State Net Capitol Journal - News and View from the 50 States
Volume XXII, No. 32
October 20, 2014
HEADLINE: Crunch Time
Budget & taxes
Gas tax 'on the table' in NJ
Politics & leadership
WI voter ID law blocked by High Court
Governors
Kitzhaber requests ethics review over fiancee
The next issue of Capitol Journal will be available on November 3rd.
TOP STORY
 
Things look rosy for Republicans in this year's state legislative races, but Democrats are poised to take back several governorships.
SNCJ Spotlight
 
GOP dominates legislative races; Dems take aim at governorships
 
The last four years have been golden for Republicans in the nation's statehouses, and GOP fortunes appear to shine brightly in the 2014 state legislative elections. But Democrats have hopes of dulling the Republican luster in the Nov. 4 balloting by taking several governorships away from the GOP.
 
Entering the election, Republicans have a 29-21 edge in governorships. The GOP controls both legislative chambers in 27 states compared to 19 for the Democrats. Legislative control is divided in three other states. 
 
Republicans are better off than these numbers. Nebraska has a unicameral legislature that is technically non-partisan but Republican in all but name. Coalitions favorable to Republicans control the state senates in Washington and New York even though Democrats have slight majorities in these chambers. 
 
Democrats hope to win an extra senate seat in Washington State, which would enable them to scrap the coalition. They are also striving to win the Iowa House, which Republicans now control by three votes. 
 
But Republicans have more opportunities in this year's legislative elections, said Tim Storey, a political analyst for the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislators. GOP prime targets include the state senates in Colorado, Iowa and Nevada and the state houses in Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire and West Virginia, all held now by the Democrats. 
 
History is on the Republican side. Since 1900, the party in power in the White House has never gained legislative seats in the sixth year of a president's term. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll put President Obama's approval rating at a record-low 40 percent, the same as President George W. Bush when Democrats swept the 2006 midterm elections. GOP candidates are also often helped by low voter turnout, which Gallup predicts will be the case this year. 
 
Nonetheless, Democratic prospects are bright in several governor's races, especially in Pennsylvania, where Democratic businessman Tom Wolf leads incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett by a wide margin. The average of polls by RealClearPolitics, a political website, puts Wolf ahead by 15 percent. 
 
In normally Republican Kansas, polls say that Democrat Paul Davis, a leader of the House, is virtually tied with incumbent GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. The conservative Brownback cut taxes deeply but was forced to slash spending when anticipated revenues didn't materialize, igniting a bipartisan backlash. 
 
Democrats are competitive in five other states — Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin — now governed by Republicans. 
 
Republicans are favored to win the governorship in Arkansas, an open race in a state now in Democratic hands, and have opportunities in five other states governed by Democrats: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Illinois. 
 
Of the GOP-held states, Georgia is most problematic for the Democrats because of a state law requiring a majority for victory. Republican incumbent Nathan Deal is slightly ahead of State Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, but third-party candidates may prevent either from winning a majority. Deal would be favored in a Dec. 6 runoff because Republican turnout is usually higher in such elections. 
 
The race in Florida between incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist — a onetime GOP governor turned Democrat — is tied in recent polls. 
 
Gov. Rick Snyder has received high marks for fiscally reviving Michigan and helping to rescue bankrupt Detroit but has received a stiff challenge from former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, backed by organized labor because Snyder signed "right-to-work" legislation. Snyder leads by 3.5 percent in the RCP poll average. 
 
Even more disliked than Snyder by organized labor is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who in 2012 survived a union-led recall effort. Nipping at his heels is Democratic challenger Mary Burke, a wealthy businesswoman and member of the Madison school board. Recent surveys show a virtual tie. 
 
In Maine, Democratic House Rep. Michal Michaud is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite. Michaud would be the first openly gay candidate to be elected governor of any state. His task is complicated by the presence of independent Eliot Cutler, who narrowly lost to LePage four years ago. This time Cutler seems cast in the role of spoiler. Recent surveys put Michaud slightly ahead of LePage but well within the margin of polling error. 
 
Maine demonstrates the potential liability to Democratic candidates of Obama's low approval ratings. Obama overwhelmingly carried Maine two years ago but now has a high disapproval rating among the independents Michaud needs to win. First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Bill Clinton have campaigned for Michaud, who has not asked the president to do the same. 
 
Among Democratic-held states targeted by Republicans, Arkansas seems most likely to change partisan hands. The candidates are two former congressmen, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross. Hutchison has led all the way; Ross trails him by a commanding 6.4 percentage points in the RCP average. 
 
Beyond Arkansas, the best chance for a GOP gubernatorial victory in a Democratic state may be Connecticut, where Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland, are staging a rematch of their close 2010 race. Gun control is an issue. After the Newtown school massacre in 2013, the Legislature passed strict gun control laws that Foley wants repealed. Malloy, slightly ahead in recent polls, has struggled to unite his own party after raising taxes and cutting pension benefits for government workers. 
 
Republicans also have a chance in normally Democratic Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick is retiring. The race pits two 2010 losers, Democratic State Attorney Gen. Martha Coakley, who lost a U.S. Senate race, and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who lost to Patrick last time. Polls put Coakley slightly ahead. 
 
Party loyalty could be decisive in Democratic-leaning Illinois, where polls show Gov. Pat Quinn to be unpopular. He nevertheless holds a slight lead over his Republican challenger, businessman Bruce Rauner. 
 
In Colorado, another tossup, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been on the defensive in a campaign focusing on a reprieve granted by Hickenlooper to the murderer of four Chuck E. Cheese employees in 1993. Hickenlooper favored capital punishment when he was elected but now opposes it. His challenger, Republican Bob Beauprez, who lost a race for governor in 2006, said he will let the execution proceed if he wins. The two candidates have traded leads in recent polls. 
 
In Hawaii, perhaps the only competitive state in which Obama is not a liability for Democrats, State Sen. David Ige routed incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary. He leads Republican Duke Aiona by 3.6 points in the latest RCP poll average. But the presence in this race of independent Mufi Hannemann adds a note of uncertainty, as does the lack of recent polls. 
 
Alaska, normally Republican, could be lost to the GOP but won't go Democratic. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell was so far ahead of his Democratic opponent Byron Mallott that Mallott withdrew and threw his support to independent Bill Walker. Recent polls put Walker slightly ahead. 
 
Democrats overall stand better chances in governors' races than in the battle for control of legislative chambers because Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas, while Republican voters are dispersed in smaller towns and rural areas. This helps Democrats in statewide races but gives Republicans an advantage in district elections for the U.S. House and state legislatures. Republicans won many legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections and padded their advantage in 2011 with skillful but partisan redistricting. 
 
Illustratively, Republicans control both legislative chambers in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states twice carried by Obama in which Democrats are now mounting strong gubernatorial challenges. Storey observes that these states are politically similar to Iowa, another state twice carried by Obama. But Iowa, unlike the other three states, has non-partisan redistricting. As a result, legislative control is split, with Democrats narrowly holding the Senate and Republicans the House. Both chambers are in play in this election. 
 
National media attention is understandably focused on Republican efforts to win the U.S. Senate, but the state elections may matter more. Regardless of which party controls the Senate, Republicans seem assured of holding onto the U.S House of Representatives. This means divided government in the nation's capital and the gridlock it produces for at least the remainder of Obama's second term. In contrast, in a convincing demonstration of federalism, states with single-party control have shown in the past four years that they are willing and able to act. 
 
Republican-run states have cut taxes, limited abortion, tightened voting rules, and restricted unions. Democrat-run states have expanded health care under Medicaid, granted in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants and raised the minimum wage. Republican-run and Democratic-run states alike have authorized massive new spending for transportation and higher education and attempted prison reform. 
 
The domestic direction of American government in the next two years will be determined most by the governors and state legislators that voters choose in next month's elections.
— By Lou Cannon
The Week in Session
 
States in Regular Session: DC, NJ, PA(Senate in Recess), PR 
 
States in Informal Session: MA 
 
States in Skeleton Session: OH 
 
States in Recess: CA "b", DE "c", IL, MI, NY, US 
 
States in Special Session: HI "c" 
 
States currently prefiling for 2015 Session: CO, FL, KY, MT, ND, NV, OR, VA, WY 
 
Adjourned Sessions: AK, AL, AR, AR "a", AZ, AZ "a", CA, CA "a", CO, CT, DE, DE "b", DE "d", FL, FL "a", GA, HI, IA, ID, IL "a", IL "b", IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, MS "a", MS "b", NC, NE, NH, NJ "a", NM, NV "a", OK, OR, PR "a", PR "b", RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA "a", VT, WA, WA "a", WA "b", WA "c", WI, WI "c", WV, WV "a", WV "b", WY 
 
*Letters indicate special/extraordinary sessions 
 
— Compiled By JAMES ROSS
(Session information current as of 10/17/2014)
Source: State Net database
Bird’s eye view
 
Partisan shifts most likely in 15 state legislative chambers
 
Graphic for Bird’s Eye View article If partisan control changes in any of the 87 state legislative chambers holding elections in November, it is most likely to come in one of 15 chambers, according to Ballotpedia. In the 15 chambers identified by the nonpartisan election data collector, the difference between the number of Democrats and Republicans is equal to 10 percent or less of the number of seats being contested on Nov. 4. Ballotpedia identified five other chambers where the majority party's margin of control is also relatively narrow, between 11.4 percent and 17.7 percent.
U.S.A. map for Bird’s Eye View article
Budget & taxes
 

GAS TAX 'ON THE TABLE' IN NJ: Since pledging in 2011 to use more cash and less debt to pay for his state's transportation needs, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has put only $66 million of the $1.2 billion he pledged to put into the state's transportation fund and borrowed nearly $1 billion more than the $3.8 billion he said he would to keep the fund solvent, all the while refusing to raise the state's 10.5-cents-per-gallon gas tax. 
 
But last month Christie appointed Jamie Fox, a Democrat, as transportation commissioner, the same position he held under former Gov. Jim McGreevey. And when asked if raising the gas tax was an option for addressing the state's transportation funding problem, the governor said, "Everything is on the table." 
 
That funding problem has reached the crisis point. All the revenue the state takes in from transportation taxes and tolls goes toward paying off debt, leaving nothing left to actually pay for infrastructure projects. And the repeated funding shortfalls have forced Christie to cut pension payments and delay property tax rebates, among other things. 
 
But solving the problem with a gas tax hike is also complicated politically now. Approving such an increase could hurt Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) or Assembly transportation committee chair John Wisniewski (D), if they run for governor in 2016 — and Christie, if he runs for president. 
 
Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, offered a simple solution for them. 
 
"The easy answer is you call it anything other than a tax, toll — whatever other word you can find," he said. 
 
WI GOV CONSIDERING GAS TAX REFORM: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is reportedly considering the idea of replacing the state's gas tax with a sales tax on gas and alternative vehicle fuel sources. In an interview with the editorial board of the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker said "getting rid of the gas tax entirely" and imposing a sales tax in its place is "a realistic thing for us to look at." 
 
Walker said the goal would not be an increase in transportation revenues but a "neutral conversion," with the new tax system being something "stable, versus something that's based on gallons of gas, which continues to go down." 
 
"You're trying to get the most equitable way to say, 'How do you cover the people who actually use our roads and bridges and highways?'" he said. "If there's multiple ways that you charge up or fuel your vehicle, then there should be an equitable way to say it's a sales tax on gas or it's a sales tax on electricity or it's a sales tax on natural gas." 
 
Walker is facing a tough re-election contest against Democratic challenger Mary Burke, and neither of the two has laid out a specific plan to address the projected $680 million transportation funding deficit in the state's next biennial budget. (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL [MADISON]) 
 
MD CASINOS POST ONLY GAINS IN MID-ATLANTIC REGION: Casino revenue rose 32 percent in Maryland in fiscal 2013, according to figures from the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. And that growth trend has continued into fiscal 2014, with the state's five casinos generating $82 million last month, 26 percent more than the year before. 
 
But Maryland's casino growth may only have come at the expense of casinos in neighboring states where Maryland's gamblers used to do their wagering. The Center for Gaming Research's figures show that casino revenues in fiscal 2013 were down in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia, and flat in Pennsylvania, now the nation's second-biggest gambling state, after Nevada. And Maryland casino revenues in September were only $2 million higher than in August, despite the fact that September was the first full month of operation for the state's newest casino, the $400 million Horseshoe Baltimore, owned by Caesars Entertainment. (WASHINGTON POST) 
 
SMOKING BAN SAVES $1M PER YEAR IN ME: Maine's prohibition against smoking in its public housing units saves the state over $1 million each year, according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of that savings comes from reduced costs associated with treating health problems resulting from secondhand smoke. 
 
"We just are really excited about the study and hope that it will support the increasing change to smoke-free housing to create healthier environments for Maine residents," said Sarah Mayberry of the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine. 
 
Maine is currently the only state that bans smoking in public housing, but the CDC study estimated that if smoking was prohibited in all government-subsidized housing nationwide, it would save $497 million per year. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS) 
 
BUDGETS IN BRIEF: An audit by UTAH State Auditor John Dougall found that the Governor's Office of Economic Development was lax in overseeing $600 million in economic incentives awarded to businesses over the past eight years. Officials at the agency said the nearly 13,000 jobs and $128 million in tax revenue they've attracted to the state are proof of their proper handling of the program (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE). • MICHIGAN plans to use $75 million in federal funding to fight blight in 12 cities across the state, including Detroit (ASSOCIATED PRESS, DETROIT FREE PRESS). • More than 30,000 TENNESSEE public high school students — a third of the total statewide — have signed up for Tennessee Promise, the program approved in the spring that uses lottery reserves to provide free community college tuition for high school seniors in an effort to increase the number of college graduates in the state to 55 percent of the adult population by 2025 (TENNESSEAN [NASHVILLE]). • ARIZONA will end the current budget year with a $520 million deficit and 2016 with a deficit of as much as $1 billion, according to revenue projections from the Legislature's Finance Advisory Committee (ARIZONA REPUBLIC [PHOENIX]).
— Compiled by KOREY CLARK
Politics & leadership
 

WI VOTER ID LAW BLOCKED BY HIGH COURT: The voter ID law passed in Wisconsin in 2011 was blocked from being implemented by court challenges up until last month, when a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit gave the state the go-ahead to put the law into effect for the November election. This month, however, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that decision on a 6-3 vote. 
 
The majority gave no reason for its decision. But Justice Samuel Alito mentioned absentee ballots as a cause of concern in his dissent. 
 
"There is a colorable basis for the court's decision due to the proximity of the upcoming general election," he wrote. "It is particularly troubling that absentee ballots have been sent out without any notation that proof of photo identification must be submitted." 
 
The decision marked the third challenge to a state election law the high court had decided on an emergency basis, having previously upheld a change in Ohio voting law shortening the period for early voting and allowed North Carolina to do away with same-day registration and voting, as well as out-of-precinct voting. (WASHINGTON POST, POLITICO) 
 
TX VOTER ID REINSTATED BY FEDERAL APPEALS COURT: A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the Texas voter ID law that went into effect last year, which a lower court declared unconstitutional in August, on the grounds that it would impose "strict, unforgiving burdens" on poor, minority voters in the state. 
 
The 5th Circuit's decision wasn't based on the law's merits but rather the determination that it was too late to change the state's election rules, with early voting set to begin on Oct. 20. 
 
"The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts." 
 
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund said it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. 9. (WASHINGTON POST, TEXAS TRIBUNE, DALLAS MORNING NEWS) 
 
HO-HUM OH GOV'S RACE GOOD NEWS FOR DOWNTICKET CANDIDATES: The winner of Ohio's governor's race appears to be a foregone conclusion at this point, with incumbent Gov. John Kasich (R) riding high in the polls and his Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, struggling to raise campaign funds. As a result, gubernatorial TV ad spending is down significantly this election cycle. As of the start of this month, the two gubernatorial campaigns and independent groups had spent an estimated $7.3 million on TV ads, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In the last Ohio governor's race four years ago, more than $12.4 million was spent on TV ads between Sept. 1 and Oct. 20 alone, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. 
 
The big drop in TV ad spending on the governor's race has been a boon for candidates for other offices by driving down TV ad rates. U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), for instance, has been able to buy twice as much TV ad time as his campaign had planned, according to Mark Weaver, a GOP consultant. And Weaver said another of his clients, Columbiana County Municipal Judge Carol Ann Robb, spent tens of thousands of dollars less than budgeted because of lower TV ad rates. 
 
"These stations had anticipated millions of dollars in air time from the FitzGerald campaign and from Democrat third-party groups," he said. "And when his campaign imploded...it had the effect of lowering rates for everyone because all of a sudden there's less demand." (CLEVELAND.COM) 
 
POLITICS IN BRIEF: PENNSYLVANIA Rep. Marty Flynn (D), a former corrections officer, exchanged gunfire with a would-be robber four blocks from the state Capitol last week. The incident was the second armed robbery near the Capitol within a week (INQUIRER [PHILADELPHIA]). • WYOMING has filed 30 lawsuits involving the federal government in an effort to maintain control over its natural resources, according to Gov. Matt Mead (R). One such case is Wyoming v. EPA, in which the state is seeking to have an air quality decision placing the city of Riverton within the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation overturned (STAR-TRIBUNE [CASPER]).
— Compiled by KOREY CLARK
Upcoming Elections
(10/17/2014 - 11/07/2014)

11/04/2014 
Alabama General Election
House (All)
Senate (All)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Auditor
US House (All)
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Alaska General Election
House (All)
Senate Districts A, C, E, F, G, I, K, M, N, O, P, 
Q, S and T
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor
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US Senate (Class 2)

Arizona General Election
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Senate (All)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Secretary 
of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction
US House (All)

Arkansas General Election
House (All)
Senate Districts 3-6, 8-10, 14-15, 17-20, 24, 
30-31, 33 and 35
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
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Attorney General, Auditor
US House (All)
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California General Election
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Attorney General, Controller, Insurance 
Commissioner, Superintendent of Public 
Instruction
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Colorado General Election
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Senate Districts 1-3, 5-7, 9, 11, 13, 15-16, 20, 
22, 24, 30, 32 and 34
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
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General
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Connecticut General Election
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Delaware General Election
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Senate Districts 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 16, 17, 
18 and 21
Constitutional Officers: Treasurer, Attorney 
General, Auditor
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District of Columbia General Election
Council Chairman of the Council, At-Large 
Member of the Council, Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6
Constitutional Officers: Mayor
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Florida General Election
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Officer
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General, Comptroller General/Commissioner 
of Insurance, Superintendent of Education
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Hawaii General Election
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Senate Districts 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, 16, 17, 18, 21, 
23 and 24
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor
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Hawaii Special Election
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Idaho General Election
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of Public Instruction
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Illinois General Election
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33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Comptroller
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Indiana General Election
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25-27, 29, 31, 38-39, 41, 43, 45-49
Constitutional Officers: Secretary of State, 
Treasurer, Auditor
US House (All)

Iowa General Election
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Kansas General Election
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Louisiana Open Primary
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Louisiana Special Election
House District 97

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Michigan General Election
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Minnesota General Election
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Auditor
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Minnesota Primary Election
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Mississippi General Election
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Mississippi Special Election
Senate District 17

Missouri General Election
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Montana General Election
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35, 39, 40, 42, 44, 48 and 49
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Nebraska General Election
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Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Auditor of Public Accounts
US House (All)

Nevada General Election
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Senate Districts 2, 8-10, 12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Controller
US House (All)

New Hampshire General Election
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Senate (All)
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US Senate (Class 2)

New Jersey General Election
US House (CD 2-12)
US Senate (Class 2)

New Mexico General Election
House (All)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Auditor
US House (All)
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New York General Election
Assembly (All)
Senate (All)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller
US House (All)

North Carolina General Election
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Senate (All)
US House (All)
US Senate (Hagan)

North Carolina Special Election
US House (CD 12)

North Dakota General Election
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Senate (Odd)
Constitutional Officers: Attorney General
US House (All)

Ohio General Election
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Senate (Odd)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, 
Attorney General, Auditor
US House (All)

Oklahoma General Election
House (All)
Senate (Even)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor, Treasurer, Attorney General, 
Auditor and Inspector, Insurance Commissioner, 
Superintendent of Public Instruction
US House (All)
US Senate (Class 2) and (Class 3)

Oregon General Election
House (All)
Senate Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 
17, 19, 20, 24, and 26
Constitutional Officers: Governor
US House (All)
US Senate (Class 2)

Pennsylvania General Election
House (All)
Senate (Even)
Constitutional Officers: Governor, Lieutenant 
Governor
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Rhode Island General Election
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21, 22, 26 and 28
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Governors

KITZHABER REQUESTS ETHICS REVIEW OF FIANCEE: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) asked the state's ethics commission to review the public and private consulting work of his fiancee Cylvia Hayes. The request came amidst questions about a potential conflict of interest in Hayes' work and her place as the state's First Lady. Kitzhaber asked the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to render a formal opinion of her role, and specifically whether she is a public official and thus bound by the same restrictions and transparency requirements. 
 
The request came amidst news reports of Hayes' colorful past, including once accepting $5,000 to participate in a sham marriage to help an Ethiopian immigrant obtain a green card and using the money to buy a remote property she admitted was intended to be used to grow marijuana.  
 
But the bigger issue for Kitzhaber revolved around whether Hayes had inappropriately used her role as the First Lady to benefit her business and to earn money as a paid speaker. Questions were also raised around senior Kitzhaber officials intervening in 2011 on behalf of a Hayes' employer facing foreclosure on a high end golf course development in Bend. Public records show that the aide convinced the state Department of Energy, one of the foreclosing lenders, to give the developer more time to repay the loan.  
 
Those questions led to two separate ethics complaints being filed against the governor last week, one from retiring Rep. Vicki Berger (R) and the other from the Oregon Republican Party. The commission has 135 days to either dismiss those complaints or to recommend a full investigation. (KOIN6.COM [PORTLAND], OREGONIAN [PORTLAND], WILLAMETTE WEEK [PORTLAND]) 
 
GOVERNORS IN BRIEF: The CALIFORNIA Supreme Court gave Gov. Jerry Brown (D) a big win last week by declining to review a lawsuit over the issuance of bonds to help pay for a $68 billion high-speed rail system that he strongly supports. Opponents have tried to block the bond sale, saying the state's funding plan violates the provisions of the voter-approved 2008 ballot initiative that authorized initial funding for the project (SACRAMENTO BEE). • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D) signed a trio of bills earlier this month that allow the Ocean State to participate in regional efforts to pursue cost-effective energy infrastructure projects, specifically with hydropower (HYDROWORLD.COM).
— Compiled by RICH EHISEN
Upcoming Stories
 
Here are some of the topics you will see covered in upcoming issues of the State Net Capitol Journal: 
 
- More election previews 
 
- State worker exodus 
 
- The rising pot market
Hot issues

BUSINESS: The United States Supreme Court declines a request to hear an appeal of a CALIFORNIA law that bars the sale of foie gras, duck or goose liver artificially fattened by force-feeding the birds through a tube inserted down their throat. The court rejected the case without comment. The ruling upholds an appellate court ruling that determined the law does not impede interstate commerce. Foie gras developed without the use of the feeding tubes is still legal in the Golden State (LOS ANGELES TIMES). • The MICHIGAN Legislature approves HB 5606, a bill that would bar electric automaker Tesla from selling vehicles directly to consumers in the Wolverine State. It is now with Gov. Rick Snyder (R) for review (AUTOMOTIVE NEWS).  
 
CRIME: MICHIGAN Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signs SB 998, which creates a state commission responsible for developing guidelines to effectively implement a statewide system to track location, lab status, and completed test results for sexual assault evidence kits (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR'S OFFICE). • Still in MICHIGAN, Snyder signs SB 1036, which allows sexual assault victims to request expedited DNA and HIV testing of defendants charged in those cases. Victims can request the expedited testing be completed within 48 hours of the defendant's indictment or 48 hours after the defendant is taken into custody (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR'S OFFICE). • Also in MICHIGAN, Snyder signs SB 1021, which requires law enforcement agencies investigating sexual assault cases to inform victims about the processing status of their assault evidence kits and provide assailant DNA information at the victim's request (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR'S OFFICE). • Again in MICHIGAN, Snyder signs HB 5385, which replaces the standard breathalyzer test used by police when they have pulled over a motorist they suspect of drunk driving with a "preliminary roadside analysis" that also includes assessment of whether that driver is under the influence of a controlled substance like marijuana or other drugs (WILX.COM [LANSING]).  
 
HEALTH & SCIENCE: Covered CALIFORNIA, the Golden State's health benefits exchange, announces plans to cancel coverage for 10,474 people who failed to prove their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S. Exchange officials said those impacted would still be allowed to show proof of their legal status if they can do so (LOS ANGELES TIMES). • MICHIGAN Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signs a package of bills that collectively require first responders to carry and be trained in the use of the opioid anti-overdose drug naloxone. The bills (HBs 5404, 5405 and 5407 and SB 857) also allow family members and in some cases friends of an opioid addict to obtain and use naloxone, and exempt first responders from criminal prosecution or administrative sanctions for administering the drug in good faith to a person who is in overdose (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR'S OFFICE). • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Corbett (R) signs HB 1654, which will require Keystone State physicians, hospitals and other institutions to add certain lysosomal storage disorders to the list of diseases for which newborn children are screened (FOX43.COM [YORK]). • DELAWARE Gov. Jack Markell (D) signs HB 346, a bill that, among several things, ensures that the state's 350 mental health screeners will be sent to evaluate individuals possibly in need of emergency detention wherever those persons are located in the state. The measure also ensures that emergency detentions for minors are done only by psychiatrists and mental health screeners for juveniles (DELAWARE.GOV).  
 
SOCIAL POLICY: A federal judge rules that an ALASKA law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess said that by "singling out homosexual couples and banning their ability to marry an individual of their choosing, it is impossible to assert that all Alaskans are equal under the state's laws." Gov. Sean Parnell (R) said the state would appeal the ruling (ALASKA DISPATCH [ANCHORAGE]). • The U.S. Supreme Court suspends a ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had let stand a TEXAS law requiring clinics which perform abortions to meet the same standards as "ambulatory surgical centers," including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. The high court also suspended a second part of the Fifth Circuit's ruling, concerning the law's requirement that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Those rulings allow all Lone Star State abortion clinics to remain open while the constitutionality of the law is being appealed (NEW YORK TIMES). • A federal court rules that an ARIZONA law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The states is not expected to appeal the ruling from U.S. District Judge John Sedwick (ABCNEWS.COM).
— Compiled by RICH EHISEN
In The Hopper
 
At any given time, State Net tracks tens of thousands of bills in all 50 states, US Congress, and the District of Columbia. Here's a snapshot of what's in the legislative works:
 
Number of 2014 Prefiles last week: 64 
 
Number of 2015 Prefiles last week: 136 
 
Number of Intros last week: 261 
 
Number of Enacted/Adopted last week: 145 
 
Number of 2014 Prefiles to date: 21,491 
 
Number of 2015 Prefiles to date: 5,099 
 
Number of 2014 Intros to date: 83,853 
 
Number of 2013 Session Enacted/Adopted overall to date: 40,747 Number of 2014 Session Enacted/Adopted overall to date: 27,728 
 
Number of bills currently in State Net Database: 180,353 
 
— Compiled By JAMES ROSS
(Measures current as of 10/14/2014)
Source: State Net database
Once around the statehouse lightly

A PRESSING COMMITMENT: If you invited Texas Gov. Rick Perry to your big Halloween bash this year, you might want to gird up for his absence. As ABC News reports, Perry has another commitment this All Hallows Eve — appearing in an Austin courtroom to begin defending himself against an indictment over his alleged abuse of power in vetoing state funding for public corruption investigators. The legal beagles handling Gov. Oops' defense claim his veto was perfectly constitutional and not at all politically motivated and by the way there are some technical flaws in the prosecution's case and don't you all know who I am? Only time will tell how all of this shakes out, but one thing is for sure — if Perry does make any Halloween parties, it would be a great year for him to wear a convict costume. 
 
POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK: New Hampshire Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, whose previous claim to fame is shouting out "Sieg Heil" while performing a Nazi salute during a heated floor debate a few years back, took to his blog (NH Insider) last week to handicap the Congressional race between incumbent Ann McLane Kuster and challenger Marilinda Garcia. In his humble opinion, Garcia is a shoo-in because she is, in his words, "truly attractive" while Kuster is "ugly as sin" and a woman who "looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag." Citing an obscure poll, he opined that Garcia's physical appearance was good for a 7-10 point swing! Kuster had no reply to Vaillancourt's comments; Garcia denounced them as sexist. Others, meanwhile noted that Vaillancourt should check out a mirror once in a while as he in no beauty himself. It's also worth noting that Kuster is well up in the polls.  
 
CORONATION REDUX: When California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, ascended to her new position earlier this year, the event was marked by endless speechifying, a gay and lesbian color guard (Atkins is the state's first lesbian Speaker) and a huge gospel choir. But that was nothing. As the San Jose Mercury News reports, new California Senate pro Tem Kevin de Leon, the state's first Hispanic pro Tem in 130 years, took office last week amidst even more glitz and glitter. While most such ceremonies take place in the appropriate Capitol legislative chamber, de Leon's coronation, uh, inauguration was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Two thousand guests were on hand to witness the crowning, uh, passing of the torch. And it all cost only $50,000. Paid for of course by the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation, which gladly takes cash donations from all sorts of special interests hoping to influence those same lawmakers.  
 
NO FAN OF FANS: You get the sense that Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist can't agree on the time of day. The latest round in their increasingly nasty battle for the Sunshine State governor's office came last Wednesday when the two were preparing for their second debate of the campaign. At go time, Crist was on stage but Scott was nowhere to be seen. The problem? As the Washington Post reports, Scott objected to Crist's use of a fan at the base of his podium. Several awkward minutes ensued before perplexed moderator Eliot Rodriguez announced to the stunned crowd that Scott had decided to bail on the event, causing many in the crowd to launch a chorus of boos. Which is of course right when Scott appeared after all. The two shook hands and then proceeded to tear each other to threads the rest of the night. Of course.
— By RICH EHISEN
In Case You Missed It

Supporters of same-sex marriage garnered two huge wins in the courts last week, likely ensuring legality for those unions in up to 35 states. But with more appeals still pending, opponents have vowed to fight on. 
 
In case you missed it, the story can be found on our Web site at http://www.statenet.com/capitol_journal/10-13-2014/html#sncj_spotlight
Credits
 
Editor: Rich Ehisen
Associate Editor: Korey Clark
Contributing Editor: Mary Peck, David Giusti
Editorial Advisor: Lou Cannon
Correspondents: Richard Cox (CA), Lauren Davis (MA), Steve Karas (CA) and Ben Livingood (PA), Cathy Santsche (CA), James Ross (CA)
Graphic Design: Vanessa Perez Design
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