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Gov. Ducey renews moratorium on new state regulations in place since 2009

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued an executive order on January 9, 2019, that renewed a moratorium on regulatory rulemaking by state agencies for 2019. The moratorium is aimed at facilitating innovation and job growth in the state while curbing state government expansion, according to the governor’s office. Ducey has renewed the moratorium each year since he first issued the executive order after assuming office in 2015.
 
“As Arizonans navigate the free market, the last thing they need is for government to get in the way,” said Ducey in a press release. “Reducing regulatory burdens on businesses in Arizona is essential to growth, and I want all of our current and aspiring entrepreneurs to know that Arizona will continue to encourage your success, not stand in your way.”
 
Ducey is following in the steps of his predecessor, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who issued an executive order prohibiting new state regulations in 2009 and renewed the moratorium each year through 2014. In 2017, Ducey also launched a website that allows Arizona residents to provide input on improving or eliminating state regulations.
 
The Arizona state government eliminated or repealed 422 regulations in 2018 and 676 regulations in 2017. The 1,098 repealed regulations over the two-year period resulted in $79 million in cost savings for Arizona businesses, according to the governor’s office.


Federal Register weekly update; government shutdown results in low page count

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 January 7 to January 11, the Federal Register grew by 72 pages, bringing the year-to-date total to 106 pages. A total of 31 documents were included in the week’s Federal Register, including 26 notices, four presidential documents, and one rule.
 
No proposed or 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.
 
Due to the government shutdown, the Federal Register features fewer pages compared to recent years. During the same week in 2018, the number of pages in the Federal Register increased by 1,324 pages. As of January 11, the 2019 total trailed the 2018 total by 1,922 pages.
 
The Trump administration has added an average of 53 pages to the Federal Register each week in 2019 as of January 11. 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 more information about weekly additions to the Federal Register in 2018 and 2017.
 
Click here to find yearly information about additions to the Federal Register from 1936 to 2016.
 
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.


Donald Trump nominates acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to permanent position

On January 9, President Donald Trump nominated acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to lead the agency. Wheeler took over as EPA administrator on an interim basis when Scott Pruitt resigned on July 5, 2018. The Environment and Public Works Committee of the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing on Wheeler’s nomination on January 16, 2019. The committee must approve Wheeler before the full Senate may vote on his nomination.
 
Wheeler served as deputy administrator of the EPA from April 12 to July 9, 2018. Prior to serving as deputy administrator, Wheeler had worked as a lobbyist and lawyer. His lobbying clients included the coal company Murray Energy. Before lobbying, Wheeler worked as a staffer in the U.S. Senate, including stints as general counsel for U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and staff director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Wheeler also worked in the EPA’s Pollution Prevention and Toxics office during the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations from 1991 to 1995. 


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) sworn into office

On January 8, 2019, Ron DeSantis (R) was sworn in as Florida’s 46th governor. DeSantis succeeds Rick Scott (R), who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, as governor. His lieutenant governor is Jeanette Nunez (R).
 
DeSantis is a former United States Representative from Florida. He defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) in the gubernatorial election, which Ballotpedia designated as a 2018 battleground election.
 
Prior to the 2018 election, Florida was a Republican trifecta, and the state retained that status following the election. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.


Kentucky State Senate passes its first bill of 2019—a 2020 ballot measure to move state executive elections to presidential election years

On January 10, 2019, the Kentucky State Senate approved a constitutional amendment to change the election date for state executive officials from odd-numbered years to even-numbered presidential election years beginning in 2028. The vote was 31-4. Senate Republicans supported the amendment, while Democrats were divided 4-4. The constitutional amendment needs 60 votes in the state House, assuming no vacancies, to make the ballot on November 3, 2020.
 
The following offices would have their elections moved from odd-numbered to even-numbered years: governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, secretary of state, and commissioner of agriculture. The last election for state executive officials in Kentucky was November 3, 2015. The next election is scheduled for November 5, 2019. The measure would make the election on November 7, 2023, the last to be held in an odd-numbered year. Officials elected in 2023 would serve a five-year term, rather than a four-year term, until officials elected on November 7, 2028, were seated.
 
Sen. Christian McDaniel (R), who is sponsoring the amendment, said moving the election date would save the state about $15 million. Sen. Wil Schroder (D), one of the Democrats who voted for the amendment, said he believed that the move would double voter turnout in state executive races. Sen. Robin Webb (D) voted against the amendment, saying, “Kentucky needs to be allowed to focus on Kentucky issues and set aside the national fray… that sometimes are not as relatable to the Commonwealth and its issues and its people.” At the past five presidential elections, Kentucky voted for the Republican presidential candidate. At the state’s past five gubernatorial elections, the Democratic candidate won three of the elections and the Republican candidate won the other two.
 
As of 2019, 11 states held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered presidential elections and 36 states held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered midterm elections. New Hampshire and Vermont held their gubernatorial elections during even-numbered presidential elections and midterm elections because their gubernatorial term lengths are two years. Kentucky was one of five states that held their gubernatorial elections during odd-numbered years. The other four states are Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia.
 


Democrats win majority in Colorado State Senate and gain trifecta control

Colorado state legislators were sworn in on January 4, 2019, and for the first time since 2012, Democrats gained control of the state Senate. Since Democrats also maintained control of the state House and the governorship, the outcome of the 2018 election made Colorado into a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.
 
Seventeen of the Colorado Senate seats were up for election in 2018. Going into the election, Republicans held 18 seats, Democrats held 16, and one seat was held by an independent. Ballotpedia identified six battleground races where the incumbent had last won with less than 55 percent of the vote in 2014. These battleground races took place in Districts 5, 11, 16, 20, 22, and 24. Prior to the election, three of these battleground seats were held by Democrats (one of whom was term-limited in 2018), two by Republicans, and one by an independent (who was also term-limited in 2018). Democrats won all six of the battleground races and shifted the chamber’s partisan balance to 19 Democrats and 16 Republicans.
 
In addition to Colorado, five other states also became Democratic trifectas as a result of the 2018 elections: Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York.


Candidate filing deadline passes to fill seven vacant Louisiana House of Representatives seats

On January 11, the filing deadline passed to run in the special primary on February 23 to fill vacancies in seven Louisiana House of Representatives districts: 12, 17, 18, 26, 27, 47, and 62. Louisiana’s filing deadline was the sixth special election filing deadline covered by Ballotpedia this year. If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a general election will be held on March 30 between the top two vote recipients.
 
The special elections were triggered after three Democrats and four Republicans resigned from their seats to either take another job or serve in another elected position. Heading into 2019, the Louisiana House is controlled by the Republican Party, with 59 Republican members, 36 Democratic members, three independent members, and seven vacancies.
 
All 105 seats in the Louisiana House of Representatives are up for election in 2019. The primary is on October 12 and the general election will be held on November 16, if necessary. The regular candidate filing deadline is August 8, 2019.


Jacksonville filing deadline preview

Jacksonville, Florida, is holding its elections on March 19, 2019, with a runoff election scheduled for May 14 if required. Candidates hoping to appear on the ballot have until January 11 to file for election. A total of 24 offices are up for election, including mayor, supervisor of elections, property appraiser, sheriff, tax collector, and all 19 city council seats.
 
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is one of 28 Republican mayors in the 100 largest cities in the United States. Curry was first elected in 2015 when he defeated the first-term Democratic mayor, Alvin Brown, in a runoff election. Curry and Brown faced two other challengers in the general election.
 
The city council is made up of five at-large seats and 14 by-district seats. Thirteen seats are currently held by Republican members and six are held by Democratic members. During the 2015 election, the Democratic Party saw a net gain of one seat and the council’s partisan balance went from 12-7 to 13-6. A total of 56 candidates filed for the 19 council seats that year, including all nine incumbents who had not yet reached their term limits. A special election for the District 12 seat was held in 2018; Randy White (R) was the only candidate to file for the seat.
 
The offices of the supervisor of elections, property appraiser, sheriff, and tax collector, are all held by Republicans. With the exception of the tax collector, who was elected in a special runoff in November 2018, all of them were elected in 2015. All four are serving their first terms.
 
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida and the 13th-largest city in the U.S. by population.


Filing deadline for Texas House District 125 special election

A special election for Texas House of Representatives District 125 has been called for February 12, 2019. Candidates wishing to run in this election are required to file by January 14, 2019. Justin Rodriguez (D) vacated the seat after he was appointed in January 2019 to serve as the Precinct 2 representative on the Bexar County Commissioners Court. Rodriguez held the seat from 2013 to 2019.
 
Three special elections have already been called to fill vacancies in the Texas House of Representatives in 2019, and all three seats were previously held by Democratic representatives. By comparison, five special elections for the Texas State Legislature were called in 2018, three to replace Republican legislators and two to replace Democratic legislators. Texas did not hold any state legislative special elections in 2017.
 
As of January, 24 state legislative special elections have been scheduled or held in 12 states for 13 Democratic seats and 11 Republican seats. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 special elections took place each year.
 
Following the November 2018 election, the Texas House of Representatives had 67 Democrats and 83 Republicans. A majority in the chamber requires 76 seats. Texas has a Republican trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.


Democrats now hold 31 districts that Trump won in 2016

The new U.S. Congress is facing divided government, a shutdown, and new leadership priorities under a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. As we move farther from the 2018 elections and closer to 2020, representatives from districts won by the opposite party’s presidential candidate in 2016 will be some of the most fascinating to watch.
 
Republicans ceded ground in Clinton districts—they hold three that she won in 2016, down from 25 before the 2018 elections. The three remaining Republican-held districts are:
 
– New York’s 24th, represented by John Katko
– Pennsylvania’s 1st, represented by Brian Fitzpatrick
– Texas’ 23rd, represented by Will Hurd
 
Democrats also made gains in Trump districts and now hold 31 congressional districts that he won in 2016. They held 13 of those districts before the 2018 elections. The current Democratic districts that Trump won in 2016 are located in the following states:
 
– Arizona
– Georgia
– Illinois
– Iowa
– Maine
– Michigan
– Minnesota
– Nevada
– New Hampshire
– New Jersey
– New Mexico
– New York
– Oklahoma
– Pennsylvania
– South Carolina
– Utah
– Virginia
– Wisconsin
 
Click here to start preparing for 2020 elections in the U.S. House.