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Election night results in Anchorage show no on alcohol tax, six bond issues ahead

Voters in Anchorage, Alaska, weighed in on 11 local measures at the citywide election Tuesday. The first summary report released election night showed voters opposing the proposed alcohol sales tax, Proposition 9, by a margin of 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.
 
Proposition 9 was designed to enact a 5 percent sales tax on alcoholic beverages to fund homelessness services, behavioral health programs, and illegal campsite removal. Support for the measure came from Yes for a Safer Anchorage, with endorsements from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, among others. Alaskans Against Unfair Alcohol Taxes led the campaign in opposition to Proposition 9, and the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association (CHARR) came out against the tax.
 
Initial results also showed six of seven bond measures ahead, with Proposition 3 behind at 47 percent approval. Proposition 3 was designed to authorize $5.5 million in bonds to fund improvements to city buildings and facilities. Propositions that were ahead included a $59 million bond issue for the Anchorage School District and a $33 million bond issue for road and storm drain improvements in the Anchorage Roads and Drainage Service Area.
 
Additionally, as of election night, voters were in favor of transferring substations in Frontierland Park and Goose Lake Park to Chugach Electric, allowing peace officers to enforce vehicle violations, and allowing sitting Assemblies to have discretion over lease-purchase payments.
 


Kansas City voters turn down early childhood education sales tax

Voters in Kansas City, Missouri, rejected an initiative to establish a sales tax that would fund early childhood education by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent on Tuesday.
 
The ballot initiative, Question 1, would have authorized an additional citywide tax on all retail sales at a rate of 0.375 percent (three-eighths of a cent) for ten years. Proponents designed the initiative to set aside tax revenue for pre-k instruction, early childhood center improvements, and early childhood education staffing.
 
The group Progress KC led the support campaign—Pre-K for KC, and Kansas City Mayor Sly James supported Question 1. Vote No KC Question 1 led the opposition campaign, arguing that an insufficient portion of the funds would benefit students directly.
 
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Colorado Springs voters reject collective bargaining for firefighters

On Tuesday, voters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, rejected Issue 1, a citizen initiative designed to allow collective bargaining for uniformed city fire employees. According to unofficial election night results with 95 percent of precincts reporting, the measure was opposed by 69 percent of voters.
 
Approval of Issue 1 would have added an article to the city charter permitting firefighters to select an employee organization as their sole representative to act in negotiations with the city.
 
Under SB 25, known as the Firefighter Safety Act (2013), local governments in Colorado may allow collective bargaining with voter approval. However, following the rejection of Issue 1, the Colorado Springs City Charter will continue to prohibit employee organizations from negotiating with the city regarding firefighters’ compensation. Public employers in the city are still required under SB 25 to meet and confer with firefighters or their employee organizations upon request to discuss other policies, such as safety and equipment.
 
Issue 1 was put on the ballot after initiative proponents submitted 17,322 valid signatures to the city clerk in December 2018. The group Firefighters for a Safer Colorado Springs led the campaign in favor of a “yes” vote, raising over $670,000 by March 29, 2019. The Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 5, was the top donor to the “yes” campaign, funding 44 percent of the total contributions to date.
 
Two opposition campaigns, Citizens Against Public Employee Unions and Americans for Prosperity, raised a combined $392,000 to defeat Issue 1 as of the March 29 filing. The group Colorado Springs Forward was the top donor in opposition to the initiative, providing 45 percent of the monetary contributions leading up to the election.
 
With the defeat of Issue 1, Colorado Springs continues to diverge from other major cities in Colorado that have adopted collective bargaining for firefighters, including Denver, Fort Collins, Aurora, and Pueblo.
 
Voter turnout for the April 2 general election was 32 percent, according to city officials. In addition to deciding Issue 1, Colorado Springs residents cast votes for the offices of mayor and three of nine seats on the city council.
 


Chicago City Council runoffs: At least 3 more incumbents defeated

On Tuesday, Chicago voters cast ballots for 15 city council runoff elections, in addition to runoffs for mayor and treasurer. Four of the 15 council runoffs were for open seats, and 11 featured incumbents seeking re-election.
 
At least three incumbent aldermen lost their re-election bids on Tuesday, adding to the three who lost outright in the general election on February 26. As of 10:45 a.m. CT, the races for the 5th, 33rd, and 46th wards were too close to call.
 
One incumbent who lost Tuesday night was 40th Ward Ald. Pat O’Connor, the second longest-serving member on the Chicago City Council. He was first elected in 1983. O’Connor lost to André Vasquez, who challenged O’Connor from the left. O’Connor campaigned as a progressive as well.
 
Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th) lost to Stephanie Coleman and Ald. Milagros Santiago (31st) was defeated by Felix Cardona Jr.
 
Forty-five of 50 city council members sought re-election in 2019. In 2015, 44 incumbents sought re-election and seven were defeated—an 84 percent re-election rate.


Justus and Lucas advance in Kansas City mayoral primary

City council members Jolie Justus and Quinton Lucas advanced from the mayoral primary election in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday. They each received about 25 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. They were among a field of 11 candidates seeking to succeed term-limited Mayor Sly James. The general election is June 18.
 
Justus and Lucas have both been on the city council since 2015. Justus also served as a Democratic state senator from 2007 to 2015 and works as the director of pro bono services for a law firm. Lucas is an attorney and teaches law at the University of Kansas.
 
Kansas City uses a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives.
 
The mayor’s primary responsibilities are to preside over city council meetings and official city ceremonies, and to represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.
 
Kansas City voters will also elect all 12 members of the city council on June 18.
 
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Democrat Pam Iovino wins PA State Senate District 37, flips seat

Pam Iovino (D) defeated D. Raja (R) in the special election for Pennsylvania State Senate District 37. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, Iovino led Raja 54 percent to 46 percent.
 
This is the first state legislative seat to flip from Republican to Democrat as a result of a special election this year. Previously, four flipped from Democrat to Republican in Minnesota, Connecticut, and Kentucky, and one flipped from Republican to Independent in Louisiana.
 
The seat has changed partisan control in recent years. Matthew Smith (D) was elected to the seat in 2012 to replace retiring incumbent John Pippy (R).
 
Smith resigned in 2015 to become president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. Guy Reschenthaler (R) then won a November 2015 special election by 10 percentage points to replace Smith and was then elected to a full term in 2016 by more than 20 percentage points.
 
In the 2016 presidential election, this district voted for Donald Trump (R) over Hillary Clinton (D) by 5.8 percentage points.


Lori Lightfoot will be the next mayor of Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city

Former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot defeated Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle in Chicago’s mayoral runoff election Tuesday. With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Lightfoot received 74 percent of the vote to Preckwinkle’s 26 percent.
 
Lightfoot was president of the Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018. She also chaired the Police Accountability Task Force and was a senior equity partner at the law firm Mayer Brown. Lightfoot held several positions in city government under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
 
Both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle described themselves as the progressive in the race and called each other’s progressive credentials into question based on their political and professional histories.
 
Lightfoot presented herself as the reform candidate who is independent of corrupt machine-style politics. She noted her background as a senior equity partner and her past roles in city government, saying she had requisite experience managing teams and budgets. Lightfoot referred to Preckwinkle as a party boss due to her roles as Cook County Democratic Party chair and former party committeewoman.
 
Preckwinkle highlighted her experience as an alderman and Cook County Board of Commissioners president, saying she had the experience to run the city and a progressive record. She contrasted her experience in elected office with Lightfoot’s previous appointments to positions by mayors, saying the latter connected Lightfoot to the political elite, and criticized elements of Lightfoot’s legal career.
 
The 2019 race was Chicago’s fourth open-seat mayoral race in 100 years and the second mayoral runoff election in the city’s history. Lightfoot will be the city’s first female African-American mayor and its first openly gay mayor.
 
Chicago also held runoff elections for 15 city council seats and for city treasurer Tuesday.
 
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California Proposition 63’s provision on large-capacity firearm magazines declared unconstitutional by federal judge

On March 29, 2019, Judge Roger Benitez of the U.S. District Court of Southern California ruled that a provision of Proposition 63 banning large-capacity firearm magazines (more than 10 rounds) was unconstitutional. He wrote, “[Proposition 63] burdens the core of the Second Amendment by criminalizing the acquisition and possession of these magazines that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of self, home, and state.”
 
Voters approved Proposition 63 in 2016. Before Proposition 63, residents who owned large-capacity magazines before 2000 were allowed to keep them. Proposition 63 was designed to criminalize possession and require owners, including those who possessed large-capacity magazines before 2000, to remove them from the state, sell them to a firearms dealer, or surrender them to law enforcement. The provision was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017, but Judge Benitez placed an injunction on the provision on June 29, 2017, pending his final order.
 
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who was lieutenant governor in 2016, was involved in developing Proposition 63. He responded to Judge Benitez’s ruling, saying, “This District Court Judge’s failure to uphold a ban on high-capacity magazines is indefensible, dangerous for our communities and contradicts well-established case law.”
 
If appealed, the case would go before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said his office is “reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps.”
 


Nine candidates file for Las Vegas special election

Candidates had until March 28 to file for a Las Vegas City Council special election for Ward 2. Nine candidates filed by the deadline, including former state assembly members Valerie Weber and Victoria Seaman. The seven other candidates are Patsy Brown, Bruce Feher, Hilarie Grey, David Orentlicher, Derrick Penney, Richard Plaster, and Michael Tomko. The special election on June 11 coincides with the city’s general election for mayor and three other city council seats. All of the elections are nonpartisan.
 
The special election became necessary after the former Ward 2 representative, Steve Seroka, resigned on March 4. He had served on the city council since 2017. Prior to his resignation, Seroka was the subject of a recall attempt. Recall organizers had accused Seroka of having anti-development positions.
 
Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada and the 29th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


March 2019 OIRA review count; highest monthly review count of 2019

In March 2019, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 27 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. The agency approved three rules without changes and approved the intent of 23 rules while recommending changes to their content. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.
 
OIRA reviewed 19 significant regulatory actions in March 2018—eight fewer rules than the 27 significant regulatory actions reviewed by the agency in March 2019. During the Obama administration from 2009-2016, OIRA reviewed an average of 42 significant regulatory actions each February.
 
OIRA reviewed a total of 355 significant rules in 2018. In 2017, the agency reviewed 237 significant rules.
 
As of April 1, 2019, OIRA’s website listed 115 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.