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The Daily Brew: The first presidential debate of the 2020 cycle is here!

Today’s Brew highlights the details regarding the first set of presidential debates + three Idaho school board members face an August 27 recall election  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. First Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight
  2. Voters to decide whether to recall three Idaho school board members
  3. Cabán wins election for Queens District Attorney

First Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight

The first Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight in Miami. Over the next two nights, 20 candidates—10 each night—will participate. This will be the first of 12 Democratic primary debates scheduled for the 2020 presidential election cycle. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) used a random drawing to distribute the candidates across both debate nights. 

The Democratic party is holding more primary debates and starting them earlier than the last election cycle. The first Democratic primary debate in the 2016 election was held on October 13, 2015, and the DNC sponsored nine debates altogether. There were 12 Republican debates last cycle and the first one took place August 6, 2015.

The highest-polling candidates in qualifying polls will be positioned in the center of the stage each night. Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke will be in the middle at tonight’s debate and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will be center stage on Thursday.

The debate will be hosted by NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo and streamed on NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, and all Telemundo digital platforms. It will be held from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions posed by the moderators, and 30 seconds to reply to follow-up questions. Participants can make closing statements but there will be no opening remarks.

Here are the candidates who will be in tonight’s debate:

And here are the candidates who will be in Thursday night’s debate:

The candidates all met one or both qualifying thresholds to participate. Candidates qualified by receiving 1% support or more in three eligible national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. Candidates could also qualify by providing verifiable evidence that they received donations from at least 65,000 unique donors with a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states.

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Voters to decide whether to recall three Idaho school board members

This Friday, Ballotpedia will release its annual mid-year recall report, where we’ll take a closer look at the recall trends across the country so far this year, and compare them to prior years. Just to give you a small taste, here’s an update on a recent recall effort in Idaho. 

Recall efforts against Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell of the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho were certified by the Canyon County Elections Office earlier this month and will appear before voters on August 27.

Recall organizer David Morgan said the effort against Winkle and McConkie was prompted after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations—which did not renew the contract of the high school principal—at a May 6 board meeting. The recall petition against Blackwell said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics.

Recall supporters also targeted another board member—Kirk Adams—but the petition was rejected by the county because he had not yet served 90 days in office. The school board’s fifth member resigned in April due to personal reasons.

Winkle said that since the decision not to renew the principal’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell has not responded to the recall effort against her.

In order for the Middleton School District board members to be removed from office, a majority of voters must vote in favor in the recall election. Additionally, the number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for election. In the May 2017 election, 253 voters cast ballots in McConkie’s district and 82 cast ballots in Blackwell’s district. 

In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials.Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.


Cabán wins election for Queens District Attorney

Public defender Tiffany Cabán won the Democratic primary election for Queens County District Attorney. Former Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown (D)-who announced in January that he would not run for re-election-died in May after serving in the office for 28 years. Queens County is the state designation for the Borough of Queens in New York City.

Cabán defeated five other Democratic primary candidates and will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.

The primary attracted national attention and endorsements from two presidential candidates.

Local election watchers had identified Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and former Judge Gregory Lasak as frontrunners. 

Cabán was endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), and The New York Times.

Katz was endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), four members of the U.S. House, the county Democratic Party, and City Councilor Rory Lancman (D), who dropped out of the race June 21. Former Rep. Joseph Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez unseated in 2018, fundraised on Katz’s behalf. 

Lasak was endorsed by the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D). 

Also running were attorney Betty Lugo, former New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board director Mina Malik, and prosecutor Jose Nieves. 

 

 



Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak becomes 25th notable Democratic candidate

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 24, 2019: On Sunday, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) announced he is running for president, becoming the 25th notable Democratic candidate. Twenty-two Democratic candidates spoke at the South Carolina Democratic Convention Saturday.

There are three new candidates running since last week, including two Democrats (Sestak has not yet officially filed with the Federal Election Commission, so he’s not included). Six individuals are no longer filed as candidates with the FEC, including three Democrats. In total, 748 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“A divided vote among black Democrats, who represent 60 percent of the primary electorate in this state [South Carolina], could profoundly transform the race, leading to a drawn-out and more brutal fight for the nomination. The race could go on well past South Carolina and Super Tuesday, which are just three days apart next year and will offer the best test of candidate strength with voters of color.” 

— Jonathan Martin and Astead W. Herndon, The New York Times

Democrats

  • Twenty-two notable Democratic candidates (all but Steve Bullock and Mike Gravelspoke at the South Carolina Democratic Convention Saturday. This was a record-breaking number of presidential candidates speaking at the state party’s convention, The Greenville News reported.
  • Twenty candidates attended a forum hosted by Planned Parenthood Saturday. Eight candidates—Pete ButtigiegJulián CastroJohn HickenlooperAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie SandersEric Swalwell, and Elizabeth Warrenparticipated in a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) forum Friday.
  • Michael Bennet and a group of other senators introduced a bill called the Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act of 2019 that would allow the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program to provide meals that can be eaten off-site and create an option to give parents $30 per child per summer month to buy eligible food items.
  • Joe Biden was endorsed by the Iowa Professional Fire Fighters union for the 2020 Iowa caucuses.
  • On ABC’s This Week SundayCory Booker said Trump has no strategy on Iran. Booker said that, if elected president, he would strengthen relationships with U.S. allies to denuclearize Iran.
  • Bullock campaigned in New Hampshire this weekend.
  • On Sunday, Buttigieg held a town hall in South Bend, Indiana, with police chief Scott Ruszkowski, where they responded to residents’ questions related to an officer-involved shooting that occurred June 16.
  • Castro referred to a Trump tweet saying he called off a military strike against Iran 10 minutes before it was set to happen, and to Trump delaying raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the weekend, as “bull**** politics.” Castro said Trump is “a political conman.”
  • John Delaney spoke about his candidacy on CBSN’s Red & Blue Friday.
  • Tulsi Gabbard discussed “ending wasteful regime change wars” as her priority on NBC’s Nightly News.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) on Friday introduced a bill called the Summer Meals Act of 2019 that would expand eligibility for the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and provide transportation for children to meal sites.
  • Related to an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, Mike Gravel tweeted, “The media has given Buttigieg a pass on a lackluster record in South Bend that shows him to be more concerned about public acclaim than the lives of average people. Why the pass? Because he’s an articulate white kid with all the right credentials. His constituents know the truth.”
  • Kamala Harris on CBS’ Face the Nation criticized Trump’s approach to Iran and said the U.S. should re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. She also discussed tensions within the Democratic Party over whether to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  • Hickenlooper said at Friday’s NALEO forum that people living in the country without legal permission should be given 10-year visas.
  • Jay Inslee is in Everglades Holiday Park in Florida today, where his campaign said he’ll make a major policy announcement.
  • Wayne Messam was interviewed on Caribbean Riddims, a South Florida radio show.
  • Seth Moulton criticized Trump’s Iran strategy. Moulton said if he were president, he would “respond to Iran by turning off the power in the grid in the southern part of the country where the Iranian missile system is based,” Roll Call reported.
  • Politico reported that O’Rourke hired Carmel Martin as his national policy director. Martin served as policy adviser to John Kerry’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns; she has also worked for the Department of Education and the Center for American Progress.
  • Tim Ryan on MSNBC’s Saturday Night Politics discussed the upcoming Democratic debate, the economy, and Iran. He criticized Trump for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Sanders said at Friday’s NALEO forum that his Medicare for All plan would include healthcare for people in the country without legal permission.
  • Joe Sestak announced he is running for president. In his announcement video, Sestak said, “We must convene the world for two primary objectives: Putting a brake on climate change and putting an end to an illiberal world order’s injustices.”
  • Warren published a post on Medium outlining her plan to ban private prisons and detention facilities.
  • New York Magazine published a profile of Marianne Williamson.
  • Andrew Yang talked about his support for a universal basic income and his opposition to private prisons and cash bail with Al Sharpton on MSNBC.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump said Friday that he called off a military strike on Iran that he had approved Thursday night in response to a U.S. drone having been shot down in Iranian airspace last week. He cited concerns over casualties as the reason for calling off the strike. Saturday, Trump announced he would delay Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in 10 major cities for two weeks to give Congress more time to develop a solution.
  • Bill Weld spoke at the New Hampshire Free State Project’s Porcfest event and attended Portsmouth PRIDE events in New Hampshire Saturday.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 24, 2015

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced his candidacy for president, bringing the 2016 Republican primary field to 13 notable candidates.

 



President Trump unveils Republican counterpart to ActBlue

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 25, 2019: President Trump launched a Republican counterpart to Democratic fundraising site ActBlue. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate that would cancel all outstanding federal student loans.


 

Which presidential election featured the largest popular vote margin by a winning candidate?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Interviews with nearly 20 Democratic elected officials, party chiefs, labor leaders and operatives the past week revealed an air of foreboding verging on alarm that the debates will degenerate into a two-night, bare-knuckle brawl. With the divisive 2016 Democratic primary fresh in their minds and the current presidential candidates starting to take swipes at one another, the fear is that voters will be left with the impression of a bickering, small-minded opposition party.”

— Holly Otterbein, Politico

Democrats

  • The Democratic National Committee released the rules for this week’s Miami debates. Candidates will have 60 seconds to respond to questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.

  • Michael Bennet hired former DCCC executive director Dan Sena and ad producer Scott Kozar as media consultants, also hiring pollster Pete Brodnitz.

  • Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald criticizing Trump’s policies on immigration and relations with Latin America.

  • TIME Magazine published an article exploring Cory Booker’s Iowa operations.

  • Steve Bullock sat down for an interview with NBC’s Harry Smith on his top priority if elected, which would be to limit large donors’ political influence.

  • The Atlantic published an article exploring Pete Buttigieg’s response to an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana.

  • Julián Castro signed a pledge to revoke the 2001 Authorization of Military Force which has covered U.S. deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, among other areas.

  • John Delaney issued a press release on healthcare identifying cutting costs as his priority over Medicare for All and similar policies.

  • The Washington Post published an article exploring Kirsten Gillibrand’s stance on firearms regulations.

  • Mike Gravel sat for an interview with Jacobin Magazine on his political history and his proposal to create a Legislature of the People.

  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) endorsed Kamala Harris.

  • Jay Inslee issued his fourth plan related to energy and the environment, the Freedom from Fossil Fuels plan.

  • Amy Klobuchar sat for an interview with NBC’s Harry Smith on her top priority if elected, which would be to improve mental healthcare and addiction treatment.

  • Seth Moulton began running ads in early voting states calling for a new generation of leadership.

  • Beto O’Rourke issued a veterans’ healthcare plan which is funded by a war tax.

  • Tim Ryan appeared on Meet the Press Daily, where he discussed Iran policy.

  • Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate Monday which would cancel all outstanding federal student loans.

  • Eric Swalwell visited a migrant detention center in Homestead, Florida.

  • CNN published a profile of Elizabeth Warren’s policy team.

  • In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen ColbertAndrew Yangannounced he would give a third family $1,000 per month.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump unveiled WinRed, a fundraising site positioned as a counterpart to the Democratic Party’s ActBlue.

  • Bill Weld sat for an interview with The Keene Sentinel, where he discussed the goal of his campaign.

Flashback: June 25, 2015

The Supreme Court issued its ruling in King v. Burwell, upholding a portion of the Affordable Care Act providing tax credits to individuals purchasing healthcare plans from the federal exchange. TIME Magazine explored the response from Republican presidential candidates.blank



New Jersey governor signs donor disclosure bill; prospect of follow-up legislation uncertain

On June 17, Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed S1500 into law after conditionally vetoing the bill in May. The measure will require 501(c)(4)s, super PACs, and other entities to disclose their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.

What does the legislation do?

  • As enacted, the new law defines an independent expenditure committee as any person or group organized under sections 501(c)(4) or 527 of the Internal Revenue Code that spends $3,000 or more annually to influence or provide political information about any of the following:
    • “the outcome of any election or the nomination, election, or defeat of any person to any state or local elective public office”
    • “the passage or defeat of any public question, legislation, or regulation”
  • Independent expenditure committees will be required to disclose all expenditures exceeding $3,000. These committees will also be required to disclose the identities of their donors who contribute $10,000 or more.

How are lawmakers responding?

  • Murphy’s office said in a statement he signed the bill “based on an express commitment from my colleagues in the legislature” to pass subsequent legislation to amend the provisions of S1500. Murphy wants to exempt some nonprofit groups from the new regulations (e.g., groups not engaged in election activities, such as the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters). Murphy told NJ.com, “We had a very clear commitment … to do just what I said: They would pass the law, I would sign it and there was a commitment to work together to clean up particularly the stuff specifically to the advocates, within the month of June.”
  • Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) disputed this: “There was no reason for me to make any deal. We had the votes to do an override. All I’ve said is if there’s any unintended consequences, then we would adjust it.” Asked whether he would call for a vote on Murphy’s revisions by the end of the month, Sweeney said, “No. It hasn’t even been enacted yet. What am I fixing right now? What’s broken? What’s wrong with it? There was no need for a deal.”
  • Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, “My understanding is our commitment was to work together to resolve any issues or concerns that remain after the bill was signed, so I took that to mean that we would work together.”

How are outside groups responding?

  • The New Jersey chapter of the ACLU reiterated its opposition to the legislation: “Civil rights organizations have pointed out the clear constitutional violations of this bill since its introduction. The courts have made it clear time and again that the Constitution does not allow the government to target organizations simply for speaking on issues of public concern. While the ACLU of New Jersey will continue to advocate for a legislative remedy, signing this bill into law also forces us to prepare for legal action.”
  • David Goodman of Represent NJ, a nonprofit group that advocated on behalf of S1500, said, “[S1500] level the playing field between publicly accountable political committees and secret independent ‘dark money’ groups swamping our politics and elections. Disclosure and transparency would shine light and inform the electorate. That’s what makes it a good government bill — pure and simple!”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 72 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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.

Disclosure Digest map June 24, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Disclosure Digest status chart June 24, 2019.png

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

Disclosure Digest partisan chart June 24, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions taken on relevant bills in the past week. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state then by bill number. Know of any legislation we’re missing? Please email us so we can include it on our tracking list.

  • New Hampshire SB105: This bill would establish disclosure requirements for certain contributions made to inaugural committees.
    • Enrolled June 18 and awaiting governor’s action.
  • New Hampshire SB156: This bill would require that political contributions made by limited liability companies be allocated to individual members in order to determine whether individuals have exceeded contribution limits.
    • Enrolled June 18 and awaiting governor’s action.


The Daily Brew: Wisconsin high court upholds legality of legislature’s 2018 special session actions

Today’s Brew highlights a Wisconsin high court ruling regarding the legislature’s session last December + the single-party control of some governorships up for election in 2020  
The Daily Brew
 
Welcome to the Monday, June 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms constitutionality of December 2018 legislative session
  2. Four states holding 2020 elections have had governors from the same party since 1992
  3. School board election apparently decided by four votes in El Paso, Texas

Wisconsin Supreme Court affirms constitutionality of December 2018 legislative session

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Friday that the legislature’s December 2018 extraordinary session did not violate the state constitution. That decision overturned a March 2019 state circuit court ruling that had blocked the actions taken during the session, including the confirmation of 82 appointees made by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker (R). The case resulted from a lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters.

Although state Supreme Court elections in Wisconsin are nonpartisan, liberal and conservative groups typically coalesce around specific candidates. The four justices who joined the majority opinion were originally appointed by a Republican governor or have been supported by conservative groups. The three justices who dissented have been supported by liberal groups.

In November 2018, Tony Evers (D) defeated Walker, 49.5% to 48.4%, resulting in divided government in Wisconsin when Evers was inaugurated in January 2019. Republicans have controlled both chambers of the legislature since 2013.

Evers renominated 67 of the 82 appointments made by Walker that were confirmed by the legislature during the special session. Evers did not reappoint 15 appointees. The state Supreme Court had ruled April 30 that those 15 appointees could continue in their positions pending the resolution of the legality of the extraordinary session.

The legislature also passed three bills during the extraordinary session that were signed into law by then Gov. Walker. According to a summary published by Jurist.org, the legislation::

  • requires “the governor to request permission from lawmakers before creating certain administrative rules and making changes to programs managed jointly by the state and federal governments.”

  • requires that the attorney general obtain legislative approval prior to the state’s withdrawing from a lawsuit.

  • limits in-person absentee voting to 14 days before an election and makes other changes to in-person absentee voting

Judge Rebecca Bradley, in her majority opinion, stated, “The extraordinary session comports with the constitution because it occurred as provided by law. The terminology the Legislature chooses to accomplish the legislative process is squarely the prerogative of the Legislature. The Wisconsin Constitution itself affords the Legislature absolute discretion to determine the rules of its own proceedings.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Rebecca Dallet wrote, “The plain constitutional text of Article IV, Section 11 makes clear that with the exception of the Governor’s ability to call special sessions, the Legislature has authority to “meet” only at “such time as shall be provided by law.” Yet, the majority opinion ignores this clear language and instead concludes that a joint resolution work schedule is “law” that allows for a continuous, perpetual legislative session and the ability to convene at any time without notice.”

Earlier this year I wrote several times in the Brew about the significance of Wisconsin’s April 2 election for a seat on the state supreme court.

Brian Hagedorn defeated Lisa Neubauer 50.2% to 49.8% in the race to replace Shirley Abrahamson, who had served on the court since 1976. Hagedorn was supported by conservatives and Neubauer—like Abrahamson—was backed by liberals. Hagedorn’s term on the court begins August 1.

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Four states holding 2020 elections have had governors from the same party since 1992

Four states holding gubernatorial elections in 2020 have not seen that office change partisan control in 28 years. Those four states—Delaware, North Dakota, Utah, and Washington—represent one-third of the 12 states holding gubernatorial elections next year.

The Republican candidate for governor of Utah has won the past 10 elections. The last Democrat to win election to the office was in 1980. Should Republicans win their 11th consecutive gubernatorial election in the state, they would surpass the 10-election winning streak Oregon Democrats achieved in the 2018 elections. Utah and Oregon currently hold the longest streak of gubernatorial elections won by the same party.  

In Washington, the last five governors of the state have been Democrats, and the most recent Republican to be elected to that office was also in 1980. Jay Inslee (D)—who is a candidate for president—is the current governor of Washington. He has not ruled out running for re-election if he drops out of the presidential race.

Both Utah and Washington have gubernatorial winning streaks that started in 1984, but Utah held a special election in 2010, giving Republicans one win more.

Delaware and North Dakota have seen the same party control the governor’s office since 1992. Democrats have won seven consecutive gubernatorial elections in Delaware and Republicans have won seven consecutive gubernatorial elections in North Dakota. Both state’s incumbent governors—John Carney (D-Del.) and Doug Burgum (R-N.D.)—have not yet announced whether they will run for re-election next year.

Two states holding gubernatorial elections in 2020 saw control of the office change hands in the previous election. Republicans won the Missouri governorship in 2016 after two terms of Democratic control. Democrats won the North Carolina governor’s race in 2016 after one term of Republican control.

Read more about next year’s gubernatorial elections→


School board election apparently decided by four votes in El Paso, Texas

The margin in the runoff election for a seat on the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees in Texas is four votes, according to unofficial results. Joshua Acevedo leads Rene Vargas, 578 votes to 574, in the runoff held June 15 for an open seat on the seven-member board.

Vargas has not yet decided whether to challenge the election results or request a recount, according to elections department officials contacted by Ballotpedia. A recount must be requested within two days after the school district completes canvassing the results.

In 2013, the Texas Education Commission replaced all seven elected members of the El Paso school board with a state-appointed board of managers due to a cheating scandal that ultimately led to the indictment of the district’s former superintendent. Control of the school district was returned to elected trustees in 2015.

The El Paso Independent School District served 59,424 students in the 2016-17 school year.

 

 



Litigation in the wake of Janus

On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, finding that public-sector unions cannot require non-members to pay agency fees to cover the costs of non-political union activities. Since then, a number of related lawsuits have been filed. Listed below in reverse chronological order are five of the most noteworthy cases.

  • AFSCME Council 61 v. Iowa and Iowa State Education Association v. Iowa: In two separate rulings issued on May 17, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a 2017 law that amended collective bargaining rights for the state’s public-sector workforce. The court ruled 4-3 in the state’s favor in both cases.
    • At issue: The 2017 law mandated that collective bargaining units with fewer than 30 percent public-safety personnel (defined generally as firefighters and police officers) cannot negotiate insurance, hours, vacations, holidays, overtime, and health and safety issues unless their employers elect to do so. Collective bargaining units exceeding the 30-percent threshold are exempted from these restrictions.
    • Complaint: The plaintiffs—AFSCME and the Iowa State Education Association—argued these provisions violated their equal protection and associational rights under the state constitution.
  • California v. Azar: On May 13, 2019, attorneys general in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
    • At issue: On May 6, 2019, HHS issued a final rule barring states from making Medicaid payments to third parties on behalf of individual home health care providers. The rule applies to voluntary payroll deductions made to pay union dues.
    • Complaint: The state attorneys general allege the rule “would undermine laws and agreements that have improved the provision of homecare to the States’ residents … [and] would disrupt well-established collective bargaining relationships and weaken an organized workforce infrastructure.”
  • Leitch v. AFSCME Council 31: On May 1, 2019, nine current and former Illinois state workers filed a class-action lawsuit against AFSCME Council 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to recover more than $2 million in agency fees previously paid by approximately 2,700 state workers.
    • At issue: Plaintiffs allege that, after May 1, 2017, AFSCME Council 31 “should have known that its seizure of [agency fees] from non-consenting employees violated the First Amendment.”
    • Complaint: The plaintiffs seek to recover for themselves and for all affected workers the full amount of all fees deducted from their wages between May 1, 2017, and June 27, 2018, plus interest.
  • Janus v. AFSCME (distinct from the original Janus): On March 18, 2019, Judge Robert Gettleman, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, ruled that public-sector unions cannot be required to refund agency fees paid to them before the Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus.
    • At issue: Harris v. Quinn (2014) struck down an Illinois statute compelling a specific class of home health care workers to pay fees to the Service Employees International Union. In this case, the workers in question were not employed directly by the state, but did receive state funds indirectly via subsidy payments.
    • Complaint: The plaintiff (Mark Janus, also the plaintiff in Janus) argued that Harris suggested the ultimate unconstitutionality of agency fees. Janus also argued unions were not acting in good faith when they continued to collect agency fees and should be held liable for refunds.
  • Miller v. Inslee: On Feb. 26, 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a Washington state policy granting exclusive bargaining rights to a union does not violate workers’ First Amendment rights.
    • At issue: In 2006, the state authorized child-care providers working under a state-subsidized program to select an exclusive representative for the purposes of collective bargaining. The workers chose Service Employees International Union Local 925. Workers are not required to join the union, but SEIU Local 925 has the exclusive right to represent this class of workers.
    • Complaint: The plaintiff, child-care worker Katherine Miller, alleged that this practice, in light of Janus, violated her First Amendment rights because it authorizes SEIU Local 925 to speak and negotiate on her behalf without her express consent.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map June 21, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart June 21, 2019.png

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

Union Station partisan chart June 21, 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.

  • Maine LD1451: This bill would grant collective bargaining agents greater access to employees and employee information. It would also authorize unions to use government buildings for meetings.
    • Senate and House passed June 18.
  • Maine LD900: This bill authorizes certain classes of public-sector employees to strike.
    • Carried over to any special or regular session June 20.
  • Pennsylvania HB785: This bill would require public employers to inform non-union employees and new employees that they do not have to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.
    • Removed from table June 19.
  • Rhode Island H5259: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members for administrative matters.
    • Recommitted to House Labor Committee June 20.
  • Rhode Island S0712: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members for administrative matters. It would require employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It would also require employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue dues payroll deductions.
    • House Labor Committee recommended passage of substitute bill June 19.


Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Share your summer photos with us!

Today’s Brew wants to know the political topics you’re following in 2019 + highlights the state-level legislation affecting public-sector unions  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Friday, June 21, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp is almost here
  2. Three states have passed public-sector union laws since Janus
  3. New York state holds local primaries next week

Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp is almost here

Where are you reading the Brew right now? Is it somewhere insta-worthy? What are your weekend or summer plans?

Post your photo on social media with the hashtag #BPSummerCamp to be entered to win Ballotpedia swag and be featured in the Brew.

We also want to hear what you think have been the biggest political stories so far this year—and what you think will grab the headlines in the second half of 2019.

We’ll feature submissions from you—our amazing readers—during Summer Camp week.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Summer Camp


Three states have passed public-sector union laws since Janus

One year ago next week, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector unions cannot require non-members to pay agency fees to cover the costs of non-political union activities. This decision overturned the precedent established by the Court in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977.

Since then, three states enacted legislation regarding public-sector unions:

  • Delaware adopted a law making compensation a mandatory subject of collective bargaining for state employees.

    • The Senate approved the bill 19-1. The state House voted 38-2 in favor of the bill.

  • Nevada passed legislation providing for collective bargaining rights for state employees.

    • The measure passed the state House 28-13 with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. It was approved in the Senate by a straight party-line vote, 12 Democrats to 8 Republicans.

  • Washington enacted a law declaring that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus. It also repealed statutes requiring employees to join unions or pay dues as a condition of employment and amended the state’s laws regarding the method of authorizing deductions for dues.

    • The state Senate approved the bill 25-21, with all votes in favor coming from Democrats and 19 Republicans joining two Democrats voting against. The state House approved the bill 56-38, with 55 Democrats and one Republican voting in favor and all 38 Republicans opposed. 

State legislatures in Maine, New Hampshire, and Oregon have passed five measures that are awaiting gubernatorial action. So far this year, 31 state legislatures have considered 101 pieces of legislation regarding public-sector unions. 

You can read more about union-related state legislative activity in the year since the Janus decision in this week’s edition of our Union Station newsletter. Next week’s issue—which comes out Monday—will highlight court cases involving public-sector union policy.

We’ll be presenting a free, 30-minute webinar on the Janus decision on June 26. Topics include how the decision has affected unions across the country and how states have responded to the ruling.

New York state holds local primaries next week

New York holds statewide primaries for municipal and county offices and local judgeships on June 25 after enacting legislation earlier this year moving all primaries in the state to the fourth Tuesday in June. Ballotpedia is covering primaries in six jurisdictions in the New York City and Buffalo areas.

New York City will hold its second election this year for the District 45 seat on the city council. Incumbent Jumaane Williams (D) was elected New York City Public Advocate in a special election February 26.

The first general election for this seat—held May 14—determined who would hold the office until the end of 2019. Farah Louis (D) won that election with 42% of the vote in an eight-candidate field. The same eight candidates are also competing in the June 25 primary to become the Democratic nominee for the Nov. 5 general election. The winner of that race will serve the remainder of Williams’ term, which ends Dec. 31, 2021.

The counties of Bronx, Queens, and Richmond—also known as Staten Island—are holding primaries for county district attorney. The races in Bronx and Richmond counties each feature unopposed incumbents who advanced directly to the general election.

Seven candidates are running for the Democratic nomination to be the Queens County district attorney. Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (D) and Bernie Sanders (D), along with current and former members of Congress, state executives, state legislators, and city officials have all endorsed various candidates in the race.

 

 



Several Democratic candidates criticize Biden over comments on past Senate civility

 

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 20, 2019: Several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden’s (D) comments on civility in referencing two former Senate colleagues who opposed desegregation efforts. The chairwoman of the RNC stated that Donald Trump (R) raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in one day.
        

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Establishment and moderate Democrats haven’t necessarily been won over to [Elizabeth] Warren’s camp yet — many still point to former Vice President Joe Biden as their preferred candidate. But the tensions that once marked Warren’s relationship with moderate Democrats have begun to dissipate as she methodically lays out her agenda and shows a folksier, more accessible side that wasn’t always apparent in her role as a blue-state senator and progressive icon.”

—Natasha Korecki and Charlie Mahtesian, Politico

“[T]he starkest apparent point of contrast [between Warren and Bernie Sanders] lies in how the two candidates describe themselves ideologically. Sanders calls himself a socialist; Elizabeth Warren identifies as a capitalist. The two ideologies, as traditionally conceived, are, on paper, diametrically opposed. You either believe that the productive constituent parts of the economy should be controlled by workers themselves or the state or you do not.”

—Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker

Democrats

  • Politico published a piece on Michael Bennet‘s proposals to reform lobbying, campaign finance, and redistricting and his support for ranked choice voting.
  • On Wednesday, several Democratic candidates criticized Joe Biden for remarks he made about civility in the Senate during his time in the chamber. Biden said he worked with former Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), with whom he often disagreed, to get things done. Bill de BlasioCory BookerKamala HarrisBernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren criticized Biden for mentioning his work with the former senators, who opposed desegregation efforts. Biden responded, “There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period.”
  • Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, said the union planned to launch ad campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina supporting Bill de Blasio.
  • Booker added four new members to his South Carolina campaign staff.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Steve Bullock will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.
  • Pete Buttigieg appeared on local station WNDU to discuss an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, that took place Sunday. Buttigieg canceled campaign events this week to remain in South Bend following the shooting.
  • Julián Castro released the final part of his three-part housing plan, saying the plan—called “People First Housing”—would “help more families realize the dream of homeownership and…boost oversight of Wall Street’s housing practices to ensure more families can stay in their homes.”
  • In a CNN interviewJohn Delaney criticized Trump by saying he is invoking executive privilege to stonewall an investigation by Congress.
  • WMUR9 reported that Kirsten Gillibrand will campaign in all 10 New Hampshire counties from July 3-9. This would be the longest visit to the “first-in-the-nation” primary state by any candidate thus far, according to WMUR.
  • Mike Gravel published a piece on Mondoweiss—a website featuring news and commentary on Palestine, Israel, and the U.S.—entitled, “The two-state solution is dead. Let us take the obvious and humane path forward.”
  • Harris introduced a bill in the Senate called the 21st Century SKILLS Act, which would fund workforce training for eligible Americans at amounts of $4,000 to $8,000 depending on employment status and income level.
  • John Hickenlooper discussed socialism, gun policy, and climate change in an interview on MSNBC.
  • Jay Inslee discussed his support for paid family leave at a roundtable at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
  • Amy Klobuchar talked about mental health care and addiction treatment on NBC’s Nightly News.
  • Seth Moulton participated in the High School Democrats of America’s monthly committee call Wednesday.
  • Beto O’Rourke published a piece entitled, “From Juneteenth to today, Americans are still on the march for justice” in USA Today.
  • Sanders commented on a Politico article entitled “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee” with the following tweet: “The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie.'”
  • Eric Swalwell is meeting with the Alabama Young Democrats in Birmingham today.
  • Warren said in a statement shared with The Washington Post that she was open to decriminalizing sex work.
  • Marianne Williamson said on ABC News’ Start Here podcast that she supports reparations over other policies because “[i]t is an inherent acknowledgement of a wrong that has been done, of a debt that is owed, and a willingness to pay it.”
  • Andrew Yang discussed automation, technology, and the economy on Boston’s WBUR show Here & Now, saying, “I want to become the next president to start solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016.”

Republicans

  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated that Donald Trump raised $24.8 million toward his reelection in less than 24 hours amid his official campaign kickoff Tuesday. Trump raised $30.3 million during the firstquarter of the year, from January 1 through the end of March.
  • New Hampshire TV station WMUR9 announced that Bill Weld will participate in an interview on CloseUp Sunday morning.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 20, 2015

Several Republican primary candidates commented on whether the Confederate flag should be removed from outside the South Carolina Statehouse three days after the shooting deaths of nine African Americans by a white gunman at a church in Charleston. The Associated Press published the following statements:  

Jeb Bush: “In Florida we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum where it belonged.”  

Scott Walker: “I think they’re going to have a good, healthy debate—and should have a healthy debate in South Carolina amongst officials at the state level.”

Lindsey Graham said the flag “is a part of who we are” and was open to discussion about whether to use it.

Carly Fiorina said the flag symbolized racial hatred but did not call for its removal, saying, “personal opinion is not what’s relevant here.”

Ted Cruz said South Carolina didn’t need “people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it.”



The Daily Brew: 2019 ahead of 2017’s pace for statewide ballot measures

Today’s Brew highlights new ballot initiatives approved to go before voters in 2019 and 2020 + today’s Ballotpedia Insights webinar  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, June 20, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 36 statewide ballot measures have been certified for 2020
  2. Ballotpedia Insights webinar takes place today
  3. Kentucky Supreme Court invalidates 2018 Marsy’s Law amendment

36 statewide ballot measures have been certified for 2020

From May 16 to June 14, states certified 22 statewide ballot measures. Twelve—eight in Texas and four in Louisiana—will appear before voters in 2019. Ten will be decided in 2020.

The number of 2019 statewide ballot measures is 21 and the number of 2020 measures is 36.

By the second Tuesday in June two years ago, 16 measures had been certified for the 2017 ballot. Ultimately, 27 statewide measures were decided by voters in 2017. This was the fewest number of statewide ballot measures since 1947. At the same point, 27 measures had been certified for the 2018 ballot.

Here are highlights of ballot measure activity in the past month:

  • The Texas Legislature referred eight constitutional amendments to the November 2019 ballot, bringing the total number of 2019 amendments to 10. One amendment, which would ban income taxes in the state, passed the legislature by one of the narrowest margins of the past 25 years.

  • The Louisiana Legislature referred four constitutional amendments to the October 2019 ballot and one—an abortion-related amendment—to the November 2020 ballot.

  • Alabama, Illinois, Missouri, and Nevada legislators referred constitutional amendments to the 2020 ballot.

  • The legislatures of Arizona, Florida, and Maine passed initiative process restrictions. Measures were signed into law in Arizona and Florida and await the governor’s signature in Maine. These restrictions include circulator registration or affidavit requirements and/or pay-per-signature bans.

Learn more about stories like this by signing up for our State Ballot Measure Monthlynewsletter.

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Ballotpedia Insights


Ballotpedia Insights webinar takes place today

The next edition of our Ballotpedia Insights series will take place today at 1 pm ET. We’ll discuss the changing worldwide political environment and what instigated these shifts. Sarah Rosier, our Director of Outreach, will be hosting Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, the author of Tribalism: The Evolutionary Origins of Fear Politics.

April’s Ballotpedia Insights session, featuring political consultants Jeff Roe and Jeff Hewitt, discussed political campaigning and the challenges faced by modern candidates. February’s edition was with Edgar Bachrach and Austin Berg, authors of The New Chicago Way: Lessons from Other Big Cities, examining how the governance of Chicago compares with other large cities. You can watch a video of both of those, as well as other recent webinars, by going to our Ballotpedia Events page.

Dr. Hobfoll is a psychologist and the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His latest book is intended to explore the tribalist roots of our increasingly polarized and uncompromising political landscape.

I’m looking forward to this discussion and I hope you’ll be there, too.

Click here to register


Kentucky Supreme Court invalidates 2018 Marsy’s Law amendment

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that the description presented to voters for the state’s 2018 Marsy’s Law initiative violated the state constitution. As a result, the measure—which was approved by 63% of voters—can not be added to the Kentucky Constitution.

Marsy’s Law describes a set of constitutional protections for crime victims that have been approved by voters in 12 states. In Montana, where voters approved Marsy’s Law in 2016, a court struck down the constitutional amendment as violating the state’s separate-vote requirement for initiated amendments.

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. wrote in the court’s unanimous opinion, “Section 256 of the Kentucky Constitution requires the General Assembly to submit the full text of a proposed constitutional amendment to the electorate for a vote.” The full text of Marsy’s Law was 555 words long—517 words longer than the description that state legislators wrote that appeared on the ballot.

The ruling affirms a lower court’s ruling from October 2018, which prohibited the state from certifying the election results for the measure. The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (KACFL) filed the original lawsuit to invalidate the Marsy’s Law initiative in August 2018.

Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, a group that registered as a political issues committee to support Marsy’s Law, said in a statement about the ruling, “We look forward to working with the General Assembly again to put Marsy’s Law back on the ballot for Kentucky voters in 2020 in a form that will pass legal muster as defined by the court.” Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R), chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said that he would like the legislature to present the amendment to voters again in 2020.

Henry Nicholas, whose sister Marsy was murdered in 1983, successfully advocated for the first Marsy’s Law initiative in California in 2008. These provisions have since been approved by voters in 11 other states, with six of those—Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—occurring in 2018. Nicholas provided over $5 million to support the campaign in Kentucky.

As I discussed last month, a Marsy’s Law initiative will be decided by Wisconsin voters in 2020. The Pennsylvania Legislature approved a Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment yesterday that will be on the ballot in 2019.

 

 



Trump announces 2020 bid, says he will Keep America Great

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 19, 2019: President Donald Trump kicked off his re-election campaign last night, featuring the slogan Keep America GreatThe New York Times released a series of interviews where it asked 21 Democratic candidates the same 18 questions.

Notable Quotes of the Day

“It is clear that the inherently dubious nature of [the debates] has been exacerbated by the party’s new rules. A real debate would provide a substantive back and forth between candidates on major issues; but despite the considerable build-up, that’s not what these nationally televised sessions deliver.”

—Elizabeth Drew, Daily Beast

“The field will winnow. And I don’t think that it’s worth it for the DNC to be involved in the winnowing. I don’t find it concerning or alarming to have 20 people running for president. I think it’s great.”

—U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Politico

Democrats

  • The New York Times released a video interview series with 21 of the Democratic candidates, where it asked each candidate the same 18 questions. The three candidates to not participate were Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, and Wayne Messam.
  • Joe Biden visited Stonewall Inn in New York City to celebrate Pride Month.
  • Bill de Blasio expressed support for New York’s new law allowing immigrants residing in the country without legal permission to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • Cory Booker will testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties at a hearing on paying reparations to descendants of slaves.
  • Steve Bullock met the polling threshold to qualify for the second Democratic debate in July.
  • Jay Inslee announced the hiring of a number of campaign staff, including press secretary Katie Rodihan and operations director Molly Keenan.
  • Seth Moulton participated in a virtual town hall for Business Insider. Moulton discussed his National Service Guarantee plan and the Green New Deal.
  • Beto O’Rourke released his voting policy plan, which called for a new Voting Rights Act that allows for same-day and automatic voter registration and limits gerrymandering.
  • Bernie Sanders discussed the Trump administration’s Iran policy on MSNBC.
  • Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate that would implement her universal child care plan.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, where she said that the U.S. should re-enter the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Andrew Yang appeared on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily, where he discussed his campaign and told viewers he would not be running in 2020 if Trump had not won in 2016.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump announced his re-election bid in Orlando, Florida. His 2020 campaign slogan will be Keep America Great.
  • The Independent Journal Review published an interview with Bill Weld.

General Election Updates

  • The Bridge Project released an ad in opposition to Trump that highlights audio from last year related to family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. The ad played on the radio in Orlando prior to Trump’s re-election announcement. According to the group’s website, The Bridge Project “is dedicated to opposing the conservative movement’s extreme ideology and exposing its dishonest tactics.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Time released an article highlighting Hillary Clinton’s plan to live stream house parties across the country in order to build grassroots support.

 



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