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Incumbents seek re-election in 75% of Oregon school board races

School board candidates in Oregon had to file by March 21 to appear on the 2019 ballot. Ballotpedia is covering elections in eight Oregon school districts in 2019. A total of 28 seats will be up for election in these eight districts. This represents just over half of the 54 total school board seats in these districts.
 
General elections will take place on May 21. Incumbents are seeking re-election in 21 of the 28 seats (75%) up for election. School board members in Oregon serve four-year terms, and each school board can have a total of five or seven members. If the school district has a resident population of more than 300,000, the school board must have seven members.
 
Ballotpedia covers the 200 largest school districts in the nation in addition to any districts overlapping with the 100 largest cities by population in the United States. Oregon is one of 23 states within this scope that are holding school board elections in 2019. Ballotpedia is covering 515 school board seat elections across 181 school districts this year.
 


Voters in New Orleans reject property tax initiative to fund senior citizen services on Saturday

Voters in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, voted on Proposition 1 on March 30, 2019, rejecting it 71 percent to 29 percent.
 
The initiative would have authorized the city to levy an annual property tax for five years at the rate of $2 per $1,000 in assessed property value (2 mills), with funds dedicated to services and programs for senior citizens.
 
The senior services tax measure was backed by the New Orleans Council on Aging. City council members Jason Williams and Jared Brossett co-sponsored the proposal. Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the Action New Orleans PAC opposed the measure.


Ballotpedia covering local elections across seven states on Tuesday

Ballotpedia is covering local elections on April 2, 2019, across seven states—Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.
 
*The city of Anchorage, Alaska, is holding nonpartisan general elections for five of 11 seats on the Anchorage Assembly. The filing deadline for this election was February 1. The contested races for District 2 Seat A, District 3 Seat D, and District 4 Seat F all feature newcomers. The remaining races for District 5 Seat H and District 6 Seat J feature unopposed incumbents. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska and the 62nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
Two of seven seats on the Anchorage School District school board in Alaska are also up for nonpartisan general election on Tuesday. The filing deadline for this election was February 1. Two newcomers are facing off in the race for Seat A, and incumbent Starr Marsett faces challengers David Nees and Ronald Stafford in the race for Seat B. The Anchorage School District served 48,238 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 
*In Colorado, the city of Colorado Springs is holding nonpartisan general elections for mayor and three of nine seats on the city council. If no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote in the general election, a runoff election is scheduled for May 21. The filing deadline for this election passed on January 22.
 
In the race for mayor, incumbent John Suthers is seeking a second term in office and faces three challengers: Lawrence Martinez, Juliette Parker, and John Pitchford.
 
The contested at-large race for three Colorado Springs City Council seats features two incumbents and nine challengers. In 2017, six seats were up for election resulting in the re-election of three incumbents and the addition of three newcomers to the city council.
 
Colorado Springs is the second-largest city in Colorado and the 40th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*Chicago will hold its runoff election for mayor, treasurer, and 15 aldermen seats. Ballotpedia is also covering nonpartisan school board elections for Illinois School District U-46 on Tuesday. Four of the district’s seven board seats are up for general election. The filing deadline for this election was December 20, 2018. Three incumbents and eight candidates are running in the at-large race. This is the only elected Illinois school district covered by Ballotpedia in 2019. The district served 39,665 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 
*The city of St. Louis, Missouri, is holding partisan general elections for Metro Council President and 15 metro council seats on April 2. A primary was held on March 5 to narrow the field of candidates. The regular filing deadline for this election was January 4, and the independent candidate filing deadline was February 11.
 
In the race for council president, Democrat Jeffrey Reed faces Green Party member Jerome Bauer, after both advanced from the primary. No Republican candidate filed in the election.
 
St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri and the 57th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*Missouri is also holding nonpartisan general school board elections on Tuesday. Ballotpedia is covering elections for 29 seats across 11 school districts. Collectively, these districts served 126,611 students during the 2016-2017 school year. The largest of these districts is  St. Louis Public Schools, which served 28,270 students during the 2016-2017 school year. Missouri holds school board elections annually.
 
*In Henderson, Nevada, nonpartisan primaries are being held for the Ward I, II, and IV seats on the city council and for one municipal court judge. The general election is on June 11, and the filing deadline for this election was January 31.
Each primary race is contested. The Ward II and IV incumbents each face a challenger in their bids for re-election, and five newcomers are running in Ward 1.
 
In the race for Henderson Municipal Court Judge Department 1, incumbent Mark Stevens faces challenger Regina McConnell.
Henderson is the second-largest city in Nevada and the 70th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*In Las Vegas, Nevada, nonpartisan primaries for mayor and the Wards 1, 3, and 5 seats on the city council will be held. The general election is on June 11, and the candidate filing deadline was February 8.
 
Mayor Carolyn Goodman faces six challengers in her bid for a third term. Goodman was first elected in 2011, succeeding her husband, Oscar B. Goodman, who had served the maximum of three terms in office.
 
Each city council race is contested with 10 newcomers running in Ward 1, seven newcomers running in Ward 3, and incumbent Cedric Crear facing two challengers in Ward 5.
 
The city will also hold a special election for the Ward 2 seat on the city council on June 11, 2019. The filing deadline for this election was March 28, 2019. The special election became necessary after former Ward 2 representative Steve Seroka resigned on March 4, 2019. Prior to his resignation, Seroka was subject to a recall attempt.
 
Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada and the 29th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*The city of North Las Vegas, Nevada, is holding nonpartisan general elections for the Wards 2 and 4 seats on Tuesday. The candidate filing deadline was on February 8. Incumbent Pamela Goynes-Brown faces challenger Christopher Burns in Ward 2, and incumbent Richard Cherchio faces five challengers in Ward 4.
 
North Las Vegas is the fourth-largest city in Nevada and the 95th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*Oklahoma will hold its nonpartisan general school board elections on Tuesday. Ballotpedia is covering the election of 30 school board seats across 26 Oklahoma school districts in 2019. Collectively, these districts served 261,543 students during the 2016-2017 school year. The largest of these districts is Oklahoma City Public Schools, which served 39,806 students during the 2016-2017 school year. Oklahoma holds its school board elections annually.
 
*In Dane County, Wisconsin, nonpartisan general elections for circuit court judge and two county supervisor seats are being held. If more than two candidates had filed to run per seat, a primary would have been held on February 19, but each of the races is unopposed. The filing deadline for this election was January 2.
 
*The city of Madison, Wisconsin, is holding a nonpartisan general election for mayor. A primary was held on February 19 to narrow the field of candidates. The filing deadline for this election was January 2.
 
Incumbent Paul Soglin faces challenger Satya Rhodes-Conway after they defeated three candidates in the primary. Soglin has served in the position since 2011, and previously held the office of Mayor in Madison from 1973 to 1979 and 1989 to 1997. He lost an election bid in March 2003.
 
Madison is also holding nonpartisan general elections for all 20 seats on the common council on Tuesday. As in the mayoral election, the candidate filing deadline was January 2. Primaries were only held on February 19 in districts where three or more candidates filed to run. These were Districts 3, 12, 13, and 15. The top two vote recipients in each race advanced to the general. In total, 11 incumbents are running for re-election to the council, with 10 of these incumbents running unopposed.
 
Madison is the second-largest city in Wisconsin and the 82nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
*Nonpartisan general elections are also being held for Wisconsin school boards. Ballotpedia is covering races for 21 seats across seven school districts in 2019. Collectively, these districts served 123,027 students during the 2016-2017 school year. The largest of these districts is Milwaukee Public Schools, which served 76,206 students during the same time period.
 
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42% of Texas school board elections uncontested in May

In 2019, Ballotpedia will cover regularly scheduled elections across 63 Texas school districts. Of these, 56 districts will hold their elections on May 4. The 56 districts have a combined 161 board seats up for election, and the remaining seven school districts are holding their elections on November 5.
 
Of the 161 seats up for election in May, 67 (or 42 percent) are uncontested. Thirty-nine districts have at least one unopposed candidate, and 13 of them have no contested seats on the ballot and may cancel their election entirely. The remaining 17 districts have contested seats across the board.
 
A total of 316 candidates filed for election, which is approximately 1.96 candidates per seat. This figure is higher than the 2016 Texas average of 1.79 candidates per seat and the 2016 national average of 1.90 candidates per seat. In all, 114 incumbents are seeking re-election, which means 47 races are open-seat contests.
 
These 56 school districts served a combined total of 1,817,124 students during the 2016-2017 school year.
 


Update on the Alaska House power-sharing arrangement

Members of the Alaska House ended a month-long leadership deadlock by electing Rep. Bryce Edgmon as speaker on February 14, 2019. Edgmon was elected by a bipartisan coalition under the condition that he establish a power-sharing arrangement where both Democrats and Republicans held positions of power.
 
The coalition that elected Edgmon speaker included all 15 House Democrats, four Republicans, and independent Daniel Ortiz. Eighteen Republicans voted against him. Edgmon, who previously served as House speaker from 2017 to 2018, was a Democrat until February 11, when he changed his party affiliation to unenrolled.
 
Under the power-sharing arrangement, there is a 25-member bipartisan majority coalition led by Edgmon (15 Democrats, eight Republicans, and two independents) and a 15-member minority led by Lance Pruitt (all Republicans). Here are the details:
  • Although Edgmon is speaker, Republicans Steve Thompson and Louise Stutes serve as majority leader and majority whip, respectively.
  • The Rules Committee, which controls the flow of legislation to the floor, is chaired by Republican Charles Kopp.
  • Of the nine standing committees, three have Democratic and Republican co-chairs (including the powerful Finance Committee) and six are Democratic-led. Of the four special committees, two are Democratic-led and two are Republican-led.
  • Of the eight Republicans serving in the majority, four voted for Edgmon, three voted against Edgmon, and one—Gary Knopp—did not participate.
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Federal Register weekly update; fewest final rules added since end of January

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 March 25 to March 29, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,076 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 12,046 pages. This week’s Federal Register featured a total of 566 documents, including 474 notices, four presidential documents, 40 proposed rules, and 48 final rules.
 
Three proposed rules and 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 776 pages. As of March 29, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 1,578 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 927 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of March 29. In 2018, the Trump administration added an average of 1,301 pages to the Federal Register each week. Over the course of 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


Federal judge expresses concern over constitutionality of ALJ proceedings

Judge John McBryde of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas expressed concern on Tuesday in his opinion in Cochran v. SEC over the constitutionality of the administrative law judges (ALJs) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
 
The plaintiff, Michelle Cochran, appealed an adverse decision from an SEC ALJ in 2017, but further action on her appeal was stalled as Lucia v. SEC moved through the federal courts. The Lucia case challenged the constitutionality of the SEC’s ALJ appointment process. The United States Supreme Court ultimately ruled in June 2018 the agency’s ALJ appointments violated the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Following the Lucia decision, Cochran’s case was reassigned to new proceedings before a different, constitutionally-appointed ALJ.
 
Cochran filed for injunctive relief against the agency proceedings in district court, claiming that the SEC’s ALJs remained unconstitutionally appointed despite ratification by the agency’s commissioners. Cochran argued that the SEC’s ALJs have double for-cause removal protections, which unconstitutionally insulate them from direct removal by the president.
 
McBryde dismissed the case due to the court’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction. However, he expressed concern over the constitutionality of the SEC’s ALJs in his opinion, stating, “The court is deeply concerned with the fact that plaintiff has been subjected to extensive proceedings before an ALJ who was not constitutionally appointed and contends that the one she must now face for further, undoubtedly extended, proceedings likewise is unconstitutionally appointed.”
 
The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a pro bono law firm with a focus on the administrative state, plans to appeal Cochran’s case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
 
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Louisiana holding three state House special elections on Saturday

Special general elections are being held for three seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives on March 30.
  • In District 17, Rodney McFarland Sr. (D) and Pat Moore (D) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Marcus Hunter (D) was elected to serve as a judge on the Fourth Judicial District. Hunter had represented District 17 beginning in 2012. He won re-election in 2015, winning outright in the primary with 62.0 percent of the vote.
  • In District 18, Jeremy LaCombe (D) and Tammi Fabre (R) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Major Thibaut (D) won election to serve as the president of Pointe Coupee Parish. Thibaut had represented District 18 beginning in 2008. He ran unopposed in his re-election campaigns in 2011 and 2015.
  • In District 62, Dennis Aucoin (R) and Roy Adams (I) are facing off. The seat became vacant after Kenny Havard (R) won election to serve as president of West Feliciana Parish. Havard had represented District 62 beginning in 2012. He won re-election in 2015, winning outright in the primary with 60.6 percent of the vote.
Special primary elections were also held on February 23 in District 12, District 26, District 27, and District 47. Each of those districts were won outright in the primary. In Louisiana, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, face off in the primary election. If a candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, he or she wins outright. If no candidate reaches that threshold, a general election is held between the top two vote recipients.
 
Prior to these special general elections, the Louisiana House of Representatives has 37 Democrats, 62 Republicans, three independents, and three vacancies. 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.
 
In 2019, there have been 51 state legislative special elections scheduled or held so far in 19 states. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.


Miami will host first set of Democratic presidential primary debates in June

The Democratic National Committee announced on March 28 that the first set of Democratic primary debates will be held in Miami, Florida, on June 26 and 27. The debates will be broadcast by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo.
 
A candidate can qualify for these debates by polling performance or fundraising from individual donors. Under the first option, a candidate must receive 1 percent support or more in three national or early state polls from a select list of organizations and institutions. Under the second option, a candidate must receive donations from at least 65,000 unique individual donors. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
 
No more than 20 candidates—10 candidates on stage each night—will be able to participate.
 
Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, brought the number of notable Democratic candidates in the race to 16 on March 28. He formally announced that he was running for president, having launched a presidential exploratory committee two weeks ago.
 


U.S. Supreme Court rejects requests to pause ATF rule banning bump stocks

A new rule banning bump stocks will remain in force while critics challenge it in court. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected two requests to pause the ban while lower courts decide pending cases. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) bump stock rule went into effect on March 26. It requires owners of bump stock devices to destroy them or surrender them to the ATF. Bump stock owners who do not comply could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 
The ATF rule followed a February 2018 presidential memorandum signed by President Trump. The memorandum told the attorney general to propose a rule banning devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns. He signed the memorandum in response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting where a gunman killed 58 and wounded hundreds more.
 
On March 25, the D.C. Circuit issued a stay for members of gun rights groups involved in a lawsuit before the court. That means the rule will not apply to members of the groups until the court decides their case. The 10th Circuit issued a stay for Clark Aposhian, a gun rights lobbyist challenging the ban with the New Civil Liberties Alliance.
 
Bump stocks are a firearm accessory that makes it easier to shoot faster. Supporters of the ban say that the rule protects members of law enforcement and the public from mass shooters. Opponents say agencies like the ATF do not have the constitutional authority to ban bump stocks by redefining legal terms. They argue that only Congress may write criminal laws.
 
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