It’s the end of the session as we know it, and I feel fine.
Actually, I feel great. I get to kick off my inaugural TWISA at Daily Kos with an apocalyptic theme. Because DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM*
*by which I mean multiple state governments are in legislative standoffs that threaten to shut their states right down.
Let’s start with Maine, since it’s facing the most absurd and unnecessary
- The Democratic-majority House and Republican-majority Senate have been working nonstop in recent days to arrive at a state budget agreement that can not only pass both chambers of the state’s divided government, but also meets an apparently arbitrary ceiling of $7.055 billion set by GOP Gov. Paul LePage, the Eric Cartman of statehouse politics.
- LePage colluded with the House Republican minority to push a budget that dramatically cuts education funding and slashes assistance programs for the poor while giving massive new tax breaks to the wealthiest two percent of Mainers.
Fun fact! State budget bills in Maine have to win two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers. Bipartisanship or bust!
- Both chambers must pass the budget with supermajorities and Gov. LePage must act on it by 11:59 PM on Friday, June 30, or the state’s government will shut down for the first time since 1991.
- But even if lawmakers deliver the budget in advance of the deadline, LePage might just let the state shut down anyway.
Funner fact! Maine governors can take up to 10 days after a bill passes both legislative chambers to mull a veto or sign the measure into law.
- And LePage reportedly has pledged to wait as long as possible to sign the budget and let the government shut down out of spite (actual quote: “A shutdown is necessary for the future of Maine”) if he doesn’t get everything he wants, nevermind that
- Non-emergency state services will shut down
- Non-emergency state workers will never get paid for the time they’re forced to not work because of the shutdown
- Emergency workers will still work but won’t get paid for that work until after the shutdown is over.
But whateva, LePage does what he wants.
But Maine’s not the only state dealing with a potentially government-stopping budget showdown.
- In New Jersey, negotiations among Democratic leaders in the legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie continue as that pesky end-of-fiscal-year deadline draws nigh.
- In Washington, a government shutdown was beginning to appear inevitable, but after Democrats put intense public pressure on the intransigent Senate Republican majority, GOPers finally stopped playing chicken and came to table to reportedly hammer out a budget deal with the Democratic-majority House.
You know what would have averted this potential-shutdown stress altogether?
A Democratic majority in the Washington state Senate.
- And a special election in November could result in just that! (You can read more about the super-hot Senate special election in LD45 here.)
Not all legislative sessions are drawing to a close with shutdown threats hanging over their heads, but that doesn’t mean Republicans still aren’t trying launch that Great Tribulation.
- In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers are acting like it’s the End of Days, in that their fates have already been decided and they have nothing to lose by being rather obviously unscrupulously power-hungry and terrible.
- You may recall when GOP lawmakers worked overtime last December to usurp Gov.-elect Roy Cooper’s authority with regard to election boards and cabinet appointments.
- More recently, Republicans refused to have a special session to draw court-ordered legislative maps after their racially gerrymandered ones were found unconstitutional.
- Last week, they passed a budget that effectively strips the Democratic governor of his ability to challenge laws he believes to be unconstitutional (he’s had some success so far) and slashes funding for the state’s Department of Justice.
- This week, they introduced a plan to gerrymander the state’s judicial system, but they decided to delay further
calamities consideration until a future session.
Now North Carolina Republicans are sinking to a place lower than all the pits of Tartarus (they left Hell behind in December when they tried to gut the governor’s authority just because he was a Democrat).
- On Wednesday, they launched the legislative process of impeaching Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who has done nothing wrong.
- GOP Rep. Chris Millis began laying the groundwork for impeachment charges back in February when he requested information on whether Marshall was illegally allowing non-citizens to become notaries public. (She wasn’t.) In March, Millis demanded that Marshall resign. (She didn’t.)
- Now, despite the fact than none of his inquiries or investigations have turned up evidence that Marshall did anything improper or illegal, Millis is pushing his GOP toward impeachment proceedings anyway.
Because Secretary of State Marshall is doing something wrong, at least in the eyes of the state GOP.
- She earned enough support from North Carolina voters statewide to get elected to office as a Democrat.
- And she didn’t just do it once. She’s done it six times.
- Marshall was first elected secretary of state in 1996, and she’s held the post ever since. Republicans just can’t seem to oust her at the ballot box, so they’re going after her with their
- racially gerrymandered,
- artificially inflated legislative majorities to remove her from office.
Oh the injustice! Who can stop the Republicans from pulling such a blatantly partisan stunt?
(… we’ve asked about 10 times since December.)
Speaking of gerrymandering, I’ve got some BIG NEWS.
- Partisan gerrymandering in 2011 was REALLY HELPFUL for Republicans.
Oh wait. We knew that.
But now AP is on the case.
My favorite part of the study is the bit where they find that the skewed lines were “no fluke.” OMG YOU’RE SAYING GOP MAJORITIES THAT DREW MAPS GERRYMANDERED IN FAVOR OF THEIR OWN PARTY ON PURPOSE GTFO
- The study cites Michigan as one example of this. And it’s a great example of this.
- In 2012 and 2014, Democrats won more votes for state House seats than Republicans did, and yet the GOP kept solid majorities in that chamber.
- In 2016, the vote share was about equal, and yet Democrats found themselves stuck at the 47-63 House minority they’d had before election day.
Fun fact! You can check out 2016 presidential results broken down by state House/Assembly and Senate (and congressional, if you’re into that) districts in Michigan and a whole bunch of other states here. Looking for historical data? Results from 2014 and 2012 live here.
Well, I’m off to stockpile gold or rations or fertile women or whatever it is you’re supposed to have a lot of when the world’s ending.
Until next week, watch out for zombies and GOP lawmakers and whatever else might be trying to destroy your BRAAAAAIIIIIIIINNNNNSSSSSSSS.