Latest stories

Voters in Seattle to decide mayoral primary on Aug. 3

Welcome to the Friday, July 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters in Seattle to decide mayoral primary on Aug. 3
  2. Oklahoma governor appoints new attorney general
  3. Two years ago, Democrats held second presidential primary debate of 2020 cycle

Voters in Seattle to decide mayoral primary on Aug. 3

Let’s conclude our previews highlighting next week’s key elections with a look at Seattle’s municipal elections.

Fifteen candidates are running in Seattle’s nonpartisan primary for mayor on Aug. 3, with the top two candidates advancing to the general election on Nov. 2. Mayor Jenny Durkan—who was elected in 2017—announced last December that she would not run for re-election.

Six candidates have led the field in media attention, noteworthy endorsements, and/or campaign finance—Colleen Echohawk, Jessyn Farrell, Lorena González, Bruce Harrell, Andrew Grant Houston, and Casey Sixkiller. Four of the six have served in city or state government:

  • Echohawk is the executive director of an organization providing services to American Indian and Alaska Native people. 
  • Farrell was a state representative from 2013 to 2017.
  • González currently serves as Seattle’s city council president.
  • Harrell is a former city council member who served as city council president from 2016 to 2017 and again from 2018 to 2019.
  • Houston is an architect and served as interim policy manager for current at-large council member Teresa Mosqueda.
  • Sixkiller currently serves as Seattle’s deputy mayor. 

Various Democratic individuals or groups have endorsed each of the six candidates, and each says their background best equips them to address the city’s issues, including pandemic recovery, policing and public safety, affordable housing and homelessness, and transit. You can read about the candidates’ backgrounds and key messages by clicking here.

The Northwest Progressive Institute released results of a poll on July 16 showing Harrell with 20% support, González with 12%, Echohawk with 10%, and Farrell and Houston with 6% each. Thirteen percent of respondents supported other candidates, and 32% were unsure.

Elections in Washington are conducted entirely by mail. Voters may drop off completed ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day or have their ballots postmarked by Aug. 3 if mailed. The results of this race may not be known for several days. Twenty-one candidates ran in the city’s last mayoral primary on Aug. 1, 2017.  The top two finishers in that race were not conclusively determined until election officials certified results on Aug. 15, 2017.

Keep reading

Oklahoma governor appoints new attorney general 

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) appointed John O’Connor (R) as the state’s attorney general on July 23. O’Connor succeeds former attorney general Mike Hunter (R), who resigned on June 1. Oklahoma’s attorney general is next up for election in 2022.

Hunter had served as the attorney general since 2017. Former Gov. Mary Fallin (R) appointed Hunter to the position in 2017 after President Donald Trump (R) appointed Scott Pruitt (R) to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Hunter defeated Mark Myles (D), 64% to 36%, to win a full term in 2018.

O’Connor has worked as an attorney in private practice and served on the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. Trump nominated O’Connor to a federal district court judgeship in April 2018. The U.S. Senate did not confirm O’Connor during the 115th Congress, and O’Connor withdrew his name from consideration for re-nomination on Apr. 12, 2019. 

The attorney general is an executive office in all 50 states. An attorney general is the state’s chief legal advisor and has the power to prosecute violations of state law. An attorney general also represents the state in legal disputes and issues legal advice to the legislature and state agencies. The current partisan affiliation of attorneys general nationwide is 26 Republicans and 24 Democrats.

Keep reading 

Two years ago, Democrats held second presidential primary debate of 2020 cycle

Two years ago today—on July 30-31, 2019—the Democratic Party began the second of 11 primary debates ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Twenty candidates participated—10 each night—at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.

The candidates were selected if they met one of two criteria. They must have received one percent support or more in three national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada—released since Jan. 1, 2019. Candidates could also qualify if they had at least 65,000 unique donors with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states

Fourteen candidates met both the polling and fundraising thresholds. The candidates were then divided into three groups based on their polling performance and randomly distributed between the two nights of the debate using a drawing.

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders spoke for the most minutes on the debate’s first night—July 30. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke for the most minutes on the debate’s second night.

Want to take a trip back in time and review the highlighted messages of each candidate or read a transcript of the debate? Click the link below to review our in-depth coverage.

Keep reading



Hawaii governor appoints Linda Ann Ha‘i Clark to state House of Representatives

Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) appointed Linda Ann Ha‘i Clark (D) to the District 13 seat of the Hawaii state House on July 23. The seat became vacant in June when Ige appointed former state Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D) to the Senate to succeed Jamie Kalani English (D). Clark will serve the remainder of DeCoite’s term, which was set to expire in November 2022.

“I am extremely grateful for the appointment. I’d like to thank Gov. Ige for entrusting me. I’d also like to thank Sen. Lynn DeCoite and outgoing Sen. Kalani English for their years of service. I look forward to meeting my constituents as soon as possible,” Clark said in a statement released by Gov. Ige’s office.

At the time she was appointed, Clark worked as an independent process server for the State of Hawaii’s Child Support Enforcement Agency. 

Hawaii is one of ten states that fill state legislative vacancies through gubernatorial appointment.

Additional reading:

Lynn DeCoite

State legislative vacancies, 2021



Oklahoma governor appoints new state attorney general

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) appointed John O’Connor (R) as the state’s attorney general on July 23. O’Connor was sworn in on the same day for a term expiring in 2023.

O’Connor succeeded former attorney general Mike Hunter (R), who resigned on June 1. Hunter had served as the attorney general since 2017.

O’Connor has worked as an attorney in private practice and served on the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. Trump nominated O’Connor to a split seat on the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma on April 10, 2018. The U.S. Senate did not confirm O’Connor during the 115th Congress, and O’Connor withdrew his name from consideration for re-nomination by the next Congress on Apr. 12, 2019.

The Oklahoma Attorney General is an elected executive position in state government. The attorney general serves as the state’s chief legal officer and prosecutes violations of state law, represents the state in legal disputes and issues legal advice to state agencies and the legislature.

Additional reading:

Attorney General of Oklahoma

United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma 

Federal judges nominated by Donald Trump



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #285: July 29, 2021, 2021

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

  • A mask mandate in Nevada
  • A vaccine incentive initiative for Ohio state employees
  • Vaccine distribution
  • School closures and reopenings
  • Travel restrictions
  • State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies
  • Federal responses
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on the government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your daily life—from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies and beyond. To see epidemiological COVID-19 data, visit these sources: Our World in Data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Want to know what we covered Tuesday? Click here.

Upcoming news

What is changing in the next four days?

Nevada (Democratic trifecta): On Friday, July 30, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) new mask mandate, reflecting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent guidance, will take effect in counties with “substantial or high transmission” of COVID-19. In those counties, vaccinated and unvaccinated people must wear masks indoors. Sisolak issued the order on July 27.

Since our last edition

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

Arizona (Republican trifecta): On July 28, Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ announced the state would adopt recent CDC guidance recommending all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings located in areas with substantial and high coronavirus transmission rates. 

Illinois (Democratic trifecta): On July 27, the Illinois Department of Public Health adopted recent CDC guidance recommending all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings located in areas with substantial and high coronavirus transmission rates.

Kentucky (divided government): On July 28, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask in state buildings. The requirement applies to both employees and visitors. The requirement went into effect July 29.

Maine (Democratic trifecta): On July 28, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the state would follow recent CDC guidance recommending all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings located in areas with substantial and high coronavirus transmission rates.

New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): On July 28, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli recommended all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings where there is increased risk of coronavirus transmission.

Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Wednesday, July 28, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced a new vaccine incentive initiative for state employees. Employees who get a vaccine will receive $100, while spouses who get a vaccine will get $25. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the July 27 edition of the newsletter. As of July 28, 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 July 22. 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.

2019-20 enrollment: 410,896 students (0.81% of students nationwide)

  • Thirteen states had state-ordered in-person instruction.

2019-20 enrollment: 15,697,460 students (30.96% of students nationwide)

  • One state (Ariz.) had state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades.

2019-20 enrollment: 1,152,586 students (2.27% of students nationwide)

  • Thirty-four states left decisions to schools or districts.

2019-20 enrollment: 33,449,499 students (65.96% 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. Travel restrictions remain active in Hawaii, Kansas, and Rhode Island.

Since July 22, no state has ended or changed its travel restrictions. 

State proof-of-vaccination requirements and policies

Read more: State government policies about proof-of-vaccination (vaccine passport) requirements

State governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements in their states. In some cases, states have banned state or local governments from requiring that people show proof of vaccination. Other states have supported the creation of digital applications—sometimes known as vaccine passports—that allow people to prove their vaccination status and, in some cases, bypass COVID-19 restrictions.  

Overview:

  • Twenty states have passed legislation or issued orders prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements at some or all levels of government. 
  • Four states have backed the creation of digital vaccination status applications. Those applications allow fully vaccinated individuals to bypass COVID-19 restrictions in some circumstances.

Since July 22, no state has enacted a proof-of-vaccination policy. No state has enacted new digital vaccination status applications. 

Federal responses

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

  • On July 28, the Biden administration announced it would allow the CDC’s ban on evictions to expire on July 31. The CDC first implemented the ban in September, 2020, and extended it several times. On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to end the ban in a 5-4 decision, but said Congress would need to extend it beyond July 31. The Biden administration asked Congress to extend the ban. 
  • On July 27, the CDC updated its mask guidance to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks while indoors in parts of the country with substantial or high transmission. CDC data shows that 66.6% of counties in the United States are experiencing what CDC defines as high or substantial levels of COVID-19 spread as of July 26. Click here to view the CDC data and accompanying map. 
  • On July 27, the Department of Homeland Security announced that effective immediately, all employees must wear masks and practice social distancing, while indoors at work.
  • On July 26, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that employees who work with patients, including doctors and nurses, must get a COVID-19 vaccine within the next two months. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said employees could appeal the requirement on medical or religious grounds.
  • On July 22, the Biden administration announced $1.7 million in new funding for testing and vaccine outreach. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said $1.6 billion would go toward testing in prisons and homeless shelters, while around $100 million would go toward supporting vaccine outreach in rural areas.

This time last year: Wednesday, July 29, and Friday, July 31, 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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) extended Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan through Aug. 28. Raimondo also reduced gathering limits from 25 people to 15.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) extended three public health orders passed on June 15 regarding limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings and school reopenings. One order continued to limit indoor gatherings to 50 people and outdoor gatherings to 250 people. The school reopening order included a modification requiring teachers and students to wear masks indoors and outdoors at school when social distancing wasn’t feasible.

  • Travel restrictions:

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued a travel advisory asking Maryland residents to refrain from traveling to Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Texas, where the percentage of positive test results was more than 10%. Hogan urged people who had traveled to those states to get a coronavirus test.

  • School closures and reopenings:

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) modified her Safer At Home Order to require students in second grade or higher to wear masks at school.

Friday, July 31, 2020 

  • Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) issued an executive order placing restrictions on several counties in northern Michigan. The restrictions included capping indoor gatherings at 10 people and closing bars that derived more than 70% of their revenue from the sale of alcohol.

  • Election changes:

U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island Judge Mary McElroy approved a consent agreement between the parties in Common Cause Rhode Island v. Gorbea. Rhode Island officials agreed not to enforce witness or notary requirements for mail-in ballots in both the Sept. 8 primary and November general elections.

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar (D) announced that the state would provide prepaid return postage for all mail-in and absentee ballots in the Nov. 3 general election.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed HB6002 into law, allowing voters to cite concern over COVID-19 as a reason for voting absentee in the Nov. 3 general election.

  • School closures and reopenings:

The Maine Department of Education released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance required all staff and students aged five and older to wear masks.

South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced masks would be required in all public school facilities for staff and students in grades 2-12.

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. 

  • In East Baton Rouge, Louisiana 19th Judicial District Court Judge Fred Crifasi allowed two individuals to receive the coronavirus vaccine in lieu of completing court-mandated community service hours. Crifasi said: “This is my point of view: Getting vaccinated is a service to the community. […] So, if a probation candidate is inclined to get vaccinated, I will grant credit for that effort towards any requirement of community service.”
  • On Thursday, July 28, officials at Walt Disney World announced it would require guests to wear face coverings while indoors starting July 29. The theme park lifted its mask requirement on June 11.


Voters to decide mayor, city council primaries in Seattle on Aug. 3

Seattle holds top-two, nonpartisan primaries for mayor, two at-large city council seats, and city attorney on Aug. 3. Races for the mayor’s office and one city council seat are open. Incumbent City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda and City Attorney Pete Holmes are seeking re-election.

Mayoral primary

Fifteen candidates are on the mayoral primary ballot, with six leading in endorsements, fundraising, or media attention. Four of the six have served in city or state government. Casey Sixkiller is the deputy mayor of Seattle. Lorena González is the city council president. Bruce Harrell was city council president from 2016 to 2017 and from 2018 to 2019. Jessyn Farrell was a state representative from 2013 to 2017.

Colleen Echohawk is the executive director of Chief Seattle Club, an organization providing services to American Indian and Alaska Native people. Andrew Grant Houston, an architect, owns a business and served as Mosqueda’s interim policy manager.

City Council primaries

Seattle has nine city council seats, seven of which are elected by district and two, citywide. The seven district seats were last up for election in 2019. The two at-large seats are up this year.

Position 9 is open as González, the incumbent, is running for mayor. Three of seven candidates have led in endorsements, fundraising, and media attention: Fremont Brewing co-owner Sara Nelson, attorney and Creative Justice executive director Nikkita Oliver, and Brianna Thomas, who serves as González’s chief of staff.

Local media outlets have said the position 8 seat is uncompetitive, with Mosqueda, the incumbent, favored to win.

City councilmembers’ endorsees

Five current city councilmembers endorsed in the mayoral race. Mosqueda, Tammy Morales, Lisa Herbold, and Andrew Lewis endorsed González. Dan Strauss endorsed both Echohawk and Farrell. Harrell has the most endorsements from former councilmembers (four).

In the city council position 9 election, Thomas received endorsements from González, Herbold, Strauss, and Lewis. Mosqueda and Morales endorsed Oliver. Five former councilmembers endorsed Nelson.

Two of the three council members who have not endorsed in either race—Debora Juarez and Alex Pedersen—were the two candidates who won in 2019 with backing from the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. They also were the two council members to oppose Seattle’s 2020 ordinance instituting a tax on companies with payrolls of $7 million or more a year. CASE is not active in the 2021 election cycle.

Kshama Sawant, the third council member who has not endorsed, is a member of Socialist Alternative and is the target of a current recall effort.

City attorney election

Incumbent Pete Holmes, Ann Davison, and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy are running. Holmes first took office in 2009. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz (D) and state Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti (D) are among his endorsers. Davison, an attorney and arbitrator, received endorsements from The Seattle Times and former Gov. Dan Evans (R). She ran for lieutenant governor in 2020 and city council in 2019. Thomas-Kennedy is a former public defender and criminal and eviction attorney. The Stranger endorsed her.



Redistricting review: New Jersey Republicans request clarification from secretary of state about how to count incarcerated individuals

On July 26, the New Jersey Globe reported that the Republican leaders of New Jersey’s redistricting commissions had requested clarification from Secretary of State Tahesha Way (D) on how incarcerated people in the state should be counted in reapportionment and redistricting processes. Under S758, passed in 2020, New Jersey must count incarcerated individuals at their last known residential address for the purposes of legislative redistricting, rather than the location of their incarceration at the time of the census. A698, which currently awaits action from Gov. Phil Murphy (D), would expand that requirement to redistricting for municipal, county, school board, and congressional purposes.

Under S758 and A698, the secretary of state must submit an apportionment report based on numbers from the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC). Legislative Apportionment Commission Republican Chairman Al Barlas and Congressional Redistricting Commission GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt said in their request to Way that the U.S. Census Bureau’s use of differential privacy in the 2020 census would produce data inconsistent with DOC data because “this statistical technique deliberately manipulates census data to assertedly protect the confidentiality of respondents by introducing ‘statistical noise; into both population totals and demographic characteristics.” “Barlas and Steinhardt asked whether there was a plan for “addressing the consequences of differential privacy with regard to New Jersey’s prison populations [and] … how will discrepancies between census and DOC data be rectified.”

Barlas and Steinhardt requested that Way respond by Aug. 2.

In other redistricting news, public redistricting hearings are scheduled in Indiana, South Carolina, Washington, and Virginia.

Additional reading:

Redistricting in New Jersey after the 2020 census

Redistricting in Indiana after the 2020 census

Redistricting in South Carolina after the 2020 census

Redistricting in Washington after the 2020 census

Redistricting in Virginia after the 2020 census



The Daily Brew: 11 candidates running for Republican nomination in OH-15

Welcome to the Thursday, July 29, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters to decide special Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Aug. 3
  2. Redistricting review: New Jersey Republicans request clarification from secretary of state about how to count incarcerated individuals
  3. Georgia voters to decide in 2022 on suspending pay for indicted officials

Voters to decide special Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Aug. 3

Let’s continue our previews of next week’s highlighted elections with a look at the Republican primary in the special election for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.

Eleven candidates are running for the Republican nomination for the district located in the central part of the state. Former incumbent Rep. Steve Stivers (R) resigned to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce effective May 16. Stivers won re-election in 2020 by nearly 27 points. 

The general election is rated as Strong Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Mike Carey, Ruth Edmonds, Jeff LaRe, and Bob Peterson have led in endorsements and media attention.

Carey’s campaign has focused on his experience in the military where he served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1989 to 1999, and he has described himself as a conservative outsider. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him.

Edmonds’ campaign has focused on her experience as a former president of the Columbus NAACP and work on conservative campaigns, as well as her background as an ordained minister. The Right Women PAC endorsed her.

LaRe’s campaign has focused on his background in law enforcement and security services, as well as his experience serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he assumed office in 2019. Stivers endorsed him.

Also running in the primary are John Adams, Eric M. Clark, Thad Cooperridder, Ron Hood, Tom Hwang, Stephanie Kunze, and Omar Tarazi.

Early voting began July 7 and continues through Aug. 2. Greg Betts and Allison Russo are competing in the Democratic primary, and the winners of both primaries will meet in the Nov. 2 special election. Following the November election, seven special elections to the 117th Congress will have been held.

Keep reading

Redistricting review: New Jersey Republicans request clarification from secretary of state about how to count incarcerated individuals

With the release of the results of the 2020 U.S. Census, redistricting work has continued in the states. Here’s an update from New Jersey’s redistricting process.

New Jersey: On July 26, the New Jersey Globe reported that the Republican leaders of New Jersey’s redistricting commissions had submitted a request to Secretary of State Tahesha Way (D) for clarification on how incarcerated individuals in the state should be counted in the reapportionment and redistricting processes. Under S758, passed in 2020, New Jersey must count incarcerated individuals at their last known residential address for the purposes of legislative redistricting, rather than the location of their incarceration at the time of the census. Additionally, A698, which currently awaits action from Gov. Phil Murphy (D), would expand that requirement to redistricting for municipal, county, school board, and congressional purposes.

Under S758 and A698, the secretary of state must submit an apportionment report based on numbers from the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC). Legislative Apportionment Commission Republican Chairman Al Barlas and Congressional Redistricting Commission GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt said in their request to Way that the U.S. Census Bureau’s use of differential privacy in the 2020 census would produce data inconsistent with DOC data because “this statistical technique deliberately manipulates census data to assertedly protect the confidentiality of respondents by introducing ‘statistical noise; into both population totals and demographic characteristics.” “Barlas and Steinhardt asked whether there was a plan for “addressing the consequences of differential privacy with regard to New Jersey’s prison populations [and] … how will discrepancies between census and DOC data be rectified.”

Barlas and Steinhardt requested that Way respond by Aug. 2.

Public hearings: Public redistricting hearings have been scheduled in Indiana, South Carolina, Washington, and Virginia

Keep reading 

Georgia voters to decide in 2022 on suspending pay for indicted officials

The 2022 statewide ballot measure landscape is coming into focus. Thus far, 56 have been certified for the ballot. In 2020, 129 appeared on statewide ballots. That number was 167 in 2018. 

Here’s an overview of one set for next year’s November election in Georgia. 

Voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution to suspend compensation for members of the General Assembly and most state executive officials while suspended from office due to a felony indictment.

The measure was proposed in the state legislature shortly after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in late January that Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck (R) had been receiving pay and benefits since being indicted for federal wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges in May 2019.

On July 22, a jury found Beck guilty on 37 counts of fraud, including mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax fraud. 

Beck was elected to the office on Nov. 6, 2018, and was suspended from the office by Governor Brian Kemp (R) on May 16, 2019. 

Because Beck was suspended and did not resign, the state had been compensating him as well as John King, Kemp’s appointment to fill the position during Beck’s suspension.

Following the verdict, insurance commissioner John King said, “The state of Georgia is no longer paying for two commissioners. We took him off the payroll within hours of the jury coming back.”

Beck was placed on house arrest until sentencing, which was set for Oct. 8.

Currently, under the state’s constitution, assembly members and public officials who are suspended from office due to the indictment for a felony still receive compensation until they are convicted. Officials that are reinstated to their position would receive pay that was withheld under the amendment.

Keep reading 



Primary election set for Aug. 3 in Tucson, Arizona

The municipal primary in Tucson, Arizona, is scheduled for Aug. 3, 2021. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on April 5.

Candidates filed for three seats on the six-seat city council. In Ward 3, Kevin Dahl will face Juan Padres in the Democratic primary. In the Ward 6 Democratic primary, Andres Portela and Miranda Schubert are challenging incumbent Steve Kozachik. No Republican candidates qualified for the ballot in these races, but voters can still choose to write in a candidate’s name.

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and the 33rd-largest city in the United States by population.

Additional reading:



29 candidates file for 14 school board seats in Manchester, New Hampshire

On July 23, the filing deadline passed to run for elected office in the Manchester School District in New Hampshire. The primary is scheduled for September 21, and the general election is scheduled for November 2, 2021. 

Candidates filed for all 14 of the school district’s Board of School Committee seats–two at-large seats and 12 ward-specific seats. Ten incumbents are running for re-election, including two at-large members and eight ward-specific members.

The Manchester School District served 13,452 students during the 2018-2019 school year. 

Additional reading:



U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in donor disclosure case. What comes next?

U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in donor disclosure case. What comes next?

On July 1, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, striking down a California policy that required nonprofits to disclose their donors’ identities to the state’s attorney general. 

What comes next in the wake of this decision? First, we’ll discuss the case background and the Supreme Court’s ruling, then we’ll turn our attention to the implications of that ruling. 

What’s at issue, and how lower courts have ruled

The California policy in question required nonprofits to file copies of their IRS 990 forms with the state. Form 990 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 did not allow the public access to Schedule B information, court documents show that inadvertent disclosures had occurred. 

In 2014, Americans for Prosperity challenged the law in U.S. district court, triggering a series of legal developments spanning several years:

  • 2014: Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, filed suit in U.S. district court, alleging that the California law violated its First Amendment rights. 
  • 2015: The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, filed a similar suit in the same U.S. district court. 
  • 2016: Judge Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California found in favor of AFPF and barred the state from collecting the group’s Schedule B information. In a separate 2016 ruling, Real also found in favor of TMLC and prevented the state from collecting the group’s Schedule B information. Real was appointed to the court by Lyndon Johnson (D).
  • 2018: The two suits were combined on appeal. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously overturned Real’s rulings in 2018. Judges Raymond Fisher, Richard Paez, and Jacqueline Nguyen issued the ruling. Fisher and Paez are Bill Clinton (D) appointees. Barack Obama (D) appointed Nguyen.
  • 2019: The plaintiffs petitioned the Ninth Circuit for en banc review. That petition was rejected March 29, 2019. On Aug. 26, 2019, the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court.
  • 2021: On Jan. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the consolidated appeal. Oral argument took place on April 26.

How the Supreme Court ruled   

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the plaintiffs, striking down the California law.  Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush (R) appointee,  wrote the majority opinion. Roberts said, “California has an important interest in preventing wrongdoing by charitable organizations.” But, he went on to say that there was “a dramatic mismatch” between that interest and California’s donor disclosure requirements. He wrote: “The upshot is that California casts a dragnet for sensitive donor information from tens of thousands of charities each year, even though the information will become relevant in only a small number of cases involving filed complaints.” Roberts added, “In reality, then, California’s interest is less in investigating fraud and more in ease of administration.” He said that interest did not “reflect the seriousness of the actual burden that the demand for Schedule Bs imposes on donors’ association rights.” 

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents – concurred in the judgment. 

Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas declined to join some parts of the majority opinion, disagreeing about whether an exacting scrutiny or strict scrutiny standard should be applied in cases like this. Under the exacting scrutiny standard, a law that infringes on a constitutional right will be upheld only if it is narrowly tailored to advance a compelling government interest. The strict scrutiny standard, which is more stringent, requires that a challenged law be narrowly tailored using the least restrictive means available to serve a compelling government interest.

In the majority opinion, Roberts said the exacting scrutiny standard should be applied to all cases of this type. Alito said he was “not prepared at this time to hold that a single standard applies to all disclosure requirements.” Gorsuch joined Alito in this opinion. In his concurrence, Thomas said the court should have invoked the strict scrutiny standard because “our precedents require application of strict scrutiny to laws that compel disclosure of protected First Amendment association.” 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan – all Democratic appointees. Sotomayor said the majority opinion “discards [the Supreme Court’s] decades-long requirement that, to establish a cognizable burden on their associational rights, plaintiffs must plead and prove that disclosure will likely expose them to objective harms, such as threats, harassment, or reprisals.” Sotomayor added, “The evidence shows that California’s confidential reporting requirement imposes trivial burdens on petitioners’ associational rights and plays a meaningful role in [state] attorneys’ ability to identify and prosecute charities engaged in malfeasance,” which she said is “more than enough to satisfy the First Amendment.” 

What are the reactions, and what comes next

Bartlett Cleland, counsel and chief strategy and innovation officer for the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Lee E. Goodman, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, wrote the following in an op-ed praising the Supreme Court’s ruling in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta

Fortunately, six Justices reaffirmed in definitive terms the First Amendment’s powerful protection for speech, assembly, and privacy.  In striking the California donor disclosure rule, they demonstrate that they understand the history of government abuses and the need for people to be secure in their associations and the importance of conscience to freedom.

It is unclear how this ruling will affect donor disclosure and privacy laws in other states. David Strauss, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said

The Court has tried to draw a line between disclosures that are really going to hurt people … and disclosures that are unlikely to be harmful. The question is whether, after this decision, the Court is still going to try to draw that line, or is instead going to say: disclosure laws of all kinds risk chilling speech.

Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said that the Supreme Court’s ruling could affect campaign finance laws more broadly:

The court’s ruling calls into question a number of campaign finance disclosure laws. Perhaps even more significant, it also threatens the constitutionality of campaign contribution laws, which are judged under the “exacting scrutiny” standard, too. Lower courts can now find that such laws are not narrowly tailored to prevent corruption or its appearance or do not provide voters with valuable information — two interests the court recognized in the past to justify campaign laws.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 39 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure and privacy. 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

No legislative actions have been taken on relevant bills since our last issue.

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