This Week in Statehouse Action: The 12 Days of Session, Part 1 edition
For those of you who observe, I’d like to point out, with complete calm and absolutely zero panic, that OMG XMAS IS ONLY 12 DAYS AWAY
So, yeah, I guess it’s time to start singing that classic holiday tune: The 12 Days of Session.
What, you don’t know it?
Here, I’ll hum a few bars, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
On the 12th day of session, my legislator gave to me ...
12, the number of seats Minnesota House Democrats needed to flip to win the chamber (they flipped 18): In any other week, this item would have gotten something along the lines of a “#Demsindisarra … wait no the other thing” header, but this will have to do.
Because being soundly drubbed at the ballot box in November wasn’t enough of an injury to Minnesota House Republicans, some members of their own caucus are adding a solid dose of insult.
Four rural GOP members blindsided their colleagues late last Friday when they announced their plan to split from their ilk and form the extremely creatively named “New House Republican Caucus.”
Unfortunately for their former fellow caucus members, these defections will further undermine their representation on House committees. Womp womp.
11, the time of night Michigan Republicans passed a bill to restrict ballot measures: Late Wednesday night, the Michigan House approved a measure that effectively gerrymanders the signature-gathering process for ballot measures.
Currently, citizens must gather hundreds of thousands of signatures to get a measure on the ballot (the total varies based on the type of measure and the number of votes cast for governor in the most recent election—over the past decade, this figure has ranged from 157,827 to over 380,126 signatures).
Because of high turnout in this year’s gubernatorial contest, the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot for the next four years will be bigger than ever.
Currently, these signatures can come from any voter anywhere in the state.
But the law House Republicans just passed in the lame duck session requires that no more than 15 percent of the signatures come from any one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts.
That’s not only a garbage requirement intended to make signature-gathering harder by preventing canvassers from racking up totals in accessible and densely populated urban areas, but it also effectively gerrymanders the ballot measure process by creating arbitrary caps based on Michigan's extremely GOP-skewing congressional map.
10, the day of April GOP Gov. Matt Bevin signed this terrible legislation: On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the controversial law the GOP-controlled legislature rammed through during the final days of this year’s legislative session that would have gutted teachers’ pensions.
The anti-pension measure was attached to a completely unrelated bill about sewage treatment on the 57th day of Kentucky’s 60-day legislative session.
As a sewage bill, it had received public hearings and the necessary floor readings.
As a pension-attacking Trojan horse, it had not.
Because the anti-pension measure did not receive the required three readings on three separate days on the House floor, the court ruled it in violation of the state constitution, which specifically requires those three pesky readings.
This doesn’t mean that the GOP-controlled legislature won’t try to pass the measure again—properly, this time.
But if the thousands of education supporters who mobilized against the proposal last time it came up are any indication, lawmakers will do so in the face of serious public opposition.