Home / Politics / This week at progressive state blogs: Lawmakers seek to end MO's marriage role; ranked vote in NH?

This week at progressive state blogs: Lawmakers seek to end MO's marriage role; ranked vote in NH?

Michael Bersin at Show Me Progress of Missouri writes—HCR 30: impeccable logic:

Get that marriage license while you still can, someone’s on a tear. A resolution for a special session introduced on Monday by Representative Jeff Pogue (r):

HCR 30
Calls for a special session for the purpose of eliminating the state’s involvement in the institution of marriage
Sponsor: Pogue, Jeff (143)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2019
LR Number: 1048H.01I
Last Action: 02/05/2019 – Read Second Time (H)
Bill String: HCR 30
Next House Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar […]

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the House of Representatives of the One Hundredth General Assembly, First Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby agree to file a joint proclamation calling for a special session of the General Assembly in September 2019 for the purpose of discussing the state’s involvement in the institution of marriage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare a properly inscribed copy of this resolution for each member of the General Assembly.

So, would those of us who are currently married be grandfathered in? How would that work? Just asking.

Becca Brune at Nebraska Appleseed writes—Removing Barriers to Driving for Youth in Foster Care:

Yesterday the Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Legislature heard testimony on a bill that would remove barriers that stand in the way of young people in foster care learning to drive and getting their driver’s license. Learning how to drive and obtaining a driver’s license are not only exciting achievements but also necessities for young people as the pursue their goals related to work and school. Too often young people age out of foster care without a driver’s license.

Nebraska Appleseed blog

LB 219, introduced by Senator Anna Wishart, implements recommendations from young people and best practices to:

  • Make sure a youth in foster care isn’t treated any differently because they are a foster youth, when learning to drive and getting a driver’s license.
  • Ensure foster parents can play a supportive role as a young people learn to drive by providing liability protection in the case of any harm related to driving.
  • Requires caseworkers to provide needed documentation and information to obtain a driver’s license, at age 14 through transition planning as they prepare to age out of foster care.

In a letter stating her support for this bill, Briana shared her experience having to fight for the opportunity to learn to drive and get her license, which didn’t happen until after she aged out of foster care. Briana said, “I felt cheated out of an experience needed to live a very successful adult life. It may seem small, but I’ve had to pass up amazing job opportunities because I can’t drive…This bill would help so many youth in foster care get this necessary skill and experience needed for a better future.”

Blue in the Bluegrass

Yellow Dog at Blue in the Bluegrass of Kentucky writes—Abortion By Mail Is Here:

And just in fucking time.  Details below, but first,  KY AG Andy Beshear again warns the repug state legislature that they are freakazoid misogynist assholes violating the state and U.S. Constitutions.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear sent the legislature’s top two leaders a letter Thursday informing them that he thinks a bill in this year’s General Assembly that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected is unconstitutional.

Not that they give a shit.  They have been passing unconstitutional forced-birth bills since literally the day after Roe was decided 46 years ago.” All together now:  It’s impossible to abort a “baby,” “child,” “innocent life” or “preborn” anything, because they do not exist inside a woman’s uterus.  Inside a uterus is a mass of cells that is none of your fucking business.  Maybe clinics have a sign outside:  “No children were harmed in the performance of this abortion.”

But the ridiculous “heartbeat” bill is not the only forced-birth bill in the KY lege. From Senator Reggie Thomas:

Senate Bill 50, which passed 30-6, would require that the dispensing of certain prescriptions be reported to Vital Statistics. The report on these drugs, which can be used to induce abortion, would be made available on the cabinet’s website. With so many important health issues facing Kentuckians, I do not understand why we want to use our scarce resources in this manner. These drugs are used for many procedures other than abortion. They are used to dilate a woman’s cervix to insert an IUD to prevent pregnancy; they are used to facilitate a miscarriage, and they are used to accelerate childbirth.  I opposed this bill.  

Fear not, however. Abortion by mail is here. […]

Larry Buhl at Capital & Main of California writes—Tipping Points: Are Charter Schools Oversaturating Their Markets?

Charter school supporters maintain that the schools provide an important choice for parents in poorer neighborhoods with lower-performing schools. But the context of the recent Los Angeles teachers strike was their union’s claims that charter schools represent an existential threat to the school district by siphoning students from traditional public schools and the per-pupil funding that comes with them. Independent charter schools, unlike affiliated charters, which are essentially district-run schools, are run by non-profit organizations and do not report to the school district, even though they use district money to operate.

state blogs. Capital & Main, a California blog

But evidence suggests that beyond presenting a serious challenge to traditional schools, charters are also a growing threat to each other.

Preston Green III, Professor of Educational Leadership and Law at the University of Connecticut, told Capital & Main that charter school growth, especially in California, is at a crossroads.

“There are people in the charter lobby that believe unfettered growth is a good thing,” Green said. “And there are people in many urban communities that don’t believe their needs are being met in a traditional system and they want better schooling. My concern is about charter school bubbles forming.”

This perception is gaining ground among some local educators. A 2018 op-ed written by a Los Angeles charter school teacher claimed that unregulated growth of charters is not only cannibalizing traditional public schools but other charter schools as well. “Between more charter schools being authorized and the impact of gentrification, we are finding it more and more difficult to meet our enrollment capacity with each passing year as the student population in the community declines,” Sylvia Cabrera wrote.

Jim Fuglie at The Prairie Blog of North Dakota writes—Well, Excuuuuse Me! Not.

Back in December I shared with you the story of oil giant Slawson Exploration’s big oil operation in the little fishing village of Van Hook, on the north shore of the Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea. In that article I talked about the sixteen oil wells that have been drilled on the edge of Van Hook, twelve of them at the top of the boat ramp, which in the summer is one of the busiest boat ramps on the big lake.

state blogs

I didn’t say very many nice things about the oil company in that article, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had gotten a phone call or a letter or e-mail from Todd or Steve Slawson (or one of their underlings) asking me why I “had it in for them” when they were such nice guys, helping out North Dakota by drilling for oil and paying oil taxes to help our economy. But they were probably busy counting their money—the Slawson family is on the list of “Americas Richest Families” with a net worth of $1.5 billion in 2018, much of that coming from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field.

But the reason people, especially the cabin owners who’ve put down roots in Van Hook, are concerned about 16 oil wells within just a few hundred yards of Lake Sakakawea (and their homes) is Slawson’s environmental record. They are one of the worst polluting companies ever to do business here. Two years ago they were fined $2.1 million and forced to spend another $4 million cleaning up their mess and upgrading their systems to capture leaking natural gas at more than 170 well sites across the Bakken.

You read that right. They had gas leaks at 170 oil well sites, creating serious air pollution problems all over western North Dakota.

A staffer at NH Labor News writes—Planning To Vote In The 2020 Presidential Primary? You Need To Read This:

Are you already thinking about who you’re going to vote for, in New Hampshire’s First In The Nation primary? Want your ballot to mean something? Then you need to get involved in the debate about Ranked Choice Voting. And you need to call some state Legislators in the next five days.

Because when there are lots of candidates running for President, the math gets funky – and then voters’ ballots get disregarded.

NH Labor News

Take 2016 as an example. Remember how many Republican candidates were running for President? But the RNC requires candidates to get at least 10% of the vote before they get any delegates at the nominating convention. And when you have so many candidates running at the same time, it’s really hard to hit that threshold. […]

But under ranked choice voting, voters get to rank their preferences. When a voter’s first choice doesn’t qualify for delegates, then that ballot can be allocated to the voter’s second choice, or third choice. Under ranked choice voting, that voter would be represented at the nominating convention – not just forgotten about, ignored, disregarded.

Here’s why it’s so important for New Hampshire to switch to ranked choice voting NOW. This year. Before the 2020 presidential primary.

The Democratic Party has a 15% threshold for awarding convention delegates.

And, what happened in 2016? Only two of the Republican candidates crossed the 15% mark (Donald Trump got 35.6% and John Kasich got 15.9%). Under the Democrats’ Threshold Rule, almost half of the primary ballots would have been disregarded.

And that’s what could happen, in 2020, if the Democrats have a crowded presidential primary and New Hampshire doesn’t switch to ranked choice voting now. We could see half – or more – of our ballots disregarded, if we can’t reallocate votes from the lower-performing candidates.

A staffer at The Left Hook of California writes—SCU faculty demand union vote at annual fundraising gala

The Left Hook, state blogs, stateblogs

Over 100 Santa Clara University faculty, students and community allies rallied outside of SCU’s fundraising gala on Saturday, Jan. 19 in support of a fair vote on unionization for non-tenure track faculty. The gala featured musician James Taylor, who performed to a sold-out crowd of the university’s most elite donors.

While community members marched with signs calling for a vote on unionization, faculty and students passed out hundreds of flyers, stickers and buttons to gala attendees, with the goal of raising awareness outside and promoting solidarity inside. Tickets to the gala were awarded to the university’s top donors with a minimum donation of $10,000.

“We’re really just asking for a fair vote, the same procedures that unions go through all the time,” said philosophy and political science lecturer Madeline Cronin. “This would actually ensure that we’re meeting our Jesuit values, that we’re protecting workers rights.”

The call for a vote came last Spring after Trump’s National Labor Relations Board upended the previous administration’s progress in expanding labor rights. Filing with the NLRB could overturn the 2014 Pacific Lutheran ruling and as result jeopardize existing unions at religious institutions and greatly impede future organizing. The faculty’s request for a vote has been repeatedly denied by SCU’s administration and its president, Father Michael Engh.

“The reason we’re looking to unionize is because we really care about undergraduate education and it’s become difficult to ensure that we can be there for students in the way we want, to contribute our talents in the way we want, without a say in our working conditions,” said Cronin.

Adjuncts and lecturers, who comprise the majority of faculty at SCU, have been organizing to form a union with SEIU Local 1021 since Fall 2017. Their struggles as faculty and goal of a union align with nationwide trends.

Nathan Kosted at The Montana Post writes—Gianforte 2020 Campaign Slogan: FIGHTING FOR MILLIONAIRES! (taxing regular Montanans):

Growing bored of commuting to Washington D.C. in his private plane to lower taxes on himself and other millionaires, Greg Gianforte will be running for Governor in 2020 so he can go to Helena and lower taxes on himself and other mega-millionaires.

stateblogs, state blogs

All you have to do to understand what Republicans will do in 2021 legislative session if Gianforte is elected governor is look to the terrible bills they are introducing this session like attacking workers (HB323), attacking women, attacking our voting rights (SKEES), and attacking Montanans in their pocketbooks.

The newest scheme by Republicans to fight for millionaires is to lower their taxes and make Montanans foot the bill with a regressive sales tax that Montanans have rejected numerous times by overwhelming majorities.

We all know that Greg Gianforte is on record as stating he thinks that a sales tax is the “ideal solution” in Montana, and as he stated this outside the confines of a campaign it might be one of the most honest statements that he has ever made as a public official. […]

Governor Bullock had this to say about this dubious proposal:

“I stand with the majority of Montanans who have time and time again rejected a statewide sales tax and against this bill that would raise everyday taxes on hard-working Montanans in our state. It’s increasingly clear those in the Republican majority seek to protect the pocketbooks of wealthy property owners and out-of-state millionaires, while sticking Montana residents with the bill. Even further, this proposal could destabilize school district and local government funding and put a giant hole in the state budget.”

Bleeding Heartland

Laura Belin at Bleeding Heartland of Iowa writes—How one Democrat’s work will let Iowa Republicans pack the courts:

Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t realize the Republican trifecta could blow up our judicial selection process in a matter of weeks. The Iowa Constitution spells out how vacancies on the bench are filled, and altering any language in our state’s founding document takes years.

Unfortunately, a time bomb has lurked in Article V, Section 16 for more than five decades. While most elements of the system can be changed only through a constitutional amendment, the manner of forming judicial nominating commissions (half appointed by the governor, half elected by attorneys) is specified only “Until July 4, 1973, and thereafter unless otherwise provided by law.”

How did that language end up in the constitution? A Linn County Democrat offered a fateful amendment 60 years ago. […]

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