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March 2021 partisan composition of state legislative seats — 54.3% Republicans and 44.9% Democrats

According to March’s partisan count of the 7,383 state legislators across the United States, 54.27% of all state legislators are Republicans, and 44.91% are Democrats.

Ballotpedia tallies the partisan balance of state legislatures, or which political party holds the majority of the seats in each chamber, at the end of every month. Republicans control 61 chambers, while Democrats control 37. One chamber (Alaska’s state House) has a power-sharing agreement between the two parties.

Republicans held 1,089 of the 1,972 total state senate seats—up five seats from February—and 2,918 of the total 5,411 state house seats—up one seat from last month. Democrats held 869 state senate seats (up three seats) and 2,447 state house seats (down two seats). Independent or third-party legislators held 38 seats. There were 22 vacant seats.

In March, Democrats saw a net increase of one seat, while Republicans saw a net increase of five seats. Compared to March 2020, Democrats have lost five state Senate seats (874 v. 869) and 139 state House seats (2,586 v. 2,447). Republicans have gained four state Senate seats (1,085 v 1,089) and 139 state House seats (2,779 v 2,918). 

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Special election to be held in Connecticut House district

Voters will decide a special election for District 112 of the Connecticut House of Representatives on April 13. Nicholas Kapoor (D), Tony Scott (R), and William Furrier (Independent Party) are running in the general election. The winner will serve until January 2023.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of J.P. Sredzinski (R) on February 17. Sredzinski had represented the district since 2015.

Heading into the special election, Democrats have a 96-53 majority in the Connecticut House with two vacancies. Connecticut has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of April, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Connecticut held 40 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional Reading:

  • State legislative special elections, 2021
  • Connecticut House of Representatives
  • Connecticut House of Representatives, District 112


A look back at government responses to the coronavirus pandemic, April 13-17, 2020

Although the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020, it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. 

Here are the policy changes that happened April 13-17, 2020. This list is not comprehensive. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.

Monday, April 13, 2020:

  • Travel restrictions
    • The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that out-of-state travelers, especially those from areas with high rates of infection or community spread, self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • School closures:
    • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The Supreme Court of the United States announced it would hear 13 cases by teleconference in May. The court announced it would broadcast live audio of the proceedings to the public for the first time in history.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

  • School closures:
    • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 17.
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
  • Election changes:
    • Judge Bradley B. Cavedo, of Virginia’s 13th Judicial Circuit, extended the deadline for the Republican Party of Virginia to select its nominee for the 7th Congressional District election to July 28, 2020.
    • Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) issued Proclamation Number 46 JBE2020, postponing the state’s presidential preference primary election to July 11, 2020.
    • The Democratic Party of Indiana announced that it would cancel its in-person state convention, which had been scheduled to take place on June 13, 2020. Instead, the party opted to conduct convention business virtually and by mail.
  • Federal government responses:
    • Trump announced that the U.S. was suspending funding to the World Health Organization pending a review of the group’s actions in response to the coronavirus.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

  • Travel restrictions
    • Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) issued an order requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The restriction was included in Little’s extension of the stay-at-home order that went into effect March 25 and was set to expire on April 15. The travel restriction exempted essential workers. 
  • School closures:
    • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) recommended that schools close for the remainder of the academic year. Schools in the state were previously ordered closed from March 20 through April 24.
  • Election changes:
    • Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, announced that the party would conduct its state convention, scheduled to take place on June 20, 2020, remotely on that day.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

  • School closures:
    • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 1.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that schools would be closed until at least May 15. Before the announcement, schools had been under an indefinite closure since March 18.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, extending the statewide school closure.
    • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 23.
  • Federal government responses:
    • The White House released the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, offering guidance to state and local officials on a three-phase approach to reopening their economies.

Friday, April 17, 2020

  • School closures:
    • The Hawaii Department of Education closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through April 30.
    • Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon extended the statewide school closure from April 24 through May 15.
    • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year. Before the announcement, schools were closed through May 4.
  • Election changes:
    • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an order extending the candidate filing deadlines for district and county races to May 5, 2020, and June 2, 2020, respectively. The high court reduced candidate petition signatures requirements to 50 percent of their statutory requirements. The court also authorized candidates to collect petition signatures electronically.
    • Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order postponing the state’s presidential preference primary to August 11, 2020.

For the most recent coronavirus news, including the latest on vaccine masks and mandates, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery.



Spring elections held in Wisconsin

The statewide nonpartisan general election for Wisconsin was held on April 6. The primary was held on February 16, and the filing deadline to run passed on January 5. Candidates ran in elections for special elections in the Wisconsin State Legislature, three judgeships on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and in municipal and school board elections.

Wisconsin State Legislature

• State Senate District 13: John Jagler (R) defeated four candidates to win the special election, winning 51.2% of the total (37,385) reported votes. The seat became vacant after incumbent officeholder Scott Fitzgerald (R) was elected to the U.S. House to represent Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District on Nov. 3. Fitzgerald vacated his seat on Jan. 1.

• State Assembly District 89: Elijah Behnke (R) defeated challenger Karl Jaeger (D) to win the special election. Behnke received 60.3% of the total (8,413) votes, while Jaeger received 39.7% of the votes. The seat became vacant on Dec. 2, after John Nygren (R) resigned his seat to work in the private sector.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals

• In District 1, Judge Maxine A. White won re-election unopposed.

• In District 2, Judge Jeffrey Davis was defeated by challenger Shelley Grogan.

• In District 3, newcomer Greg Gill Jr. defeated Rick Cveykus.

Ballotpedia also covered local elections in the following areas:

• Dane County and Milwaukee County

• The cities of Madison and Milwaukee

• DeForest Area School District

• Madison Metropolitan School District

• McFarland School District

• Middleton-Cross Plains School District

• Milwaukee Public Schools

• Sun Prairie Area School District

• Verona Area School District

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Republican-controlled Arkansas General Assembly overrides gubernatorial veto of bill prohibiting gender-affirming treatments for minors

On April 6, the Arkansas General Assembly overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) veto of House Bill 1570 (H.B. 1570), a bill prohibiting physicians and healthcare professionals from providing chemical or surgical gender-affirming treatments—including hormone therapy and puberty blockers—to individuals under the age of 18. The bill also prohibits providers from referring minors elsewhere in order to receive such treatments. Gender-affirming treatment, also known as gender reassignment treatment, refers to the process of changing a person’s body to conform with their gender identity.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Flippo (R), a proponent of the bill, described the prohibited treatments as “something that oftentimes could be irreversible,” adding that “it is not simply too much to ask to let [children’s] minds develop and mature a little bit before they make what could be a very permanent and life-changing decision.”

In his veto announcement, Hutchinson said the bill would create “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people. … This would be, and is, a vast government overreach.”

Hutchinson vetoed H.B. 1570 on April 5. In Arkansas, a majority of votes in both chambers is required to override a gubernatorial veto. At the time of the veto, Republicans held veto-proof majorities in both the state House and Senate.

The House and Senate voted 71-24 and 25-8 in favor of the override, respectively. All Democrats, one independent, and three Republicans voted against the override. The remaining Republicans voted in favor of the override. Seven assembly members—one Democrat and six Republicans—did not vote.

This is the third noteworthy gubernatorial veto override Ballotpedia has identified in 2021.



Voters to decide New Hampshire House special election on April 13

A special election is being held on April 13 for the Hillsborough 21 District of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Wendy Thomas (D), Bill Boyd (R), and Stephen Hollenberg (independent) are running in the special election. The winner will serve until December 2022. The Hillsborough 21 District is a multi-member district made up of eight seats.

The seat became vacant after the death of state House speaker Dick Hinch (R) on Dec. 9 from complications caused by COVID-19. He was sworn in as House speaker on Dec. 2 and previously served as state House minority leader and state House majority leader. He was first elected to the state House in 2008.

New Hampshire has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the New Hampshire House of Representatives by a margin of 212-186, with two vacancies.

As of April 2021, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. New Hampshire held 29 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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Wyoming to vote in 2022 to allow local governments to invest in stocks and equities

On April 1, the Wyoming State Legislature referred a constitutional amendment to the 2022 ballot that would allow the legislature to provide by law for local governments (county, city, township, town, school district, or other political subdivision) to invest funds in stocks and equities. Legislation establishing or increasing the percentage of funds a local government could invest would require a two-thirds supermajority vote of the state legislature. Currently, the state constitution allows the state legislature to authorize certain state funds to be invested in stocks.

To put a legislatively referred constitutional amendment before voters, a two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote is required in both the Wyoming State Senate and the Wyoming House of Representatives.

The measure was introduced as House Joint Resolution 9 on March 4, 2021. It was approved in the House on March 23, 2021, by a vote of 43-16. The Senate approved an amended version of the measure on April 1, 2021, in a vote of 25-5, which was sent to the House for concurrence. The House concurred with the Senate’s amendments on April 1, 2021, in a vote of 46-13.

Between 2000 and 2020, the Wyoming State Legislature referred 20 constitutional amendments to the ballot, of which, 12 were approved (60%) and eight (40%) were defeated.

The legislature was set to adjourn the 2021 legislative session on April 7, 2021. The legislature can also refer measures to the 2022 ballot during the 2022 legislative session.

As of April 2, 2021, 15 statewide ballot measures had been certified for the 2022 ballot in 10 states.

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Georgia legislature sends two measures to the 2022 ballot during its 2021 session

The Georgia State Legislature adjourned its 2021 legislative session on April 1, 2021. The legislature passed two measures requiring voter approval at the general election in 2022:

  1. a constitutional amendment to suspend compensation for certain public officials while they are suspended from office due to a felony indictment and
  2. a measure to expand a property tax exemption to include merged family farms and dairy products and eggs.

A constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting was passed by the Senate but was not passed in the House before the 2021 legislative session adjourned. The amendment could be reconsidered during the 2022 legislative session.

Suspend Compensation for Assembly Members and Public Officials Indicted for a Felony Amendment:

This measure would amend the state constitution to provide for the suspension of compensation for the following public officials while the individual is suspended from office for being indicted for a felony:

  • Governor,
  • Lieutenant Governor,
  • Secretary of State,
  • Attorney General,
  • State School Superintendent,
  • Commissioner of Insurance,
  • Commissioner of Agriculture,
  • Commissioner of Labor, or
  • any member of the General Assembly.

Currently, under the state’s constitution, assembly members and public officials who are suspended from office due to the indictment for a felony still receive compensation until they are convicted. Officials that are reinstated to their position would receive pay that was withheld under the amendment.

The measure was passed in the Senate on March 8 by a vote of 51-1 with four excused or not voting. It was passed in the House on March 23 by a vote of 169-0 with 11 excused or not voting. The single no vote on the measure came from Republican Senator Bill Cowsert.

Merged Family-Owned Farms and Dairy and Eggs Tax Exemption Measure:

The Georgia Constitution requires voter approval of legislation to enact any property tax exemption, which must be passed in the legislature by a two-thirds (66.67 percent) supermajority vote in each chamber.

This measure would expand certain property tax exemptions provided for agricultural equipment and certain farm products. The measure would allow any entity that is a merger of two or more family-owned farms to qualify. It would also extend the exemption to include dairy products and eggs.

The Senate approved the bill on March 31 by a vote of 48-0 with eight members excused or not voting. The House approved the bill on March 31 by a vote of 163-1 with 16 members excused or not voting. The single no vote in the legislature came from Democratic Representative Mesha Mainor.

A total of 84 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Georgia from 1996 to 2020, of which 84.5% (71 of 84) were approved, and 15.5% (13 of 84) were defeated.



Tim O’Brien sworn in to Indiana House of Representatives

Tim O’Brien (R) was sworn in on March 30 to represent District 78 in the Indiana House of Representatives. Republican precinct committee members selected him to represent the district in a caucus on March 29. O’Brien replaces Holli Sullivan (R), who was recently appointed as Indiana’s new secretary of state. Sullivan, who had represented the district since 2014, was appointed secretary of state on March 16.

O’Brien defeated Alfonso Vidal and Sean Selby to win the caucus vote. He will serve out the remainder of Sullivan’s term, and the office will be up for regular election in November 2022. At the time of his appointment, O’Brien worked as a realtor for F.C. Tucker Emge.

The Indiana House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Indiana General Assembly. After O’Brien’s appointment, the current partisan breakdown of the chamber is 71 Republicans and 29 Democrats.

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Five candidates running in a special primary election for California Assembly District 79

A special primary election is being held on April 6 for California Assembly District 79. Marco Contreras (R), Aeiramique Glass Blake (D), Leticia Munguia (D), Shane Parmely (D), and Akilah Weber (D) are running in the primary election. California holds top-two primary elections. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election on June 8, regardless of party affiliation. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary election, the general election will be canceled and the candidate will be elected to office.

The special election was called after Shirley Weber (D) left office due to her appointment as California Secretary of State by Gov. Gavin Newson (D). The previous secretary of state—Alex Padilla (D)—resigned following his appointment to the United States Senate. Newsom formally appointed Weber to the office on Jan. 18, and the California legislature unanimously confirmed Weber as the first Black person to hold this position on Jan. 28. Weber served in the state Assembly from 2012 until she was sworn in as secretary of state on Jan. 29.

California has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California State Assembly by a margin of 58-19, with one independent member and two vacancies.

As of March 2021, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. California held 32 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2020.

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