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This Week in Statehouse Action: Session Is Coming edition

Speaking of elections preceding 2021 redistricting …

Masters of Coin: The 2019 election cycle’s first major finance reports are in in Virginia, and there’s plenty of good news for state Democrats.

  • All 140 seats (100 House, 40 Senate) are up this year in the Old Dominion, and in the first quarter of the year, Democrats in both chambers are out-raising their GOP counterparts.
    • House Democratic candidates raised $2.4 million
      • … while House Republicans raised $1.7 million.
    • Senate Democratic candidates raised $1.9 million.
      • … and Senate Republicans raised $1.1 million.
  • Also, Democrats are way ahead of where they were in fundraising at this point in each chamber’s most recent election cycle, while Republicans are running a bit behind.

Check out this handy graphic from the Virginia Public Access Project


  • Alas, as the graphic above also makes clear, the news is not all good.
    • Virginia Republicans maintain a (not ginormous, but pretty legit) cash-on-hand advantage over Democrats in both chambers.
      • House Republicans are sitting on $6 million, while House Dems have $4.2 million on hand.
      • Senate Republicans have $4.9 million in the bank, while Senate Dems have $4.4 million.

When your party still has the speakership because of racial gerrymandering and (likely) recount malfeasance, it kinda gives you a leg up on fundraising

  • Democrats have another issue, too: the fact that their scandal-ridden statewide officeholders can’t effectively fundraise for them this cycle.
    • But lo, there is some positive news in that regard, as well!
      • Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this week that he’s eschewing a run for president this cycle and will instead focus his attention (and considerable fundraising prowess) on Virginia legislative races this fall.

What Is Dead May Never Die: … but maybe an obviously bad thing can be made against the law, finally?

  • North Carolina Democrats are, once again, trying to push their GOP colleagues to outlaw rape in the state.
    • Yes, okay, most rape is, in fact, illegal in North Carolina.
    • But there’s a gaping loophole in the law that the GOP-controlled legislature just can’t seem to get around to closing: the fact that someone can’t be charged with rape for continuing to engage in a sexual act after a partner revokes consent to that act.
  • Yup, you read that right. Thanks to a 1979 court decision, “no” doesn’t actually mean “no” in North Carolina if you say it after you’ve already said “yes” to sex.

Will the GOP majority finally see fit to make rape for reals illegal in the Tar Heel State? Stay tuned!

A Feast For Jayhawks: Members of Republican legislative majorities in several states were incensed last fall when voters had the temerity to elect Democrats as governors.

  • You may remember how well GOPers in Wisconsin and Michigan took it.
    • If you don’t remember, it was … not well.
  • It took a little while, but Republican legislators in Kansas seem to be taking a lesson from their cross-country cronies; now they’re moving to take power away from their Democratic governor, too.
    • Specifically, they’re trying to strip Gov. Laura Kelly of her constitutional authority to appoint a replacement for the offices of attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, and insurance commissioner, should they become vacant during her tenure.
      • The GOP proposal would shift that power to the political party of the person vacating the office.
      • Conveniently, all of these offices in Kansas are currently occupied by Republicans.

So weird how these Republican lawmakers didn’t have a problem with the current process until voters put a Democrat in charge of their state

The Polls Are Dark And Full Of Voters: Republicans in Tennessee are pushing a creative new way to discourage voting—specifically, by discouraging the very act of registering folks to vote.

  • The new legislation, which has already passed the House, would fine community groups conducting voter registration drives that turn in incomplete applications.
    • The fine, a civil penalty, would be levied against groups who file 100 or more so-called “deficient” voter registration forms, starting at $150 in each county were a “violation” occurred.
      • A person or group that filed more more than 500 incomplete applications could be fined up to $10,000.
    • And as if that weren’t sufficient discouragement for folks looking to register voters, this bill also criminalizes the practice of setting a minimum goal of registration forms for workers to collect.
  • According to a group opposing the legislation, this measure would create the “most aggressive” voter registration penalties in the country. 
    • Tennessee already ranks 45th out of 50 states in terms of its voter registration rate, so suppressing registration even further seems pretty bonkers.
      • … until you remember that Tennessee is run by Republicans and that Republicans really can’t stand things like “expanding the electorate” and “more people voting.”

Welp, that’s all for this week. Now that you’ve read this missive, no one can accuse you of knowing nothing. Maybe you should get a head start on your weekend, knock off early so you can drink AND know things. Just print this out and show it to your boss, I’m sure she’ll hold the door for you on your way out.

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