For those of you who observe, I’d like to point out, with complete calm and absolutely zero panic, that OMG XMAS IS ONLY 12 DAYS AWAY
So, yeah, I guess it’s time to start singing that classic holiday tune: The 12 Days of Session.
What, you don’t know it?
Here, I’ll hum a few bars, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
On the 12th day of session, my legislator gave to me ...
12, the number of seats Minnesota House Democrats needed to flip to win the chamber (they flipped 18): In any other week, this item would have gotten something along the lines of a “#Demsindisarra … wait no the other thing” header, but this will have to do.
11, the time of night Michigan Republicans passed a bill to restrict ballot measures: Late Wednesday night, the Michigan House approved a measure that effectively gerrymanders the signature-gathering process for ballot measures.
- Currently, citizens must gather hundreds of thousands of signatures to get a measure on the ballot (the total varies based on the type of measure and the number of votes cast for governor in the most recent election—over the past decade, this figure has ranged from 157,827 to over 380,126 signatures).
- Because of high turnout in this year’s gubernatorial contest, the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot for the next four years will be bigger than ever.
- Currently, these signatures can come from any voter anywhere in the state.
- But the law House Republicans just passed in the lame duck session requires that no more than 15 percent of the signatures come from any one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts.
- That’s not only a garbage requirement intended to make signature-gathering harder by preventing canvassers from racking up totals in accessible and densely populated urban areas, but it also effectively gerrymanders the ballot measure process by creating arbitrary caps based on Michigan's extremely GOP-skewing congressional map.
10, the day of April GOP Gov. Matt Bevin signed this terrible legislation: On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the controversial law the GOP-controlled legislature rammed through during the final days of this year’s legislative session that would have gutted teachers’ pensions.
- The anti-pension measure was attached to a completely unrelated bill about sewage treatment on the 57th day of Kentucky’s 60-day legislative session.
- As a sewage bill, it had received public hearings and the necessary floor readings.
- As a pension-attacking Trojan horse, it had not.
- Because the anti-pension measure did not receive the required three readings on three separate days on the House floor, the court ruled it in violation of the state constitution, which specifically requires those three pesky readings.
- This doesn’t mean that the GOP-controlled legislature won’t try to pass the measure again—properly, this time.
9, the total the numbers two and seven in North Dakota House District 27 add up to: Sure, Election Day was over a month ago, but that’s no reason to not give props to North Dakota Rep.-elect Ruth Buffalo.
- She’s the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the state’s legislature, which is extremely important all by itself.
- But more deliciously, Buffalo ousted the Republican lawmaker behind the legislation aimed at disenfranchising the state’s Native voters by requiring a new kind of ID to cast ballots in this year’s election.
- Notably, the new law backfired.
- Daily Kos was one of several organizations who helped raise tons of money to support getting Native Americans the new IDs they needed to vote.
- In the end, turnout in counties that are home to three of the state’s largest Native populations increased dramatically over the 2014 midterms—it was up 105 percent in Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
8, the day of January Floridians convicted of felonies were supposed to get their right to vote back: In November, 64.5 percent of Floridians voted to end a terrible and racist practice: permanent denial of the right to vote to anyone convicted of a felony.
Republicans in Florida dgaf.
- The current state government—run by Republicans—has put implementation of the new constitutional amendment “on hold” until the new governor—also a Republican—is sworn in.
- GOP lawmakers want to see if they can mess with the amendment before it restores voting rights to (among others) the 23 percent of Florida’s black adults who were convicted of felonies and have completed their sentences.
- Gov.-elect DeSantis claims that the (GOP-controlled) legislature must approve “implementing language” before the amendment takes effect.
- Amendment 4 is self-executing—it needs no legislative action.
7, the Kansas Senate district represented by a GOP party-switcher: Kansas state Senator Barbara Bollier announced Wednesday that she’s leaving the Republican Party and will caucus with Democrats henceforth.
- Bollier had already earned her now-former colleagues’ ire when she endorsed the Democratic candidate for governor, as well as some Democratic legislative candidates, earlier this year.
- She credits the Kansas GOP’s anti-LGBT platform and Donald Trump with pushing her to make the jump.
- Bollier will be up for re-election in 2020.
6, Ann Arbor’s rank in Michigan cities according to population size: Two years ago, Ann Arbor began an animal control program that used sterilization to bring down exploding deer populations.
- Michigan lawmakers voted Wednesday to take that option away from localities and force hunting on them as the only way to cull herds.
- Ann Arbor used hunting to reduce its deer population, too, but in densely populated areas, capturing, sterilizing, and returning the deer seemed like a better option than letting people shoot guns near lots of other people.
- This “offended” some legislators, who maybe thought they don’t already have enough deer to shoot (they do), or veterinarians were taking jobs away from hunters, or something.
- One lawmaker even saw it as a sort of … cultural exchange program.
- GOP Rep. Triston Cole, who sponsored the bill prohibiting deer sterilization programs, regards this as “a wonderful opportunity for urban residents to learn about quality deer management and the benefits of hunting to the entire state.”
Stay tuned next week for those final five magical days of session!
In the meantime, don’t you have some nog to drink? You’ve definitely earned it after making it through this week’s edition. You should knock off early and make a long weekend of it. Just print this out and show it to your boss, I’m sure she’ll agree.