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Redistricting map updates: proposals, advancements, and enactments between Dec. 29 and Jan. 5

Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 5, officials in at least seven states either proposed, advanced, or enacted new redistricting maps.

Proposed

Florida: The Senate Redistricting Committee released eight new maps—four of congressional districts and four of Senate districts—on Jan. 5 ahead of the start of the regularly-scheduled legislative session on Jan. 11. The Florida Constitution requires legislators to complete redistricting during the legislative session, though both chambers’ redistricting committees and the public have been able to submit proposals leading up to the session’s start.

In Florida, the legislature draws both congressional and state legislative district maps. The congressional map is passed as a regular statute, meaning it is subject to a gubernatorial veto. The legislative maps are passed as a joint resolution and, therefore, are not subject to a veto. Any legislative maps passed are automatically submitted to the state supreme court for final approval.

Kentucky: Republican lawmakers released new House district maps on Dec. 30 followed by Senate and congressional maps on Jan. 4, the start of the new legislative session. While these maps were released ahead of the state’s candidate filing deadline on Jan. 7, lawmakers understood they would not have new district lines enacted in time for candidates to know where they will be running in 2022.

On Jan. 6, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed into law a bill changing the state’s candidate filing deadline from Jan. 7 to Jan. 25 to allow legislators enough time to finalize new district lines.

Kentucky is a divided government with Republicans controlling both chambers of the legislature and Democrats controlling the governorship. Any maps produced by the legislature are subject to a gubernatorial veto. Kentucky is one of six states that requires a simple majority vote to override a gubernatorial veto.

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New Hampshire: On Jan. 5, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved congressional and state House maps proposed by Republican lawmakers. Members voted 186-164 in favor of the former and 186-168 for the latter. 

Democrats currently represent both of the state’s congressional districts. NHPR’s Josh Rogers wrote that the congressional plan would result in the state’s 1st District, represented by Rep. Chris Pappas (D), tilting Republican with the 2nd District, held by Rep. Annie Kuster (D), becoming more Democratic.

At the time of the map’s initial release, state Rep. David Cote (D) said, “The proposed drastic re-drawing of Congressional districts is unprecedented and designed with the singular goal of rigging elections through partisan gerrymandering.”

Upon its passage, state Rep. Bob Lynn (R) said political considerations are common in redistricting, saying, “Particularly considering what we are dividing up are districts for voting purposes, political affinity would seem to be among the most important considerations.”

New York: On Jan. 3, the New York Independent Redistricting Commission met to vote on the congressional and legislative map plans it would recommend to the state legislature. The commission’s vote was tied 5-5, so it submitted both sets of proposals—those introduced by Democratic members and those by Republicans—to the legislature.

This is the first redistricting cycle since the state approved a constitutional amendment creating the redistricting commission, which is made up of four members appointed by Democratic lawmakers, four by Republicans, and two unaffiliated members selected by the eight appointees.

The legislature will either approve or reject the commission’s plans by a simple up/down vote. If the legislature rejects two sets of proposals, it may then amend the commission’s map plans.

Enacted

Three states—Arkansas, Georgia, and New Mexico—enacted new state legislative maps between Dec. 29 and Jan. 5. New Mexico enacted its House map on Dec. 29 and its Senate map on Jan. 7. Georgia also enacted a new congressional map on Dec. 30.

As of Jan. 7, 2021, 24 states have enacted congressional district maps and 28 have enacted legislative district lines.

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Federal Register weekly update: 347 documents added

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 Jan. 3 through Jan. 7, the Federal Register grew by 1,060 pages for a year-to-date total of 1,060 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 347 documents:

  • 283 notices
  • Eight presidential documents
  • 17 proposed rules
  • 39 final rules

Four proposed rules, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with payment parameters and proposed user fee rates for 2023 from the Health and Human Services Department, and six final rules, including regulations for secure gun storage for any place that sells firearms and an amendment to the definition for antique firearm from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau 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 four significant proposed rules, six significant final rules, and zero significant notices as of January 7.

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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Federal Register weekly update: 1,428 pages added

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 Dec. 27 through Dec. 31, the Federal Register grew by 1,428 pages for a year-to-date total of 74,532 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 427 documents:

  • 328 notices
  • Five presidential documents
  • 42 proposed rules
  • 52 final rules

Four proposed rules, including requirements for capital planning and stress capital buffer determination from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and 15 final rules, including reissuance of Nationwide Permits to authorize activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 from the Engineers Corps 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 126 significant proposed rules, 169 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of December 31.

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.

Additional reading:



Federal Register weekly update: 461 documents added

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 Dec. 20 through Dec. 24, the Federal Register grew by 1,312 pages for a year-to-date total of 73,104 pages.

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

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 461 documents:

  • 370 notices
  • Two presidential documents
  • 26 proposed rules
  • 63 final rules

Five proposed rules, including a policy to allow indemnification of employees of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and six final rules, including an extension to the expiration date of certification plans for pesticide applicators from the Environmental Protection Agency 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 122 significant proposed rules, 154 significant final rules, and four significant notices as of December 24.

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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OIRA reviewed 36 significant rules in December

In December 2021, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reviewed 36 significant regulatory actions issued by federal agencies. OIRA approved one of these rules with no changes and approved the intent of 31 rules while recommending changes to their content. Three rules were withdrawn from the review process by the issuing agencies. One rule was subject to a statutory or judicial deadline.

OIRA reviewed 90 significant regulatory actions in December 2020, 58 significant regulatory actions in December 2019, 31 significant regulatory actions in December 2018, and 30 significant regulatory actions in December 2017.

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

As of Jan. 3, 2022, OIRA’s website listed 72 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.

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Ballotpedia’s analysis of California’s 2021 local ballot measures

California voters decided 46 local ballot measures on seven different election dates in 2021. Ballotpedia’s report breaks down the measures by the outcome, county, topic, and election date.

Here are some highlights from Ballotpedia’s annual report on local ballot measures in California:

  • Voters approved 35 measures and defeated 11 measures.
  • With 46 measures, 2021 featured 57% fewer local measures than the average number of local measures on California ballots over the last three odd-year election cycles.
  • Eighteen (18) of the 58 counties in California featured local ballot measures. Los Angeles County had the most measures of any county with seven.
  • The average number of local ballot measures per county was 0.81.
  • Taxes made up 80% of the measures on local ballots in California in 2021. Twenty-seven (27) of the 37 tax-related measures were approved, and 10 were defeated.


39 state executives left office early in 2021—the most since at least 2012

In 2021, Ballotpedia identified 39 irregular state executive official office changes—the most since we started tracking these changes in 2012. An irregular office change is when an officeholder leaves office before their term ends. 

Of the 39 who resigned, 19 were nonpartisan, 11 were Democratic, and nine were Republican.

One notable change in 2021 was the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) took his place as governor in August.

Of the 39 office changes, 18 were due to resignation, nine were appointed to another office, four left for the private sector, four left for political reasons, two retired, one passed away, and one (Kathy Hochul) succeeded the office of Governor of New York.

Of the offices vacated, attorney general, secretary of state, and public service commissioner were all tied for the most frequent resignations (six). The next-highest office was treasurer (three).

Between 2012 and 2021, there have been 29 irregular changes in public service commissioner offices; the most of any office. This is followed by the office of lieutenant governor, which has had 19 irregular changes, and superintendent of public instruction with 15 changes.

The three years with the most irregular office changes since 2012 have been those following a presidential election; Ballotpedia tracked 36 irregular office changes in 2013, 23 irregular office changes in 2017, and 39 irregular office changes in 2021.



New Mexico enacts new state Senate map

On Jan. 6, 2022, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a new state Senate map into law, which will take effect for New Mexico’s 2022 legislative elections.

The New Mexico State Senate voted 25-13 to approve the map on Dec. 16, 2021, and the New Mexico House of Representatives approved the map 38-22 on Dec. 17. State Sens. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D) and Linda Lopez (D) introduced the map bill on Dec. 8 during a special session of the state legislature.

Lujan Grisham previously signed a new state House map into law on Dec. 29. New Mexico was the second state this cycle to approve a state House map on a different date than its state Senate map. The first was Connecticut, which approved its House map on Nov. 18, and its Senate map on Nov. 23. New Mexico completed its congressional redistricting on Dec. 17.

As of Jan. 7, 29 states have adopted new state legislative maps for both chambers and 21 states have not yet adopted state legislative maps. As of Jan. 7, 2012, 32 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, state legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,120 of 1,972 state Senate seats (56.8%) and 2,776 of 5,411 state House seats (51.3%).



2021 saw the most state executive officials leave office early since 2012

Welcome to the Monday, January 10, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Thirty-nine state executive officials left office early in 2021
  2.  Top-ballot statewide elections in 2022 
  3. New Jersey’s state supreme court vacancy

39 state executives left office early last year—the most since at least 2012

When an official leaves office early we call that an irregular office change. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as resignation, death, etc. In 2021, we identified 39 state executive officials who left office early—the most since we started tracking these changes in 2012

In 2021: 

  • 18 state executive officials resigned—including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior
  •  9 were appointed to a different office 
  • 4 left for the private sector
  • 4 left for political reasons
  • 2 retired
  • 1 died
  • 1 (Kathy Hochul) succeeded to the office of Governor of New York

Nineteen of the 39 officials were nonpartisan, while 11 were Democrats and nine were Republican. Out of all the offices vacated, attorney general, secretary of state, and public service commissioner had the most frequent resignations (each with six). The next-highest office was treasurer, with three.

Between 2012 and 2021, there were 29 irregular changes in public service commissioner offices—the most of any office. This is followed by the office of lieutenant governor, which had 19 irregular changes, and superintendent of public instruction, with 15 changes.

The three years with the most irregular office changes since 2012 followed a presidential election. We tracked 36 irregular office changes in 2013, 23 irregular office changes in 2017, and 39 irregular office changes in 2021.

Click below to read more about irregular office changes. 

Keep reading

36 states hold two or more top-ballot statewide elections in 2022 

In 2022, 36 states are holding elections for two or more top-ballot statewide offices. We define those offices to include: U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state. Twenty-six states are holding elections for governor—the top state executive position—and a U.S. Senator. 

Let’s take a look at the details:

  • 16 states are holding elections for all five top-level statewide offices.
  • 11 states are holding elections for four of the offices.
  • 5 states are holding elections for three of the offices.
  • 4 states are holding elections for two of the offices.

In 11 states with more than two top-level statewide elections, the current incumbents belong to different parties. In the table below, blue cells correspond to the Democratic Party, while red cells correspond to the Republican Party. 

Keep reading 

Here’s some information on New Jersey’s upcoming state supreme court vacancy

Speaking of vacancies and turnover, let’s take a closer look at State Supreme Courts. When New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina turns 70 on Feb. 15, he’ll hit the state’s mandatory retirement age—leading to a vacancy on the court. Governor Phil Murphy’s (D) will choose Fernandez-Vina’s replacement. So far, Murphy has nominated two justices to the seven-member supreme court. 

Governor Chris Christie (R) appointed Justice Fernandez-Vina, who officially joined the court on Nov. 19, 2013. Before beginning his tenure, Fernandez-Vina served as a legal associate and as a partner with private law firms. He received a B.A. in history from Widener University in 1974 and a J.D. from Rutgers University in 1978. After law school, Fernandez-Vina clerked for New Jersey Superior Court Judge E. Stevenson Fluharty.

States use different methods for selecting state justices. In New Jersey, the governor directly appoints state supreme court justices without the use of a nominating commission. As of Jan. 4, there are five states that use this method for selecting justices. 

There are currently four supreme court vacancies pending in three of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies are all due to  retirements. Three of the vacancies—in Maryland and Wyoming—are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. One vacancy—in New Jersey—is in a state where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement. 

Click here to read more about the gubernatorial appointment of judges, or click the link below to learn more about New Jersey’s state supreme court vacancy. 

Keep reading



Federal Tap: Booster coronavirus vaccinations authorized for 12- to 15-year-olds

Happy New Year! Our weekly summary of federal news highlights booster coronavirus vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds and Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R) resignation. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the Federal Tap.

Congress is in session

Both the House and Senate are in session next week. Click here to see the full calendar for the first session of the 117th Congress.

Forty-three members of Congress—six members of the U.S. Senate and 37 members of the U.S. House—have announced they will not seek re-election. Twenty-eight members—six senators and 22 representatives—have announced their retirement. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat, and of the retiring House members, 17 are Democrats and five are Republicans.

SCOTUS is in session

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in four cases next week. To learn about the 2021-2022 term, click here.

Where was the president last week?

On Monday, Biden traveled from his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware to Washington D.C.
Tuesday through Thursday, Biden remained in Washington D.C.

On Friday, Biden traveled to Colorado, where survey damage caused by recent wildfires and delivered remarks.

Federal Judiciary

  • 77 federal judicial vacancies
  • 25 pending nominations
  • 33 future federal judicial vacancies

Upcoming Article III Judicial Vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 33 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. The earliest vacancy announcement was on Jan. 22, 2021, when U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Judge Ellen Hollander announced she would assume senior status upon the confirmation of her successor. The most recent was on Jan. 4, 2022, when U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alison J. Nathan and U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware Judge Leonard Stark announced their upcoming retirements due to their nominations to U.S. circuit courts. The vacancies will be filled on a date to be determined once their successors are confirmed. Twenty-two vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date they will leave the bench. The next upcoming vacancy will occur on Jan. 14, 2022, when U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas Judge Julie Robinson assumes senior status. 

For historical comparison, on Jan. 9, 2021, there were 49 federal judicial vacancies and five upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary reported by the U.S. Courts.

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R) resigns

Rep. Devin Nunes (R) resigned from the House of Representatives on Dec. 31 to become CEO of former President Donald Trump’s (R) media company, Trump Media & Technology Group. 

Nunes began serving in the U.S. House in 2003, representing California’s 21st Congressional District until 2013. He won election in 2012 to represent the 22nd Congressional District and held that seat until 2021. He most recently won re-election in 2020, defeating Democrat Phil Arballo, 54% to 46%. 

This week, Democratic Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Bobby Rush also announced they won’t seek re-election in 2022.

U.S. House vacancies are filled by special election. Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress as of Jan. 3. There is one special election scheduled in 2022 to complete a term in the House. Six special elections occurred in 2021: two in Louisiana, two in Ohio, one in New Mexico, and one in Texas. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will set the date of the special election to fill Nunes’ seat. The winner of the special election will serve out the remainder of Nunes’ term, which was set to expire on Jan. 3, 2023. 

As of Jan. 7, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. House is 221 Democrats and 212 Republicans, with two vacancies. 

Booster coronavirus vaccinations authorized for 12- to 15-year-olds

On Jan. 3, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted authorization to Pfizer’s booster vaccine for individuals aged 12 to 15. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) subsequently updated its booster recommendation on Jan. 5 to include that age group. Pfizer announced it was seeking the authorization on Dec. 17, 2021. The CDC said it recommended individuals in the expanded age range receive a booster five months after their initial vaccination.

In the CDC’s press release announcing the recommendation, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said: “This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. I encourage all parents to keep their children up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.”

The CDC and FDA authorized the Pfizer booster for individuals ages 16 and 17 on Dec. 9, and for adults 18 and older on Nov. 19. At least 15 states approved the booster vaccine for all adults in the days leading up to the federal government’s authorization, beginning with California on Nov. 9.

Redistricting update: New York commission submits two sets of redistricting proposals to legislature, Kentucky delays candidate filing

The New York Independent Redistricting Commission voted 5-5 on two sets of congressional and legislative map proposals on Jan. 3 and submitted both sets of proposed district boundaries to the state legislature. The Democrats on the commission had proposed one set of maps and the Republicans on the commission proposed the other. New York law requires that the commission submit a redistricting plan to the legislature “on or before January 1, 2022, or as soon as practicable thereafter, but no later than January 15, 2022.”

New York voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 revising the state’s redistricting procedures and establishing a 10-member commission to approve congressional and legislative district boundaries. The majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the legislature appoint two members each and those eight commissioners appoint two additional members that are not enrolled in either of the top two major political parties in the state.

If the New York legislature does not approve the initial redistricting plan or the governor vetoes it, the commission has 15 days to submit a second plan for consideration. This second plan must be submitted to the legislature no later than Feb. 28.

Kentucky enacted legislation on Jan. 6 extending the deadline for congressional, legislative, judicial, and local candidates to file to run for election this year from Jan. 7 to Jan. 25. The state House passed the legislation on Jan. 5, and Gov. Steve Beshear (D) signed it after the state Senate passed it on Jan. 6.

The delay in the filing deadline was necessary as the state has not yet approved new district boundaries after the 2020 census. Joe Sonka of the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote that “Both chambers are scheduled to remain in session Saturday [Jan. 8] to give final passage to several redistricting bills crafted by the Republican supermajority, including ones making new maps for the state House and Senate, Kentucky’s U.S. House districts and the Kentucky Supreme Court.” After the 2020 census, Kentucky was apportioned six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the same number as it received after the 2010 census.