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Under new federal rule, employers no longer required to submit privacy-violating info about employees to OSHA

On January 24, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency within the Department of Labor, published a rule protecting worker privacy by keeping sensitive details about workers’ injuries away from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. Companies will still have to keep detailed records of employee injuries and illnesses, but will only have to submit summary data to the agency.
 
OSHA said the new rule was a deregulatory action following President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, which requires agencies to eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation. Under regulations set during the Obama administration, some employers had to submit detailed information to OSHA about employee illnesses and injuries every year.


Federal district court adopts new district map for Virginia House of Delegates

On January 22, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an order adopting a remedial district plan for the Virginia House of Delegates. Pending the outcome of subsequent appeals, the remedial map will apply to the 2019 election cycle. Both chambers of the Virginia legislature hold elections this November.
 
House Speaker Kirk Cox (R) criticized the plan: “The Eastern District Court selected a series of legally indefensible redistricting modules that attempts to give Democrats an advantage at every turn. The modules selected by the Court target senior Republicans, myself included, without a substantive basis in the law.”
 
Democratic attorney Marc Elias, who initiated the suit in 2014, praised the order: “In Virginia, the Federal Court in the long-running state house redistricting case has ordered the special master to adopt the alternative-map configuration we advocated. We are one important step closer to the end of the GOP’s racial gerrymander.”
 
At present, Republicans control the House of Delegates, holding 51 seats to Democrats’ 48. Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said, “[The remedial map] would nearly guarantee a Democratic takeover of the House of Delegates.”
 
The legality of the districts in question has been disputed since 2014 when opponents of the original district plan alleged that it constituted an illegal racial gerrymander. The case, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled on March 1, 2017, that the lower court had erred in its earlier ruling that upheld the disputed districts. That unanimous ruling was written by former Justice Anthony Kennedy.
 
The high court remanded the case to the district court, which ruled on June 26, 2018, that 11 state legislative districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. The court ordered state lawmakers to draft a remedial map, but the legislature proved unable to do so. The district court then appointed a special master, Bernard Grofman, a political science professor at the University of California, to draft the map adopted by the court this week.


Federal Register weekly update; only 14 documents published as government shutdown continues

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity.
 
During the week of January 14 to January 18, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 88 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 194 pages. A total of 14 documents were included in the week’s Federal Register, including three notices, one presidential document, and ten rules.
 
No proposed or final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules.
 
Due to the government shutdown, fewer pages have been added the Federal Register compared to recent years. During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 856 pages. As of January 18, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 2,690 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 65 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of January 18. In 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. Over the course of the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017. Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016. 
 
Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.


24 candidates file for seven vacant Louisiana House seats

On January 11, 2019, the candidate filing deadline passed to run in Louisiana’s special primary on February 23. The election was called to fill vacancies in seven Louisiana House of Representatives districts: 12, 17, 18, 26, 27, 47, and 62. A total of 24 candidates filed to run for these open seats. Of these candidates, 15 filed as Democrats, eight filed as Republicans, and one filed as an independent.
 
The special elections were triggered after three Democrats and four Republicans resigned to either take another job or serve in another elected position. Heading into 2019, the Louisiana House is controlled by the Republican Party, with 59 Republican members, 36 Democratic members, three independent members, and seven vacancies.
 
Louisiana’s filing deadline was the sixth special election filing deadline covered by Ballotpedia this year. If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a general election will be held on March 30.
 
All 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for regular election in 2019. The primary is on October 12 and the general election will be held on November 16, if necessary. The candidate filing deadline is August 8.


Florida and California top total state party revenue for both Democratic and Republican parties between 2011 and 2017

The Democratic and Republican parties maintain state-level affiliates in all 50 states. The parties primarily raise money through contributions, which they later use to support electoral candidates and general party administration.
 
Democratic affiliates in Florida and California—which is a Democratic state trifecta—had the highest total state party revenue between 2011 and 2017, followed by Ohio, Virginia, and New York. At the other end of the spectrum, Democratic affiliates in Wyoming and Hawaii had the lowest total state party revenue over the seven-year period, followed by Vermont, Mississippi, and South Dakota.
 
State Democratic parties spent the most per capita in New Hampshire, Montana, Iowa, Maine, and Nevada.
 
Republican affiliates in Florida–which is a Republican state trifecta—and California also had the highest total state party revenue between 2011 and 2017, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Republican affiliates in Rhode Island and Oregon had the lowest total state party revenue over the seven-year period, followed by Delaware, Wyoming, and Hawaii.
 
Per capita, Republicans spent the most in Vermont, North Dakota, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin.


Local California tax measures reach decade high in 2018

Ballotpedia covers all local tax measures in California. We also track ballot measure trends related to business, hotel, utility, parcel, and sales taxes. The total number of tax measures in all five of these categories was 333 in 2018, compared to 239 in 2016. This bump in tax measures represented a 39 percent increase. The number was even lower in 2014 when there were 182 measures in the five tax categories.
 
Numbers for business tax measures (102), hotel tax measures (43), and parcel tax measures (90) on local California ballots in 2018 were the highest in a decade. The majority of all business tax measures were marijuana business taxes.
 
The number of sales tax measures in 2018 (82) was only surpassed once in the past decade; in 2016, there were 100 sales tax measures on local ballots. The number of utility tax measures in 2018 was the lowest for all even-numbered years in the past decade.
 
Including various other types of tax-related measures, tax measures represented 48 percent of all local ballot measures in California in 2018.


RNC outraised and outspent DNC by almost a two-to-one margin in 2018

The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised over $184 million in the first eleven months of 2018, as reported on its post-general election report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In comparison, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $104.5 million during that same period.
 
The RNC spent almost twice as much as the DNC through the end of November 2018, with disbursements of over $196 million. The DNC reported disbursements of just under $101 million over the same period. From July 1 to November 26, 2018, the RNC spent $127.5 million and the DNC spent $59.5 million.
 
As of November 26, 2018, the RNC reported having $27 million in cash on hand and no debts owed. The DNC reported having just over $10 million as of the end of the cycle, with about $3 million of debt.


469 state legislators lost in 2018, the most since 2012

Four hundred sixty-nine incumbent state legislators lost in 2018 primaries or general elections out of the 4,952 legislators that filed for re-election.
 
The 469 losses were the most since 2012 when 488 legislators were defeated.
 
Overall, the losses include:
  • 119 Democrats
  • 330 Republicans
  • 20 third party or independent legislators
In the November 6 general election, 322 incumbents lost. This was the highest number of general election losses since 2010, when 502 incumbents were defeated. 2018’s general election losses included:
  • 49 Democrats
  • 253 Republicans
  • 20 third party or independent legislators.
In the primaries, 147 incumbents lost, including 70 Democrats and 77 Republicans. In the last four election cycles (2010-2016), only 2012 saw more incumbents lose their primaries—194.
 
Democrats’ 119 incumbent losses was their lowest number since before 2010, while Republicans’ 330 losses was their highest number since 2012. Democrats lost 538 incumbents in 2010, 137 incumbents in 2012, 272 in 2014, and 165 in 2016. Republicans lost 70 incumbents in 2010, 347 in 2012, 125 in 2014, and 187 in 2016.


Forty-six percent of federal and state legislators were successful in bids for other offices in 2018

Twenty-one members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 472 state legislators ran for other elected positions in 2018. Nine (43 percent) House members won election to statewide office, while 217 (46 percent) state legislators successfully won election to a new position.
 
Democratic House members were more successful in their runs than Republicans. Of the 10 Democratic House members who sought statewide office, six (60 percent) won in the general election, while only three of 11 (27 percent) Republican House members won their election.
 
Among state legislators, Republicans were more successful. Forty-eight percent (131 out of 274) of Republican state legislators who ran for another office won election to a new position, while 44 percent (82 out of 185) of Democratic state legislators who ran for another office were successful.
 
For more information, including a listing of the U.S. House members who ran for statewide office and a state-by-state breakdown of the results of state legislators who ran for other offices in 2018, click here: https://ballotpedia.org/Results_of_elected_officials_seeking_other_offices,_2018


Compared to previous midterm cycles, Democrat gains in 2018 smaller than usual

The 2018 election cycle, President Donald Trump’s first midterm, saw gains by the Democratic Party in every federal and state government office except the U.S. Senate. However, compared to the first midterms of Presidents Barack Obama (D) (2010), George W. Bush (R) (2002), and Bill Clinton (D) (1994), Democrats’ 2018 gains were the smallest for every office type except governor.
 
• In the U.S. House, Democrats picked up 41 seats, the lowest number for the out-of-power party since 1994. Republicans gained 64 seats in 2010 and 54 seats in 1994. In 2002, Democrats lost eight seats and they were the out-of-power party. The last time the out-of-power party had lost House seats in a president’s first midterm was 1934.
 
• Democrats lost one Senate seat between 2016 and 2018, the same number they lost between 2000 and 2002. Republicans picked up five Senate seats in both the 1994 and 2010 midterms.
 
• Democrats gained 349 state legislative seats, the lowest for the out-of-power party since 1994. Their six pick-ups in state legislative chambers (five state senates and one state house) are also the lowest since 1994.
 
• In gubernatorial races, Democrats gained seven seats, the most for an out-of-power party since 1994 when Republicans picked up 10. In 2010, Republicans picked up six seats. In 2002 Democrats picked up three seats.
 
All comparisons are between the midterm’s result and the result of the preceding election (i.e. 2018 is compared to the results of 2016). Some results in the U.S. House and state legislatures are still pending.