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All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 35-Position 2 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 35-Position 2  — Sandy Kaiser (D) and Travis Couture (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?                

Kaiser:           

  • “I believe in hard work, love of family, community and country and making sure that everyone in our rural district has the same opportunities for success as in other parts of western Washington.”
  • “We need to create better conditions for local business to thrive and grow, create more family-wage jobs, improve our schools and expand rural broadband.”
  • “It’s critically important that we fund our local sheriffs and first-responders, so they can be there in an hour of need.”

Couture:           

  • “Constitutional Rights – Following the Constitution is my top priority. I will always defend your rights and freedoms, and protect your liberties.”
  • “Public Safety – We need to get tough on rising crime and reverse laws that make our communities vulnerable. I respect our police and first responders, and will help them keep us safe.”
  • “Quality Education – Every child should feel safe at school, with all the resources to learn. I will oppose unfunded mandates that crush school budgets, and support policies that focus on strengthening core skills comprehension, safety, and school choice.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Washington House of Representatives District 17-Position 1 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Washington House of Representatives District 17-Position 1  —Terri Niles (D) and Kevin Waters (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of Washington’s state legislature. Washington is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?                    

Niles:           

“Our economy is foundational to other issues we sometimes view as separate. My support for a strong regional economy is rooted in investing in our communities. Jobs, healthcare, housing, championing new infrastructure, public safety and education. What may seem like huge and diverse topics can be dealt with a focus on common issues affecting them all. As a healthcare provider I know that our healthcare system is broken and we need to find real solutions. Many people living in the 17th LD do not have access to healthcare. This will be a top priority for me.”

Waters:

“I am passionate about Economic Growth and the policies that support and not hinder it. I am also passionate about Police having the proper tools and policy to be able to do their jobs. I am also passionate about energy policy and making sure we do not have a failing power grid and support our dams. We need to make sure that we can continue to supply power to all at a reasonable rate and not bloated because of policies that do not bring reasonable rates and power for all.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



54.10% of state legislatures are Republican, 44.32% Democratic

At the end of September 2022, 54.10% of all state legislatures in the United States were Republicans, while 44.32% were Democrats. There are 7,383 state legislative seats in the country.

Republicans controlled 62 chambers, while Democrats held 36. The Alaska House of Representatives is the only chamber organized under a multipartisan, power-sharing coalition.

Democrats held 863 state Senate seats and 2,409 state House seats, losing one Senate seat since last month. Republicans held 1,092 state Senate seats and 2,902 state House seats, gaining two House seats since last month.

Independent or third-party legislators held 40 seats, including 33 state House seats and seven state Senate seats. There were 67 vacant state House seats and 10 vacant state Senate seats.

Compared to September 2021, Democrats have gained two state Senate seats (861 v. 863) and lost 29 state House seats (2,438 v. 2,409). Republicans have gained one state Senate seat (1,091 v. 1,092) and lost 10 state House seats (2,912 v. 2,902). 

Additional reading:

State senators

State representatives 



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins October Term 2022-2023

Welcome to the Oct. 3 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

It is the first Monday in October, dear readers, and we all know what that means. SCOTUS has returned from its summer recess to begin the 2022-2023 October Term in its new incarnation, as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson starts her first term on the court. Let’s gavel in, shall we?

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS accepted nine new cases to its merits docket on Oct. 3:

  • Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools
  • Gonzalez v. Google LLC
  • In re Grand Jury
  • Santos-Zacaria v. Garland
  • Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States
  • Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh
  • Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Inc.
  • Ohio Adjutant General’s Department vs. Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

Click here to learn more about these cases. 

To date, the court has agreed to hear 36 cases during its 2022-2023 term. Eighteen cases have been scheduled for argument.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

Oct. 3

Oct. 4

  • Merrill v. Milligan (Consolidated with Merrill v. Caster) concerns the Voting Rights Act and redistricting. A group of Alabama voters and organizations sued Secretary of State John Merrill (R) and the House and Senate redistricting chairmen, Rep. Chris Pringle (R) and Sen. Jim McClendon (R). The plaintiffs alleged the congressional map approved by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Nov. 4, 2021, weakened the electoral strength of Black voters. The plaintiffs asked the lower court to invalidate the enacted congressional map and order a new map with instructions to include a second majority-Black district. Click here to learn more about the cases’ background details. 
  • Arellano v. McDonough involves 38 U.S.C. § 5110 and the doctrine of equitable tolling. Under 38 U.S.C. § 5110, disability benefits can be awarded retroactively to the date of discharge if a veteran applies within one year of that date. Service-disabled veteran Adolfo Arellano was discharged from the U.S. Navy in October 1981. Approximately 30 years later, he applied for disability compensation benefits. Arellano challenged the effective date of his benefits, arguing the one-year deadline should have been tolled, or paused, because his disability prevented him from applying for benefits earlier. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals rejected the argument. Arellano appealed his case until it reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This court held in a divided 6-6 opinion that Arellano’s effective date was the date his application was received (June 2011), not retroactive to his date of discharge (October 1981). SCOTUS will review and decide when one qualifies for retroactive compensation. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

During the 2021-2022 term, the court agreed to hear 68 cases. Four cases were dismissed and one case was removed from the argument calendar.

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued any opinions since our previous edition. 

Between the 2007 and 2021 terms, SCOTUS issued opinions in 1,128 cases, averaging 75 opinions per year. During that period, the court reversed a lower court decision 805 times (71.4 percent) and affirmed a lower court decision 315 times (27.9 percent).

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Oct. 3: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Oct. 4: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Oct. 7: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to join the U.S. Supreme Court after taking her constitutional oath and her judicial oath on June 30, 2022, in the court’s West Conference Room.

Federal court action

Nominations

There have been no new nominations since our Sept. 12 edition.

The president has announced 141 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported 11 new nominees out of committee since our last edition. 

The following nominees were reported to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote on Sept. 15, 2022: 

The following nominees were reported on Sept. 30, 2022:

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed four nominees since our Sept. 12 issue. 

As of this writing, 84 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 83 vacancies, 81 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 57 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 33 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

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

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

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on Oct. 11 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter.



OIRA reviewed 45 significant rules in September

Photo of the White House in Washington, D.C.

In September 2022, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 45 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved nine of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 32 rules while recommending changes to their content. Three rules were withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agency. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.

OIRA reviewed 38 significant regulatory actions in September 2021, 48 significant regulatory actions in September 2020, 42 significant regulatory actions in September 2019, 21 significant regulatory actions in September 2018, and 16 significant regulatory actions in September 2017.

OIRA has reviewed a total of 350 significant rules in 2022. The agency reviewed a total of 502 significant rules in 2021, 676 significant rules in 2020, 475 significant rules in 2019, 355 significant rules in 2018, and 237 significant rules in 2017.

As of October 3, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 119 regulatory actions under review.

​​OIRA is responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions made by federal agencies, with the exception of independent federal agencies. Significant regulatory actions include agency rules that have had or may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities. These regulatory actions may also conflict with other regulations or with the priorities of the president.

OIRA: https://ballotpedia.org/U.S._Office_of_Information_and_Regulatory_Affairs 



President Joe Biden’s approval rating rises to 43% in September, highest since January

Approval polls show President Joe Biden (D) at an average 43% approval at the end of September, the highest rating he’s received since January. Fifty-three percent of voters disapprove of his performance.

Biden last had a 43% approval rating on January 12, 2022. The lowest approval rating he’s received is 38%, last seen on July 27, 2022 The highest approval rating Biden has received is 55%, last seen on May 26, 2021.

Congress was at 28% approval and 61% disapproval at the end of September. The highest approval rating Congress has received is 36%, last seen on July 16, 2021, and the lowest approval rating it has received is 14%, last seen on January 26, 2022.

At the end of September 2018 during the Trump administration, presidential approval was three percentage points lower at 40%, and congressional approval was nine points lower at 17%.

Ballotpedia’s polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last thirty days to calculate presidential and congressional approval ratings. We average the results and show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. The data is updated daily as new polling results are published.



California ballot measure committees report $618.3 million in contributions

As of Sept. 24, 2022, ballot measure committees registered to support or oppose the seven ballot propositions on California’s November ballot reported receiving $618.3 million in contributions. Campaigns surrounding Propositions 26 and 27 reported the highest amount of contributions in recent California history with $427 million. The total nearly doubles the amount of the next most expensive ballot measure in California history, Proposition 22 (2020), which reported $224.2 million.

Three committees were registered to support and oppose Proposition 26, which would legalize in-person sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks. One committee, Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming, was registered to support Proposition 26 and oppose Proposition 27. It reported $123.4 million in contributions. The top donors included the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria ($31. 9 million), Pechanga Band of Indians ($25.3 million), and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ($22.3 million). No on 26 – Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies PAC and No on the Gambling Power Grab PAC, which oppose Prop 26, have reported over $43.1 million. The top donors to the committees were Hawaiian Gardens Casino ($10.2 million), California Commerce Club, Inc. ($10 million), and Knighted Ventures LLC ($4.2 million).

One committee was registered to support Proposition 27, Yes on 27 – Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support. It reported $169.2 million with top contributions from Betfair Interactive operator of Fanduel Sportsbook ($35 million), Crown Gaming operator of Draftkings ($34.2 million), and Penn National Gaming, Inc. ($25 million). One other committee was registered to oppose the measure: No on 27 – Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming. It reported over $91.1 million. The top donors were the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians ($78.1 million) and the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians ($10 million).

Ballotpedia identified a total of 18 ballot measure committees registered for all the propositions. Below is a breakdown of contributions by proposition and position.

The Atkins Ballot Measure Committee is registered in support of Proposition 1, a constitutional amendment to establish a right to abortion. It has received $9.3 million. Two committees were registered in opposition to Proposition 1, Women for Reproductive Facts – No on Prop 1 PAC and Stop Prop 1 – A Committee in Opposition to Proposition 1 PAC. Together they reported $71,776 in contributions.

One committee, Yes on 28 – Californians for Arts and Music in Schools, was registered in support of Proposition 28, which would require increased funding for K-12 art and music education. It reported over $9.3 million in contributions. No committees were registered in opposition to Proposition 28.

Behind Propositions 26 and 27, Proposition 29 is the next most expensive measure on the November ballot. The two committees registered to support and oppose the measure have reported over $94.3 million in contributions. Proposition 29 is the third ballot initiative sponsored by SEIU-UHW to make the ballot since 2018.

There were five committees registered to support and oppose Proposition 30, which would enact an additional income tax on income above $2 million to fund zero-emission vehicles and wildfire prevention. The three support committees reported $37.1 million in contributions, and the two opposition committees reported over $12 million. 

Committees surrounding Proposition 31, a referendum on a flavored tobacco sales ban, reported $29.2 million in contributions. The top donors to the committee registered in support of a “yes” vote to uphold the ban were Michael Bloomberg ($4.3 million) and the Kaiser Foundation ($1.1 million). The top donors to the committee registered in support of a “no” vote to repeal the ban were Philip Morris USA, Inc. ($9.3 million) and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ($9.5 million).

The next campaign finance filing deadline for California ballot measure committees is Oct. 27.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/What_were_the_most_expensive_ballot_measures_in_California

https://ballotpedia.org/Ballot_measure_campaign_finance,_2022



Referendum on Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts expansion bill will not make the 2024 ballot

On Sept. 30, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) announced that a referendum on Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) expansion legislation will not make the ballot.

A week earlier, the campaign for the referendum, the Save Our Schools PAC, submitted signatures to place the measure on the ballot. The campaign said it submitted 141,714 signatures. Secretary Hobbs announced that a statutorily prescribed review of the petitions failed to meet the minimum signature requirement of 118,823 signatures. While the review of the petition sheets is still ongoing, Secretary Hobbs announced that the referendum will not make the 2024 ballot.

The Save Our Schools PAC put out a statement following the failure to make the ballot. “Today, Arizona’s public schools were dealt a devastating blow,” the campaign said, “The universal ESA voucher scheme passed by the Republican controlled legislature and signed by Governor Ducey has gone into effect despite our network’s herculean effort to stop it in its tracks.”

In Arizona, an empowerment scholarship account, or ESA, allows parents or guardians of students with disabilities to sign a contract to opt out of the public school system, and instead receive an ESA from the Arizona Department of Education (DOE) that could be spent on private education, homeschooling, or other non-public education. Between 2011 and 2017, the program was expanded to cover students meeting other specified criteria.

In 2017, the Arizona State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1431 (SB1431) to expand the ESA program to make all K-12 students eligible. The Save Our Schools PAC led the campaign to place a veto referendum against SB1431 on the general election ballot for 2018. Voters rejected SB 1431, repealing the law.

During the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 2853, which would expand the ESA program to include all students eligible to enroll in an Arizona public school for kindergarten, grades one through twelve, or a preschool program for children with disabilities.

Supporters of the ESA expansion, such as the Goldwater Institute, state that it gives parents more choice. “At the end of the day the purpose of the ESA program and school choice is to give parents the ability to pursue the best education for their kids, regardless of what form it comes in,” said Matt Beienburg, director of education policy for the Goldwater Institute, “We are focused on individual student aid, not an institution or a particular form of education.”

Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools and opponent of HB 2853, said that tax dollars should not be used to fund non-public schools. “If a school wants to take public funds, they need to take public accountability,” she said.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_2024_ballot_measures



Nevada Supreme Court Justice Abbi Silver retires

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Abbi Silver retired on Sept. 29, 2022. Silver was the only judge in Nevada’s history to be elected to every court in the state’s court system.

Silver was elected to the state supreme court in 2018, filling the seat vacated by Justice Michael Douglas. Prior to this election, Silver served on the Nevada Court of Appeals from 2015 to 2019. She was one of three judges appointed to form the court, which was created by a voter-approved constitutional amendment. Silver became chief judge of the court on Jan. 2, 2017. She also served on the Las Vegas Municipal Court, Las Vegas Justice Court, and the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court.

In the event of a midterm vacancy, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection solicits and screens applicants. The commission presents a list of three nominees to the governor, who appoints one to fill the vacancy until the next general election. If the predecessor’s term is not expiring that election cycle, the appointed justice must win election to the court in order to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

In 2022, there have been 19 supreme court vacancies in 14 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Nevada_Supreme_Court_justice_vacancy_(September_2022)

https://ballotpedia.org/State_supreme_court_vacancies,_2022

https://ballotpedia.org/Nevada_Supreme_Court



Texas State Board of Education approves changes to social studies curriculum

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) on September 26, 2022, voted 8-5 to approve changes to public education curriculum guidelines that aim to align with the requirements set forth in Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) concerning instruction about race in social studies curriculum. 

Texas lawmakers passed SB 3 during a 2021 special session following the prior passage of House Bill 3979 (HB 3979), which Governor Greg Abbott (R) described as “a strong move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done.” SB 3, signed into law by Governor Abbott on June 8, 2021, does not reference the term critical race theory but prohibits instruction stating that an individual is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously, among other provisions. 

The law directed the SBOE to align the K-12 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)—the state’s required curriculum and education content standards—with the new requirements. The SBOE in August failed to overhaul the full TEKS and instead sought to revise the existing curriculum standards. These revisions included the addition of civics lessons to the social studies standards on ”understanding the founding documents, civic engagement, and an appreciation of the United States and its form of government,” according to a statement from SBOE Chairman Dr. Keven Ellis. 

During a September 26 meeting, SBOE member Rebecca Bell-Metereau (D) discussed what she views as confusion in the education community regarding the language of the law and the stated goal of some lawmakers, including Governor Greg Abbott, to eliminate critical race theory instruction in classrooms. “People have talked about critical race theory without understanding what it is. The definition has become that this is teaching children to not like each other on the basis of race, which is not a correct definition of critical race theory,” said Bell-Metereau.

Pat Hardy (R), a board member from Fort Worth, emphasized that these revisions aim to provide better guidance on how to teach civics education. She said, “We’re working right now mainly on skills – specific skills – how to balance things, fact and opinion, that sort of stuff.”

Additional links:

https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_State_Board_of_Education

https://ballotpedia.org/Greg_Abbott

https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_State_Board_of_Education

https://ballotpedia.org/Areas_of_inquiry_and_disagreement_related_to_critical_race_theory_(CRT) https://ballotpedia.org/Use_of_the_term_critical_race_theory_(CRT)

Reference links:

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2022/09/26/texas-approves-social-studies-tweaks-to-comply-with-anti-critical-race-theory-law/

https://thetexan.news/state-board-of-education-votes-to-amend-social-studies-curricula-to-comply-with-critical-race-theory-ban/

https://www.cbsnews.com/dfw/news/texas-state-board-of-education-votes-on-changes-to-social-studies-curriculum/

https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/senate-bill-3-87th-texas-legislature-second-called-session-update-to-instructional-requirements-and-prohibitions

https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/SB3/2021