For the Week of 7/28/2017
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
1. This New Hampshire special election win shows that Democrats have momentum. And Republicans do not.
State Democrats have once again scored a major win over Republicans in a competitive legislative district. Tuesday night, Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh claimed a decisive 55–44 victory in New Hampshire Senate District 16 — the second consecutive victory for New Hampshire Democrats in less than a week. And let’s be clear: this was a critical special election, in a swing district, in a swing state. With the support of the DLCC political team, the Cavanaugh campaign was able to run a strong field program that resulted in over 45,000 voter contact efforts on phones and doors before the polls closed. Additional backing came from the DLCC’s independent arm, Legislative Majority PAC, through which the DLCC provided leadership and resources for paid communications, polling, and additional voter contact efforts. Since Trump’s inauguration, state Democrats have overperformed in almost every legislative special election and have successfully flipped four seats from red to blue. And the DLCC is just getting started: read more about this victory and beyond in this week’s Medium post!
2. Finally! A Democratic org bridges the gap between grassroots activism and state legislative races
DLCC made headlines this week after rolling out our new weapon in the fight to take back state legislatures. Through DLCC’s Spotlight Races, supporting Democratic candidates on the frontlines of taking back state legislatures has never been easier. As the hub of state legislative work, DLCC has the most sophisticated and accurate data analysis tools and is uniquely equipped to select and highlight these critical legislative races for the progressive community. The platform bridges the gap between Committee expertise and grassroots engagement, creating an easy way for progressives everywhere to learn about essential legislative contests. As users explore each candidate’s profile, they can learn about the race, connect with the candidate on social media, and donate directly to their campaign. New races will be added throughout the political cycle, so bookmark the Spotlight Races page to stay up to date on critical legislative elections from across the country!
While D.C. Republicans’ efforts to strip Americans’ healthcare was once again defeated in last night’s “vote-a-rama,” the fight for healthcare rages on in statehouses across the country. A slew of new legislation both contracting and expanding access to care has been introduced in dozens of states. State Republicans are following in the footsteps of the Trump administration and Washington Republican: Iowa Republicans took major action in May with a detrimental bill to defund Planned Parenthood that resulted in the closure of four Planned Parenthood clinics within a week and over 15,000 women in rural communities critically underserved. Luckily, Democratic state legislators across the country are responding to the D.C. GOP agenda by standing up for women and proving that state governments can and will stand up for women when the federal government fails. Democrats in Nevada and Maine successfully passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of all FDA-approved contraception and provide 12-month prescriptions of birth control pills. Democrats in Colorado, New York, Virginia, and Washington enacted similar legislation, while Maryland became the first state to guarantee state funding for Planned Parenthood if it is defunded by the federal government. While Americans breathe a collective sigh of relief at Senate Republicans failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act last night, Democratic state legislators will remain vigilant as the GOP tries to chip away at healthcare protections at all levels of government.
In 2011, Wisconsin Republicans camped out in a private law office to redraw legislative districts behind closed doors, going so far as to even require their own members sign nondisclosure agreements prior to seeing maps of their own district. When the districts were unveiled to the public, it was no surprise the maps were skewed to favor Republicans. Later that year though, when six Republican and three Democratic state Senators were targeted with recall elections, Democrats (supported by DLCC-deployed staff) succeeded in flipping the chamber -- and instilling DLCC Board member Sen. Mark Miller as the new majority leader. Their majority lasted only a few months before the GOP’s gerrymandered maps took their toll, but in that time Sen. Miller was able to use his leadership position to obtain crucial documents from the law firm -- and make them public. Now, as Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn maps are back in court (the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the districts this fall), these documents are front and center as crucial pieces of evidence for Democrats and voting rights advocates.
5. Gov. Jerry Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California's key climate program
Once again reaffirming California’s status as a national progressive leader in the Trump era, California Governor Jerry Brown signed state Democrats’ law to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program. The program, the only one of its kind in the country, serves as a model for the international community in the fight against global warming. It provides a financial incentive for companies to pollute less and requires oil refineries, power plants, food processors, and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. By extending the program from 2020 to 2030, California Democrats have solidified their commitment to fight climate change despite a lack of support from the White House. “California will lead on climate and clean energy when Washington, D.C., will not,” said Senate leader and DLCC Board member Kevin de León. DLCC is committed to electing Democrats to statehouses nationwide so state progress can continue to lead America forward.