Home News This Week in Statehouse Motion: What Invoice Is This? version

This Week in Statehouse Motion: What Invoice Is This? version


Final Session: The 12 months began off fairly mundanely, contemplating it was an election 12 months that ends in zero (making it the ultimate election previous a spherical of redistricting).

Campaign Action

  • The largest shift was in Virginia, which, due to its off-off-year state elections, was the one legislature newly flipped. Democrats had management of the state Home, Senate, and governorship for the primary time in over 1 / 4 century, and the social gathering used its trifecta management to do all kinds of cool things, like
    • Passing a slew of recent gun security legal guidelines,
    • Decriminalizing marijuana, 
    • Elevating the minimal wage,
    • Establishing protections for the LGBTQ neighborhood,
    • Increasing entry to reproductive well being care and abortion,
    • Ratifying the Equal Rights Modification,

… and extra.

After which …

Grandma Bought Run Over By A Virus: COVID-19 modified everybody’s lives in March, together with state lawmakers’.

  • Many states’ legislative periods don’t wrap up until Spring or Summer (or later), so legislators nationwide scrambled to finalize budgets and move key payments as quarantines and stay-at-home orders took impact.
  • However because the pandemic progressed, so did election season—and issues have been trying fairly fairly good for Democrats flighting to flip state legislative majorities to win affect over the upcoming spherical of redistricting in key states.


Silver Bells: Democrats took the silver, so to talk, in key legislative races in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas on Election Day … besides, as I’m awfully fond of claiming, there’s no second place in politics.

  • Whereas it’s legitimately nice that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris gained, downballot Democrats took a little bit of a beating—and so they took that beating within the worst attainable 12 months.
    • The story of 2020 isn’t what Republicans flipped—in spite of everything, that turned out to be a grand whole of two chambers (Alaska notwithstanding/tbd): the New Hampshire Home and Senate.

Republicans’ huge win in 2020 was what they managed to not lose.

Let’s discuss what Democrats are facing in the 2021 round of redistricting.

… and yeah, it sucks.

Issues positively acquired worse for Democrats redistricting-wise on account of this 12 months’s elections.

  • Which implies profitable a majority within the U.S. Home goes to be even tougher for Democrats over the course of the subsequent decade—to say nothing of profitable energy in state legislatures.
    • Nov. 3 noticed the GOP’s redistricting edge develop from three- or four-to-one to doubtlessly four- or five-to-one.
      • Sure, Republicans might find yourself drawing 5 instances as many districts as Democrats.
    • This places Democrats on footing nearly as lopsided because the aftermath of the 2010 elections, when Republicans won the power to redraw five (and change) times as many House districts as Democrats.

The 2020 election outcomes created a grave danger of one other decade of minority rule by the GOP each in Congress and in statehouses nationwide.

However there’s one thing else at play within the upcoming spherical of redistricting that wasn’t a consider 2011.

  • Again then, many new maps in southern states have been topic to the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act.
    • … a requirement the U.S. Supreme Court docket killed in Shelby County v. Holder again in 2013.

My proficient Each day Kos Elections colleagues have assembled a super detailed breakdown of how the election outcomes influence the subsequent spherical of redistricting, however right here’s the lowdown:

  • Why we nonetheless care about Arizona outcomes although they’ve an Impartial Redistricting Fee:
    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain
      • Arizona has had an independent redistricting commission in place since 2000, however with the U.S. Supreme Court docket’s newly conservative configuration, the IRC is at an enormous of danger of being struck down.
        • Republicans within the legislature have repeatedly sought to undermine the fee, so ending the GOP’s management of state authorities would have helped insulate and protect it.


  • Why we care about Michigan although they’ve an impartial redistricting fee:
    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican (up in 2022)
      • In 2018, Michigan voters accredited a poll measure establishing a redistricting fee, stripping the legislature of its energy to attract district maps for itself and for the U.S. Home.
  • Minnesota:
    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • Home: Democratic maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain
      • Democrats fell simply quick of their bid to win trifecta management in Minnesota.
      • The state at present has nonpartisan maps drawn by a courtroom and is poised to once more after 2020.
        • However racial segregation within the Minneapolis space creates a “geography penalty” that harms Democrats, which suggests even ostensibly nonpartisan maps have the effect of functioning like GOP gerrymanders.
          • Living proof: Hillary Clinton and Democratic candidates gained extra votes statewide than Trump and Republicans in 2016 however did not win a majority of seats within the state Senate.
          • That seems to have happened to Senate Democrats again this 12 months and will point out in poor health electoral fortunes for Dems within the state in coming cycles.
  • New Hampshire:
    • Governor: Republican maintain
    • Home: Republican flip
    • Senate: Republican flip
  • North Carolina:
    • Governor: Democratic maintain (however tremendous irrelevant on this context)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain
    • Bonus! Supreme Court docket: Democratic maintain
      • Battles over redistricting are set to proceed after Republicans not solely maintained their majorities, but in addition unexpectedly gained seats. And though Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper gained reelection, it completely doesn’t matter: he’s unable to veto most key redistricting bills.
      • Republicans ousted three Democratic incumbents on the state Supreme Court docket, narrowing Democrats’ majority to 4-3.
        • This issues as a result of state courts curtailed the GOP’s gerrymanders final 12 months and could also be referred to as on to take action once more within the coming decade.
  • Pennsylvania:
    • Governor: Democratic (up in 2022)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain
  • Texas:
    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain
      • I discussed in this space shortly before the election that Republicans have been pumping tons of late money into these state Home races, and WOW did that effort repay.
      • Texas is arguably a very powerful state for Republican congressional gerrymandering, and Democrats did not make the massive good points wanted to flip the state Home to interrupt the GOP’s trifecta management of the state.
        • However wait, it will get worse!
          • Democrats additionally failed to put the groundwork for hanging down gerrymanders later this decade after Republicans swept all 4 seats up this 12 months to keep up their 9-0 state Supreme Court docket majority.


However I’m not achieved!

  • It is time to discuss Iowa.
    • Governor: Republican (up in 2022)
    • Home: Republican maintain
    • Senate: Republican maintain (half of seats up each two years)
      • Since 1980, a nonpartisan company has proposed state and congressional maps to the Iowa legislature, which has at all times adopted them.
      • Nevertheless, since Democrats failed to interrupt the GOP’s full management over state authorities, subsequent 12 months would be the first time ever below this technique that one social gathering has trifecta management throughout redistricting.
      • The one attainable deterrent at play subsequent 12 months is concern of public backlash.
        • … however as an erudite reader of this missive, you understand that Republicans simply don’t care about backlash, particularly in terms of gerrymandering.
        • In any case, how higher to guard your social gathering from anger over gerrymandering than to … gerrymander?



  • This spherical of redistricting won’t be as unhealthy for Democrats as [[shudder]] the 2011 spherical, but it surely’s not gonna be a lot better.
    • And relying on SCOTUS interference, it might arguably be worse.

Slay Journey: Another factor to control subsequent 12 months in all these legislatures Democrats did not flip—particularly in states with GOP governors:

  • A slew of payments discovering modern methods to make voting harder.

Due to legislative pre-filing of payments permitted (inspired! Consider all these overwhelmed legislative companies staffers throughout session) earlier than many session start in January, we all know that Republicans in lots of states are already drooling over the prospect of making extra limitations to the poll field.

  • In Texas, one GOP proposal seeks to ban sending mail-in poll functions to any voter who doesn’t particularly request one. One other seeks to institute common and frequent voter-roll purges, and one other would broaden the definition of and enhance legal penalties for election fraud.
  • In Georgia, Republican lawmakers wish to implement onerous voter ID necessities for these searching for to forged absentee ballots (since these ballots tended to assist out Democrats this 12 months).

These are simply the tip of the iceberg. Preserve an eye fixed out for tons extra of those measures popping up within the coming months (particularly in states like Arizona and New Hampshire).

One other type of 2020 backlash to maintain an eye fixed out for subsequent 12 months: Lawmakers searching for to reign within the authority of governors and public well being officers to train their energy relating to issues like requiring masks be worn in public, enterprise occupancy limits and working hours, quarantine orders, contact tracing, and extra.

  • Legislators in a minimum of 20 states have already proposed bills (some this 12 months, some queued up for subsequent) limiting public well being powers.
    • And whereas approval and the nascent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is giving many People hope for a sunnier post-coronavirus future, the fact of the state of affairs is much extra bleak.
      • In any case, it’s not a query of if there might be one other lethal pandemic—it’s when.

… effectively, that’s an awfully sunny word to exit on.

However I respect you an excessive amount of to fake issues are A-okay.

They’re not.

And whereas governments in Democratic-controlled states are going to be doing good issues for his or her residents (albeit whereas making exhausting funds selections amid our pandemic-induced financial downturn), GOP-run states are going to make the lives of many people a lot tougher.

One thing I’m hopeful about, although, is the Biden presidency.

I’ve to imagine he gained’t repeat President Obama’s egregious error of ignoring the fortunes of Democrats in state legislatures.

I have to imagine that Biden understands that the success of his personal administration is dependent upon his social gathering constructing power in statehouses.

As a result of the last decade forward goes to be difficult sufficient as it’s.

And recovering from the harm Trump has inflicted on the nation requires extra than simply motion in DC.

Biden can’t do it alone. Congress can’t do it alone.

We’ll see how issues shake out quickly sufficient, I assume.

Till then, although, I want yet another factor:

So that you can have an exquisite finish to your 12 months.

You rattling effectively deserve it.

Do one thing that makes you cheerful. Or simply do one thing that doesn’t make you sad.

No matter you do, handle your self.

You’re vital.

We want you.