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DNC guidance on polling criteria for first presidential debate puts Bullock on the bubble

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) provided additional guidance Thursday on its polling criteria for this month’s presidential debate, knocking Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) out of qualifying.
 
The DNC will not count two ABC News/Washington Post polls that used open-ended questioning. Without those polls, Bullock now has only two of three necessary polls to qualify for the debate.
 
The national party also clarified which sample it will use from a Reuters poll released in May, which confirms New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has met the polling threshold to qualify.
 
Given this new guidance, the number of qualified candidates has dropped from 21 to 20. Bullock, former Sen. Mike Gravel (D), Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam (D), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D) have until June 12 to reach 1 percent in three eligible polls or meet the 65,000-donor threshold to qualify.
 
The Democratic National Committee will announce which candidates have qualified on June 13. These candidates will then be divided into two groups based on polling performance and distributed by random drawing across the two debate nights June 14.
 
NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo are broadcasting the debate from Miami, Florida, on June 26 and 27.


Federal Register weekly update; 2019 page total continues to trail 2018 page total

 
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.
 
During the week of June 3 to June 7, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,246 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 26,738 pages. This week’s Federal Register featured a total of 588 documents, including 484 notices, seven presidential documents, 41 proposed rules, and 56 final rules.
 
Two final rules were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—meaning that they may 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.
 
During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,288 pages for a year-to-date total of 26,832 pages. As of June 7, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 94 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 1,215 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of June 7. Over the course of 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. During the Obama administration, the Federal Register increased by an average of 1,658 pages per week.
 
According to government data, the Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016: https://ballotpedia.org/Historical_additions_to_the_Federal_Register,_1936-2016


State Rep. Eric Johnson will be the next mayor of Dallas, Texas

State Rep. Eric Johnson defeated City Councilmember Scott Griggs in the runoff election for Dallas mayor on Saturday. Johnson received 56 percent of the vote to Griggs’ 44 percent.

Johnson has been a member of the Texas House of Representatives since 2010. Griggs has served on the Dallas City Council since 2011. The candidates campaigned on who was best equipped to build consensus on the city council, each referring to their respective legislative experience.

Dallas uses a council-manager form of government in which the mayor serves as a member of the city council along with 14 elected council members. The council appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations. The mayor appoints city council committee members and chairs, determines what policy-related agenda items will be considered by the council, and makes policy and budget recommendations.

Johnson’s endorsers included incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, a number of Republican and Democratic state representatives, and The Dallas Morning News editorial board. Griggs was backed by the Dallas Fire Fighters Association, the Dallas Police Association, and several organizations, including the Sierra Club and the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Rawlings, in office since 2011, was prevented by term limits from seeking re-election in 2019. Although elections for the office are nonpartisan, Rawlings and Johnson are both Democrats.

Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the U.S., with a population of 1.3 million. Mayors serve four-year terms.



Louisiana voters will decide a constitutional amendment concerning the state’s board of tax appeals in October 2019

The Louisiana State Legislature gave final approval to a constitutional amendment on Monday that would allow the legislature to expand the authority of the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals. The amendment will be on the state’s October 2019 election ballot.
 
Rep. Stephen Dwight (R-35) introduced the constitutional amendment as House Bill 428 (HB 428). After the House approved the amendment, the Louisiana State Senate amended it and passed it on June 1, 2019, with 35 senators supporting it, two opposing it, and two absent. The House unanimously concurred with the Senate’s changes on June 3, 2019, certifying it for the ballot.
 
The amendment would require “complete and adequate remedy for the prompt recovery” of any unconstitutional tax paid and to allow the legislature through a two-thirds vote to give the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals jurisdiction over the constitutionality of taxes, fees, and related matters.
 
The Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals consists of three attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The board has jurisdiction over tax and fee disputes. Prior to 2014, the board adjudicated claims brought only against the state department of revenue. A 2014 bill extended the board’s jurisdiction to local sales tax disputes.
 
From 1995 through 2018, Louisiana voters decided 185 constitutional amendments. An average of five measures appeared on odd-year statewide ballots, with a range from zero to 16. Voters approved 75 percent (139 of 185) and rejected 25 percent (46 of 185) of the constitutional amendments.


Maine House special election on June 11 to fill Denno vacancy

A special election is on the June 11 ballot for District 45 of the Maine House of Representatives. Stephen Moriarty (D) and Kevin Hughes (R) are running in the general election. Moriarty recently retired as an attorney, and he served one term in the state House from 2012 to 2014. Hughes runs a family-owned embroidery and screen printing business.
 
The seat became vacant when Dale Denno (D) resigned on March 27 for health reasons. Denno had served in the state House since 2016. He won re-election in 2018 with 65% of the vote in the general election.
 
As of June, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Heading into the election, Democrats have an 88-56 majority in the state House with one vacancy. There are six independent members in the chamber. Maine has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 


Alabama House special election sees contested Republican primary

A special primary for District 74 of the Alabama House of Representatives is scheduled for Tuesday. Rayford Mack is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, while six candidates—Michael Fritz, Tobias Grant, Jesse Heifner, Jay King, Charlotte Meadows, and Daniel Sparkman—are competing in the Republican primary. The seat became vacant when Dimitri Polizos (R) died of a heart attack on March 27, 2019.
 
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a special primary runoff will be held on August 27. If no primary runoff election is necessary, the general election will be moved up to August 27, instead of the current date of November 12. The filing deadline for major party candidates was April 9, while independent candidates—who do not participate in the primary—have until June 11 to file.
 
As of June, 59 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 23 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Entering the special election, the Alabama House of Representatives had 28 Democrats, 76 Republicans, and one vacancy. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
 


Three new members to join the Dane County Board of Supervisors

A special general election was held on June 4 in Wisconsin to fill three seats on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Elizabeth Doyle (District 1), Kristen Audet (District 17), and Ann DeGarmo (District 33) were elected to the board. Doyle won her race unopposed, while the other two each faced a challenger.
 
Three candidates participated in the District 17 primary on May 7, which narrowed the field to the top two candidates. With only one candidate filing in District 1 and two in District 33, those primaries were canceled.
 
Dane County also held regular elections on April 2 for two seats on the Dane County Board of Supervisors as well as a seat on the Dane County Circuit Court. All three of those races were won unopposed by the incumbent.
 
Dane County was home to 516,284 residents in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The county contains Wisconsin’s capital, Madison.
 
Ballotpedia covers municipal elections for the 100 largest cities by population in the nation, and 59 of those cities are holding elections in 2019.
 


GOP Senate Judiciary Committee members oppose Trump judicial nominee

Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), both Republicans and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, opposed the nomination of Michael Bogren to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. President Donald Trump nominated Bogren to the court on March 11, 2019, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination on May 22.
 
During the committee hearing, Hawley asked Bogren about litigation representing the city of East Lansing, Michigan. Steve and Bridget Tennes, the owners of Country Mill Farms, sued East Lansing after the city barred them from participating in the city-run farmers market. The city barred the farm after Steve Tennes wrote on Facebook that he believed “marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman” and “he honors his religious belief when hosting and participating in weddings at Country Mill.” Bogren represented East Lansing in the litigation.
 
Hawley said Bogren “compared a Catholic family’s adherence to the teachings of their church to the activities of the KKK and the teachings of radical imams.” Bogren responded, “Respectfully, that is not what I said. […] The point I was trying to make was that religious beliefs trying to justify discrimination if extended to sexual orientation, which the city of East Lansing protects, could be used to try to justify any other sort of discrimination, whether it be gender or race.”
 
Hawley also published an op-ed for National Review where he wrote that Bogren’s “hostility toward [the Catholic family’s] faith raises questions about his fitness to be a federal judge. … It’s one thing to advocate on behalf of your client, but Bogren went too far.”
 
Sen. Cruz agreed with Hawley in a tweet: “The nominee didn’t just represent a client; at his confirmation, he affirmatively declared ‘there is no distinction’ [between] Catholic teachings and KKK bigotry. I’m a NO. And POTUS should withdraw the nomination.”
 
Writing in support of Bogren, Margot Cleveland, a contributor for The Federalist and Bogren’s cousin, said Bogren “is not anti-Catholic. … Conservatives using Bogren’s clients and zealous representation of their legal interests to scuttle a nomination aren’t thinking this through.”
 
The Wall Street Journal editorial board also argued in favor of Bogren. “Mr. Hawley’s questioning is a precedent that conservatives will regret,” the Journal editorial board wrote. “If nominees can be disqualified for every argument they make for a client, conservative judicial nominees will soon find themselves blocked from judgeships for defending religious liberty.”
 
Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats from Michigan, negotiated with the White House regarding the nomination. Stabenow said after the nomination was announced, “Today’s announcement is welcome news following months of bipartisan discussions with the White House. I look forward to the Senate Judiciary Committee considering these nominees.”
 
The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan is one of 94 U.S. district courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.
 


Preview of June 8 mayoral runoff elections in Dallas and San Antonio

On June 8, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas—two of the 10 largest cities by population in the country—will hold runoff elections for mayor. Dallas’ runoff is for an open seat, while San Antonio’s incumbent mayor is seeking re-election.
 
In Dallas, the race is between City Councilmember Scott Griggs and state Rep. Eric Johnson, who were among nine candidates on the May 4 general election ballot. Griggs has served on the Dallas City Council since 2011 and Johnson in the state House since 2010.
 
The candidates have referred to their respective legislative experience as evidence of their ability to build consensus among members of the city council, on which the mayor of Dallas serves.
 
Griggs has the backing of the Dallas Fire Fighters Association and the Dallas Police Association, in addition to environmental and LGBT organizations. Johnson’s endorsers include incumbent Mayor Mike Rawlings, Democratic and Republican state representatives, and The Dallas Morning News editorial board.
 
San Antonio‘s mayoral runoff election features incumbent Ron Nirenberg and City Councilmember Greg Brockhouse, each of whom received more than 45 percent of the vote in the nine-candidate general election field. Nirenberg has been in office since 2017 when he defeated Mayor Ivy Taylor. He served four years on the city council before winning election as mayor. Brockhouse was first elected to the city council in 2017. Before that, he worked as a political consultant.
 
Nirenberg supported and Brockhouse opposed a proposal to make San Antonio carbon-neutral by 2050 and a measure denying Chick-Fil-A a permit to operate in the municipal airport. Brockhouse supported and Nirenberg opposed a 2018 ballot measure that gave firefighters binding arbitration power in contract negotiations.
 
Nirenberg’s backers include the San Antonio AFL-CIO and the Texas Democratic Party, while Brockhouse has support from the San Antonio Police Officers Association and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters.
 
Both Dallas and San Antonio use council-manager forms of government, meaning the mayor serves as a member of the city council and helps select a city manager to serve as chief executive officer of the city. Dallas mayors serve four-year terms and San Anontio mayors, two-year terms. Elections for mayor in both cities are nonpartisan.
 
Click the links below to learn more about these two elections:
 


In 2020, Louisiana will vote on ballot measure declaring no state constitutional right to abortion

On June 5, 2019, the Louisiana State Legislature passed a constitutional amendment stating that “nothing in this [Louisiana Constitution] shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Voters will decide whether to approve or reject the constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.
 
The constitutional amendment was approved after Senate Bill 184 (SB 184), which was designed to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is present, except in certain medical emergencies. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed SB 184 on May 30, 2019. Gov. Edwards’ office has said that he also supports the constitutional amendment.
 
According to the Louisiana Pro-Life Amendment Coalition, which is campaigning in support of the ballot measure, the constitutional amendment would ensure that a state court cannot rule that the Louisiana Constitution provides a right to abortion. At least 10 state constitutions provide a right to abortion, according to state courts. The most recent state to join that list is Kansas, where the state Supreme Court ruled on April 26, 2019, that the Kansas Constitution provides a right to abortion. Should the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a right to abortion, the Kansas Constitution would still provide a right to abortion, per the state Supreme Court’s ruling. In 2018, voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved ballot measures declaring that their state constitutions did not secure or protect a right to abortion. The Kansas State Legislature could refer a constitutional amendment to voters in 2020 to overrule the state court’s decision.
 
In Louisiana, the constitutional amendment declaring no state constitutional right to abortion received the support of legislative Republicans and divided legislative Democrats. Rep. Katrina Jackson, a Democrat, introduced the constitutional amendment. In the House, Democrats voted 16-20 on the amendment. In the Senate, Democrats voted 8-5 on the amendment. Jackson asked for the constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot for 2020, rather than October 12, 2019. In Louisiana, state legislative and executive elections are held in odd-numbered years, such as 2019, while federal elections occur in even-numbered years.
 
The constitutional amendment is the first certified for the ballot in 2020 in Louisiana. As of June 5, the Louisiana State Legislature had passed four constitutional amendments during the 2019 legislative session for the election on October 12. The legislative session is expected to run through June 6, during which time additional amendments could be referred to the 2019 ballot. The legislature will meet again in 2020, when more measures can be added to the 2020 ballot alongside the abortion amendment.