State of the States – Mar’22
Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the most recent states to complete redistricting, bringing the total to thirty-eight states (excluding the six states with a single congressional district). Nationally, Democrats gained more ground with 12 Democratic-leading seats, but after accounting for incumbency, they’ll likely get three seats in 2022 due to redistricting.
However, other states are struggling with redistricting for various reasons, like lawsuits against approved maps or partisanship gridlocks. In addition to redistricting, other issues have been making headlines, from abortion and marijuana legalization to taxes and transgender rights.
On March 15, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023. This would put an end to the twice-annual changing of clocks, while allowing Arizona and Hawaii, which don’t observe daylight saving time, to remain on standard time. Spring into March with our round-up of trending legislation news!
On February 24, the Arizona House passed an initial approval on a measure that would ban abortion pills. It’s one of two anti-abortion bills that are going through the legislature this year.
The Florida Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee advanced a new congressional map to the full Redistricting Committee. While it appeared that Florida was getting closer to settling district lines, Gov. Ron DeSantis submitted a second proposed map that heavily favors Republicans.
House Republicans approved a bill that prohibits transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. Iowa joins about 10 other Republican-run state legislatures in passing the controversial measure.
A digital ad tax, the first one of its kind in the nation, is being challenged in court. Attorneys claim that it’s an unconstitutional penalty targeting Big Tech. The closely watched case could impact other states that are also considering a tax for online ads.
On February 24, state Senate Republicans announced a tax cut proposal, which would make it the largest in the state’s history. Democrats argued for tax rebate payments but the Republican plan proposes cutting the state’s first-tier income tax bracket and eliminating all state taxes on Social Security income.
Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law Senate Bill 2095, legalizing medical marijuana for people with debilitating conditions. In 2020, voters approved a medical marijuana initiative, but the state Supreme Court invalidated it.
The state Senate was unable to approve a redrawn map after conservatives staged a 31-hour filibuster to block a map approved by the state House back in January. The Judicial Redistricting Commission held a public hearing on February 25th to take testimony and has until mid-April to submit a congressional map to the Secretary of State’s office.
A public hearing on three anti-abortion bills happened in early February, one of which proposes giving potential fathers the right to veto a woman’s abortion. The proposed measures are on the heels of a new law that took effect in January prohibiting abortion after 24 weeks.
The Apportionment Commission agreed on a new legislative map that approved 40 newly drawn districts. Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature but lost six seats in the Assembly in 2021 and Republicans netted one new seat in the Senate.
The state legislature approved new redistricting maps, which went before a three-judge state court. The panel rejected the congressional map adopted by the state legislature and approved a map drawn by three special masters appointed by the state court.
The bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted the state’s third set of legislative maps. The State Supreme Court will review whether the maps abide by voter-approved changes to the state constitution to curb gerrymandering.
The state Supreme Court adopted a new congressional map drawn by a special master. The map resembles the boundaries drawn by the same court in 2018. Pennsylvania will also lose a U.S. House seat, decreasing from 18 to 17, due to stagnant population growth.
State of the States Summary
As primary deadlines loom closer, states without approved congressional maps, like Missouri and Ohio, are feeling the pressure. Anti-abortion measures in Arizona, New Hampshire, and other states continue to make their way through legislatures, along with tax proposals, marijuana legalization, and transgender restrictions in sports. However, opponents aren’t giving up easily, whether it’s through filing lawsuits or staging filibusters.
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