USAPP Managing Editor, Chris Gilson, looks at the week in US state blogging. Click here for our weekly roundup of national blogs.
On Wednesday, Maine’s Pine Tree Politics has 16 “bold” predictions for 2016, including that a marijuana referendum and a minimum wage hike will pass, and that the Maine Senate will return to Democratic control and the House will go back to the GOP.
Heading south to New York State, Capitol Confidential writes that one of the state’s Congressmen, Representative Chris Gibson has argued for term limits in the state’s legislature, but is against pay rises, even if lawmakers go full time. Later, they report that State Senate Republicans have hit out at potential Democratic Senate candidate Todd Kaminsky over the latter’s criticism of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos – who was recently convicted on corruption charges – for moving to collect his pension.
Continuing on to New Jersey, Save Jersey writes Monday that not only does the state’s legislature “stink”, but it is also one of the costliest despite its “crappy” performance. They say that the Garden State’s legislators are the 11th best paid in the country, at $49,000 per year, per member. Taking the entire legislative workforce into account, that cost spirals up to $200,000. Staying in New Jersey, PolitickerNJ previews who the state Republican Party’s best candidates might be to replace Chris Christie as Governor in 2017.
On Tuesday, PoliticsPA has the news that Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Wolf would veto line-by-line a spending plan worked out between state House and Senate Republicans had agreed. The vetoes will force the parties in the legislature back to the negotiating table when they return from their holidays.
On Wednesday this week, Loose Lips looks at what Washington DC politics might hold in 2016. They say that there will be more scrutiny over the connections of the affiliates of DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser, and that the Washington Post is likely to drift further from her.
Wataugawatch of North Carolina this week writes that “civil war” has broken out among GOP members of the state’s General Assembly, with House Rules Chair David Lewis being accused of cronyism by state Representative Justin Burr, whose bill was allegedly modified by Lewis to protect the financial interests of one of Lewis’ donors.
In Kentucky, Blue in the Bluegrass says that Democracy in the state is now hanging by one vote after State Representative Jim Gooch defected from the Democrats to the GOP, reducing the former’s majority (which they’ve had for nearly a century) in the state House to two.
Down in the Sunshine State, Saint Peters Blog has the news that a state circuit judge has approved a new map for the state’s 40 Senate districts. The new map, which has been drawn up by a coalition of voting rights groups, could shift control of the state’s Senate away from Republicans.
On Monday this week, Yellowhammer wraps up the political year in Alabama, with 15 events that defined 2015 in state politics. Events include House Speaker Republican Mike Hubbard’s surprisingly keeping his job more than a year on from being indicted on 23 counts of public corruption, and the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the state Capitol grounds as ordered by Governor Robert Bentley in June.
Juanita Jean takes a look at Texas’ Open Records act this week, arguing that Republicans in the state’s legislature and attorney general’s office – and now in administration of the City of San Antonio – have done all they could to stop government from being open to the eyes of its citizens.
In Ohio this week, Plunderbund says that the state’s GOP Chair is keen to stoke fears about immigration, and increase turnout, via a ballot measure that would limit state benefits for immigrants.
On Friday, Eclectablog reports that Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder has apologised to the residents of Flint after the city’s Emergency Manager approved the poisoning of the city’s water, and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality dismissed citizens’ concerns. They say that Snyder owes much more than an apology to those that were poisoned – he must commit to rebuilding a “shattered city” which has been afflicted by his “radical, undemocratic approach to governing”.
Masson’s Blog looks at why 2016 might be the “Year of the Bathroom” for the Indiana Legislature, with competing bills over what bathrooms people can (or can’t) be used based on their gender identity.
With Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad now cemented as America’s longest serving governor, Blog for Iowa takes some time to examine his record. They write that Branstad’s terms have been characterised by the governor taking people’s tax money and “handing it over to donors”.
Heading west, Leavenworth Street rounds up who they think are Nebraska’s politicians of the year – members of the state’s legislature who made some big changes, such as repealing the death penalty in the state, over the governor’s veto.
On Monday, South Dakota War College looks at whether or not there really is a gulf between the views of the state’s US Senator, John Thune, and its Governor, Dennis Daugaard over the expansion of Medicaid in the state.
West and Pacific
On Thursday this week, Colorado Peak Politics says that it now knows how the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange – Connect for Health – was recently able to sign up so many for insurance: it failed to check many applicants’ eligibility.
Joe Monagan’s New Mexico reports this week that the political hangover from Governor Susana Martinez’s “infamous pizza party” is continuing, with many of the governor’s critics resurfacing in the wake of what may have been a “catastrophic” political mishap.
Last year was a big one for the GOP’s culture of corruption in the Grand Canyon State, writes Blog for Arizona, with the state’s top utility regulator, Susan Bitter Smith being forced to resign due to allegations of conflict of interest, and the Arizona Secretary of State, Michele Reagan having been under fire for not disclosing her links to “dark money” despite being elected on a platform of disclosure regulations.
Up in Washington State, Strange Bedfellows wonders if heads will roll in the state’s Department of Corrections scandal, after it was found that the fix for a software glitch which was responsible for the early release of 3,200 prisoners in 2012 was delayed 16 times.
In the Golden State, Flashreport writes to debunk a recent Sacramento Bee article which claims that fracking is making people sick in Kern County. They claim that the evidence shows that fracking does not lead to more earthquakes or contaminate water to a degree which threatens people’s health.
On Thursday, Honolulu Civil Beat says that 2016 comes with a hike in the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 – but is that enough?
Featured image: New Jersey State House Credit: Patrick Gensel (Flickr, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0)
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Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USAPP– American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.
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