TagDaily Brew

46 years ago today, Missouri voters approved gubernatorial term limits

Welcome to the Tuesday, August 17, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 46 years ago today, Missouri voters approved limiting governors to two terms
  2. Vice President Harris has cast eight tie-breaking votes so far in the Senate
  3. Aug. 16 was the deadline for California counties to mail out ballots in recall election of Gov. Newsom

46 years ago today, Missouri voters approved limiting governors to two terms 

Forty-six years ago—on Aug. 17, 1965—Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that established term limits for the governor. The Missouri Governor Term Limits Amendment limits a governor to two consecutive terms, or one full term if they serve more than two years of the previous officeholder’s term. Voters approved the measure, 73% to 27%.

The amendment’s second provision applies to Missouri’s current governor—Mike Parson (R)—and it means that he is ineligible to be re-elected governor in 2024. Parson assumed office on June 1, 2018, following the resignation of former Gov. Eric Greitens (R), and served more than two years of Greitens’ term from May 2018 to January 2021. Parson was then elected to a full four-year term in 2020, but is now term-limited.

The governors of 36 states are subject to some type of term limits, which can be either lifetime or consecutive, and may be based on years or terms served.

  • In the 28 states where the limits are consecutive, an incumbent is ineligible to run again after serving the maximum number of terms or years in office. In most cases, the person may be able to run for another elected position. After a period of time out of office, usually four years, the person is allowed to run for governor again.
  • Eight states have a lifetime gubernatorial term limit. Once a governor has served the maximum allowable number of terms in office, that person may never again run for or hold the office of governor. 

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Vice President Harris has cast eight tie-breaking votes so far in the Senate

Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has so far cast eight tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Her two most recent tie-breaking votes were to invoke cloture and then confirm Jennifer Abruzzo on July 20 and 21 as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.

Under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, the vice president of the United States also serves as the president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president may cast the deciding vote when there is a tie in the Senate.

John Adams cast the first tie-breaking vote on July 18, 1789. As of July 21, 2021, 37 vice presidents had cast 276 tie-breaking votes. Twelve vice presidents, including Joe Biden and Dan Quayle, never cast a tie-breaking vote during their time in office.

Harris’ eight tie-breaking votes are tied for the second-most such votes by vice presidents since 1981. Among all vice presidents, 14—including Harris—have cast eight or more Senate tie-breaking votes.

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Aug. 16 was the deadline for California counties to mail out ballots in recall election of Gov. Newsom

Yesterday—Aug. 16—was the deadline for California counties to mail ballots to all registered voters for the Sept. 14 recall targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). All registered voters will receive ballots for this election by mail. Counties that allow voters to cast their ballots in person before the election may open such centers from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10.

Voters who are not currently registered must do so by Aug. 30 to vote in the recall election.

Ballots for the recall election will have two questions. The first will ask whether Newsom should be recalled as governor. The second will ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. If a majority votes “yes” on the first question, Newsom will be recalled, and the candidate receiving the most votes on the second question will become governor. 

Forty-six candidates, including nine Democrats and 24 Republicans, will appear on the ballot. The filing deadline for write-in candidates is Aug. 31.

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92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA running for re-election this year

Welcome to the Monday, August 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA ran for re-election this year
  2. Candidate filing deadline is today in seven Texas school districts, including Houston
  3. U.S. House to consider 2022 budget resolution starting the week of Aug. 23

92% of state legislative incumbents in NJ, VA ran for re-election this year

Two states—New Jersey and Virginia—are holding state legislative elections in 2021. Most states hold legislative elections in even-numbered years, but four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia—typically hold such elections in odd years. 

The percentage of open seats in this year’s state legislative elections is 7.7%, which is the second-lowest rate since 2010. Of the 220 seats up for election in Virginia and New Jersey, 17 incumbents did not file to run for re-election. In elections held nationwide in odd-numbered years from 2011 to 2021, only the 2013 state legislative elections had a lower percentage of open seats at 6.8%. The open-seat rate in even-numbered years since 2010 ranged from 15.0% to 20.4% 

This low rate of open seats is driven by Virginia. Ninety-five incumbents ran for re-election this year to their seats in the House of Delegates, which is the highest number this decade. Of the five open seats, one was most recently held by a Democrat and four by Republicans.

In New Jersey, 120 seats are up for election—40 in the Senate and 80 in the Assembly. Incumbents filed to run for re-election in all but 12 of them, or 10.0%. Compared to previous elections, New Jersey’s rate of open seats in 2021 is tied with 2017 for the state’s second-highest percentage in the past decade. Of those 12 open seats, six were most recently held by Democrats and six by Republicans.

In both states, the 2011 state legislative elections were the first ones conducted after redistricting that occurred after the 2010 census. Due to delays in releasing data after the 2020 census, state legislative elections in both New Jersey and Virginia will continue to use maps that were enacted after the 2010 census.

Neither New Jersey nor Virginia has term limits for state legislators, meaning all open seats this year were left by incumbents voluntarily choosing not to file for re-election.

The chart below shows the annual percentage of open seats in state legislative elections since 2010: 

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Candidate filing deadline is today in seven Texas school districts, including Houston

The filing deadline is today—Aug. 16— for candidates seeking to run for certain school board seats in Texas. Ballotpedia is covering races for 21 board seats across the following seven districts that are holding general elections on Nov. 2:

The largest of these is in Houston, where five seats on the nine-member board are up for election. As of the 2018-2019 school year, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) was the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest school district in the United States, serving 209,772 students in 280 schools with a budget of $2.04 billion.

In November 2019, the Texas Commissioner of Education decided to appoint a board of managers to replace the HISD’s elected board members after a state investigation into the board’s governance and repeatedly poor academic performance ratings at a high school in the district. The district sued to prevent the state’s action. In March 2021, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a lower court injunction that blocked the takeover. Click here to read more about these events.

Ballotpedia also covered school board races in 58 other Texas school districts that held elections on May 1. We provide in-depth coverage of school board elections in the 200 largest school districts by enrollment in the nation, as well as those school districts that overlap with the 100 largest cities by population. 

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U.S. House to consider 2022 budget resolution starting the week of Aug. 23 

The House of Representatives will consider the $3.5 trillion Congressional Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning the week of August 23. The Senate had agreed to the budget resolution on August 11 by a 50-49 vote along party lines.

Congress is considering the budget resolution at the same time as the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 that the Senate passed on August 10 by a vote of 69-30. That bill would allocate $550 billion to transportation, water and power infrastructure, and pollution cleanup.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would not take up the infrastructure bill until the budget resolution had passed. Nine House Democrats sent Pelosi a letter on Aug. 12 that they would not consider supporting the budget plan until the infrastructure bill was adopted. With three vacancies in the House, Democrats have a 220-212 majority in the chamber.

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An early look at 2022 primary dates and filing deadlines

Welcome to the Friday, August 13, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. An early look at 2022 primary dates and candidate filing deadlines
  2. Two more House members running for Senate
  3. Redistricting roundup

An early look at 2022 primary election dates and candidate filing deadlines

Texas and North Carolina are set to have the nation’s earliest primaries and candidate filing deadlines in the 2022 cycle. Texas’ primary is slated for March 1 and its candidate filing deadline for Dec. 13, 2021. North Carolina’s primary is scheduled for March 8 and its candidate filing deadline, Dec. 17, 2021.

Some states could postpone primaries or extend candidate filing deadlines due to the delayed release of census data the states use for redistricting (more on that in the final story below). Illinois moved its March 15, 2022, primary election to June 28 for this reason. 

Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Texas held the first primaries in 2020 on March 3. (Nine other states and American Samoa held presidential primaries on that day but scheduled the remainder of their primaries for a later date.) In response to the coronavirus pandemic, 10 states postponed their scheduled primaries (not including states that only postponed primary runoffs or presidential primaries). All 10 had originally planned to hold their primaries between March and June. For more on primary election postponements during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

The months of candidate filing deadlines for the 2020 and 2022 election cycles are shown below. November and December refer to the years before the election (2019 and 2021, respectively). At the start of 2020, seven states’ candidate filing deadlines had passed. At the start of 2022, two states’ deadlines are currently set to have passed. Again, filing deadlines for the 2022 elections are subject to change.

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Two more House members running for Senate

Earlier this month, two members of the U.S. House announced they’ll run for U.S. Senate rather than seeking re-election in 2022: Conor Lamb (D-Penn.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.). Both Senate elections are open, and the current incumbents are Republicans. 

This brings the total of current representatives seeking Senate seats in 2022 to seven. In 2020, five representatives ran for Senate, and two won. In 2018, 10 ran and four won (in addition, Martha McSally (R) of Arizona lost the Senate election and was later appointed to the chamber).

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) announced this week he will retire from public office. So far, 21 members of Congress—five senators and 16 representatives—have announced they will not seek re-election in 2022. 

Ten U.S. House members are running for other offices. Four Republicans and three Democrats are seeking Senate seats. One Republican and one Democrat are running for governor, and one Republican is running for secretary of state. 

Eleven members—five senators and six representatives—announced retirements. All five retiring senators are Republicans. Four retiring representatives are Democrats and two are Republicans. 

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Redistricting roundup

The U.S. Census Bureau released block-level data from the 2020 census on Aug. 12. The data includes county-level demographic information on the ethnic, racial, and age makeup of neighborhoods across the country and will allow states to begin the process of drawing congressional and state legislative district maps.

Here are some findings from the Bureau’s press release:

  • “The population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.”
  • “The 2020 Census used the required two separate questions (one for Hispanic or Latino origin and one for race) to collect the races and ethnicities of the U.S. population. … Building upon our research over the past decade, we improved the two separate questions design and updated our data processing and coding procedures for the 2020 Census. These changes reveal that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and more diverse than what we measured in the past.”
  • “The 2020 Census showed that the adult (age 18 and older) population group grew 10.1% to 258.3 million people over the decade.”

The Bureau will also release a complete tabulated version of the census dataset on Sept. 30. In addition to drawing district maps, federal agencies and local governments use census data in allocating funds and other planning and decision-making processes.

Other redistricting news from the week:

  • The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission announced it may hire Mark Braden and law firm BakerHostetler as legal counsel.
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court selected retired state supreme court Judge John Wallace as the congressional redistricting tiebreaker. Also, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way (D) said that she would release adjusted census data within seven days of the census data release on Aug. 12 to all members of the redistricting commissions and the public concurrently.

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One year ago, Trump administration announces Moderna vaccine deal

Welcome to the Thursday, August 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. One year ago, Trump administration announced $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to develop 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
  2. Supporters file initiative in Massachusetts to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors
  3. California Republican Party votes to not endorse a candidate in Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom

One year ago, Trump administration announced $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to develop 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine

One year ago this week, President Donald Trump’s (R) administration, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD), announced a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna Inc. to develop and deliver 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This was the third vaccine deal announced last year.

Here are noteworthy events in the development of vaccines from last year:

  • May 15, 2020: Trump announced the creation of Operation Warp Speed, an administration task force launched to help develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Trump named Moncef Slaoui as the task force’s chief scientist and U.S. Army General Gustave Perna as its chief operating officer.
  • July 22: Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech announced they had reached a $1.95 billion deal with the HHS and DOD to supply 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to the federal government by the end of 2020.
  • Aug. 4: The HHS and DOD announced a $2.1 billion deal with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to supply 100 million doses of a vaccine for the United States.
  • Aug. 11: The Trump administration announced a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to supply 100 million doses of a vaccine.
  • Aug. 14: The HHS and DOD announced a partnership with healthcare company McKesson Corp. to help distribute a vaccine when one became available.
  • Sept. 16: The Trump administration released its vaccine distribution strategy, including guidance for working with states, tribes, territories, and local public health programs to distribute a vaccine when it became available.
  • Nov. 20: Pfizer announced it had applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its vaccine.
  • Nov. 30: Moderna announced it had also applied for an emergency use authorization from the FDA.
  • Dec. 11: The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • Dec. 18: The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Moderna’s vaccine.

For a full timeline of federal activity in response to the pandemic, including major legislation, executive actions, and department policies under both the Trump and Biden administrations, click Keep reading below. 

For the latest news on government responses to the pandemic, including mask and vaccine requirements, subscribe to the free, twice-weekly, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery newsletter here.

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Supporters file initiative in Massachusetts to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors 

Proponents of a Massachusetts ballot initiative that would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and enact related labor and wage policies filed two versions of such a measure with the state attorney general’s office on Aug. 4. 

The Massachusetts App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative would:

  • define app-based drivers as independent contractors, 
  • set a guaranteed earnings floor that would be equal to $18 per hour in 2023, excluding tips,
  • require paid occupational safety training program requirements and earned paid sick leave,
  • require a healthcare stipend for workers who meet weekly hour requirements, and
  • require occupational accident and accidental death insurance. 

The initiative is similar to California Proposition 22, which voters approved last year, 59% to 41%. That measure defined app-based transportation and delivery drivers as independent contractors, overriding a 2019 state law governing how to determine if a worker was an employee. It also adopted labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies. Proposition 22 was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in California history, with supporters such as Uber, Doordash, Lyft, InstaCart, and Postmates raising $205.4 million. Opponents, including the Service Employees International Union and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, raised $18.9 million.

In Massachusetts, the attorney general’s office must approve an initiative to ensure it complies with the state’s single-subject rule before proponents can gather signatures. After that, the petition is sent to the secretary of the commonwealth, where it receives a summary that is included on the official petition form for circulation. If supporters gather and submit 80,239 signatures—3 percent of the votes cast for governor—by Nov. 17, the measure goes to the state legislature which may approve it as a state statute. If the legislature rejects the measure or fails to act, supporters can collect more signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

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California Republican Party votes to not endorse a candidate in Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom

The Republican Party of California voted on Aug. 7 not to endorse a candidate in the Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). During a virtual party meeting, about 90% of delegates voted against making an endorsement. Party chair Jessica Millan Patterson supported the no endorsement motion amid concerns that backing one candidate would decrease turnout among supporters of other candidates, according to Politico.

Also last week, the California Secretary of State’s office released summary campaign finance data through July 31. See the chart below and click Keep reading for the numbers. 

Lastly, we’re holding a briefing on Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. Central Time to explore recall news, outline how the recall election will work, and compare it to the last (2003!) recall. Click here to register, and if you can’t attend the live, we’ll email you a link to watch when it’s over.

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Andrew Cuomo to become ninth New York governor to resign

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces resignation
  2. Here’s an update on Seattle’s Aug. 3 municipal elections
  3. One year ago — on Aug. 11, 2020 — Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces resignation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he would resign effective Aug. 24. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will serve the remainder of Cuomo’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2023. New York’s next gubernatorial election will take place in November 2022.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) released a report on Aug. 3 that said Cuomo “sexually harassed a number of current and former New York State employees by, among other things, engaging in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching, as well as making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.” James began the investigation in February.

The New York State Assembly had initiated impeachment proceedings against Cuomo in March, examining the allegations of sexual misconduct among other accusations of impeachable conduct. At the time of Cuomo’s announcement, the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee had planned to finish its impeachment inquiry by Aug. 13, allowing for a vote on impeachment later this month or in September. Had Cuomo been impeached, the next step would have been a trial before the state Senate.

Cuomo denied these allegations, saying, in part, “To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable.” At a press conference announcing his resignation, Cuomo said, “Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore that’s what I’ll do.”

Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. He was New York’s attorney general from 2007 to 2010. Cuomo also served in President Bill Clinton’s (D) cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1997 to 2001.

Hochul was elected lieutenant governor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. Before that, she served in the U.S. House from 2011 to 2013 after winning a special election. Hochul will be the first woman governor in the state’s history. 

Since 1776, 218 state governors have resigned before the expiration of their term. Andrew Johnson (D) resigned as Governor of Tennessee on two separate occasions, so there have been 219 gubernatorial resignations. Of these, 76% took place because the governor was elected or appointed to another office, 7% took place following allegations of misconduct, and 17% were for various personal reasons, such as illness or policy disputes with the state legislature.

Cuomo is the ninth governor of New York to resign. Six resigned to take another office, and three resigned following allegations of misconduct. New York’s last elected governor, Eliot Spitzer (D), resigned in 2008 amid allegations of misconduct. Spitzer’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson (D), served through 2010. Twelve governors of New Jersey have resigned, more than any other state. 

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Here’s an update on Seattle’s Aug. 3 municipal elections 

The deadline for voters to send their ballots in Seattle’s top-two primaries for mayor, city council, and city attorney was Aug. 3. Since elections in Washington are conducted entirely by mail, it often takes a few weeks to determine the outcome. In all Seattle municipal races, the top-two finishers advance to the general election on Nov. 2. 

Here’s where these races stand as of Aug. 10:

City Attorney
Incumbent Pete Holmes conceded to challengers Ann Davison and Nicole Thomas-Kennedy on Aug. 6. Holmes was first elected city attorney in 2009 and won re-election unopposed in 2013. In 2017, he defeated Scott Lindsay for a third term, 75% to 25%.

Unofficial results have Thomas-Kennedy leading with 35.5% of the vote, followed by Davison with 33% and Holmes with 31.2%. Thomas-Kennedy is a former public defender and criminal and eviction attorney. Davison is an attorney and arbitrator who ran as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor of Washington in 2020. 

In Seattle, the city attorney heads the city’s Law Department and supervises all litigation in which the city is involved. 

Mayor

Former city council member Bruce Harrell leads with 34%, and city council president Lorena González is second with 32% among the 15-candidate field. Colleen Echohawk—who is third with 10% of the vote—has conceded, as has Jessyn Farrell, who is fourth with 7%. 

Incumbent Jenny Durkan, elected in 2017, did not run for re-election.

City Council

Incumbent Teresa Mosqueda leads 10 other candidates for one at-large city council seat with 59% of the vote. Kenneth Wilson is in second with 16%. In the race for the other at-large position, Nikkita Oliver leads with 40%, and Sara Nelson is second with 39.5%. This seat is open since incumbent Lorena González is running for mayor. 

The city’s other seven council seats are elected by district every four years, with the next elections in 2023.

One year ago — on Aug. 11, 2020 — Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate

One year ago today, President Joe Biden (D) selected then-California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) as his vice presidential running mate. In a tweet sent that day, Biden said, “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. She served as the attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017 and district attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. Harris ran for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination from January to December 2019. 

Harris is the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket in the United States.

Biden announced his selection of Harris the week before the rescheduled 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was originally set to take place July 13-16, 2020. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers postponed the convention to the week of Aug.t 17, 2020. Most of the convention’s events took place remotely.

During the 2016 cycle, Donald Trump (R) announced he had selected Mike Pence (R) as his running mate via Twitter on July 15, 2016, and Pence was formally nominated at the Republican National Convention on July 19. Hillary Clinton (D) announced she had selected Tim Kaine (D) to be her running mate on July 22, 2016, and Kaine was formally nominated at the 2016 Democratic National Convention on July 27.

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Biden’s judicial nominations through August compared to his predecessors

Welcome to the Tuesday, August 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. President Biden has appointed the most federal judges through Aug. 1 of a president’s first year
  2. Texas House lacks quorum as second special session begins
  3. Louisiana reinstates indoor face-covering requirement

President Biden has appointed the most federal judges through Aug. 1 of a president’s first year

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed eight Article III federal judges through Aug. 1 of his first year in office. This is the largest number of Article III judicial appointments at this point in a president’s first term since President Richard Nixon (R). 

The Senate has confirmed three Appeals Court and five District Court judges that Biden nominated. It had confirmed five of President Donald Trump’s (R) appointees at this point in his term. Presidents have appointed an average of three judges through Aug. 1 of their first year in office.

The president appoints, and the Senate must confirm, all Article III federal judges. They include judges on the Supreme Court, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

Biden’s first successful federal judicial appointment was Julien Neals to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on June 8. Biden announced the first federal judicial nominations of his presidency on March 30. 

Presidents Bill Clinton (D) and Barack Obama (D) did not have their first judicial appointment until August of their first terms, and both were to the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor on Aug. 6, 2009, after Obama nominated her on June 1 of that year. The Senate confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Aug. 3, 1993, after Clinton nominated her on June 22. Neither Obama nor Clinton appointed any appeals or district court judges until September of their first year.

There are currently 80 Article III federal judiciary vacancies. Biden has 24 pending nominations for those positions before the U.S. Senate.

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Texas House lacks quorum as second special session begins 

The Texas House of Representatives began a new 30-day special legislative session Saturday—on Aug. 7—without the minimum number of members required to conduct official business, known as a quorum. The House has lacked a quorum since July 12.

According to CBS News, State Rep. Eddie Lucio (D), who has returned to Texas, said he expected enough members of the Democratic caucus to return to Austin within a week so that a quorum can be re-established, while at least 26 of the 50 Democrats that left in July issued a statement saying they would remain in Washington, D.C. 

Here’s a quick timeline of what has happened with this story to catch you up:

  • May 30: All 67 members of the Democratic House caucus left the chamber during consideration of a package of election-related legislation. This prevented the House from passing the legislation ahead of the regular session’s conclusion that day.
  • June 21: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vetoed the part of the state budget that funds the legislature, including salaries for legislators, staff, and legislative agencies.
  • June 22: Abbott calls a special session of the legislature.
  • July 8: The legislature convenes its first special session.
  • July 12: Fifty-one of 67 Democratic state representatives leave the state and travel to Washington D.C., ahead of expected votes on election-related legislation.
  • July 15: Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) announced he had removed Joseph Moody (D) as speaker pro tem, who performs the duties of the speaker when the speaker is absent. According to the Texas Tribune, “Moody’s appointment to the position was seen as an olive branch by Republicans,” and he was “one of Phelan’s top allies in the Democratic Party.”
  • Aug. 7: The legislature convenes a second 30-day special session, one day after the first session ended on Aug. 6.

Supporters say the voting-related legislation includes updates that will improve election integrity. Opponents say the bills amount to voter suppression.

The rules of the Texas House of Representatives require that two-thirds of the 150 legislators—100 members—must be present to establish a quorum, or the minimum number of members required to conduct official business. According to the rules, “Until a quorum appears, should the roll call fail to show one present, no business shall be transacted, except to compel the attendance of absent members or to adjourn. 

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Louisiana reinstates indoor face-covering requirement

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order on Aug. 2 reinstating the state’s indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Louisiana is the only state so far that has reinstated a statewide face-covering order after previously allowing such an order to expire. 

Edwards said the order would be in place until Sept. 1 and could be extended beyond that date. The requirement came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its masking guidance, recommending fully vaccinated people wear masks while indoors in parts of the country with substantial or high transmission. 

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced a mask mandate on July 27 in counties with “substantial or high transmission” of COVID-19. In those counties, vaccinated and unvaccinated people would be required to wear masks indoors, also due to the CDC’s new guidance.

Five states currently have statewide mask orders for unvaccinated individuals, and three have such orders for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. All eight states have Democratic governors.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide mask requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty-two states —16 with Republican governors and 16 with Democratic governors—have allowed statewide orders to expire. 

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22 states allow recall of school board members

Welcome to the Monday, August 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 22 states allow recall of school board members
  2. Proponents of three Colorado initiatives submit signatures by Aug. 2 deadline
  3. COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

22 states allow recall of school board members

Thirty-nine states allow for the recall of elected officials at some level of government. Of those 39, 22 specifically allow for the recall of school board members. For the purposes of this count, we are defining a school board recall as the process of removing an elected school board member from office before their term is completed. Here are a few things to know about the 22 states.

  • Six states that allow school board recalls require proponents of such a recall to show specific grounds—such as malfeasance or misfeasance in office—for the effort to move forward.
  • In all but one state—Virginia—recall elections are held if enough signatures are collected. The recall process is different in Virginia than in other states. Recall organizers must gather signatures from 10% of the number of people who voted in the last election for that office. If enough signatures are collected, a circuit court trial is held to determine if the official should be recalled. Proponents must show that the official demonstrated neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence. If the judge rules in favor of the recall, the official is removed from office, and voters elect a replacement in a special election.
  • The number of signatures required to place a school board recall question on the ballot varies by state. Common factors for calculating the signature requirement include the size of the board member’s jurisdiction and the number of votes cast in a previous election. In Virginia, if enough signatures are collected, a circuit court trial is held to determine if an election should take place.
  • The amount of time recall petitions circulate also varies by state. Georgia, Nebraska, and North Carolina have the shortest petition circulation time, at 30 days. Of the states with a time limit for circulating petitions, Washington has the longest period at 180 days. New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia do not have a time limit for when proponents can circulate petitions.

Between 2006 and 2020, Ballotpedia covered an average of 23 recall efforts against an average of 52 school board members each year. The number of school board recalls in 2021 has surpassed that average with 57 efforts against 143 members as of Aug. 3. This is the highest number of school board recalls Ballotpedia has tracked in one year since our tracking began in 2010. The next highest year was 2010, with 39 efforts against 91 school board members.

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Proponents of three Colorado initiatives submit signatures by Aug. 2 deadline 

Proponents of three statewide initiatives in Colorado submitted signatures by the Aug. 2 deadline to qualify for this year’s ballot. The Colorado secretary of state’s office is reviewing those signatures to determine whether enough are valid for the measures to go before voters. To get an initiated state statute or constitutional amendment on the ballot this year, proponents needed to have collected 124,632 valid signatures—5% of the total votes cast for secretary of state in the last general election. 

Here is a brief summary of each proposed measure:

  • Custodial Fund Appropriations Initiative
    • This initiative would transfer the power to appropriate custodial funds—which is state revenue not generated through taxes, such as pension and court-approved settlement funds—from the state treasurer to the state legislature.

Colorado law requires that ballot measures in odd-numbered years be limited to topics that concern taxes or fiscal matters arising under the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. This includes measures proposing new taxes, tax increases or extensions, and changes to fiscal obligations. This requirement was added in 1994.

From 1999 through 2019, an average of one statewide measure appeared on odd-year ballots. The last time Colorado voters decided a citizen initiative during an odd year was 2013.

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COVID-19 policy changes and events one year ago this week

Here’s a look at some noteworthy policy changes and events regarding COVID-19 that took place one year ago this week:

Federal government responses:

  • On Aug. 11, the Trump administration, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, announced a $1.5 billion agreement with pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. to develop and deliver 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a partnership on Aug. 14 with healthcare company McKesson Corp. to help distribute a coronavirus vaccine when one was available.

Election changes:

  • Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) directed each county election board on Aug. 12 to provide one drop-box for absentee/mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 general election.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) announced on Aug. 14 that the state would automatically send mail-in ballots to all voters in the Nov. 3 general election.

State court changes

  • Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton issued an order extending the state’s judicial emergency, which had been set to expire on Aug. 11, through Sept. 10. Jury trials and most grand jury proceedings remained prohibited.

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The campaign $ in Virginia’s governor’s race

Welcome to the Friday, August 6, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Virginia gubernatorial candidates have spent more than $28 million combined so far on this year’s election
  2. Group submits enough signatures for police-related ballot measure to qualify for the ballot in Austin, Texas
  3. #FridayTrivia: Which state was the second to lower its voting age to 18? 

Virginia gubernatorial candidates have spent more than $28 million combined so far on this year’s election

Virginia is one of two states—along with New Jersey—holding gubernatorial elections on Nov. 2. Investment executive Glenn Youngkin (R) won the Republican Party of Virginia’s convention on May 8, and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) won the state’s Democratic primary on June 8. 

The outcome of this election, in addition to the state’s House of Delegates elections, will also determine Virginia’s trifecta status. Virginia became a Democratic trifecta in 2019. Let’s check on the most recent campaign finance reports from this race, covering data through June 30. 

McAuliffe has raised $20.3 million. Youngkin has raised more than $7.5 million and loaned his campaign $12 million. Both candidates combined have spent $28.2 million on this race so far. 

Breaking those expenditures down even further, the majority of both campaigns’ total expenditures have been on producing and placing media advertisements. Forty-one percent of all of McAuliffe’s expenditures through June 30 went to Grassroots Media LLC, which offers strategic media planning services and carries out media buys. Similarly, 42% of all of Youngkin’s expenditures have gone to Smart Media Group LLC, an advertising agency and media buying agency.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate, raised $20,604 through June 30 and spent $11,043, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. Her expenditures primarily have been for campaign supplies and canvassing costs, with her largest expenditure—$1,193—being for yard signs. Independent candidate Paul Davis has raised and spent less than $5,000 on the campaign so far.

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Group submits enough signatures for police-related ballot measure to qualify for the ballot in Austin, Texas 

The city clerk in Austin, Texas, announced on Aug. 3 that supporters had submitted enough valid signatures to qualify an initiative for the ballot that would set police staffing minimums. The city council has 10 days to approve the measure as a city ordinance or to put the initiative on the ballot. The deadline for the city council to put the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot is Aug. 16. 

The measure would:

  • establish a minimum police department staffing requirement based on Austin’s population, which would require the city to hire additional police officers;
  • state that new police hires should reflect Austin’s demographics; 
  • add additional required training time for police officers; and 
  • add new requirements for serving on the city’s Public Safety Commission.

Organizers submitted 27,778 signatures and the clerk’s office projected that 25,786 were valid. Initiative petitioners must gather 20,000 signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot.

Save Austin Now—which submitted the signatures in support of this initiative—said on its website, “The City council defunded Austin Police by 30% last year, and our city has seen a rising crime wave ever since.” This measure is designed to “Ensure adequate numbers of police officers for a city our size and make that calculation independent of the city council’s whim.” A statement issued by Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said, “George Floyd was killed one year ago, and instead of working on police reform, this group is fear-mongering and trying to avoid police accountability. Their petition drive is about writing a blank check of taxpayer funds to their own department, while cutting off funds for all our other public employees and critical public safety needs. This petition goes directly against what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about.”

Ballotpedia is covering local police-related ballot measures. Voters in six cities nationwide have approved three and rejected three such measures so far this year. Voters in Cleveland and Minneapolis will decide police-related local ballot measures on Nov. 2.

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#FridayTrivia: Which state was the second to lower its voting age to 18?

In Tuesday’s Brew, we highlighted Georgia’s 1943 ballot measure which lowered the state’s voting age from 21 to 18. Voters approved that change 78 years ago, and it led to consideration of the Constitution’s 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age nationwide to 18.

In that story, we noted that in 1955—12 years after voters passed the Georgia Age Requirements for Voting Amendment—a second state lowered its voting age to 18. This was before Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959, and adopted voting ages of 19 and 20 years, respectively. Which state was the second to lower its voting age to 18?

  1. Indiana
  2. Kansas
  3. Kentucky
  4. South Carolina


Detroit voters reject revised city charter

Welcome to the Thursday, August 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Detroit voters reject new city charter; incumbent Mike Duggan advances to mayoral general election
  2. Organizers have until Aug. 11 to submit signatures in recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin
  3. Redistricting review: Colorado Supreme Court adjusts redistricting deadlines

Detroit voters reject new city charter; incumbent Mike Duggan advances to mayoral general election 

Yesterday’s Brew featured election results from primaries in two Ohio congressional districts holding special elections on Nov. 2—the 11th and 15th districts. Let’s take a closer look at some other races we covered on Tuesday.

Detroit Proposal P, Revised City Charter

Detroit voters defeated a measure that would have replaced the city’s existing charter with a new one. The Charter Revision Commission developed the new charter after voters approved the creation of such a commission in August 2018. According to unofficial results, 68% of voters opposed the measure, and 33% were in favor.

The city’s new charter would have made changes to policy regarding broadband access, police practices, healthcare, taxes and utilities, and reparations, among other topics. The revised charter would have been 145 pages long, adding 25 pages to the existing 120-page charter that voters approved in 2011 and enacted in 2012. 

The proposed charter included the following changes to city policy:

  • developing free public broadband internet;
  • providing reparations to Black residents;
  • changing police practices, policies, and training requirements;
  • giving residents amnesty for water and sewer fees; and
  • granting tax credits to residents who show proof of overassessed property taxes.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on July 29 that Detroit voters could vote on the measure on Tuesday after two lawsuits were filed in May seeking to block the measure from the ballot. The lawsuits argued that state law required that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) approve the proposed charter before it was presented to voters. Whitmer declined to approve the proposed charter earlier this year.

Detroit mayoral primary

Incumbent Mike Duggan and challenger Anthony Adams received the most votes among 10 candidates in Detroit’s mayoral primary Tuesday. Unofficial results had Duggan receiving 72.4% of the vote and Adams receiving 10%. Both candidates will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Duggan was first elected mayor in 2013, defeating Benny Napoleon, 55% to 45%. He was re-elected in 2017 after defeating Coleman Young II, 72% to 28%. Before becoming mayor, Duggan’s professional experience included serving as CEO of Detroit Medical Center, Wayne County prosecutor, and deputy Wayne County executive.

Adams is an attorney who served as Detroit’s deputy mayor under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). He was also a board member and general counsel for Detroit Public Schools and interim director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Organizers have until Aug. 11 to submit signatures in recall effort against San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin

We’ve been providing regular updates in the Brew regarding the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Voters will decide whether to recall Newsom in a statewide election on Sept. 14. Here’s the status of a recall effort involving another noteworthy elected official in California—San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Organizers have initiated two recall efforts against Boudin this year. The first was approved for circulation on March 4. Recall organizers have until Aug. 11 to submit at least 51,325 valid signatures to put a recall election on the ballot. A second effort was started on April 28, and organizers have until Oct. 25 to gather the same number of signatures.

San Francisco voters elected Boudin district attorney over three other candidates in November 2019 in an election conducted using ranked-choice voting. The previous incumbent—George Gascón—was first appointed to the office by then-Mayor Newsom in 2011. Gascón declined to seek re-election in 2019, leaving the seat open for the first time since 1909. Gascón is currently Los Angeles County’s District Attorney after defeating incumbent Jackie Lacey, 54% to 46%, in last November’s election.

At the time of the election, Boudin worked in the city’s Public Defender’s Office. His endorsers included presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I), Our Revolution, and the city affiliate of the Green Party. Boudin received 35.7% of the first-choice vote, followed by Suzy Loftus with 31.1%, Nancy Tung with 19.3%, and Leif Dautch with 13.9%. Although the election was officially nonpartisan, all four candidates were Democrats.

Supporters of both recalls allege that Boudin’s approach has led to increased crime rates. Boudin has stated that he is reforming the criminal justice system, and the recalls are politically motivated. 

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Redistricting review: Colorado Supreme Court adjusts redistricting deadlines

The Colorado Supreme Court modified its schedule on July 26 for reviewing congressional and state legislative redistricting plans after the state’s congressional redistricting commission petitioned the court to extend the deadline for submitting a final plan. 

The court’s July 26 order requires the commission and all other interested parties to submit briefs within seven days after the commission submits a final plan to the court, which must be no later than Oct. 8. The commission had asked the state supreme court to establish a deadline of Oct. 28.

In response to the court’s order, the congressional review commission set a Sept. 28 deadline for completing its redistricting plan. The state supreme court said it will rule on the state’s congressional district plan by Nov. 1. 

So far, two states—Illinois and Oklahoma—have enacted state legislative district plans, and no states have enacted congressional district plans. The U.S. Census Bureau has agreed to deliver redistricting data to states by Aug. 16. 

Colorado is one of eight states where commissions draw congressional district lines.

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The Daily Brew: Voters decide special congressional primaries in Ohio

Welcome to the Wednesday, August 4, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Brown, Carey win special primaries in Ohio’s 11th, 15th Districts
  2. Supporters of Newsom recall sue over voter guide language 
  3. 2021 year-to-date Federal Register page total tops 41,000

Brown, Carey win special primaries in Ohio’s 11th, 15th Districts

Voters decided primaries for special elections in two Ohio congressional districts Tuesday. Here are those results:

Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

Mike Carey defeated 10 candidates to win the special Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Carey had received 37% of the vote, Bob Peterson was second with 15%, Ron Hood was third with 14%, and Jeff LaRe was fourth with 11%. The special election will fill the vacancy left by Steve Stivers (R), who resigned in May to become the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Carey was chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him on June 8. The Make America Great Again Action Inc. PAC spent almost $350,000 supporting Carey. Peterson, a farmer and member of the Ohio state legislature, was endorsed by the Ohio Right to Life PAC.

Carey will face state Rep. Allison Russo (D)—who won Tuesday’s Democratic primary—in the Nov. 2 general election. Trump won the district, 56% to 42%, over President Joe Biden (D) in the 2020 presidential race. Stivers was first elected in 2010 and won six elections in the district by an average margin of victory of 24 percentage points. Inside Elections rates the general election as Solid Republican

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District

Shontel Brown won the special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 11 p.m. ET, Brown had received 50% of the vote to Nina Turner’s 44%. Eleven other candidates split six percent. Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) resigned the seat in March to become Housing and Urban Development secretary in President Biden’s administration. 

Brown serves on the Cuyahoga County Council and chairs the county’s Democratic Party. Turner is a former state senator and former member of the Cleveland City Council who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) were among Brown’s endorsers. Turner’s endorsers included Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Labor groups split endorsements in the primary. Satellite spending groups spent more than $3 million during the Democratic primary. Of that, $2 million came from Democratic Majority For Israel, which endorsed Brown.

Brown will face Laverne Gore (R)—who won Tuesday’s Republican primary—in the Nov. 2 general election. Biden won the district over Trump, 80% to 19%, in the 2020 presidential election. Inside Elections rates the general election as Solid Democratic.

Supporters of Newsom recall sue over voter guide language 

There are about six weeks until the Sept. 14 recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Here are some recent updates:

Voter guide lawsuit 

Two supporters of the recall filed a lawsuit on July 29 challenging the language used in the state’s official voter guide. Orrin Heatlie and the California Patriot Coalition sued California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) in Sacramento County Superior Court, arguing that the guide’s language that Newsom provided “mirror his and his supporters’ paid advertisements.” 

The court has scheduled a hearing in the case for today—Aug. 4. The deadline for public review and legal challenges related to the voter guide is Aug. 6. The voter guide will be mailed to voters by Aug. 24.

The lawsuit also says Newsom should not be able to refer to himself as a “Democratic governor.” Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James P. Arguelles ruled on July 12 that Newsom’s party affiliation will not appear on the recall ballot. In his official response to the recall on Feb. 20, 2020, Newsom did not file a form stating his party preference.

Heatlie began this recall campaign against Newsom in June 2020. In May 2021, the secretary of state’s office reported that 1,719,943 valid signatures were submitted—more than the 1,495,970 necessary to trigger a recall election. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) called the recall election on July 1.

Campaign Finance

The most recent campaign finance data in the race is available through June 30. The table below summarizes data for the four committees registered to support a “Yes” vote on the recall and the four committees registered to support a “No” vote. 

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2021 year-to-date Federal Register page total tops 41,000

From time to time, I like to check in on the number of pages that have been added to the Federal Register so far this year. 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 overall regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From July 26 through July 30, the Federal Register grew by 1,442 pages for a year-to-date total of 41,380. Through July 31, 2020, it grew by a year-to-date total of 46,528 pages. Through July 28, 2017—during the first year of President Trump’s (R) administration—the Federal Register grew by a year-to-date total of 35,434 pages.

Ballotpedia has maintained data on page additions to the Federal Register and the number of federal administrative agency documents on a weekly basis since 2017.
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