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Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Special pre-debate edition of the Daily Presidential News Briefing

Catch up on the 2020 presidential race one week before the first debate, from Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 19, Brew. I’m replacing today’s Daily Brew with a special edition of Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing. We’ll resume our regular Daily Brew tomorrow morning! 

The nation will see 20 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida, for the first debates of the 2020 primary season.

Keeping track of a massive Democratic field, an incumbent president seeking re-election, and the issues both sides see as critical to their political success is tough.

We’ve got you covered — with our Daily Presidential News Briefing.
 
The Daily Briefing gives you the news you need, delivered right to your inbox. It’s the kind of coverage you expect from Ballotpedia — just the facts, none of the spin.
 
You can see for yourself in this sample issue how we are approaching the 2020 election season. 
 
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Oh, and best of all? The Daily Presidential News Briefing is free.

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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


Number of candidates

With 24 candidates running, the 2020 Democratic field has surpassed the number of Democratic and Republican candidates combined in 2016

Only 20 could make the debate stage—10 per night—next week. Here’s a breakdown of who made the cut and how they have been campaigning in recent weeks.

Wednesday, June 26 Democratic debate

  • Cory Booker issued his housing platform, which would include a tax credit for renters filling the gap between 30 percent of the renter’s income and fair-market rent in their neighborhood. He also called for the creation of a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom focused on “coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care” at the federal level.

  • Julián Castro was the first candidate to release an immigration platform. His plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million individuals residing in the U.S. without legal permission and repeal Section 1325, a law which makes it a federal crime to illegally cross the border. Castro said he believed his path to the White House ran through Texas and Nevada.

  • Bill de Blasio was the last candidate to enter the field. While de Blasio has a net favorability rating of negative 24 percent, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council endorsed him earlier this month and said it would send members to campaign for him in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada.

  • John Delaney wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post calling Medicare for All “political suicide for Democrats.” He issued a $2 trillion infrastructure platform and $4 trillion climate action proposal that would introduce a carbon tax and attempt to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050.

  • Tulsi Gabbard has highlighted her noninterventionist foreign policy and military experience as an Iraq War veteran. In May, Gabbard co-founded the bipartisan Servicewomen and Women Veterans Congressional Caucus and criticized Trump on his foreign policy in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela.

  • Jay Inslee, who calls his presidential campaign a “climate movement,” proposed manufacturing zero-emission vehicles, eliminating the carbon footprint of all new buildings, shutting down coal-fired power plants, and requiring utility companies to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2035. The DNC declined his request for a debate focused exclusively on climate change.

  • Amy Klobuchar opened her campaign headquarters in Minneapolis in May and issued a series of farm policy proposals, including changing rules that allow small refineries to be exempted from biofuel laws. She has also promoted her Secure Elections Act and Honest Ads Act designed to protect U.S. elections from foreign influence.

  • Beto O’Rourke has made policy statements on immigrationvoting access, and LGBT policy in the past month. After initially sidestepping national media, O’Rourke began doing more television appearances, including a town hall on CNN.

  • While campaigning in New Hampshire, Tim Ryan said he would “be the education president.” He advocated for social and emotional programs and more mental health counselors in public schools.

  • Elizabeth Warren said she would sign a moratorium on both offshore drilling and new mining on federal lands on her first day in office. Her next policy priorities: setting anti-corruption rules for elected officials and passing a two percent wealth tax on assets exceeding $50 million and three percent on those exceeding $1 billion.

Thursday, June 27 Democratic debate

  • Michael Bennet released a $1 trillion climate change platform focused on land management and agriculture. He challenged the direction of the party, saying, “I don’t think the base of the Democratic Party is anywhere near where the Twitter base of the Democratic Party is.”

  • Joe Biden entered the race in April as the frontrunner, raising $6.3 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign and topping national and early state polls before he had declared. He has been running what The Washington Post called a “limited exposure” campaign to focus on fundraising, policy development, and campaign infrastructure rather than public activities.

  • Pete Buttigieg received a polling boost after his CNN town hall appearance in March. He has since participated in town halls on Fox News and MSNBC. In his first list of policy priorities, Buttigieg said he wants to create a “Medicare for All Who Want It” as a precursor to Medicare for All, implement a Green New Deal, and establish independent redistricting commissions to end gerrymandering.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand released a “Family Bill of Rights” proposal that would address several medical, educational, and tax policies. Among the proposals is requiring insurance companies to cover fertility treatments like IVF and providing refundable tax credits for adoption. Gillibrand has spoken against anti-abortion laws in Georgia on the campaign trail.

  • Kamala Harris proposed addressing gender pay equity by fining corporations who fail to receive a newly created Equal Pay Certification from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Harris says her career as a prosecutor would be her greatest asset in a general election against Trump.

  • Self-described “pragmatic progressive” John Hickenlooper said Democrats need to distinguish themselves from socialists. “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” he said. Hickenlooper supports a public option similar to Medicare and Medicare Advantage to move toward a single-payer system in one or two decades.

  • In a speech at George Washington University, Bernie Sanders laid out his vision for democratic socialism in the United States. Sanders said that “we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.” He also attended Walmart’s shareholder meeting in Arkansas earlier this month and called on the company to raise its minimum wage to $15.

  • Eric Swalwell said addressing gun violence would be the top priority of his presidency. He has hit the television airwaves early with an ad promoting his proposed gun buyback program in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. “I say keep your hunting rifles, keep your pistols, keep your shotguns, but let’s ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America,” he says in the clip.

  • Marianne Williamson said the United States needs a “moral and spiritual awakening.” She has called for the creation of a Department of Childhood and Youthto address chronic trauma among children. In the spring, Williamson moved to Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s been about showing her commitment to the Iowa caucuses,” state director Brent Roske said.

  • Universal basic income is the foundation of Andrew Yang’s campaign. He has selected two families in Iowa and New Hampshire to receive $1,000 per month for a year to showcase his policy proposal.

Did not qualify for the first Democratic debates

  • Mike Gravel, whose campaign is being run by two teenagers, is running to push the field to the left by participating in the primary debates. The campaign said it had nearly 47,500 unique contributors—less than 20,000 away from the threshold to qualify for the July debates.

  • Seth Moulton has spoken about living with PTSD after serving four tours in the Iraq War and called for expanding health services for military members and veterans. Moulton said he will focus on campaigning in New Hampshire over the summer.

  • When announcing his candidacy May 14, Steve Bullock highlighted his 2016 gubernatorial win in Montana, a state which President Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016.

  • The centerpiece of Wayne Messam’s presidential campaign is canceling $1.5 trillion in student debt. Messam has criticized FEC rules which do not allow him to use leftover campaign funds from his mayoral campaign and the DNC’s debate criteria.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump and pro-Trump groups have spent more than $10 million on digital advertising in battleground states like Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin. Trump kicked off his re-election campaign yesterday in Orlando, Florida. At the rally, he discussed the media, Russia, federal judges including Brett Kavanaugh, immigration, and border security, among other issues.

  • Bill Weld is targeting states with open primaries. “I’ll be focusing on the 20 states that permit crossover voting. It’s not just Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, it’s 17 other states,“ Weld said. He is also opening a campaign office in New Hampshire by the end of June.

On the Cusp: Tracking Potential Candidates

  • Stacey Abrams has not ruled out running for president, saying the nominating process will “winnow out who is actually viable” and that she could enter in the fall. Abrams said, “I will enter this race if I think I can add value to it. I don’t have enough information at this moment to make that decision.”

  • Larry Hogan announced he will not challenge Trump in the Republican primary. Instead, he is launching the advocacy group An America United to “support bipartisan, common-sense solutions to create more and better jobs, cut taxes, protect the environment, build our infrastructure, and improve education.”

  • Howard Schultz announced he was putting his presidential exploration on hiatus for the summer to recover from three back surgeries.

Save the Date

The first presidential primaries are seven months away. Here are some key dates to keep in mind:

  • June 26-27, 2019: The first set of 12 Democratic primary debates are held in Miami, Florida. Tune into NBC News, MSNBC, or Telemundo to watch it live.

  • July 15, 2019: Second quarter financial reports are due to the FEC.

  • July 30-31, 2019: Detroit hosts the second set of Democratic primary debates.

  • Sept. 12-13, 2019: ABC News and Univision are partnering for the third Democratic primary debate.

  • Feb. 3, 2020: Iowa caucuses.

  • Feb. 11, 2020: New Hampshire primary.

  • Feb. 22, 2020: Nevada Democratic caucuses.

  • Feb. 29, 2020: South Carolina Democratic primary.

  • March 3, 2020: Super Tuesday primaries with California included for the first time.

Have more questions about the presidential race? We’ve got answers.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: June 19, 2015

Republican presidential contenders Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Rick Santorum spoke at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia. Lindsey Graham was scheduled to attend but returned to his home state following the Charleston church shooting two days earlier.



Six Republicans, zero Democrats file in South Carolina special election

The candidate filing deadline passed on June 15 for a special election to fill the vacant District 84 seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. A primary is scheduled for July 30 and the general election is on October 1. If necessary, a primary runoff has been scheduled for August 13.
 
The seat became vacant after Ronnie Young (R) passed away on May 19. Six Republican candidates filed in the special primary: Cody Anderson, Danny Feagin, Ralph Gunter, Melissa Oremus, Alvin Padgett, and Sean Pumphrey. No other candidates filed in the race.
 
As of June 18, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Entering the special election, the South Carolina House of Representatives had 44 Democrats, 78 Republicans, and two vacancies. South Carolina has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 


Quinton Lucas wins Kansas City mayoral election

City council member Quinton Lucas defeated fellow council member Jolie Justus to become mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, succeeding term-limited Mayor Sly James. Based on unofficial returns with 90 percent of precincts reporting, Lucas received more than 58 percent of the vote.
 
The two candidates advanced from a primary election field that had 11 candidates. In the April 2 primary, Justus received 22.8 percent of the vote and Lucas received 18.4 percent of the vote.
 
Although elections in Kansas City are nonpartisan, James was known to be a member of the Democratic Party. Ballotpedia was unable to find information on Lucas’ political affiliation.
 
In 2019, elections are being held in 59 of America’s 100 largest cities by population in 2019. That includes elections for mayor in 31 of the 100 largest cities. In 20 of those cities, the incumbent was Democratic at the start of 2019. Seven incumbents were Republican, three were independent, and the affiliation of one was unknown.
 
Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives. The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies, and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.


SCOTUS finds Virginia lawmakers lack standing to challenge newly adopted state legislative district plan

On June 17, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, finding that the state House, controlled by Republicans, lacked standing to appeal a lower court order striking down the original legislative district plan as a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, with Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg penning the majority opinion, joined by Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Neil Gorsuch. Associate Justice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh. As a result of the high court’s ruling, a lower court order implementing a remedial district plan will stand.
 
In 2014, opponents of the state legislative district plan adopted during Virginia’s 2010 redistricting cycle filed suit against the state in federal district court, alleging that 12 legislative districts constituted an illegal racial gerrymander as drawn. The district court rejected this argument, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2017, the high court remanded the case to the district court, finding that it had “employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts.” In 2018, the district court ruled that these 11 districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. After the state legislature did not adopt a remedial plan, the district court appointed a special master to draft one. On January 22, 2019, the district court issued an order implementing this remedial plan. Republican lawmakers in the House of Delegates appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring (D), declined to join the appeal. This prompted the question of standing on which the high court ruled in today’s opinion.
 
Every state legislative seat in Virginia is up for election this year. The remedial plan implemented by the district court this year applies to the 2019 election cycle. The outcomes of these elections will determine the composition of state government heading into the 2020 redistricting cycle. If Republicans maintain their majorities in both chambers, they will be assured a position of influence during redistricting efforts. If Democrats win both chambers, they will gain trifecta control of state government and, by extension, the redistricting process (the governorship, which is not up for election until 2021, is held by Democrat Ralph Northam).
 


Sixteen Democratic presidential candidates have called for Donald Trump impeachment proceedings

Sixteen of the 24 noteworthy Democratic candidates for president have called for President Donald Trump’s (R) impeachment.
 
The most recent candidates to join in impeachment calls did so last Friday. Both Bill de Blasio and Amy Klobuchar called for impeachment following statements made by Trump last week on ABC News. In an interview, Trump said he would consider accepting information on 2020 rivals from foreign nations.
 
As a member of the U.S. Senate, Klobuchar would be responsible for voting on whether to convict and remove the president during impeachment proceedings. She is the sixth member of the U.S. Senate running for president to call for Trump’s impeachment. Only one—Michael Bennet—has not.
 
Four candidates are members of the U.S. House, which would be responsible for voting on articles of impeachment. Three of those candidates—Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Eric Swalwell—have called for Trump’s impeachment.
 
The full list of presidential candidates to call for impeachment proceedings against Trump is: Cory Booker, Pet Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Gravel, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Klobuchar, Wayne Messam, Moulton, Beto O’Rourke, Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Swalwell, and Elizabeth Warren.


Presidential pageviews update: Buttigieg receives most Ballotpedia pageviews, followed by Biden and Yang

Each week, we report the number of pageviews received by 2020 presidential candidates on Ballotpedia. These numbers show which candidates are getting our readers’ attention.
 
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg racked up 3,771 pageviews for the week of June 9-15. That represents 8.1 percent of the pageviews for all Democratic campaigns during the week. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 7.2 percent of the campaign pageviews for the week, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang had 7.1 percent.
 
Former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska) had the largest increase of all the campaigns last week, increasing 3.8% over his previous total.
 
The top three campaigns in lifetime pageviews are Buttigieg with 68,395, Yang with 55,707, and Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) with 49,969.
 
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 8,102 pageviews to President Trump’s 1,393.


Republican Party selects nominee for special Pennsylvania House race; Democrats to make selection on June 20

A special election for District 85 of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has been called for August 20. The seat became vacant after Fred Keller (R) resigned the seat on May 24. He was elected to Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in a special election on May 21.
 
Candidates running for special elections in Pennsylvania are selected by their respective political parties. The Republican nominating convention was held on June 12. Seventeen conferees chose David Rowe as the Republican nominee. Three other candidates sought the nomination: Ben Ranck, Darwin Swope, and Clair Moyer. Rowe and Ranck were the only ones the conferees placed up for nomination. Rowe received nine votes and Ranck received eight votes.
 
The Democratic Party is meeting on June 20 to choose the Democratic nominee. The Daily Item identified four Democratic candidates up for consideration. These include Jenn Rager Kay, Adam Rosinski, Bonnie Hamilton, and David Heayn.
 
As of June 14, 60 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year. Leading up to the special election, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has 93 Democrats, 109 Republicans, and one vacancy. A majority in the chamber requires 102 seats. Pennsylvania is under divided control and is not a government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 


The Daily Brew: One SCOTUS redistricting case decided, two to go

Today’s Brew highlights the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing Virginia’s redrawn state House maps to stand + a new way to learn about Texas’ 10 constitutional amendments in 2019  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, June 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling
  2. Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures
  3. Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Supreme Court rules Virginia state House lacks standing to appeal gerrymandering ruling

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Virginia House of Delegates lacked standing to appeal a lower court order that struck down the state’s legislative district plan as a racial gerrymander. As a result, the state House’s legislative maps which were drawn by a court-appointed special master will stand. Those maps were used in Virginia’s state legislative primary elections held last week.

In Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, the Court decided that the House of Delegates does not have the authority to represent Virginia’s interests in this matter. Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Thomas, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Gorsuch. She wrote, “the State did not designate the House to represent its interests here. Under Virginia law, authority and responsibility for representing the State’s interests in civil litigation rest exclusively with the State’s Attorney General.”

Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh. He wrote that the district court’s decision redrawing the legislative maps harmed the state House so as to give it standing to appeal the case. He wrote, “we must assume that the districting plan enacted by the legislature embodies the House’s judgment regarding the method of selecting members that best enables it to serve the people of the Commonwealth…It therefore follows that discarding that plan and substituting another inflicts injury in fact.”

The legislative maps that were drawn by a court-appointed special master and challenged by the House of Delegates first went into effect in January. They were the result of a sequence of lawsuits that began in 2014.

That year, opponents of Virginia’s legislative map filed suit in federal district court alleging that 12 state legislative districts constituted an illegal racial gerrymander. The district court rejected this argument, and the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. In 2017, SCOTUS remanded the case in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, finding that the district court had “employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts.”

In 2018, the district court ruled that the 11 districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering. After the state legislature did not adopt a remedial plan, the district court appointed a special master to draft one.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates. Under the old maps, Hillary Clinton won 51 districts in 2016 and Donald Trump won 49. Under the new maps, Clinton would have won 56 districts (7 currently held by Republicans) while Trump would have won 44 (none currently held by Democrats).

The Supreme Court has yet to issue opinions in two other redistricting cases heard this term—Rucho v. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek. The cases concern whether the congressional district maps adopted in North Carolina and Maryland, respectively, constitute an illegal partisan gerrymander. Decisions in both cases are expected by the end of June.

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Our next Learning Journey—Texas’ 2019 ballot measures

Voters in Texas will decide 10 measures on November 5 in a statewide constitutional amendment election. All were referred to the ballot by the Texas legislature and cover topics from education to taxes to law enforcement animals.

My colleagues on our ballot measures team developed a new Learning Journey to guide you through all 10 amendments, including how and why legislators put them on the ballot and what each amendment would do.

Each day, we’ll send you an email with information, examples, and exercises to help you understand this subject. Along the way, you’ll be able to contact us with any questions and comments you may have.

I’ve written about a few of these Texas constitutional amendments earlier this year in the Brew, and I can’t wait to learn about the rest. I hope you’ll join me!

Ballotpedia’s Summer Camp starts July 1!

Last week I introduced you to what we’ll be doing during Fourth of July week—Ballotpedia Summer Camp!

During that time, I’ll hand over the keys to the Brew to other Ballotpedia team members to share their perspectives on the most interesting stories of the year.

We also want to share ideas and stories from our amazing readers. How are you spending your summer? What political story has captured your attention the most so far in 2019? What topic do you think will be most significant in the second half of the year?

Just reply back to this email with an answer to any or all of those questions, and we might share it with other Daily Brew readers that week.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Click here to send me an email→


 

 



School board election comes down to four votes in El Paso, Texas

In El Paso, Texas, unofficial election night vote totals on June 15 showed Joshua Acevedo leading Rene Vargas with 578 votes to Vargas’ 574 votes. The two candidates competed in a general election runoff for the District 3 seat of the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees. Vargas had not made a decision about whether to challenge the results as of Saturday night.
 
The District 6 seat went to a runoff as well, with Fareed Khlayel winning with 72.4% of the vote. The elections in District 2 and District 7 were decided during the May 4 general election.
 
The El Paso Independent School District serves about 60,000 students.
 


Kentucky Supreme Court rules that the state’s Marsy’s Law (2018) constitutional amendment is invalid

On June 12, 2019, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the description presented to voters for Marsy’s Law, which was on the ballot in 2018, violated the state constitution. Legislators wrote the description, which said: “Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process?” On November 6, 62.8 percent of electors voted for the constitutional amendment. The state Supreme Court’s ruling means that Marsy’s Law, a type of constitutional amendment addressing the rights of crime victims, cannot be added to the Kentucky Constitution.
 
Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr. wrote the court’s unanimous opinion. He said that “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 legislators wrote for the ballot.
 
The state Supreme Court’s ruling affirms a lower court’s ruling from October 2018, which prohibited the state from certifying election results for Marsy’s Law. Awaiting an order from the state Supreme Court, the outcome of Marsy’s Law was uncertain for 218 days.
 
Marsy’s Law for Kentucky, which registered as a political issues committee to support Marsy’s Law, responded to the ruling, stating, “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-3), chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said that he would like the legislature to present the amendment to voters again in 2020. He also criticized the court’s ruling, saying, “It is troubling that in order to reach this conclusion the Supreme Court reversed years of established precedent and inserted an entirely new requirement for amending our state constitution.”
 
The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (KACFL) filed the lawsuit to invalidate Marsy’s Law on August 13, 2018. David Ward, who was the KACFL’s president in 2018, said, “Voters have a right to know what they are voting on and the legislature failed to tell them.”
 
Marsy’s Law describes a set of constitutional protections for crime victims that have been adopted in 11 states, excluding Kentucky. In Montana, which approved Marsy’s Law in 2016, a court struck down the constitutional amendment as violating the state’s separate-vote requirement for initiated amendments. Henry Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, started the organization that backs Marsy’s Law. In Kentucky, Nicholas provided over $5 million to support the campaign.
 
Marsy’s Law will appear on the ballot in Wisconsin in 2020. The Pennsylvania State Legislature is also considering placing Marsy’s Law on the ballot in 2019. As of June 2019, voters have never rejected a Marsy’s Law ballot measure.
 


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