Good year! Our weekly roundup of state and local news highlights an overview of last year’s state legislative vacation and an update on California’s mask mandate. Read all about it in this week’s edition of the State & Local Tap.
Updating voting metrics
Sixty-four statewide measurements have been certified for the 2022 poll in 30 states to date. A new measure was certified for the ballot last week:
Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification for four additional initiatives in Florida and Massachusetts:
States in session
Fourteen state legislatures — California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont — are in operation. regular session. The 2021 New Jersey state legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on January 11, 2022.
Nineteen special state legislative elections have been scheduled in 12 states so far this year. Two of these specials were canceled for lack of opposition.
- In the special elections between 2011 and 2021, one party (either Republicans or Democrats) registered an average nationwide net gain of four seats each year.
- On average, 57 seats were filled in special elections in each of the last six even years (2010: 30, 2012: 46, 2014: 40, 2016: 65, 2018: 99, 2020: 59).
- On average, 85 seats were filled in special elections in each of the last six odd-numbered years (2011: 95, 2013: 84, 2015: 89, 2017: 99, 2019: 77, 2021: 66).
The next special elections include:
171 state legislative posts are vacant in 2021
One hundred and twenty-four (124) vacancies occurred in state chambers and 47 in state senates. Ninety (90) of the vacant seats were originally held by Democrats and 81 were originally held by Republicans.
Seventy-nine (79) vacancies occurred in States filling vacancies by appointment, 81 in States filling vacancies through special elections, and 11 occurred in States filling vacancies through special elections. to vacancies through a hybrid system that uses both nominations and special elections.
Arizona had the most job vacancies (13), followed by New Hampshire (11) and Oregon (10).
The most common reasons for a state’s legislative vacancy include resignation, death, leaving for a new job, election or appointment to another position, or obtaining a legal conviction. In 2021, Ballotpedia identified 90 vacant state legislative positions due to resignations, 52 due to the appointment or election of office holders, 25 due to deaths and four due to dismissals.
Ballotpedia identified 146 vacancies in state legislatures in 42 states in 2020 and 177 vacancies in 45 states in 2019.
Two Nebraska school districts to hold recall elections on January 11
the Waverly and Leyton school districts of Nebraska are holding recall elections Jan. 11 against a total of three school board members. Voters will be asked if they are in favor of dismissing members with the option to vote yes or no.
Ward 4 representative Andy Grosshans is on the ballot in the Waverly School District. Supporters of the recall said they had started the effort because of Grosshans’ vote to extend an emergency resolution giving the superintendent the power to “develop rules and regulations deemed necessary for government and student health. district and to devise whatever means may seem best to ensure regular attendance and progress of students in school, ”according to The Waverly News. The school board initially passed the emergency resolution in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In July 2021, the board voted to extend the resolution until the 2021-2022 school year.
Responding to the recall effort, Grosshans said, “For over 12 years, I have worked hard to make informed decisions to provide the students of District 145 with a safe environment in which to receive an exceptional education. In these difficult times, I hope to continue to show understanding and patience as we use key resources and experts in the field to do what is in the best interests of all students.
Suzy Ernest and Roland Rushman are on the ballot in the Leyton School District. The recall petitions listed the district’s increased legal fees since January 2021 as the grounds for the recall against Ernest and Rushman. The petition against Ernest indicated that she had taken action without the approval of the entire board of directors on two points: placing the superintendent on paid administrative leave and signing an acceptance for asbestos removal. The petition against Rushman said he broke the council’s code of conduct and defamed district administrators.
In response to the recall effort against her, Ernest said his decision to place the superintendent on administrative leave with pay was authorized in the superintendent’s contract. Ernest and Rushman both said the decision to place the superintendent on paid administrative leave came after the board received serious complaints. They said these complaints were the reason for the increased legal fees in the district. Ernest also said she signed the acceptance of asbestos removal under the direction of the then acting superintendent.
Ballotpedia tracked 91 school board recall efforts compared to 235 board members in 2021, the highest number of school board recall efforts we followed in a year. The next highest year was 2010 with 38 recall efforts against 91 school board members.
In 2021, Ballotpedia covered a total of 339 recall efforts against 529 elected officials. This is the highest number of recall efforts and targeted managers since we started compiling recall data in 2012.
Redistribution Update: New Mexico Adopts New State Senate Map
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (R) signed a new state Senate card on Jan.6, 2022, which will come into effect for the 2022 legislative election in New Mexico. The New Mexico State Senate voted 25-13 to approve the card on December 16, 2021, and the New Mexico House of Representatives approved the card 38-22 on December 17. State Senators Daniel Ivey-Soto (D) and Linda Lopez (D) introduced the bill on the map Dec. 8 during a special session of the state legislature.
Lujan Grisham previously signed a new State House card on December 29. New Mexico was the second state in this cycle to approve a State House card on a different date than its state Senate card. The first was Connecticut, which approved its House card on November 18 and its Senate card on November 23. New Mexico completed its congressional redistribution on Dec. 17.
As of January 7, 29 states had adopted new state legislative maps for both chambers and 21 states had yet to adopt state legislative maps. As of January 7, 2012, 32 states had passed legislative redistribution plans after the 2010 census. Nationally, state legislative redistribution had been carried out for 1,120 of the 1,972 state Senate seats ( 56.8%) and 2,776 of the 5,411 seats in the State House (51.3%).
New York Independent Constituency Commission vote 5-5 on two rounds of congressional and legislative map proposals on Jan. 3 and submitted the two sets of proposed district boundaries to the state legislature. Democrats on the committee had offered one deck of cards and Republicans on the committee had offered the other. New York law requires the commission to submit a redistribution plan to the legislature “no later than January 1, 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than January 15, 2022.”
New York voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 by revising the State’s redistribution procedures and by instituting a Commission of 10 members to approve the boundaries of legislative constituencies and Congress. The majority and minority leaders in each chamber of the legislature each appoint two members, and these eight commissioners appoint two additional members who are not registered with either of the state’s two main political parties.
If the New York legislature does not approve the original redistribution plan or if the governor veto it, the committee has 15 days to submit a second plan for review. This second plan must be submitted to the legislature no later than February 28.
Kentucky passed a law on Jan.6 extending the deadline for congressional, legislative, judicial and local candidates to run for office this year from Jan.7 to Jan.25. The State House passed the law on January 5, and Governor Steve Beshear (D) signed it after the state Senate passed it on Jan.6.
The extension of the filing deadline was necessary as the state has not yet approved new district boundaries after the 2020 census. Joe Sonka of the Louisville Courier-Journal wrote that “the two chambers must remain in session on Saturday [Jan. 8] to give final passage to several redistribution bills developed by the Republican qualified majority, including those laying out new maps for the State House and Senate, the United States House Districts of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Supreme Court. ”
California extends mandate for indoor masks
On January 5, the California Department of Health expanded the state’s indoor mask requirement until Feb.15. The California Department of Health first instituted the new statewide indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated people on December 15, 2021.
California is one of the nine states with statewide mask orders for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. One state has a statewide mask order that applies only to unvaccinated people. All 10 states have Democratic governors.
Since the start of the pandemic, 39 states have issued statewide mask requirements, and 32 states (16 states with Republican governors and 16 states with Democratic governors) have allowed expiration of statewide orders. Four states – Louisiana, Rhode Island, Illinois and Oregon – that allowed a statewide order to expire completely then reinstated an order for masks.