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4.7% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

So far this year, 44 state legislative incumbents—11 Democrats and 33 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the nine states that have held primaries, 4.7% of incumbents running for re-election have lost. This is both the largest number and highest incumbent loss rate in these nine states since 2014.

So far this year, the loss rate has been higher for Republicans than for Democrats. Of the 593 Republican incumbents seeking re-election, 33 (5.6%) lost in primaries. For Democrats, 11 of the 343 incumbents running (3.2%) lost to primary challengers.

However, fewer Democratic incumbents are facing primary challengers than their Republican counterparts. Around 17% of Democratic incumbents faced contested primaries compared to 37% for Republicans.

Overall, among those nine states, 936 incumbents filed for re-election, and 278 (30%) faced contested primaries. This is the largest number since 2014.

Sixteen of the incumbents who lost primaries so far were due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections.

Of the nine states that have held primaries so far, one had a Democratic trifecta, five had Republican trifectas, and three had divided governments with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both legislative chambers. Across these nine states, there are 1,114 seats up for election, 18% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. There are currently 37 primaries featuring incumbents—six Democrats and 31 Republicans—that remain uncalled. Additionally, there are five primary runoffs in Texas scheduled for May 24 with incumbents present.

You can view a full list of defeated incumbents and defeat totals from previous years by clicking “Learn More” below.



Kentucky announces plans to launch mobile unemployment insurance office

The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) announced plans on May 11 to launch a mobile office that aims to help citizens access unemployment insurance services. The office aims to help those in poorer communities complete tasks like filing for unemployment benefits, verifying their identities, and determining their eligibility for benefits.

The mobile office will be funded with money from a $4.5 million UI Equity Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. $2.3 million is going to the mobile office, and the remaining funds will help to establish a new self-serve unemployment insurance portal and system-generated text and push notifications that will keep claimants updated on the statuses of their claims.

The OUI did not offer a specific date for the launch.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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Federal Register weekly update: Tops 10,000 total documents

Image of the south facade of the White House.

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, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From May 9 through May 13, the Federal Register grew by 2,208 pages for a year-to-date total of 29,646 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 580 documents:

  • 470 notices
  • 11 presidential documents
  • 32 proposed rules
  • 67 final rules

Two proposed rules, including changes to rules governing Carrier Automated Tariffs from the Federal Maritime Commission, and five final rules, including an amendment to the National Marine Sanctuaries program regulations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to 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. The Biden administration has issued 72 significant proposed rules, 91 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of May 13.

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.

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U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims rise to 200,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 19,000 for the week ending April 30 to a seasonally adjusted 200,000. The previous week’s figure was revised up from 180,000 to 181,000. The four-week moving average as of April 30 rose to 188,000 from a revised 180,000 as of the week ending April 23.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 1.4 million for the week ending April 23. Reporting for continuing claims lag one week. The continuing claims figure was the lowest since January 1970.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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Oklahoma legislature passes unemployment insurance indexing bill

The Oklahoma House of Representatives gave final approval May 17 to House Bill 1933, which would index unemployment insurance benefits, tying the length of benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. The Seante passed the bill April 26. If the governor approves the bill, Oklahoma will provide shorter periods of benefits during times of low unemployment and longer periods of benefits during times of high unemployment.

At least five states have already implemented some form of unemployment insurance benefits indexing: Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, and North Carolina.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

Additional reading:

History of unemployment insurance fraud in Oklahoma



Mellen School District votes to prohibit race from being discussed during American history lessons

The Mellon School Board in Wisconsin voted on April 20, 2022, to adopt a new policy to prohibit race from being discussed during American history lessons. This decision follows a vote in March that barred subjects such as critical race theory, religion, sexual orientation, privilege, empathy, and political orientation from being taught in classrooms. 

The school board’s new policy adopted its language following survey responses from parents. Besides barring discussions of race during history lessons, the new policy states that gender and sexual orientation can be discussed using only what is described as fact-based information rather than theory or discussion. Teachers are allowed to address topics such as privilege but cannot discuss race when doing so. Similarly, educators may talk about equity but are prohibited from mentioning race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

According to the survey conducted by Mellen School District, 72% of responders opposed teaching sexual orientation; 73% opposed teaching gender identity; 66% opposed teaching critical race theory, and 68% opposed teaching white privilege. Conversely, 64% of responders support teaching empathy, 58% supported teaching inclusion, and 56% support teaching anti-racism.

Eight teachers submitted a letter to the board against the new policy. They argue the policy will deprive students of the opportunity to practice the reasoning and communication skills necessary to develop and defend their own opinion regarding these topics, according to the Ashland Daily Press



Michigan waives 55,000 pandemic unemployment insurance overpayments

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency announced May 4 that an additional 55,000 unemployment insurance claimants who received overpayments during the coronavirus pandemic will not have to repay the funds. The agency also said about 400,000 overpayments totalling $4.3 billion had already been forgiven.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a bill Feb. 28 allowing for the forgiveness of overpayments related to the conflict of state and federal policies for the payment of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.

PUA benefits were designed to assist workers who did not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits, such as gig workers, self-employed workers, and part-time workers. Michigan’s unemployment insurance law conflicted with the federal law and did not allow part-time workers to claim unemployment insurance benefits. The state required claimants to be able and available to work full time. Due to the conflict, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency requested repayment of benefits from some part time workers (and from workers who were not available to work for pandemic-related reasons, such as caretaking) who attested to their ability and availability to work full time.

Unemployment insurance refers to a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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Colorado legislators pass bill to direct federal funds to repay unemployment insurance debt

Colorado legislators on May 10 passed a bill that would direct $600 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help pay back the state’s $1 billion unemployment insurance trust fund debt to the federal government. The bill would also forgive certain non-fraud overpayments, meaning some workers who received more unemployment insurance payments than they were owed during the coronavirus pandemic would not have to pay the money back. The bill also contains provisions allowing claimants to work part-time and make up to half their previous income without a benefit reduction and allowing unlawful U.S. immigrants to claim unemployment insurance benefits if their employer pays unemployment taxes.

The $600 million funding would reduce the unemployment insurance tax burden on employers, which increased in 2022 and will increase in 2023 unless the fund’s solvency improves. The bill now goes to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) for consideration.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

Additional reading:



U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims rise to 203,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 1,000 for the week ending May 7 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000. The previous week’s figure was revised up from 200,000 to 202,000. The four-week moving average as of May 7 rose to 192,750 from a revised 188,500 as of the week ending April 30.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, fell to a seasonally adjusted 1.343 million for the week ending April 30. Reporting for continuing claims lag one week. The continuing claims figure was the lowest since Jan. 3, 1970.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

Additional reading:



Amendment to remove register of probate office on New Hampshire ballot

Last week, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted in agreement with the New Hampshire State Senate to approve a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the register of probate office. This measure will appear on the ballot in November for New Hampshire voters.

The ballot measure was introduced to the New Hampshire General Court in November of 2021. In March, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 294-43 to approve the amendment. In April 21, the Senate voted 21-3 on an amended resolution. On May 13, 2022, the House adopted the revised amendment by voice vote.

To get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in New Hampshire, it must receive 60% of the vote in one legislative session of the New Hampshire state legislature, which amounts to 201 votes in the House of Representatives. Because this measure met that requirement in the House of Representatives and was approved by a voice vote in the New Hampshire state senate, the measure will appear on the ballot. To be ratified, a two-thirds vote is needed at the election.

In the past, New Hampshire’s Register of Probate office handled issues such as simple wills. But in 2011, due to a reorganization of New Hampshire’s court system, most of the duties of this office were eliminated. Currently, the primary responsibility of the office is to the preservation of files that have the potential for historical significance.

This is the second ballot measure to appear on New Hampshire’s statewide ballot for the Nov. 8, 2022 general election. The other ballot measure asks voters on whether or not to hold a state constitutional convention, which appears on New Hampshire’s ballot automatically every 10 years.

In New Hampshire, 13 statewide ballot measures went to voters between 1996 and 2018. Five of these measures were approved, while 8 were defeated.

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