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March 30th, 2018

State of the States for 30 March: Voting reform in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma raises taxes to pay teachers, and the OC opposes California’s sanctuary law


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Blog Admin

March 30th, 2018

State of the States for 30 March: Voting reform in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma raises taxes to pay teachers, and the OC opposes California’s sanctuary law


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

USAPP Managing Editor, Chris Gilson, looks at the week in US state blogging. 


On Sunday, New Hampshire’s Granite Grok writes on what they say is the state’s “super-enfranchised voter loophole”, referring to the state’s same-day voter registration policy, which allows people to vote there without any identification.

Moving on to the Green Mountain State, VTDigger reports that after intense debate, Vermont’s state Senate has finally passed bills which would introduce new restrictions on gun use and ownership in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

In Rhode Island, RIPR talks on US Representative Joe Kennedy III (RFK’s grandson) who spoke in the state this week. Kennedy has been getting more attention following his delivery of the Democrats’ response to Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union address.

This week the New York State legislature has been locked in budget negotiations. On Friday, Capitol Confidential says that “one element” remains to hold up the more than $168 billion deal: a demand from a Democratic state Senator to exempt Orthodox religious schools from increased academic oversight.

PoliticsPA this week has the news that Keystone State governor Tom Wolf has announced proposals to reform the state’s voting system which include same day voter registration, automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee ballots.

Save Jersey looks at proposals from the state Assembly Republicans to create an elected “taxpayer advocate” who will parallel paid lobbyists. They point out that advocating for taxpayers should be the job of legislators.


On Saturday, Maryland’s monoblogue reckons that this year’s primary season in some of the state’s county districts is “just not that exciting”, and even in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary, state Republicans who are annoyed with the incumbent, Larry Hogan, have been unable to find a primary opponent for him.

Better Georgia this week wonders why state conservatives are afraid of there being more voters after the state House of Representatives passed a bill which would create a new, very white, city from an existing one. The new city would cut the number of black voting age people while increasing the number of whites.

Florida Politics writes that the state is an outlier compared to many other states in its current restrictions for restoring the vote to those who have been convicted of felony offenses. Governor Rick Scott, along with the state’s cabinet have one month to revamp the current system after a ruling from a US District court judge.

Heading on to Alabama, Yellowhammer reports that state lawmakers have ended their election year session amid disputes over legislation covering ethics, racial profiling and procedural disputes over the speed of voting.

Big Jolly Times wonders Thursday if state Republicans are tired of governing, commenting that, in the Lone Star State, the GOP seems to be done with the “whole governing thing” despite there being a plethora of issues which need addressing such as the state’s transportation system, addressing coastal flooding, and pre-K.

Moving on Oklahoma, The Okie has the news that the state House has passed an $447 million tax increase in order to fund a salary increase for teachers, support personnel and state employees.


On Sunday, Howey Politics Indiana wonders if state Democrats will be able to ride the blue wave which appears to be approaching for the 2018 midterm elections. The most important factor, they write, is whether the party has candidates of good enough quality.

Heading west, RightWisconsin argues this week that Democratic state representative Chris Taylor’s new reform proposals to change the state’s Bill of Rights would not be able to shift power away from the state legislature. Breaking down Taylor’s manifesto, they say that she would gut the Second Amendment, provide a right to an abortion, destroy the state’s finances with healthcare reform, and hurt jobs with a Living Wage guarantee.

The Iowa Republican reports that GOP gubernatorial candidate, Ron Corbett has been disqualified from the primary ballot after a challenge to his nomination petitions. This means that Governor Kim Reynolds will be the only Republican to contest the party’s primary come June.

In the Mount Rushmore State, South Dakota War College questions state Democrats’ claims that they have filled all 105 State Legislative slots with candidates, commenting that they have only counted 92 such filings. Staying in South Dakota, Dakota Free Press says that the state’s legislature has been using ranked choice voting. The legislature’s Executive Board has been basing its choices of what to study this summer with results from the voting system.

Heading up to North Dakota, Say Anything blog comments that the state’s US Senator, Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign has been skirting election laws by coordinating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Political Action Committee, despite arguing against dark money in politics.

West and Pacific

On Tuesday, WyoFile writes that Governor Matt Mead has used his veto in order to curtail what they say is the state legislature’s overreach by striking down “poorly written laws”. Bills vetoed by Mead include one which would have increased penalties for industrial protests and an infrastructure bill.

Moving on to Idaho, Eye on Boise says that Governor Butch Otter has offered tours of the state’s execution chamber to the state’s gubernatorial hopefuls, citing that the decision to carry out the death penalty is “the toughest decision he’s faced as governor”.

Colorado Peak Politics wonders what the real reason Lucia Guzman, leader of the state’s Senate Democrats has stepped down. They suggest that it might be because she’s lost control of her caucus.

Over in California, Fox & Hounds looks at opposition in Orange County to the state’s sanctuary law. Following the passage of the bill in the state legislature, the Los Alamitos city council voted to oppose it, and now other nearby communities are considering actions to oppose the law. On Wednesday, CALmatters has the news that incumbent US Senator, Dianne Feinstein is in the lead in her upcoming Democratic primary, but that she is taking “heavy fire” from the left wing of her own party.

Heading out west, Honolulu Civil Beat writes that racial inequality in the Aloha State is far worse than many might think, with Japanese, Okinawan and white residents more likely to be wealthier than Native Hawaiians and other more recent immigrants.

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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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