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Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #265: June 11, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Mask requirements ending in Illinois and Kentucky
  • Pandemic-related unemployment benefits ending in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 72 hours

What is changing in the next 72 hours?

Alaska (divided government): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) made the announcement May 14.

Iowa (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) made the announcement May 10.

Kansas (divided government): All state government offices will return to in-person operations starting June 13. Masks will still be required in state buildings.

Mississippi (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) made the announcement May 10.

Missouri (Republican trifecta): The state will stop participating in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs starting June 12. Gov. Mike Parson (R) made the announcement May 11. 

Vermont (divided government): On June 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced there would be new walk-in vaccination clinics open across the state over the weekend. A full list of vaccination sites can be found here.

Since our last edition

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

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state is entering Phase 5 of reopening June 11. The statewide mask requirement is ending, and all remaining businesses and events can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is ending the statewide mask requirement, remaining social distancing requirements, and all capacity restrictions June 11. 
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

North Carolina (divided government): On June 10, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a vaccine incentive program that will run from June 23 to Aug. 4. Adults who receive a vaccination starting on June 10 will be entered into four drawings for a $1 million cash prize, and people between the ages of 12 and 17 will be entered into four drawings for a $125,000 scholarship prize towards the post-secondary education of their choice.

Pennsylvania (divided government): 

  • The General Assembly voted to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus emergency declaration June 10. HR106 passed 30-20 in the state Senate June 10. The state House voted 121-81 to approve the Senate version later in the day. The change is effective immediately. Wolf already ended all remaining mitigation measures May 31 except the requirement for unvaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. HR106 does not affect the health secretary’s authority to require masks. 
  • Voters passed two ballot measures on May 18 to limit a governor’s emergency powers. Pennsylvania governors can now only issue 21-day state of emergency orders. After 21 days, the General Assembly can extend or end emergency orders through a majority vote. Previously, the legislature needed a two-thirds majority to overturn an emergency order.

Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Dan McKee (D) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order until July 9.

This time last year: Thursday, June 11, 2020

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

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

Thursday, June 11, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state and returning travelers through July 31. Ige first issued the two-week quarantine requirement on March 17.
  • Election changes:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed HB167 into law, extending the deadline for a ballot-qualified party to notify the state of its presidential nominee from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25.


Union Station: Unions sue to block West Virginia law prohibiting paycheck deductions

Unions suing to block West Virginia law prohibiting paycheck deductions 

Twelve unions in West Virginia have filed suit in state court to block a law from going into effect next week that would prohibit public-sector union members from having dues withdrawn from their paychecks.

About the law

Republican-sponsored House Bill 2009, the ‘Paycheck Protection Act,’ passed the Senate 20-13 on March 16 and passed the House as amended 55-43 on March 19. Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed the bill on March 30. It was enacted in May with an effective date of June 17.  

Among the law‘s provisions is a ban on “deductions and assignments of earnings for union, labor organization, or club dues or fees” from the paychecks of state, county, and certain municipal employees, including teachers and other school personnel.

The unions’ suit

Twelve unions, including the West Virginia AFL-CIO, West Virginia Education Association, and West Virginia Troopers Association, filed their complaint in the Kanawha County Circuit Court on May 20. The complaint says:

In particular, Petitioners seek preliminary and permanent injunctions and a declaratory judgment to enjoin and invalidate a recently enacted West Virginia law, House Bill 2009 or the “Paycheck Protection Act” … which selectively prohibits the long-standing practice and contractual rights of public employees and their employers to have union dues automatically deducted from the employees’ paychecks. Petitioners seek an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the Act against public employers from dismantling a practice that has, for more than fifty years, permitted public employees and employers to agree to have union dues withheld from their paychecks.

The unions claim the act violates the equal protection and contracts clauses of the state constitution and “discriminates against the viewpoints of certain employees and their affiliated associations thereby violating the free speech rights of union and union members.”

According to the West Virginia Education Association, Judge Tera Salango will hear the case on June 14. 

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the law was “clearly retaliation for standing together for public schools by going on strike in 2018 and 2019.”  In 2018, West Virginia teachers went on strike for nine days. In 2019, teachers participated in a two-day strike.  

Justice was first elected governor in 2016 as a Democrat. On Aug. 3, 2017, Justice announced he was switching parties, giving Republicans trifecta control of the state. Republicans currently hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

Perspectives

Josh Sword, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said, “As is clearly stated in our circuit court filing, the so-called Paycheck Protection Act discriminates against organized public employees who seek to ensure safe workplaces and fair treatment by their employers, and was passed by this legislative majority purely out of spite. … House Bill 2009 selectively and discriminately prohibits paycheck deductions for public employees and their unions, a practice that has gone on for more than 50 years without a problem, while still allowing hundreds of other paycheck deductions to remain in place.”

Sen. Charles Trump (R) said, “The purpose of this bill, in my mind, is not for retribution or to punish or any such thing. … It recognizes the reality of our 21st century life, and that is we do not need to have organizations making deductions from people’s paychecks for these things anymore. It’s too easy now. Anyone who wants to belong to a club or a labor organization or a country club can easily have an automatic withdrawal set up from his or her checking account.”

What we’re reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 93 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

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

  • Connecticut SB00908: This bill would require public employers to furnish unions with personal contact information of employees belonging to the bargaining unit the union represents. It would also require employers to grant unions access to new employee orientations.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed June 4.  
  • Delaware HB237: This bill would grant select law enforcement officers the right of organization and representation.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Introduced and assigned to the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee June 9.  
  • Maine LD449: Existing law requires public employers and collective bargaining agents to meet within 10 days of receiving written notice of a request for a bargaining meeting.  This applies only if the parties have not otherwise agreed in an earlier contract. This bill would eliminate that exception.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Marked as unfinished business June 9. 
  • Oregon SB580: This bill would amend the definition of “employment relations” in ORS 243.650 to include class size and caseload limits as mandatory collective bargaining subjects for school districts.
    • Democratic sponsorship. 
    • Passed third reading in House June 7. 



New York mayoral primaries preview – The Daily Brew for 06/11/21

Welcome to the Friday, June 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing the New York mayoral race
  2. Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state
  3. #Fridaytrivia

Previewing the New York mayoral race

The New York mayoral primaries are on June 22—less than two weeks away. As the date approaches, let’s take a look at what we know about the races.

Sixteen Democrats and three Republicans are running in the primary elections. There will be both Democratic and Republican primaries. The winners will advance to the general election on Nov. 2.

The primary election will feature the first use of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for a mayoral primary in the city’s history. Voters will be able to rank up to five candidates on their ballot in order of preference. A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to win the election, and votes for eliminated candidates are redistributed based on the next preference on the ballot. Official tabulations are not expected until the week of July 12, due to the deadlines for voters to submit absentee ballots and fix mistakes they may make on their ballots, such as forgetting to sign them.

Among the Democratic candidates, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former Wall Street executive Raymond McGuire, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former mayoral counsel Maya Wiley, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have received the most media attention and noteworthy endorsements.

The three Republicans are the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers founder Fernando Mateo, retired NYPD officer William Pepitone, and financier Sara Tirschwell.

Garcia topped an Emerson College poll of 570 likely voters conducted May 23-24 with 21% support in the first round and 55% support in the eleventh and final round of ranked-choice voting. The margin of error was 4.1%. Adams and Yang, who led in earlier polls, rounded out the final three.

Garcia’s performance in polling has improved following endorsements from The New York Times and the New York Daily News. Other recent key endorsements in the race include Rep. John Liu (D-N.Y.) for Yang, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) for Wiley, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) for Adams.

Stringer, who lost endorsements following allegations of sexual misconduct that Stringer denied, received a boost from the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers in May through a $4 million television and digital ad campaign.

Additional key spending in the race includes $500,000 from investor George Soros to a pro-Wiley super PAC and $1 million from oil executive John Hess to a pro-McGuire group.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is not running for re-election. De Blasio was first elected in 2013 and won re-election in 2017 with 66% of the vote. Including de Blasio, four of the previous six mayors were Democrats.

Mayoral elections are being held in 31 of the 100 largest U.S. cities in 2021. The mayors of 64 of the country’s 100 largest cities are currently affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Keep reading

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigns as Texas secretary of state

Ruth Ruggero Hughs resigned as Texas secretary of state effective May 31, after the Nominations Committee of the Texas State Senate did not take up her nomination for another term. Since Texas is one of eight states where the governor selects the secretary of state, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint Hughs’ successor. Abbott has appointed four secretaries of state so far since he took office in 2015.

Governor Abbott appointed Hughs on August 19, 2019, to succeed David Whitley (R) after he did not receive enough confirmation votes from the state Senate to remain in office. At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of a secretary of state’s nomination in order for a nominee to be confirmed. Hughs previously served as the chair of the Texas Workforce Commission.

The Texas secretary of state serves as the chief election officer, assists election officials at the county level, and ensures that election laws are uniform throughout Texas. Additionally, the secretary publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public.

Here are a few fun facts about the office of secretary of state:

  • The secretary of state is a state-level position in 47 of the 50 states.
  • The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah.
  • In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the office is called the secretary of the commonwealth and differs only in name.
  • Voters directly elect the secretary of state in 35 states. In the other 12, the secretary is appointed by either the governor or the state legislature.

Keep reading 

#Fridaytrivia

We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the status of redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census results. I recently wrote about how Illinois lawmakers approved revised maps for the Illinois state Senate, the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Illinois Supreme Court. Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation on June 4 establishing the new maps. In that edition, I told you about the last time Illinois redrew state supreme court districts.

So for today’s question, I’m asking: When was the last time state supreme court districts were redrawn in Illinois?

  1. 1964
  2. 1991
  3. 2011
  4. 1983


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

Recommended subject line: Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #264: June 10, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Kentucky
  • The end of social distancing in Maine schools
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • Federal responses
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): The state will enter Phase 5 of reopening June 11. On that day, the statewide mask requirement will end, and large events and gatherings can expand to full capacity.

Kentucky (divided government):

  • Gov. Andy Beshear (D) will end the statewide mask requirement for everyone (including unvaccinated people) on June 11.
  • Senior centers in the state will reopen at full capacity on June 11.

Since our last edition

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

Maine (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced all social distancing requirements will be lifted for schools in Fall 2021. Mills said she expected all schools to offer full-time, in-person instruction when the requirement ends. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Wednesday, June 9, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) confirmed that venues that can hold 10,000 or more people will still be restricted to 75% capacity once the state lifts most COVID-19 restrictions. Inslee said he would lift most restrictions once 70% of eligible residents get vaccinated. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 8 edition of the newsletter. As of June 9, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

School closures and reopenings

Read more: School responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year

We last looked at school closures and reopenings on June 3. Since then, no states changed school reopening guidelines.

Nationwide:

  • Two states (Del., Hawaii) and Washington, D.C. had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 403,664 students (0.80% of students nationwide)
  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 15,432,755 students (30.51% of students nationwide)
  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,123,137 students (2.22% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 33,628,303 students (66.48% of students nationwide)

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Since the start of the pandemic, governors or state agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia issued executive orders placing restrictions on out-of-state visitors. At least 24 of those orders have been rescinded. 
    • Since June 3, one state has announced plans to alter its travel restrictions.   

Details:

  • Hawaii – Governor David Ige (D) announced that fully vaccinated travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii will be able to bypass the quarantine or test requirement when flying in from out of state beginning June 15. He also announced all inter-county travel restrictions will end on June 15.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • On June 8, Department of Defense (DoD) press secretary John Kirby announced the DoD would close three mass vaccination sites, leaving five in operation around the country. The DoD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operated 35 sites earlier in the year when demand for vaccines was highest.
  • On June 3, President Joe Biden (D) announced the U.S will share 25 million coronavirus doses with foreign countries. Nineteen million will go to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX initiative, while the remainder will go directly to countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

This time last year: Friday, June 12, 2020

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

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

Friday, June 12, 2020:

  • Election changes:
    • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed HB1169 into law, reducing the witness signature requirement on completed absentee ballots from two to one.
    • California Judge Perry Parker of the Sutter County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order suspending Executive Order N-67-20, which authorized counties to consolidate polling places in the Nov. 3 general election, provided the counties offered three days of early voting.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #263: June 9, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • A vaccination campaign in Wisconsin
  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Oregon
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced that effective June 11, 11 counties will be in the state’s High Risk level, four will be at Moderate Risk, and 21 will have Lower Risk restrictions. In the current period from June 4 -10, 13 counties are in the state’s High Risk level, four are at Moderate Risk, and 19 have Lower Risk restrictions. To see restrictions in a specific county or risk level, click here.

South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) allowed the statewide coronavirus emergency order to expire June 7. McMaster declared the emergency March 13, 2020. 

Wisconsin (divided government): On Tuesday, June 8, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced he was re-launching the “You Stop the Spread” campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The campaign will include television, radio, and billboard ads. The campaign was initially launched in September 2020 to encourage people to wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of other federal, state, and local government activity, private industry responses, and lawsuits related to the pandemic. 

  • On Tuesday, June 8, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data showing that half of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 


The Daily Brew: Results from Tuesday’s statewide primaries

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey
  2. Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice
  3. May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Gubernatorial primary results: McAuliffe wins Democratic nomination in Virginia, Ciattarelli wins GOP nod in New Jersey

Here are some results from yesterday’s state executive primaries from New Jersey and Virginia:

Virginia

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe defeated four other candidates to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. With 94% of precincts reporting, McAuliffe had received 62% of the vote, followed by former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20% and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 11%. McAuliffe served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, chaired the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and was the national chairman of Hillary Clinton’s (D) 2008 presidential campaign. 

This was the fourth contested Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia since 1977. It was also the largest Democratic primary field for a governor’s race in the state’s history. McAuliffe will face Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin—who won his party’s nod at a May 8 convention—in the general election. 

Hala Ayala won the six-candidate Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. With 97% of precincts reporting. Ayala had 38.6% of the vote, followed by Sam Rasoul with 25.5% and Mark Levine with 12%. The lieutenant governor serves as the president of the Virginia State Senate and may cast tie-breaking votes. Two of the state’s last four lieutenant governors, Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Gov. Ralph Northam (D), went on to become governor.

Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia since 2012.

New Jersey

Former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli defeated three other candidates to win the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s gubernatorial election. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ciattarelli received 49.5% of the vote, followed by Philip Rizzo with 26% and Hirsh Singh with 22%. Ciattarelli will face Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the general election on Nov. 2.

Between 1992 and 2021, Republicans held New Jersey’s governorship for 16 years, and Democrats held it for 14. The last Democratic governor to win re-election in New Jersey was Brendan Byrne in 1977. Since then, two incumbent Democratic governors—Jim Florio in 1993 and Jon Corzine in 2009—lost re-election to Republican challengers.  

Maine Senate confirms Valerie Stanfill as state supreme court chief justice 

The Maine Senate confirmed Valerie Stanfill as the chief justice of the state’s highest court on June 3. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Stanfill on May 10 to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired in April 2020. Stanfill is Mills’ third appointment to the court. Democratic governors have appointed six of Maine’s seven state supreme court justices.

Maine is one of 14 states that select the chief justice of their highest court by gubernatorial appointment. State supreme courts in 23 states select their chief justice by chamber vote, seven by popular vote, and six by seniority.

Ballotpedia’s study of partisanship on state supreme courts identified one of Maine’s current state supreme court justices as a strong Democrat, three as mild Democrats, and two whose partisan affiliation could not be conclusively determined. To explore our analysis of partisanship of state supreme courts in Maine and across the country, click here for the full study.

Read on 

May’s partisan composition of state legislative seats—54.3% Republicans, 44.9% Democrats

Each month, we crunch the numbers on the partisan affiliation of the country’s 7,383 state legislators. Ballotpedia’s partisan count of state legislative seats at the end of May determined that 54.3% of state legislators are Republicans and 44.9% are Democrats. During May, Democrats had a net loss of one seat, while Republicans had a net gain of one. Compared to May a year ago, Democrats have lost 142 state legislative seats, while Republicans have gained 153 seats. 

Republicans currently control 61 state legislative chambers, while Democrats control 37. One chamber, the Alaska House of Representatives, has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties. At the end of May, Republicans held 1,091 state Senate seats and 2,918 state House seats. Democrats held 867 state Senate seats and 2,450 state House seats. Third-party or independent officeholders held 38 seats, and there were 19 vacancies.

Read on 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #262: June 8, 2021

Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Hawaii and New York
  • A law prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements in Texas
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. David Ige (D) announced social gathering limits will expand to 25 people indoors and 75 outdoors when 60% of state residents are fully vaccinated. Restaurants will also be able to expand to 75% capacity.
  • Ige said all social gathering and capacity restrictions will end once 70% of state residents are fully vaccinated.

New York (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced most coronavirus restrictions will end once 70% of adults 18 and older receive at least one dose of a vaccine. New York Forward guidance will be optional for businesses like restaurants, retailers, and gyms. Masks will still be required for unvaccinated residents, and restrictions will remain in place for large event venues, correctional facilities, and healthcare facilities. 
  • Cuomo also announced school districts can choose to end the indoor mask requirement. 

Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, June 7, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill prohibiting state and local government agencies from issuing COVID-19 documentation that could be used to verify a person’s vaccination status. The bill also prohibits government agencies and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services or enter the premises. Abbott previously issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies and businesses that receive state funding from requiring proof of vaccination. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On June 7, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced “Joints for Jabs,” an initiative to encourage adults 21 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Under the initiative, adults who receive at least one dose of a vaccine are eligible to get a free marijuana joint from a state-licensed dispensary. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 3 edition of the newsletter. As of June 7, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,804 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 541 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 1, we have added no new lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Noem v. Haaland: On June 2, Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota rejected South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) attempt to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to commemorate the Fourth of July. Lange, an appointee of President Barack Obama (D), denied Noem’s request for a preliminary injunction after the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) denied the fireworks display. The Interior Department cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental, cultural, and safety concerns. Noem alleged DOI’s permit rejection letter was “a patchwork of vague and speculative purported concerns” that violated a memorandum of understanding between the state and the Trump administration. Noem said the 2020 fireworks display “was a rousing success, and not a single COVID-19 case was traced back to it.” Lange wrote that “under governing law, the State is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and has not met the requirements” to prove DOI acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Noem said she would appeal the decision: “[w]e will continue fighting to once again return fireworks to Mount Rushmore.”

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 1 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Ohio’s statewide mask mandate ended June 2. 

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Sixty-five members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Two hundred thirty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-six state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 43 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 1, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ended the state’s stay-at-home order. Murphy first issued the order on March 21. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense announced it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. The Department maintained travel restrictions for a dozen states.


Four states have enacted donor disclosure laws so far in 2021

Four states have enacted donor disclosure laws so far in 2021

As we move into June, legislative session activity is beginning to wind down. As of June 8, 17 state legislatures are still in regular session, two are in special session, and the rest have adjourned. So far this year, four states – Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee – have enacted legislation prohibiting public agencies from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors. Today, we take a look back at those bills. 

What the bills do

The four enacted bills are Arkansas SB535, Iowa HF309, South Dakota SB103, and Tennessee HB0159. While their details vary, they all prohibit public agencies from:

  • Requiring a tax-exempt nonprofit to provide a public agency with personal information about its donors, members, supporters, or volunteers. 
  • Requiring individuals to provide personal identifying information about their involvement with nonprofits.
  • Publicly disclosing any personal information a public agency might possess. 
  • Requiring a current or prospective contractor to provide a public agency with a list of the nonprofits the contractor has supported.

The bills do not bar public agencies from releasing personal information about a nonprofit’s donors, supporters, etc. pursuant to an active law enforcement investigation or a lawful warrant, subpoena, or other court order.

Enactment dates for these bills are as follows:

Political context   

Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee are all Republican trifectas. This means that Republicans control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Other noteworthy developments

On April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, a case involving a California law that requires nonprofits to file copies of their IRS 990 forms with the state. This includes Schedule B, which contains the names and addresses of all individuals who donated more than $5,000 to the nonprofit in a given tax year. Although the law does not allow the public access to Schedule B information, court documents show that inadvertent disclosures have occurred. 

In 2014, Americans for Prosperity challenged the law in U.S. district court, triggering a series of legal developments spanning several years. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling in the case sometime before the end of the month. 

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 38 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. 

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

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

Recent legislative actions

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • California SB686: This bill would require a limited liability company that qualifies as a committee or a sponsor of a committee under the state’s campaign finance laws to file a statement of members with the secretary of state. The statement of members must include a list of all persons who have a membership interest in the limited liability company of at least 10% or who made a cumulative capital contribution of at least $1,000 to the company after it qualified as a committee or sponsor of a committee, or within the 2 calendar years before it qualified..
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • The Senate passed the bill on June 2. It is now pending in the Assembly.

Thank you for reading! Let us know what you think! Reply to this email with any feedback or recommendations. 



The Daily Brew: Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot
  2. Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5
  3. New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

We regularly cover the certification of new ballot measures here in the Brew. What happens less frequently is when a legislature removes a measure from the ballot that it had previously certified. Let me catch you up on the details.

The Colorado General Assembly passed a transportation funding bill on June 2, providing $5.4 billion in transportation spending over 10 years. It would also remove a transportation bond issue from the November ballot. Governor Jared Polis (D) is expected to sign the legislation, which was passed largely along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

The bill would create new sources of dedicated funding for transportation and four new government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge. About $3.8 of the $5.4 billion in funds will come from new fees that take effect in July 2022, including fees on gasoline and diesel purchases, retail deliveries, Uber and Lyft rides, electric vehicle registrations, and car rentals.

The transportation bond measure would have issued $1.337 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects with a maximum repayment cost of $1.865 billion over 20 years. The General Assembly first approved it in 2018 and put it on the 2019 ballot. Voters defeated two citizen initiatives that would have authorized transportation bonds in 2018. In 2019, the legislature delayed the measure to the 2020 ballot. In 2020, the General Assembly voted to delay the measure to 2021 due to economic concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

I asked our ballot measures director, Josh Altic, if he could recall other instances where a legislature approved and then removed a measure from the ballot. Here was his response: 

Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on July 30 that the state was removing a $3.0 billion bond measure from the 2020 ballot for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. The legislature had approved the bond measure in April 2020, but the state budget director removed the measure after determining it would harm the state’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature had authorized the state budget director to make such a determination when it approved budget legislation last year.

In 2016, the Arizona legislature initially approved a measure that would have required revenue from the sale or use of state trust land to be earmarked for managing and improving the lands. Later that year, the legislature passed a bill ordering the secretary of state to remove the measure from the ballot. 

So, it’s not especially common, but it does happen.

If the Colorado bond measure is removed from the ballot, 24 statewide ballot measures will go before voters this year in six states, including 11 which were decided earlier this year in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The chart below shows the number of measures appearing on statewide ballots in odd years from 1987 to 2017.

Read on

Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5 

Several cities in Texas held municipal runoff elections on June 5. Here’s a review of the results our team tracked over the weekend:

Fort Worth Mayor

Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples, 54% to 46%. Incumbent Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election. Parker had endorsements from Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), the Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Arlington Mayor

Attorney Jim Ross defeated former city council member Michael Glaspie, 54% to 46%, in the city’s first open-seat mayoral election since 2003. Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) was term-limited. Ross had endorsements from Williams and four of the city’s police unions. 

Dallas City Council

Voters decided elections for six of 14 seats on the Dallas City Council. Of three races involving incumbents, one lost and two won. Three districts were open-seat contests because the incumbents were term-limited. After the elections, new members will hold four of the council’s 14 seats.

New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Election day! The two states holding gubernatorial elections this year—New Jersey and Virginia—are both holding statewide primaries today—on June 8. Here’s a quick look at what voters are deciding in those states:

New Jersey

New Jersey is holding primaries for governor and all seats in both chambers of the state legislature—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces one write-in candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Four candidates are competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. We’re also covering local primaries for Essex County sheriff and Hudson County register. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Virginia

Virginia voters are deciding Democratic primaries for three state executive offices, with five candidates running for governor, six for lieutenant governor, and two for attorney general. Both parties are holding primaries for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach are also conducting municipal primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia selected its nominees for the three statewide executive offices at an unassembled convention on May 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia. 

Find out what’s on your ballot 



Bold Justice: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for June 1

Bold Justice

Welcome to the June 7 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Argument sessions may be in SCOTUS’ rearview mirror, but the court is rolling through opinion season before cruising into its summer recess. So let’s open the sunroof, turn up the jams, and hit the road.

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

Grants

SCOTUS accepted four cases to its merits docket since our May 10 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 18 cases for the upcoming 2021-2022 term, scheduled to begin on October 4, 2021. 

  • Badgerow v. Walters concerns the federal courts’ jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act. Badgerow originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
  • Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerns the constitutionality of a Mississippi state law prohibiting abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities. The case is a direct challenge to the court’s decision in the case Roe v. Wade (1973). The question presented is “[w]hether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Dobbs originated from the 5th Circuit.
  • Shinn v. Ramirez concerns the scope of evidence a federal appellate court can consider when reviewing a petition for habeas relief. The question presented is “[d]oes application of the equitable rule this Court announced in Martinez v. Ryan render 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2) inapplicable to a federal court’s merits review of a claim for habeas relief?” Shinn originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP concerns copyright infringement claims involving fabric designs. The question presented to the court is “[d]id the Ninth Circuit err in breaking with its own prior precedent and the findings of other circuits and the Copyright Office in holding that 17 U.S.C. § 411 requires referral to the Copyright Office where there is no indicia of fraud or material error as to the work at issue in the subject copyright registration?” Unicolors originated from the 9th Circuit.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued opinions in 10 cases since our May 10 issue. The court has issued 42 opinions so far in this term. Seven cases were decided without argument. Of the cases that were argued during the term, 22 have yet to be decided. 

Click the links below to review the court’s rulings in the most recently decided cases:

May 17, 2021

May 24, 2021

May 27, 2021

June 1, 2021

June 3, 2021

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • June 7: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 10: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • June 14: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 17: SCOTUS will conference.
  • June 21: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • June 24: SCOTUS will conference.
  • June 28: SCOTUS will release orders.

Only one U.S. President has also served as a Supreme Court justice. Who was it?

  1. Grover Cleveland
  2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  3. Woodrow Wilson
  4. William Howard Taft

Choose an answer to find out!

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. This month’s edition includes nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from May 1 to June 1. 

Highlights

Vacancy count for June 1, 2021

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies on the federal courts, click here.

*Though the United States territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Six judges left active status, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies, since the previous vacancy count. As Article III judicial positions, the president nominates individuals to fill the vacancies. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of June 1, 2021.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced six new nominations since the April 2021 report.

New confirmations

As of June 1, 2021, there have been no federal judicial confirmations during the Biden administration.

As of June 1 of the first year of President Donald Trump’s (R) presidency, the U.S. Senate had confirmed two of Trump’s Article III judicial nominees.

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

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Hello, gentle readers! We resume our travels through federal judicial history via TWA flight and, oh my, is that a space race going on? Today’s edition of Bold Justice highlights President John F. Kennedy’s (D) federal judicial nominees from 1961 to 1963.


One hundred twenty-five of President Kennedy’s judicial nominees were confirmed. The U.S. Senate did not vote on 23 of the nominees. Among the most notable appointees were Supreme Court Justices Arthur Goldberg and Byron White. Both justices were nominated and commissioned in 1962.

President Kennedy’s first Article III appointee was confirmed on March 3, 1961—Judge William McRae to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. By the end of his first year in office, 56 of Kennedy’s nominees had been confirmed–11 to U.S. circuit court judgeships and 45 to U.S. district court seats. Kennedy averaged 44 judicial appointments per year. For comparison, President Jimmy Carter (D) had the highest average from 1901 to 2021 with 65.5 appointments per year.

We’ll be back on July 12 with a new edition of Bold Justice. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Brittony Maag, Jace Lington, and Sara Reynolds.