State and Local Government

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Tax Hike Coming to New Jersey

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has ambitious spending plans for his first year in office. Legislators have their own budget plans. Once they settle their differences, however, it appears that taxes will be going up in the Garden State.

 

The newly-elected Democratic governor’s budget proposes spending $37.4 billion in the next fiscal year, an increase of 8% over the current fiscal year’s level. A major area where this new spending would be allocated is for the state’s pension system. Currently underfunded, Gov. Murphy wants to put $3.2 billion towards shoring it up. There would also be an additional $284 million for K-12 education spending, $57 million for preschool, $50 million for subsidies for community college students, and $167 for the state’s transit agency.

 

Paying for this new spending would come from a variety of tax hikes:

  • An income tax of 10.75% on those making $1 million or more, retroactive to January 1
  • A sales tax increase from 6.625% to 7%
  • New taxes on users of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and similar services

 

Gov. Murphy will also push to legalize, and then tax, recreational marijuana.

 

Even though Democrats control the legislature, it is unclear if how this tax plan will fare. Senate President Steve Sweeney favors increasing income taxes on corporations making over $1 million a year. He has been cool to the idea of a “millionaire’s tax,” such as the one proposed by the governor.

 

Under New Jersey’s constitution, legislators can either use the governor’s budget plan or develop one of their own. Given the disagreement on taxes, this may be the option that legislators exercise this year.

 

Regardless of these differences, both the governor and legislators support higher spending. With the disagreement centered on what taxes to increase, not on whether to increase taxes at all, it appears certain that New Jersey taxpayers will be paying more soon.

 

Do you support higher taxes in New Jersey? Is it a good idea to legalize and tax recreational marijuana as suggested by Gov. Murphy?

Guns, Medicaid, Energy Rates All Big Issues in Virginia Legislative Session

 

Virginia’s 2017 elections left the commonwealth with divided government once again. Democratic Governor Ralph Northam faces his first legislative session with Republicans in control of both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Republicans only have a thin majority in both houses, however, which gives the governor leverage. On some issues, such as gun control, the governor and legislators have clashed. On other issues, such as electricity rates and criminal justice reform, there has been bipartisan compromise.


Here are some of the big issues at play in the 2018 Virginia legislative session:

 

Guns

 

Democratic legislators have introduced a variety of gun control bills, some at the request of the governor. These bills include bills to ban bump stocks, expand background checks, and ease the process of seizing guns from those whom family members consider a threat. Republican legislators have defeated all of these proposals. This issue became a flashpoint in the House of Delegates after the recent school shooting in Florida, with legislators making impassioned speeches on both sides of the issue. However, no legislative action resulted.

 

Medicaid

 

Whether or not to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program in line with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is a major point of dispute between the governor and Republicans. Gov. Northam wants to see the state expand its Medicaid eligibility to include childless, able-bodied adults who live in households with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Legislative Republicans resisted a similar Medicaid expansion under Gov. McAuliffe, but Gov. Northam has said that he would support work requirements and other conditions on beneficiaries. This concession has won him some support in the House of Delegates, but senators are so far standing firm against expansion.

 

Criminal justice reform

 

While Gov. Northam and legislative Republicans have differing views on how to reform Virginia’s criminal justice system, they were able to agree on a compromise in this area. Gov. Northam made it a priority to raise the $200 threshold for felony theft, which was the lowest in the nation. Republicans agreed to raise the level to $500 in exchange for the governor’s support of strengthening the state’s efforts to collect restitution for victims of crimes.

 

State regulations

 

The governor and Republicans also agreed on a legislative package that would reduce state business regulations. This would initially involve a pilot program that targets the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Professional and Occupational Licensing. The end result of this pilot program could be to lessen state mandates on individuals seeking work in certain occupations, such as private investigators or tow truck drivers. The overall goal of this bipartisan reform is to reduce state regulations by 25% over three years. Legislative Republicans are also working to advance an amendment to the state constitution that would give the legislature power to approve or disapprove regulations. If this proposal passes the General Assembly, it will be on November’s ballot.

 

Energy rates

 

In the wake of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, Virginia lawmakers froze the electricity rates for Dominion Energy customers for the past three years. That will change under legislation agreed to by the governor and legislators. This bill will allow rate increases and encourage the utility company to invest in infrastructure and renewable energy. Critics call this a giveaway to an energy company that enjoys a near-monopoly in the commonwealth.

 

Offshore drilling

 

The Trump Administration has released a plan that would eventually allow oil and natural gas exploration off of Virginia’s coastline. Governor Northam has spoken out against this proposal, asking that the federal government exempt Virginia waters from any offshore drilling plan.

 

 

Do you think that Virginia legislators should pass more restrictions on gun ownership? Is Governor Northam right to push for a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare? Do you support exploring for oil and natural gas in Virginia’s coastal waters?

 

Presidential Tax Returns, Term Limits, Gerrymandering at Play in Maryland Legislature

 

During the Maryland’s 2018 legislative session, lawmakers are considering many bills that touch on how state elections should be conducted – which is appropriate given that Gov. Hogan and every seat in the General Assembly is up for election this year. The Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature often have sharply differing views on legislation, and election bills are no exception.

 

Here are some of the high-profile election measures being discussed in the General Assembly this year:

 

Presidential Tax Returns

 

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump broke with decades of tradition in not releasing his income tax returns to the public. Under legislation approved by the Maryland Senate, any candidate who wants to be on the state ballot would be required to do so in the future. This bill would mandate that any presidential candidate would have to give the Maryland State Board of Elections a copy of his or her tax returns for the past five years prior to being certified for the ballot. The board would then release those returns to the public. Senators voted down an amendment to apply such a standard to state candidates. If this bill becomes law, there is likely to be a legal fight over concerns that it places requirements on presidential candidates that go beyond what the U.S. Constitution allows.

 

Redistricting

 

In 2015, Gov. Hogan put together a bipartisan commission to consider reforms to the state’s process for drawing district lines for Congress and the General Assembly. This commission produced a report that recommended a variety of ways to limit gerrymandering. These included empowering an independent commission to draw districts that are compact, composed of contiguous territory, and that respect county and city lines. Legislators failed to act on these recommendations when they were made in 2016. The governor continues to press for a constitutional amendment that would implement these changes.

 

Term Limits

 

During his State of the State Address, Gov. Hogan proposed limiting legislators to serving two four-year terms. He called on members of the Senate and House of Delegates to place the issue on the November ballot for voters to decide. Fifteen other states have term limits for legislators and the Maryland governor is limited to serving two terms. It seems unlikely that there is enough support from legislators to put this issue before voters, however.

 

Foreign Election Observers

 

As with the tax return bill, the 2016 election also influenced debate over legislation that would make it easier for foreigners to observe the conduct of Maryland elections. This bill would ease the process for international election observers to operate in Maryland. The bill easily passed committee, but when it reached the Senate floor there were concerns about foreign meddling. Senate President Mike Miller specifically brought up accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 election as a reason to oppose the bill. Eventually the Senate voted to recommit the bill to committee, effectively killing it.

 

 

Do you support term limits for legislators? What do you think about requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns?

Keystone XL Pipeline Moving Forward

 

After years of delay, the Keystone XL Pipeline cleared its last significant regulatory hurdle. TransCanada is now free to complete its controversial multi-billion pipeline project.

 

This final approval came when the Nebraska Public Service Commission granted approval for TransCanada to build the pipeline through that state. On a 3-2 vote, the PSC supported an alternate route for the Keystone XL Pipeline instead of TransCanada’s first choice. This new route will not go through the state’s Sandhill region.

 

President Obama had stopped this project at the federal level. TransCanada initially applied for a federal permit in 2008 to allow the pipeline to cross the U.S./Canadian border. In 2015, Congress passed legislation that would authorize the construction of the pipeline. President Obama vetoed this bill. Later that year, he rejected TransCanada’s application to build. President Trump reversed this action when he took office, clearing the way for Nebraska’s consideration of the issue.

 

Business and labor groups support the pipeline, saying that it will create jobs and provide the U.S. with a reliable supply of oil. Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because it will be carrying petroleum from oil sands in Canada. They also have concerns about the pipeline’s potential impact on Nebraska’s water supply.

 

Approval of the alternate route means that TransCanada will have to devise new agreements with landowners, something that will further delay the pipeline’s completion. However, barring any court challenges, the fight over the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline appears to be over.

 

Do you support construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline?

 

Governor’s Appointment Powers Curbed in North Carolina

 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the Republicans who control the General Assembly have had a rough first year. One of their areas of contention is over the governor’s appointment power. With a supermajority in the legislature, Republicans have little fear that Gov. Cooper’s vetoes of legislation to curtail his power to make appointments will stick. The governor has had some success in court in fighting back against these legislative moves, but a recent court decision was a setback for him.

 

Legislators and the governor both agree that appointments to various state boards and commissions is very important. However, they disagree on who should make appointments to these positions. Late last year, legislators removed some judicial appointment power from the incoming governor. Here are some of the bills considered by the legislature this year that continue with this theme:

 

House Bill 335, Modify governor appointments for court vacancies: Passed 70 to 48 in the House

To change how the governor makes appointments to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court, court of appeals, superior court, or district attorney. For any such vacancy, the bill would have the governor choose from a list of three candidates recommended by the political party to which the justice, judge, or district attorney vacating office was affiliated. Under current law the governor simply appoints a replacement.

 

House Bill 659, Modify governor appointments for U.S. Senate vacancies: Passed 76 to 41 in the House

To change how the governor makes a temporary appointment to fill a vacant seat to the U.S. Senate. The bill would have the governor choose from a list of three candidates recommended by officials of the political party to which the U.S. Senator vacating office was affiliated. Under current law the governor simply appoints a temporary replacement from the same political party as the vacating Senator.

 

House Bill 240, Eliminate governor appointments to fill district court vacancies: Passed 66 to 47 in the House

To transfer to the legislature the governor's authority to appoint the replacement judge to fill out an unexpired term when a district court vacancy occurs.

 

House Bill 241, Eliminate governor appointments of special superior court judges: Passed 67 to 47 in the House

To transfer to the legislature the governor's authority to appoint a special superior court judge when a vacancy occurs or the incumbent judge's term ends.

 

Senate Bill 68, Create new bipartisan elections and ethics board: Passed 49 to 0 in the Senate and 68 to 42 in the House

To merge the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission into a new "Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement," which would have four Democrat members and four Republican members. The governor would appoint members from lists of nominees given him by the state party chairs.

 

The governor vetoed SB 68, but legislators overrode his veto. Then he sued, contending the bill was an unconstitutional violation of his power to make appointments for the executive branch. In October, the North Carolina Superior Court said that it did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit since the makeup of state boards and commissions is a matter for legislators and the governor, not judges, to settle. However, the court did say that if it were to rule on the suit, then it would likely rule against the governor. The state Supreme Court now has the power to decide the case if it wishes.

 

There is history in North Carolina of legislators stripping appointment power from governors of opposing parties, with Democrats doing making similar moves when they controlled the legislature. There is also no standard for how these appointments should be made. Appointment power differs state-to-state, with governors playing a larger role in some states than in others. However, some observers are expressing concern at the scope of the legislature’s action in North Carolina. They charge that this is pure partisan politics, with Republicans looking to weaken the Democratic governor. Some take the opposite view, however, contending that this is merely the legislature introducing more checks-and-balances to the appointment process.

 

Do you support the legislative action to remove some of Governor Cooper’s appointment power? Or are Republicans playing hardball politics in stripping power from the Democratic governor?

 

Michigan Takes Stand against Soda Tax

 

If Michigan senators get their way, local governments in that state will soon be banned from enacting a “soda tax” targeting sugar-sweetened drinks (or any other food).

 

Here’s how VoteSpotter described legislation passed on October 4:

 

Senate Bill 583 Ban local taxation of food and food services: Passed 31 to 5 in the Senate

To prohibit local governments and authorities from imposing a tax or fee on the manufacture, distribution, wholesaling or retail sale of food for immediate consumption or non-immediate consumption.

 

A handful of cities across the nation have passed taxes targeting sugar-sweetened drinks. Philadelphia, for instance, imposed a 1.5 cent tax on many beverages, including those sweetened artificially. Other cities with a similar tax include Oakland and San Francisco in California, Boulder in Colorado, and Seattle. Chicago also has a soda tax, but city council members are considering repealing it.

 

These taxes are aimed at promoting healthier consumption, although some experts dispute that they accomplish this goal. As discussed in a previous VoteSpotter blog, Philadelphia’s experience appears to show that they do affect consumer behavior but may harm businesses and workers.

 

States have ultimate authority over laws passed by city governments, which means soda taxes can be invalidated by state legislative action. Michigan senators are attempting to do this pre-emptively, since no local government in that state has such a tax. If SB 583 passes the House and is signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, no city would have the power to impose such a tax in the future.

 

Do you support state action to stop local governments from imposing soda taxes? Or do you think taxing sugar-sweetened drinks is a good policy for cities to enact?

 

High Court Takes Aim at Mandatory Government Union Fees

 

If you are a government worker, you may soon be able to choose whether or not you want to pay union fees.

 

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging state and local laws compelling non-union government employees to pay fees to unions. Currently, 22 states require employees who are not union members to pay an agency fee to unions as compensation for collective bargaining.

 

While agency fees cannot be used for political activity, the non-union members bringing the suit contend that when it comes to government workers, collective bargaining is inseparable from political activity. When bargaining with the government, their argument goes, it means being involved with spending and taxing decisions. This means that these non-union employees are subsidizing political speech when unions advocate for pay or benefits.

 

Unions counter that since all employees benefit from the contracts they negotiate, then all employees should pay for their services. It is not fair to unionized members to subsidize activity resulting in higher pay and benefits that also go to non-union members, they contend.

 

This case, Janus vs. AFSCME, is being brought by a government employee in Illinois. It is similar to a case heard by the Supreme Court in 2016. In that instance, the court deadlocked at 4-4 after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The court’s tie vote meant that it was still legal for states to compel non-union members to pay agency fees, but it did not set a precedent. A majority vote in this new case will determine a national precedent. With a conservative majority, many observers think the court will decide against mandatory fees.

 

Do you think that government workers should be forced to pay fees to unions when they aren’t members? Or do you support mandatory fees as a way to prevent workers from getting a free ride from union activities?

 

Supreme Court Tackles Gay Rights and Religious Liberty

 

Should a business owner be free to turn down certain work based on his or her religious convictions? Or should gay and lesbian individuals be protected by law from business owners who discriminate against them?

These are the questions at play in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this term.

 

At issue is a Colorado bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. The owner cited his religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado commission that enforces that state’s law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. After a court fight, the Colorado Supreme Court decided against the bakers, concluding that he did discriminate against the gay couple. The court held that forcing a baker to make a cake infringed neither upon his free speech nor upon the exercise of his religion.

 

There is no nation-wide law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, twenty-one states (including Colorado) have such laws. The heart of this case is when laws protecting homosexual individuals from discrimination conflict with the religious-based beliefs of business owners who disapprove of homosexuality or gay marriage.

 

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the baker contends that the state law forcing him to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage theme would be a mandate that he condone an activity his religion teaches him to condemn. Those on the other side of the issue say that if a business owner can cite a religious belief to circumvent anti-discrimination laws, these laws will become toothless.

 

The Justice Department has filed a legal brief supporting the baker’s position. This brief backs anti-discrimination laws, but says that these laws cannot be used to force people to advocate for beliefs that they do not hold. Some observers contend that this brief is part of the Trump Administration’s wider agenda that is hostile to gay rights.

 

Arguments for this case will be held at some point during the Supreme Court’s 2017 term, with a decision expected in late spring of next year.

 

Do you think that a business owner has a right to refuse service on the basis of religious beliefs? Or do you think that it is important to ban discrimination regardless of someone’s motives?

 

Do Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Differ on Confederate Monuments?

 

The two candidates running for Virginia governor, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam (D) and Ed Gillespie (R), appear to have dramatically different views on the commonwealth’s Confederate monuments. However, a deeper look into their positions on the state law regarding those monuments reveals that they may actually be close to agreement.

 

The two candidates discussed the issue in a recent debate. Here is what Gillespie said:

 

“When you are on the side of preserving the institution, the evil institution of slavery, you are on the wrong side of history. But our history is our history, and I believe that we need to educate about it, and that we need to teach about it. So my view is that the statues should remain and we should place them in historical context so people can learn.”

 

This is the view of Northam:

 

“If these statues give individuals, white supremacists like that, an excuse to do what they did, then we need to have a discussion about the statues. Personally, I would think the statues would be better placed in museums with certainly historical context, but I am leaving it up to the localities.”

 

While the two candidates seem far apart on what they think should happen to the monuments, focusing on this aspect of the issue may mask a deeper agreement. While they can express their wishes for the monuments to stay or go, the real question is what they propose when it comes to the law governing these monuments.

 

A state law dating back a century prohibits county governments from removing monuments. A 1997 laws applies that same prohibition to city and town governments. However, there is a dispute over whether that law can be applied retroactively. This is the issue in Charlottesville’s attempts to remove its statues honoring the Confederacy, which were erected before 1997.

 

In the 2016 legislative session, legislators approved a bill that would definitively ban any local government from interfering with these monuments. Here is how VoteSpotter described it:

 

House Bill 587 Restrict local authority over monuments: Passed 82 to 16 in the House and 21 to 17 in the Senate

To prohibit local governments from removing or interfering with monuments or memorials erected for a war or conflict, such as the Civil War.

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed this bill, and legislators failed to override that veto.

 

Northam has been clear that he would like to see local governments have the power to remove monuments. Gillespie, too, has expressed support for local authority over them, according to a report from the Hill:

 

Dave Abrams, a spokesman for Gillespie’s campaign, said that, if elected, Gillespie would ensure that statues and monuments under the state’s control would remain up while being placed in the proper historical context.

 

Local jurisdictions would be free to choose for themselves whether to leave the statues standing, Abrams said.

 

While Northam and Gillespie stress different aspects of their view – Northam generally condemns the monuments, while Gillespie thinks they should remain – the two candidates do not appear to be far apart on policy issues.  Both express support for local authority over what happens to them, regardless of their personal feelings on the monuments’ disposition. The major difference is that Gillespie does not stress this aspect of his position as much as Northam, and it is unclear if he would actually support a law that gives this power to local governments.

 

Do you think that local governments should remove these Confederate monuments? Or should they stay in place?

 

Should States Stop Local Minimum Wage Increases?

 

In May, St. Louis began mandating that business owners pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour. In August, that mandate will be rolled back because of state law. After five months with a higher minimum wage, St. Louis business owners will face the same wage laws as the rest of the state.

 

Some see this as a heartless move to cut workers’ pay. Others see it as a way to establish a uniform wage policy across the state to encourage economic growth.

 

At is heart is the issue of state government pre-emption of local laws. Depending on state constitutions, state governments have broad power to limit or delegate power to city and county governments. In Missouri, state legislators and the governor used their authority to restrict the types of wage laws that local governments could pass. 

 

Pre-emption of local laws is common around the country. It has gotten special attention where legislators in conservative states, such as Missouri, enact laws that roll back legislation enacted by liberal city officials, such as happened in Missouri.

 

The issue of how local governments can regulate wages or other labor issues has also come up in Alabama, Ohio, and Arizona. States have also acted to pre-empt local laws on LGBGTQ rights, plastic bag bans, tobacco use, and “sanctuary city” policies.

 

Another area where pre-emption often occurs is with gun laws. There are 43 states that have passed laws taking away authority from local governments to enact gun and ammunition laws that are stricter than state law. Some states, such as Arizona and Florida, levy fines against local elected officials if they enact such laws. Kentucky makes it a crime for a local official to pass gun control laws.

 

Supporters of pre-emption laws contend that states have a duty to ensure that there are uniform laws across their jurisdiction. They contend that a series of inconsistent laws in counties or cities makes it difficult for businesses to operate or citizens to know if they are acting legally. Opponents of pre-emption say that local governments should have the power to enact laws that respond to their particular circumstances, not have legislators from other parts of the state telling them how to manage their problems.

 

Do you think that state governments should stop local politicians from enacting certain laws? Or should local elected officials have broad leeway to enact the types of laws that they see fit?

 

Arizona House Bill 2482

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Arizona, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 2482, Expand Exemption for Mandated Workers Compensation: Passed 29 to 0 in the state Senate on April 24, 2017. 

 

To allow business owners who own at least 25% of a limited liability company to opt out of state mandated workers compensation insurance.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Arizona House Bill 2482! 

 

 

Wisconsin Senate Bill 68

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Wisconsin, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 68, Limit Deer Feeding Bans After Positive Disease Tests: Passed 20 to 13 in the state Senate on June 14, 2017.

 

To limit the ban on feeding deer for hunting or viewing in counties where they have tested positive for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis. Currently, the Department for Natural Resources sets the ban. Under this bill, the ban would last for 36 months in counties where deer have tested positive or 24 months in neighboring counties.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Wisconsin Senate Bill 68!

 

 

West Virginia Senate Bill 169

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in West Virginia, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 169, Withdraw Obsolete Program Relating to Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange: Passed 33 to 0 in the state Senate on February 15, 2017.

 

To repeal obsolete state laws that previously provided assistance to Korea and Vietnam veterans exposed to certain chemical defoliants and which are now managed by the federal government.

 

Comment below to share what you think of West Virginia Senate Bill 169!

 

 

Tennessee Senate Bill 1059

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Tennessee, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 1059, Increase Death Benefits for First Responders: Passed 89 to 0 in the state House on May 9, 2017. 

 

To increase from $20,000 to $250,000 the amount paid to the estate of a firefighter, volunteer rescue squad worker, or law enforcement officer who dies in the line of duty.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Tennessee Senate Bill 1059!

 

 

North Carolina Senate Bill 145

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in North Carolina, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 145, Penalize 'sanctuary' cities and public universities: Passed 34 to 15 the state Senate on April 26, 2017

 

To create financial penalties for cities and public universities adopting "sanctuary" policies against immigration laws. "Sanctuary cities" would be ineligible to receive distributions from the state highway fund and several other public funds and no longer immune from lawsuits for crimes committed there by illegal immigrants. Public universities with sanctuary policies would lose management and budget independence. The bill would also end an exemption letting law enforcement officers use prohibited ID forms to establish identity or residency.

 

Comment below to share what you think of North Carolina Senate Bill 145!

 

Wisconsin Assembly Joint Resolution 63

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Wisconsin, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Assembly Joint Resolution 63, Call special session of legislature to consider economic matters: Failed 34 to 62 in the state Assembly on June 14, 2017

 

To call a special session of the General Assembly starting on June 21 for “the consideration of legislation to increase average household income, accelerate job growth, and encourage entrepreneurship in this state.” This is a vote to call up the bill from committee.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Wisconsin Assembly Joint Resolution 63!

 

West Virginia Senate Bill 215

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in West Virginia, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 215, Expand county commission authority over sewer and water rates: Passed 32 to 1 in the state Senate on February 20, 2017

 

To give county commissions the sole discretion and authority to amend the proposed rates, fees, and charges proposed by water and sewer districts, rather than simply approve or reject the proposed rates.

 

Comment below to share what you think of West Virginia Senate Bill 215!

 

North Carolina House Bill 335

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in North Carolina, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 335: Modify governor appointments for court vacancies: Passed 70 to 48 in the state House on April 26, 2017

 

To change how the governor makes appointments to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court, court of appeals, superior court, or district attorney. For any such vacancy, the bill would have the governor choose from a list of three candidates recommended by the political party to which the justice, judge, or district attorney vacating office was affiliated. Under current law the governor simply appoints a replacement.

 

Comment below to share what you think of North Carolina House Bill 335!

 

 

Ohio Senate Bill 10: Cancel more uncontested primaries

 

Check out this key bill passed by elected officials in Ohio, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 10, Cancel more uncontested primaries: Passed 32 to 0 in the state Senate on March 8, 2017

 

To expand the circumstances under which a board of elections or the secretary of state is not required to hold a primary election, and to address the death, withdrawal, or disqualification of candidates in primary races.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Ohio Senate Bill 10!

 

Nevada Senate Bill 111: Allow unscheduled audits of state agencies

 

Check out this key bill passed by elected officials in Nevada, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 111, Allow unscheduled audits of state agencies: Passed 21 to 0 in the state Senate on February 22, 2017

 

To give the Chair of the Executive Branch Audit Committee unilateral authority to direct the Administrator of the Division of Internal Audits to audit an executive branch agency not slated for audit in its annual plan.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Nevada Senate Bill 111!

 

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