Home News This Week in Statehouse Motion: Icy Scorching version

This Week in Statehouse Motion: Icy Scorching version


We Didn’t Start The Fire: So whereas I used to be tremendous targeted on Virginia (and … different issues), numerous state legislatures and commissions throughout the nation began their respective redistricting processes.

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So, how’s all that going?

As an erudite client of this missive, you’ve most likely surmised that, with Republicans accountable for the method within the overwhelming majority of states, it’s NOT GREAT, BOB.

Listed here are some particular bits of that awfulness (and you must all the time try my superb Daily Kos Elections colleagues’ work for the newest and smartest takes on this):

Alabama: Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s new congressional and legislative maps final week.

  • The congressional plan preserves the state’s present delegation make-up—which sends six white Republicans and one Black Democrat to Congress.

Colorado: The Colorado Supreme Courtroom has approved the map adopted by the state’s impartial congressional redistricting fee in September.

  • The top result’s a map that might simply end in equal illustration for Republicans and Democrats, even though the state voted for Joe Biden by a snug 55-42 margin final yr.
    • That’s as a result of the brand new eighth District, based mostly within the Denver suburbs, would have gone for Biden 51-46 and actually would have voted for Donald Trump 46-45 in 2016. 
  • Because of Colorado’s 2018 amendments creating its congressional and state redistricting commissions, the legislature and governor not play a job in redistricting, that means that the brand new congressional map is now regulation.
    • The state Supreme Courtroom can also be reviewing the fee’s legislative district map proposals, however after the congressional map’s success, they’ll seemingly cross muster.

Delaware: Democratic Gov. John Carney has signed Delaware’s new legislative maps.

  • Democrats at the moment management each the state Home and Senate and can nearly actually stay in cost on this solidly blue state that voted for native son Joe Biden 59-40 final yr.

Iowa: Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s new congressional and legislative maps into regulation final week.

  • The congressional plan creates three red-leaning districts and one safely Republican seat, as outlined recently in Each day Kos Elections’ Morning Digest.
    • Regardless of the extensive bipartisan help it obtained, the map could face a legal challenge (in keeping with redistricting skilled Michael McDonald, who isn’t the singer however can also be nice another way).
      • Iowa law requires the drawing of “fairly compact districts” which are “sq., rectangular, or hexagonal in form, and never irregularly formed.”

Massachusetts: Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has signed Massachusetts’ new legislative maps, which handed each Dem-controlled legislative chambers final month nearly unanimously.

  • A congressional map stays pending earlier than lawmakers.

North Carolina: North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature passed new congressional and legislative maps final week, in order that they’re now regulation as a result of redistricting plans within the Tar Heel State don’t require the governor’s approval.

  • All three—state Home, state Senate, congressional— are extreme GOP gerrymanders designed to lock the get together into energy for years to come back, regardless of the state’s perennial tossup standing.
    • With North Carolina gaining a seat as a result of redistricting, the brand new congressional map would create 10 safely crimson districts and simply three that will be safely blue, with one swing seat at the moment held by a Democrat that is been trending arduous to the GOP.
      • By comparability, the map utilized in final yr’s elections—which Republicans had to repeatedly redraw due to intervention by the courts—despatched eight Republicans and 5 Democrats to the U.S. Home.
    • The brand new map notably undermines Black illustration by making a Democratic-leaning district held by African American Democrat G.Okay. Butterfield whiter, turning it right into a pure swing district that might elect a Republican favored by white voters in subsequent yr’s midterm atmosphere.
  • No state has seen more litigation over redistricting up to now decade than North Carolina, and that is not going to vary: An up to date lawsuit has already been filed in state court over the congressional map in the identical case that noticed a state courtroom block a prior GOP map in 2019 on the premise that partisan gerrymandering violates the state structure.

North Dakota: North Dakota’s Republican-run state legislature has passed a new legislative map, sending it to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum for his signature.

  • Each chambers use the identical districts, with every electing two representatives and one senator, although the brand new map provides two exceptions to that sample: Two Home districts based mostly round Indian reservations would now be divided in half, with every half electing its personal member, to enhance Native illustration.

Ohio: Republicans in Ohio’s Senate and Home have each released a draft congressional map, each equally excessive gerrymanders.

  • The House version would seemingly ship 13 Republicans and simply two Democrats to Congress subsequent yr, whereas the Senate plan would do the identical, simply with districts configured just a little in a different way.

South Dakota: In an … unusually bipartisan growth, a gaggle of Republicans within the (GOP-controlled) South Dakota Home banded together with Democrats to cross a brand new legislative redistricting plan over the objections of a majority share of (extraordinarily conservative) GOP members.

  • All seven Democrats current voted in favor of the map, together with 30 Republicans, whereas 31 Republicans have been opposed, that means Democrats offered the profitable majority.
  • The Republican objectors complained that the map would double-bunk a few of their members and undermine their capability to elect far-right legislators.
    • However at subject as effectively was the matter of Native illustration.
      • The proposed map preserves two districts which are cut up in half in an effort to give Native voters a greater alternative to elect their most popular candidates. 
  • The map now goes to Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who has not but indicated whether or not she is going to signal it into regulation.

Texas: Three lawsuits have been filed final week by Democrats and advocates for voters of colour which are difficult numerous components of the gerrymanders that Republicans adopted last month.

Virginia: Virginia’s redistricting drama was largely eclipsed by the election, however I’m right here to dive into this tragicomedy:

  • In 2020, Virginia voters (not me, ahem, actually noticed this coming) accredited of the creation of a 16-member redistricting fee divided equally between Republican and Democratic lawmakers and different appointees.
    • However really reforming redistricting entails greater than merely taking the ability to attract new legislative and/or congressional districts away from the precise legislature, and nobody ought to have been shocked when the method swiftly devolved into partisan factionalism after the fee started assembly this summer time.
    • Paralyzed by the ensuing (… predictable) impasse, the fee failed to provide new maps for Congress or for both chamber of the state legislature.
      • In accordance with that voter-approved constitutional modification creating the fee, the physique was dissolved, and the duty handed to the state Supreme Courtroom … which is generally stuffed with GOP appointees (a 5-2 conservative majority, to be particular).

I imply, after all Republicans blew up the fee course of. With the fallback choice being a courtroom dominated by their very own appointees, it was of their clear curiosity to take action.

  • However after all state supreme courtroom justices are not often additionally specialists in cartography, so these judges will depend on the abilities and assets of two “particular masters” chosen from a listing of three submitted by every get together.
    • Each the regulation and the court’s own rules specify that these nominees “shall don’t have any conflicts of curiosity.”
      • So after all Virginia Republicans proposed three nominees with REALLY SERIOUS AND OBVIOUS conflicts of curiosity.
        • One was paid a $20,000 consulting payment in September by the state Senate’s Republican Caucus.
        • One other directs the Nationwide Republican Redistricting Belief and beforehand held a collection of different jobs with the RNC, the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Governors Affiliation.
        • The third has supported Republican redistricting efforts in (notoriously GOP-gerrymandered) Wisconsin and at the moment is doing this work for the Republican chair of the Texas redistricting committee.
      • Democrats, adorably, chose highly credentialed scholars consistent with state regulation and the courtroom’s guidelines and with out these pesky conflicts of curiosity.
        • One is a Stanford Regulation College professor who has been appointed by courts to assist with redistricting in numerous states.
        • One other is a political science professor at Stanford College who has additionally served as a court-appointed redistricting skilled in Arizona.
        • The third is a political science professor on the College of California at Irvine and has labored on redistricting for Virginia courts up to now.

Not less than now we will cease pretending GOP lawmakers ever had any curiosity in really nonpartisan, honest redistricting.

  • Virginia Republicans enthusiastically supported the brand new map-drawing course of as a result of they—appropriately—noticed it as a chance for partisan political exploitation.

Wisconsin: A committee in Wisconsin’s Republican-run state Senate has passed the GOP’s proposed congressional and legislative maps, however they’re sure to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers as a result of, to nobody’s shock, they’re excessive partisan gerrymanders.

  • We will look ahead to shameless Republican maneuvering and savage courtroom battles over this debacle.

Okay, a number of extra notes on redistricting usually earlier than I go away it behind for the week:

  • There’s an emerging media narrative that this redistricting cycle is a little bit of a partisan wash—GOP and Democratic maneuvering and gerrymandering are balancing one another out.

A. That is bullshit.

  • The prevailing maps have been largely drawn by Republicans a decade in the past, so they begin from a spot that already skews GOP.
    • Solely about 14 states have accomplished their course of, and locations like Georgia and Ohio are going to start out blowing up that alleged “stability” in very quick order.

B. It is a Congress-centric view of redistricting.

  • As an erudite client of this missive, you recognize that a number of the most excessive gerrymandering on the market happens on the state legislative stage.
    • … the place Republicans locked themselves into synthetic majorities by way of map-drawing a decade in the past.
    • … which Republicans will use to additional entrench themselves into synthetic majorities for the subsequent ten years with this new set of maps.

And so forth, and so forth, tiddely pom.

Anyway, right now in This Particular person Make Legal guidelines:

Play With Fire: A Republican lawmaker in North Dakota who organized an anti-vaccine rally needed to cancel his own appearance at said rally as a result of he …

Oh, you recognize precisely what occurred.

  • GOP Rep. Jeff Hoverson caught COVID-19.
    • He’s treating himself with ivermectin, so, um, good luck with that.
  • In the meantime, about 400 people attended this potential superspreader occasion with out their clownish ringleader.

As a result of he CARES.

Great Balls of Fire: Level of non-public privilege: Closure is generally a fantasy.

Life occasions/individuals/and many others. have a manner of failing to wrap themselves up in neat little packages for us.

So once I see a uncommon alternative to tie one thing off neatly, I take it.

Like now!

With disgraced former Tennessee Home Speaker Glen Casada!

If that title rings a bell, thanks! … as a result of meaning you’ve been studying this missive since at least mid-2019.

However that was a very long time in the past, so permit me to refresh your recollection concerning this reprehensible consultant.

Buckle up!

  • It began when info got here to mild in 2019 indicating that Casada’s workplace might have tried to frame a Black activist for violating a no-contact order with the specific function of getting him thrown in jail.
    • It began earlier that yr, when scholar activist Justin Jones was arrested after somebody threw a cup into the speaker’s personal private elevator.
      • Jones was launched on bond on the situation he don’t have any contact with Casada.
        • He obeyed the order and didn’t return to the capitol.
    • However Casada’s then-chief of workers, Cade Cothren, appeared to reeeeeeeally need to take away Jones’ freedom.
      • Why else would he have shared a “copy” of an e-mail with the DA purporting to indicate that Jones despatched mentioned e-mail to Cothren and cc’d Casada after he’d been launched on bond, thus violating the no-contact order?
        • The factor is, Jones had a duplicate of his authentic e-mail, and which clearly exhibits that it was despatched earlier than this arrest or the following no-contact order.
        • Confronted with proof of the doctored date on the e-mail shared with the DA’s workplace, the speaker’s workplace tried guilty it on “lag” when it comes to when the e-mail was delivered versus when it was despatched as a result of “a safety subject.”
          • Fortunately, the DA declined to throw Jones in jail over this.

Wow, that’s awful, you’re considering. However wasn’t there extra?

Oh sure.

  • Enter one “former acquaintance,” an unidentified individual with whom Cothren and Casada had been exchanging textual content messages for years.
    • He (the character of a few of these messages makes it clear we’re speaking about somebody who identifies as a dude right here, so I’m gonna run with that pronoun) determined to share texts from Cothren with a Tennessee TV station—texts that demonstrated Cothren’s outright racist sentiments, signaling that he’s completely the kind of a-hole who’d deceive get a Black man thrown in jail.
      • Cothren first tried to assert the texts had been fabricated.
      • Then, when Cothren was confronted with texts from that very same acquaintance through which the staffer bragged about snorting cocaine in his legislative offices, he admitted they have been actual.
        • Casada stood by his man at this level, claiming Cothren got here to him about his private struggles—together with a drug downside—a number of years again and was working in the direction of “redemption.”
    • However that “former acquaintance” was extraordinarily not completed.
      • Nonetheless extra incriminating texts surfaced.
      • In these texts, the speaker’s high aide:
        • Solicited nude photographs and oral intercourse from an intern
        • Sought intercourse with a lobbyist
        • Referred to varied ladies in demeaning or sexually specific methods
        • And so forth, and so forth.
          • And Speaker Casada—who was married on the time (can’t think about why that didn’t final)—participated in a few of these textual content exchanges, making some fairly disgusting feedback about touching and intercourse with ladies.
      • After an article on these texts ran in The Tennessean, Cothren fell on his sword and resigned.
    • However stress on Casada continued to construct.
      • His personal caucus turned on him, and when Casada declined to resign, GOP Home members voted 45-24 (not even shut—ouch) that they not had confidence in his capability to steer the chamber.
      • Then, lastly, lastly, Casada introduced he’d be resigning his put up as speaker (however not his seat within the legislature).
      • However that was Could 2019, and he held on his speakership till August.

So, yeah, Casada hasn’t been speaker for a minute, however he caught across the state Home (and was easily reelected just last year).

  • … which offered alternatives for enjoyable information tales like this one to pop up:
    • Plainly Casada tried to bribe a House member to flip his vote on a controversial faculty voucher measure in 2019 (busy yr, brah).
      • Different lawmakers have since come forward with accounts of Casada providing them funding for tasks and different rewards as bribes for his or her vote on that voucher invoice.
      • And at the very least one lawmaker says Casada threatened to help a major problem towards him if he didn’t vote for the invoice.

Anyway, yeah, that is all very weedy and from the long-ago pre-pandemic instances, but it surely brings me nice satisfaction to share with you that Glen Casada is not running for reelection to the Tennessee state House.

  • This dude has been within the legislature since 2003, so yeah, that’s a fairly large profession change.

Perhaps his choice to retire has one thing to do with the truth that, early this yr, he was one in all several state lawmakers whose homes and offices were searched by the FBI (for as-yet unclear causes, although that voucher-vote-bribery thing might need come into play, or perhaps it’s as a result of Casada might have been laundering Republican House Caucus money to himself, or each, or possibly some third reason!).

However who is aware of?

Anyway, whereas the Tennessee legislature’s dominance by the GOP gained’t be ending any time quickly, high quality counts, and residents of the Volunteer State are undoubtedly higher off with out Glen Casada making legal guidelines.

boy bye

Welp, stick a fork in me, I’m completed.

And … you’re nonetheless right here!

I do know you may have a alternative while you spend your worthwhile time studying issues, and I thanks for selecting Air Fiddler This Week in Statehouse Motion.

The locations aren’t all the time sunny on these journeys, however at the very least they’re … fascinating?

And largely not really on hearth

Anyway, earlier than I crash this flying metaphor (… sorry), let me simply say that you just’re essential, so please use warning when opening overhead bins and crossing the road and simply getting away from bed within the morning.

Since you’re essential.

We’d like you.