently undergone a restructuring that included new hires.

  • Beto O’Rourke will not make a scheduled stop at the Iowa State Fair this weekend, remaining in El Paso to support the community following a mass shooting.

  • Tim Ryan said he would lead a caravan, in coordination with Moms Demand Action, from his congressional district to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s home state, to call on Congress to pass gun legislation. 

  • In an interview on PBS NewsHourTom Steyer spoke about climate change, gun violence, and corporate influence in politics.

  • Elizabeth Warren proposed creating an Office of Broadband Access that would administer an $85 billion grant program to guarantee high-speed internet access across the country.


  • Real estate developer Stephen Ross is hosting Donald Trump at a fundraiser Friday. Tickets for a private roundtable discussion with Trump are $250,000.

Flashback: August 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders ended a Seattle campaign event early after two Black Lives Matter activists took control of the podium.

Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Delaney and Williamson most active presidential campaigners in early primary states

Today’s Brew looks at the most active presidential campaigners in the four early primary states + highlights the Seattle, Washington election results  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, August 8 Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Delaney and Williamson most active campaigners in early states
  2. Seattle’s election results
  3. Six weeks after election day this race is over – what took so long?

Delaney and Williamson most active campaigners in early states

Ballotpedia has compiled the number of days each Democratic presidential candidate spent in the four early primary states—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—between January 1 and July 29 this year.

Former Rep. John Delaney was the most active campaigner in Iowa, while author Marianne Williamson spent the most days in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Where candidates focus their campaigns can hint at primary strategy and where they are trying to fortify coalitions. 

Here are the top states for the candidates who have qualified for the September debate:

Former Vice President
Joe Biden


Sen. Cory Booker

Iowa and South Carolina

South Bend Mayor
Pete Buttigieg


Sen. Kamala Harris

South Carolina

Sen. Amy Klobuchar


Former Rep.
Beto O’Rourke


Sen. Bernie Sanders


Sen. Elizabeth Warren


We will update this data with more analysis next week and will continue to update it as the primary season progresses. See the full details and our methodology at the link below.

Learn more



Seattle’s election results

Preliminary results for Tuesday’s primary for seven seats on the Seattle City Council showed the three incumbents seeking re-election in the lead. Seattle uses a vote-by-mail process and King County Elections will count ballots each day until the primary results are certified on August 20. To advance to the November 5 general election, candidates must win a plurality of the vote. The results below are current as of Wednesday morning.

For the races where incumbents filed for re-election:

  • District 1: Incumbent Lisa Herbold led her two opponents with 48 percent of the vote. Phil Tavel was second with 34 percent.
  • District 3: Incumbent Kshama Sawant led with 33 percent of the vote, and Egan Orion had 24 percent; the nearest challenger of the four others was Pat Murakami with 14 percent.
  • District 5: Incumbent Debora Juarez led with 43 percent and Ann Davison Sattler had 28 percent. In third was John Lombard with 14 percent. Six candidates appeared on the ballot.

For the open races:

  • District 2: Tammy Morales led with 44 percent and Mark Solomon was second with 24 percent in the seven-candidate field.
  • District 4: Alex Pedersen led with 46 percent, and Shaun Scott was second with 20 percent. Ten candidates are running in District 4.
  • District 6: Dan Strauss and Heidi Wills led with 31 percent and 23 percent, respectively, in the 14-candidate field.
  • District 7: Andrew Lewis led with 29 percent and Jim Pugel was second with 27 percent. Ten candidates are running.

Voters also approved two local ballot measures Tuesday. 

  • Proposition 1 in Seattle authorized the city to levy for seven years a property tax of $0.122 per $1,000 in assessed property value with annual increases of up to 1% to fund library operations, materials, and maintenance and capital improvements. 
  • Proposition 1 in King County authorized the county to levy for six years a property tax of $0.1832 per $1,000 in assessed property value to replace an expiring tax, with annual increases and with revenue for parks, recreation, open space, public pools, zoo operations, and aquarium capital improvements.

Learn more→

Six weeks after election day this race is over – what took so long?

On Tuesday, public defender Tiffany Caban conceded the Democratic primary for Queens, New York district attorney to Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D), ending a six-week-long dispute over the election’s outcome. 

The primary to succeed Richard Brown, who died in May 2019 after 28 years in office, drew national attention after presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren endorsed Caban. Political observers compared the race to last year’s Democratic primary for a Queens-based Congressional seat in which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) unseated fourth-ranked House Democrat Joseph Crowley (D). Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Caban while Crowley fundraised for Katz. 

On June 25, Caban appeared to be the winner with a lead of 1,100 votes over Katz. But after absentee and provisional ballots were certified July 3, Katz took a lead of 20 votes. The city’s elections board completed a full manual recount on July 29 which found Katz ahead by 60 votes. Caban challenged the recount results before the Kings County Supreme Court, saying that the board had invalidated a number of ballots which she argued should have been counted. In his ruling Tuesday, Judge John G. Ingram found that most of the ballots named in Caban’s challenge were not valid, meaning there were not enough ballots remaining in question to change the election’s result.

89,858 votes were cast in the 2019 Democratic primary, while 3,777 votes were cast for the office at the last election in 2015. Katz will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.

Learn more→


Policy updates: the 2020 presidential election edition

2020 presidential election: policy update

Many of the laws governing presidential elections, including primary/caucus rules and ballot access procedures, are established and enforced at the state level. With the 2020 presidential campaign season well underway, let’s take a look at some noteworthy developments dealing with election law for presidential candidates.

California enacts law requiring presidential, gubernatorial candidates to disclose tax returns

On July 30, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed SB 27 into law, requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to file copies of their last five federal income tax returns with the California secretary of state in order to qualify for the primary election ballot. The law took immediate effect.

  • In a statement, Newsom said, “The disclosure required by this bill will shed light on conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or influence from domestic and foreign business interests. The United States Constitution grants states the authority to determine how their electors are chosen, and California is well within its constitutional right to include this requirement.”
  • Also on July 30, Republican presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente sued Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) in U.S. District Court, alleging that SB 27 violated Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments. On August 1, Judicial Watch, on behalf of four California voters, filed a separate federal suit challenging the law. On August 6, President Donald Trump and his campaign committee filed another separate suit challenging the law, as did the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party.
  • Legal professionals have differed in their initial assessments of SB 27. Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “This new law raises some very interesting and novel constitutional issues. Because it is novel, it is hard to know how the courts would go, but there is plenty of reason to think courts will be hostile to California’s requirements.” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said, “Although most cases dealing with ballot access have involved state and local elections, the constitutional principles are the same: State governments may set conditions for being listed on the ballot so long as they serve important interests and do not discriminate based on wealth or ideology.” Gene Schaerr, a constitutional lawyer who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, said, “I see it as a serious problem on both constitutional grounds and especially on policy. You can imagine a host of other disclosures that states might want to adopt. If California could do this, some people would undoubtedly want to know whether candidates have ever been treated for a mental illness or denied insurance.”

2020 presidential primary, caucus, and nominating convention schedule

The 2020 presidential primary, caucus, and nominating convention schedule is nearly complete. Listed below are noteworthy instances of states that changed either the dates or formats of their nominating contest in 2020.

  • California: Primary moved to March 3, 2020. In 2016, it was on June 7.
  • Colorado: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Colorado’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Maine: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Maine’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Minnesota: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Minnesota’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.
  • Utah: Primary established to be conducted March 3, 2020. Utah’s Democratic and Republican parties held caucuses in 2016.

For a complete list of important dates in the 2020 presidential election cycle, see this article.

Legislation update: Redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems bills

The maps below show which states are considering redistricting, electoral systems, and primary systems legislation. A darker shade of red indicates a greater number of relevant bills.

Redistricting legislation as of August 7, 2019

Map Redistricting legislation at the state and city levels in the United States

Electoral systems legislation as of August 7, 2019

Electoral systems August 2019 map

Primary systems legislation as of August 7, 2019

Primary systems August 2019 map