This Week in Statehouse Motion: Breaking Spring version

Bourbon Peach Smash: It looks like I’ve been writing concerning the Georgia legislature’s proposed voter suppression payments all yr (… wait, I have been), however lastly, after numerous legislative horse buying and selling, a raft of those payments has been signed into legislation by the governor.

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The GOP’s anti-democratic omnibus—SB 202—absolutely passed the legislature on Thursday and was immediately signed into law by Georgia’s GOP governor.

Listed here are among the new obstacles that can make voting tougher for Georgians:

  • Voters searching for to vote absentee should present a replica of their identification or the variety of their Georgia driver’s license or state ID to each apply for and when returning the poll.
  • The secretary of state’s workplace is prohibited from sending unsolicited absentee poll functions (because it did earlier than the 2020 primaries as a result of coronavirus pandemic).
  • Voters should request absentee ballots 11 days earlier than an election (at the moment absentee ballots will be requested as much as the Friday earlier than Election Day).
  • Poll drop bins can solely be positioned inside early voting places and might solely be used throughout voting hours (which type of obviates the entire level of poll drop bins, no?).
  • Giving meals or drinks (together with water!) to a voter ready in line to solid their poll is now against the law.
  • The runoff cycle is shortened from the present 9 weeks to simply 4 weeks.

And don’t get me mistaken, all of these items are very, very unhealthy.

However among the worst provisions of this measure are a bit on the sneaky facet.

Like, say, permitting for limitless challenges to voter registrations and eligibility.

Sounds innocuous sufficient, proper?

It’s not.

Let’s have a look again on the Georgia Senate runoffs to see why.

  • In January, the right-wing group True the Vote (lol) challenged the eligibility of a whole bunch of hundreds of voters in these runoff elections based mostly on an unreliable postal database.
    • On that event, just a few dozen votes have been really thrown out.
  • However underneath the brand new legislation, conservative activists will now capable of problem the eligibility of actually as many voters as they need.
  • Additionally, native election boards shall be required to listen to these challenges inside 10 days, which might strain county officers to swiftly take away eligible voters from the rolls or erroneously reject their ballots.

However wait, it will get worse!

  • The brand new legislation additionally grants state officers the broad rights to change native election officers (therefore the “strain” talked about above).
    • So not solely will these eligibility challenges change into extra quite a few and frequent, however native officers deemed reluctant or unable to take away appropriate numbers of voters from rolls or reject sufficient ballots might be swapped out for people deemed extra … amenable.
  • On this vein, the brand new legislation may even take away Georgia’s elected secretary of state as chair of the state election board.

So, yeah, this new legislation is deeply diabolical.

It should absolutely be challenged in court docket, however even when it’s thrown out, what number of elections shall be performed underneath its authority within the meantime?

  • And whereas we’re speaking about legislative voter suppression, let’s make a fast swing by way of West Virginia, the place the GOP-controlled state Senate passed a bill this week that might 
    • Repeal automated voter registration (which grew to become legislation in 2016 however was by no means really carried out lol),
    • Finish early voting on the seventh day earlier than Election Day (as a substitute of the third, as is present legislation), and
    • Let so-called “idle” voter registrations be purged if voters do not vote in only a two-year interval (as a substitute of the present four-year interval).

However why cease at simply suppressing the vote when you possibly can simply ignore voters?

Missouri Mule: Final August, Missouri voters authorized a poll measure increasing Medicaid to some 230,000 residents with 53% of the vote.

  • This Thursday, Republicans on the Missouri Home committee voted to block the funding required (90% of which might come from the federal authorities) to pay for this system’s enlargement.
    • The proposal received’t even make it to the Home flooring for a full vote; simply 20 Republicans within the 163-member chamber overrode the desire of state voters.
  • However, based on GOP lawmakers, these voters simply don’t rely as a result of they’re not from the proper a part of the state.
    • Rep. Ed Lewis claimed that, since that 53% didn’t quantity to a majority of the state’s inhabitants or eligible voters, their say doesn’t actually matter.
    • Rep. Sara Walsh put a finer level on it: “Rural Missouri stated no.”
  • … the factor is, Medicaid enlargement wouldn’t have handed final summer time with out the one in three rural voters who supported it.

Wisconsin Old Fashioned: In the meantime, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are nonetheless utilizing Trump’s Huge Lie (concerning the 2020 presidential election being “stolen,” which, as an erudite shopper of this missive, was extraordinarily not) to facilitate legislative showboating, wasting taxpayer dollars on sham “hearings” about supposed election malfeasance—however they’re turning it up a notch.

  • This week, the GOP-controlled Meeting successfully escalated the hearings they’ve already been holding to “examine” 2020 elections into the statehouse equal of a present trial as they voted to give themselves the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.
    • The language of the decision reveals Republicans’ true intent with these hearings, which claims that election officers, “by way of willful disregard or reckless neglect[,] have failed to stick to our election legal guidelines” by “ignoring, violating and inspiring noncompliance” of election legal guidelines and administration.
  • And I am positive it’s only a wacky coincidence that Meeting Republicans have additionally launched a slew of voter suppression payments very clearly designed to assuage the election “points” raised by Trump and his supporters.
    • These measures include:
      • Drastically limiting the variety of poll drop bins
      • Requiring absentee voters to offer an ID for each election
      • Limiting who can mechanically obtain absentee ballots for each election
      • Prohibiting election officers from finishing lacking data on the certification envelopes returned by voters that comprise absentee ballots
      • Creating extra paperwork for many who vote early in clerk’s workplaces

… okay it’s not a coincidence

Nicely, I don’t learn about you, however that’s all of the unhealthy information I can abdomen together with all this alcohol proper now.

So let’s finish on a happier be aware.

New York Sour: New York is finally moving forward with recreational marijuana legalization in the state.

  • Thanks partially to his need to divert consideration from his a number of scandals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lately grew to become extra amendable to the Democratic-majority legislature’s legalization proposals, which incorporates key fairness provisions:
    • 40% of most marijuana tax revenues could be reinvested in communities disproportionately affected by the struggle on medicine
    • 40% could be steered to public schooling
    • 20% would go towards drug remedy, prevention, and schooling
    • Applications could be established to present loans, grants, and incubator packages for small farmers and other people from disproportionately impacted communities who wish to enter the business.

And eventually …

Virginia: … has lastly officially abolished the death penalty.

  • Gov. Ralph Northam signed the invoice into legislation this week, making the state that has executed extra prisoners than every other (practically 1,400) the primary within the South to ban state-sponsored homicide.


Welp, that’s a wrap for this week.

When you drink, you need to make your self a cocktail (utilizing one of many above-linked recipes or not, you do you).

When you don’t, do one thing that chills you out and makes you content.

You deserve it.

Since you’re vital.

And we want you.

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