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Federal Register weekly update: Year-to-date total tops 30,000 pages

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

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 overall regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From May 31 through June 4, the Federal Register grew by 958 pages for a year-to-date total of 30,130 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 389 documents:

• 299 notices

• four presidential documents

• 32 proposed rules

• 54 final rules

One final rule from the Bureau of Industry and Security implementing a court ruling on jurisdictional changes to certain software and technology products was 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 19 significant proposed rules and 10 significant final rules as of June 4.

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.

Click here to find more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017: Changes to the Federal Register 

Additional reading:

Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2018: Historical additions to the Federal Register, 1936-2018



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #262: June 8, 2021

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

  • Changes in coronavirus restrictions in Hawaii and New York
  • A law prohibiting proof-of-vaccination requirements in Texas
  • Vaccine distribution
  • Lawsuits about state actions and policies 
  • State-level mask requirements
  • Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
  • COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year 

We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.

Since our last edition

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

Hawaii (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. David Ige (D) announced social gathering limits will expand to 25 people indoors and 75 outdoors when 60% of state residents are fully vaccinated. Restaurants will also be able to expand to 75% capacity.
  • Ige said all social gathering and capacity restrictions will end once 70% of state residents are fully vaccinated.

New York (Democratic trifecta): 

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced most coronavirus restrictions will end once 70% of adults 18 and older receive at least one dose of a vaccine. New York Forward guidance will be optional for businesses like restaurants, retailers, and gyms. Masks will still be required for unvaccinated residents, and restrictions will remain in place for large event venues, correctional facilities, and healthcare facilities. 
  • Cuomo also announced school districts can choose to end the indoor mask requirement. 

Texas (Republican trifecta): On Monday, June 7, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill prohibiting state and local government agencies from issuing COVID-19 documentation that could be used to verify a person’s vaccination status. The bill also prohibits government agencies and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services or enter the premises. Abbott previously issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies and businesses that receive state funding from requiring proof of vaccination. 

Washington (Democratic trifecta): On June 7, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced “Joints for Jabs,” an initiative to encourage adults 21 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Under the initiative, adults who receive at least one dose of a vaccine are eligible to get a free marijuana joint from a state-licensed dispensary. 

Vaccine distribution

We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 3 edition of the newsletter. As of June 7, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:

The states with the lowest rates were:

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,804 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 541 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since June 1, we have added no new lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked no additional court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Noem v. Haaland: On June 2, Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota rejected South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) attempt to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to commemorate the Fourth of July. Lange, an appointee of President Barack Obama (D), denied Noem’s request for a preliminary injunction after the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) denied the fireworks display. The Interior Department cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental, cultural, and safety concerns. Noem alleged DOI’s permit rejection letter was “a patchwork of vague and speculative purported concerns” that violated a memorandum of understanding between the state and the Trump administration. Noem said the 2020 fireworks display “was a rousing success, and not a single COVID-19 case was traced back to it.” Lange wrote that “under governing law, the State is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims and has not met the requirements” to prove DOI acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Noem said she would appeal the decision: “[w]e will continue fighting to once again return fireworks to Mount Rushmore.”

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the June 1 edition of the newsletter. Since then, Ohio’s statewide mask mandate ended June 2. 

Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Sixty-five members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • Two hundred thirty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Eighty-six state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 43 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.

Since June 1, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.

This time last year: Tuesday, June 9, 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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020:

  • Stay-at-home orders:
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) ended the state’s stay-at-home order. Murphy first issued the order on March 21. 
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Department of Defense announced it was lifting travel restrictions on installations in 38 states, Washington D.C., and five countries (Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., and Japan). Service members could travel between those areas without needing permission. The Department maintained travel restrictions for a dozen states.


Four states have enacted donor disclosure laws so far in 2021

Four states have enacted donor disclosure laws so far in 2021

As we move into June, legislative session activity is beginning to wind down. As of June 8, 17 state legislatures are still in regular session, two are in special session, and the rest have adjourned. So far this year, four states – Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee – have enacted legislation prohibiting public agencies from disclosing identifying information about a nonprofit’s donors. Today, we take a look back at those bills. 

What the bills do

The four enacted bills are Arkansas SB535, Iowa HF309, South Dakota SB103, and Tennessee HB0159. While their details vary, they all prohibit public agencies from:

  • Requiring a tax-exempt nonprofit to provide a public agency with personal information about its donors, members, supporters, or volunteers. 
  • Requiring individuals to provide personal identifying information about their involvement with nonprofits.
  • Publicly disclosing any personal information a public agency might possess. 
  • Requiring a current or prospective contractor to provide a public agency with a list of the nonprofits the contractor has supported.

The bills do not bar public agencies from releasing personal information about a nonprofit’s donors, supporters, etc. pursuant to an active law enforcement investigation or a lawful warrant, subpoena, or other court order.

Enactment dates for these bills are as follows:

Political context   

Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee are all Republican trifectas. This means that Republicans control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Other noteworthy developments

On April 26, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, a case involving a California law that requires nonprofits to file copies of their IRS 990 forms with the state. This 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 does not allow the public access to Schedule B information, court documents show that inadvertent disclosures have occurred. 

In 2014, Americans for Prosperity challenged the law in U.S. district court, triggering a series of legal developments spanning several years. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling in the case sometime before the end of the month. 

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state: We’re currently tracking 38 pieces of legislation dealing with donor disclosure. 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

For complete information on all of the bills we are tracking, click here

  • California SB686: This bill would require a limited liability company that qualifies as a committee or a sponsor of a committee under the state’s campaign finance laws to file a statement of members with the secretary of state. The statement of members must include a list of all persons who have a membership interest in the limited liability company of at least 10% or who made a cumulative capital contribution of at least $1,000 to the company after it qualified as a committee or sponsor of a committee, or within the 2 calendar years before it qualified..
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • The Senate passed the bill on June 2. It is now pending in the Assembly.

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



Economy and Society: SEC halts enforcement of proxy advisory amendments


ESG Developments This Week

In Washington, D.C.

SEC halts enforcement of proxy advisory amendments

In July 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission amended several rules under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, codifying 2019 regulatory guidance requiring greater scrutiny of Proxy Advisory Services. The amendments went into effect in November 2020 and were scheduled to begin mandatory compliance on December 1, 2021. Last week, newly installed SEC Chairman Gary Gensler issued a statement directing Commission staff to reconsider the guidance and the amendments, which, in turn, caused the Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance to issue its own statement, effectively halting enforcement of the amendments:

“Gary Gensler, the new chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, released a statement on June 1, 2021, directing SEC staff to consider revisiting its interpretation and guidance from September 2019 regarding the application of the proxy rules to proxy advisors (the 2019 Guidance), and the amendments that it adopted in July 2020 that modified Rules 14a-1(l), 14a-2(b) and 14a-9 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the 2020 Amendments)….

In response to Chairman Gensler’s directive, the Division of Corporation Finance issued a public statement that it would consider recommending that the SEC revisit the 2019 Guidance and the 2020 Amendments. Notably, the Division of Corporation Finance also stated that it would not recommend enforcement action based on the 2019 Guidance or the 2020 Amendments while the SEC considers further regulatory action. In addition, the Division confirmed that, in the event that the 2020 Amendments remain in place with the current December 1, 2021 compliance date, the staff will not recommend any enforcement action based on those conditions for a reasonable period of time after any resumption by ISS of its litigation challenging the 2020 Amendments and the 2019 Guidance.

It is uncertain how or when the SEC will move forward to review and perhaps revise the 2019 Guidance and 2020 Amendments, although it appears that a majority of SEC members do not support them. In the interim, for however long that interim period may be, the Division of Corporation Finance’s refusal to seek to enforce the 2019 Guidance, and 2020 Amendments once they become applicable, would seem to be tantamount to their suspension or repeal.”

The ESG impact of the SEC’s decisions is potentially significant, as the two largest proxy advisory servicesInstitutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass-Lewisare considered ESG allies in many proxy ballot measures, recommending their clients vote their proxies in favor of what are deemed ESG-friendly petitions and executive and director decisions.

SEC Commissioner and former acting-Chair, Allision Herren Lee also recommended that Commission staff examine and consider revisions to another amendment approved during the Trump administration, one dealing with the amount of stock that must be held and for how long it must be held before filing a first-time shareholder proposal. Commissioner Gensler has yet to announce his plans for this amendment.

On Wall Street and in the private sector

Activist hedge fund wins third seat on Exxon board

As noted in last week’s edition of this newsletter, the activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 challenged three seats of Exxon’s board of directors on this year’s proxy statement and, as of Exxon’s annual meeting (on May 26) and last week’s publication date (on June 1), it was clear that the activist upstarts had won two of those three seats. On Wednesday, June 2, Exxon updated the vote count, resulting in a larger victory for Engine No. 1:

“Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) shareholders elected a third director nominated by hedge fund Engine No. 1 to the oil company’s board, the company said on Wednesday, extending the firm’s upset victory at one of America’s top energy corporations.

The election was a shock to an energy industry struggling to address growing investor concerns about global warming and a warning to Exxon managers that years of weak returns were no longer acceptable.

Engine No. 1 nominee Alexander Karsner, a strategist at Google owner Alphabet Inc , won the fund’s third seat out of its 12-member board, according to a regulatory filing.”

That same day, Ursula Burns, an Exxon director who was retained, spoke remotely to the Dallas Federal reserve and called the vote a watershed moment in shareholder activism and acknowledging that, in her words, “the timing was perfect” for such an effort by an environmentally focused activist group like Engine No. 1.

ESG: hot job sector

According to The Financial Times, the rapid growth of ESG as an investment scheme and a business-pressure tactic has turned those deemed to possess expertise in Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance matters into the hottest commodity in the job market. In so doing, ESG is proving to be impactful well beyond the bounds of corporate finance:

“More than one in five of the world’s largest companies have made some form of commitment to reaching net zero emissions and investors are sharpening their focus on the social impact of companies they back, creating a boom in the market for specialists in corporate sustainability.

“The bottom line is demand far outstrips supply and so there is going to be a real war for talent and that will include compensation,” said Sarah Galloway, co-leader of recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates’ sustainability practice.

Demand for ESG experts is booming across professional services, including at management consultancies, boutique advisory firms and property companies, recruiters and executives said….

Experts are also being lured by private equity funds to fill roles as chief sustainability officer and head of ESG with salaries varying widely, recruiters said.

“Private equity has realised you can’t IPO a business unless it’s got a really strong sustainability or ESG story so they are all hiring heads of ESG or sustainability at very senior levels . . . to oversee their portfolios,” said Galloway….

Growing expectations that auditors will scrutinise non-financial metrics as well as companies’ accounts are also driving demand for new expertise at accounting firms, which are recruiting specialists and providing training to auditors.

“ESG metrics and reporting are fast becoming a business imperative, particularly due to increased scrutiny from investors, and we intend to move ahead of regulatory reforms by expanding our capability and capacity in this area,” said Scott Knight, head of audit at BDO, the UK’s fifth-largest accounting firm.”

Chinese ESG?

Over the weekend, the South China Morning Post argued that the ESG movement in Asia, which has been hot, but not as hot as in Europe and the United States, would, in its words, take off:

“Environment, social and governance disclosures by mainland China-listed companies have improved but remain short of the needs of international fund managers, who are increasingly pushed by asset owners to embed ESG considerations into investment decisions, according to asset managers.

Engagement by foreign investors has already seen some companies enhance disclosures, while impending regulatory requirements would improve it further, they said….

Funds managed with strategies linked to companies’ ESG performance doubled in Asia to US$25 billion last year from US$12 billion in 2019, according to JPMorgan.

“We believe this could quite possibly double again this year, judging by the amount of investor interest and momentum we are seeing,” said Elaine Wu, head of ESG and utilities research in Asia excluding Japan at JPMorgan. ESG funds focusing on the region have outperformed global ESG funds by 2 to 5 percentage points in the past two years, she added.

Currently, mainland-listed firms are encouraged by the CSRC to voluntarily publish annual sustainability or social responsibility reports. These disclosures focus mostly on environmental sustainability and philanthropic contributions.

Over 1,000 or 27 per cent of these companies issued ESG reports in 2020, with 86 percent of the largest 300 mainland-listed stocks by market value doing so – up from 49 per cent in 2010, said Felix Lam, head of investment stewardship for Asia-Pacific excluding Japan at JP Morgan Asset Management.”

ESG down under

ESG is booming in Europe, in the United States, in Asia, and now, apparently, in Australia as well. Bloomberg reported last week on Australian Ethical Investment, Ltd., noting the company’s good fortunes of late and the concomitant boom in Australian ESG:

“There’s been a seismic shift in the interest and demand for this style of investing,” John McMurdo, chief executive officer at Australian Ethical Investment Ltd., said in an interview in Sydney Thursday. “There is significant momentum.”…

Funds and strategies that focus on environmental, social and governance factors are booming worldwide amid an uptake from investors and companies to own more sustainable investments. McMurdo says the addressable market — the audience — for his funds shot up to between 60%-80% of the Australian population, up from around 15% just two years ago….

“There’s a sort of myth that you have to give up investment performance to invest in an ethical way,” McMurdo said. “That myth has been well and truly busted.”

In the spotlight

Alignment theory in ESG, again

In several past issues, this newsletter has reported on various efforts to connect executive compensation to ESG performancemostly in Canada and the EU but occasionally in the United States as well. Last Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported on private equity firms that are trying, despite complications, to link compensation to ESG performance metrics, which would change the business in significant ways:

“Private-equity investors are considering a novel strategy to make sure the firms they back are good corporate citizens: Tie their promises to their pay.

More institutions are weighing whether to link asset managers’ compensation to performance on environmental, social and governance issues, say people who consult with investors and help private-equity firms raise money.

These efforts—which are more advanced in Europe than in the U.S.—would represent a radical change in how private-equity managers get paid. For decades, buyout managers have received their main compensation through a 20% share of the profits when an investment is sold, referred to as a manager’s carried interest.

Advocates of linking pay to ESG say it shows firms mean business. Private-equity firms regularly talk up their ESG policies, but there is little data on how well the industry as a whole performs on these issues.

“Our carry-link shows we put our money where our mouth is,” Vishesh Srivastava, managing partner of Future Business Partnership, a European consumer-specialist impact-investing firm, wrote in an email….”

Notable quotes

“My sources inside BlackRock say that over the past year, Fink has transformed the place into an ESG cultural center. Fink talks ESG nonstop at company town halls. Seminars on ESG investing seem to take place every week. An executive named Brian Deese was promoted to push money managers to consider ESG in all their investment decisions.

Deese is now one of several BlackRock officials who hold key positions in the Biden administration, as director of the president’s National Economic Council.”

Charles Gasparino, “BlackRock’s ‘No. 1’ goal in ‘woke’ investing: Huge ESG-funds haul,” The New York Post, June 5, 2021



Stanfill confirmed as Maine supreme court’s chief justice

The Maine State Senate confirmed Valerie Stanfill as the chief justice of Maine’s highest court on June 3. Gov. Janet Mills (D) appointed Stanfill to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court on May 10 to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Leigh Saufley retired in April 2020. The Maine State Senate was required to confirm Stanfill’s appointment.

Stanfill previously served on the Maine Superior Court from February 2020 until her confirmation to the supreme court. She served on the Maine District Court from January 2007 to February 2020. Stanfill’s career experience before becoming a judge included working as an acting director with the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, a visiting clinical professor of law with the University of Maine School of Law, and an attorney in private practice.

Stanfill earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Maine School of Law.

Stanfill joins six other justices on the seven-member court:

• Catherine Connors – appointed by Gov. Janet Mills (D) in 2020

• Ellen Gorman – appointed by Gov. John Baldacci (D) in 2007

• Andrew Horton – appointed by Gov. Mills in 2020

• Thomas Humphrey – appointed by Gov. Paul LePage (R) in 2015

• Joseph Jabar – appointed by Gov. Baldacci in 2009

• Andrew Mead – appointed by Gov. Baldacci in 2007

In 2020, there were 23 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. So far in 2021, there have been 11 supreme court vacancies in nine of those 29 states.

Additional reading:



The Daily Brew: Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

Welcome to the Tuesday, June 8, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot
  2. Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5
  3. New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Colorado legislature passes bill to remove bond issue from 2021 ballot

We regularly cover the certification of new ballot measures here in the Brew. What happens less frequently is when a legislature removes a measure from the ballot that it had previously certified. Let me catch you up on the details.

The Colorado General Assembly passed a transportation funding bill on June 2, providing $5.4 billion in transportation spending over 10 years. It would also remove a transportation bond issue from the November ballot. Governor Jared Polis (D) is expected to sign the legislation, which was passed largely along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

The bill would create new sources of dedicated funding for transportation and four new government-owned businesses that provide goods or services for a fee or surcharge. About $3.8 of the $5.4 billion in funds will come from new fees that take effect in July 2022, including fees on gasoline and diesel purchases, retail deliveries, Uber and Lyft rides, electric vehicle registrations, and car rentals.

The transportation bond measure would have issued $1.337 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects with a maximum repayment cost of $1.865 billion over 20 years. The General Assembly first approved it in 2018 and put it on the 2019 ballot. Voters defeated two citizen initiatives that would have authorized transportation bonds in 2018. In 2019, the legislature delayed the measure to the 2020 ballot. In 2020, the General Assembly voted to delay the measure to 2021 due to economic concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

I asked our ballot measures director, Josh Altic, if he could recall other instances where a legislature approved and then removed a measure from the ballot. Here was his response: 

Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on July 30 that the state was removing a $3.0 billion bond measure from the 2020 ballot for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation. The legislature had approved the bond measure in April 2020, but the state budget director removed the measure after determining it would harm the state’s finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature had authorized the state budget director to make such a determination when it approved budget legislation last year.

In 2016, the Arizona legislature initially approved a measure that would have required revenue from the sale or use of state trust land to be earmarked for managing and improving the lands. Later that year, the legislature passed a bill ordering the secretary of state to remove the measure from the ballot. 

So, it’s not especially common, but it does happen.

If the Colorado bond measure is removed from the ballot, 24 statewide ballot measures will go before voters this year in six states, including 11 which were decided earlier this year in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The chart below shows the number of measures appearing on statewide ballots in odd years from 1987 to 2017.

Read on

Reviewing the results from Texas’ municipal runoff elections on June 5 

Several cities in Texas held municipal runoff elections on June 5. Here’s a review of the results our team tracked over the weekend:

Fort Worth Mayor

Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples, 54% to 46%. Incumbent Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election. Parker had endorsements from Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), the Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Arlington Mayor

Attorney Jim Ross defeated former city council member Michael Glaspie, 54% to 46%, in the city’s first open-seat mayoral election since 2003. Incumbent Jeff Williams (R) was term-limited. Ross had endorsements from Williams and four of the city’s police unions. 

Dallas City Council

Voters decided elections for six of 14 seats on the Dallas City Council. Of three races involving incumbents, one lost and two won. Three districts were open-seat contests because the incumbents were term-limited. After the elections, new members will hold four of the council’s 14 seats.

New Jersey, Virginia holding statewide primary elections today

Election day! The two states holding gubernatorial elections this year—New Jersey and Virginia—are both holding statewide primaries today—on June 8. Here’s a quick look at what voters are deciding in those states:

New Jersey

New Jersey is holding primaries for governor and all seats in both chambers of the state legislature—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) faces one write-in candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Four candidates are competing for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. We’re also covering local primaries for Essex County sheriff and Hudson County register. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Virginia

Virginia voters are deciding Democratic primaries for three state executive offices, with five candidates running for governor, six for lieutenant governor, and two for attorney general. Both parties are holding primaries for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach are also conducting municipal primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia selected its nominees for the three statewide executive offices at an unassembled convention on May 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia. 

Find out what’s on your ballot 



Mattie Parker defeats Deborah Peoples in Fort Worth mayoral runoff election

Mattie Parker defeated Deborah Peoples in the Fort Worth mayoral runoff election on June 5, 2021. Parker received 54% of the vote to Peoples’ 46%. Parker and Peoples advanced to the runoff from the general election on May 1, 2021. Incumbent Mayor Betsy Price (R) did not run for re-election.

Prior to the election, Parker worked in education and as the chief of staff for the Fort Worth Mayor and City Council. She received endorsements from incumbent Mayor Price, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), and the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Price was first elected in 2011, and then re-elected in 2015 and 2019. In 2019, Price won with 56% of the vote, and Peoples was the runner-up with 42%. Prior to Price’s 2011 win, Fort Worth had not elected an openly Republican mayor in twenty years. In the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections, Joe Biden (D) and Hillary Clinton (D) won the city with 52% and 56% of the vote, respectively.

Heading into 2021, the mayors of 25 of the country’s 100 largest cities, including Fort Worth were affiliated with the Republican Party. The mayors of 64 of the 100 largest cities were affiliated with the Democratic Party.

To read more about the mayoral runoff election in Fort Worth, click here:

To read more about city election in Fort Worth, click here:



Jim Ross defeats Michael Glaspie in mayoral runoff election in Arlington, Texas

Attorney Jim Ross defeated former city councilor Michael Glaspie in the general election runoff for mayor of Arlington, Texas, on June 5, 2021. Ross received 54.4% of the vote to Glaspie’s 45.6%. This was the first mayoral election in Arlington since 2003 without an incumbent on the ballot. Mayor Jeff Williams (R) was term-limited and unable to seek re-election.

Ross received an early endorsement from Williams and described his campaign as a continuation of the incumbent’s tenure. On his campaign website, Ross wrote, “as Mayor Williams approaches the end of his last term in office, the big question is, ‘Where do we go from here?’ The answer is simple, FORWARD!”

Before entering the election, Ross owned a law firm and Mercury Chophouse, a local restaurant. He previously worked as a police officer with the Arlington Police Department and served on the board of directors for the Arlington Police Foundation. In addition to his endorsement from Williams, Ross received endorsements from Arlington’s four police unions.



Special election primary to be held June 12 in Louisiana Senate district

A special election primary is being held on June 12 for District 7 of the Louisiana State Senate. Joanna Cappiello-Leopold (D), Gary Carter Jr. (D), Mack Cormier (D), and Patricia McCarty (R) are running in the primary. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate does, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

The District 7 seat became vacant after Troy Carter (D) won a special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District on April 24. Carter had represented District 7 since 2016. He resigned on May 10, a day prior to his swearing-in as a member of Congress.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 27-11 majority in the Louisiana Senate with one vacancy. Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of June, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Louisiana held 36 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional reading: