Around the South for March 28th: TX, KY, & NC

Texas: Harris stumps.  There may already be two Texans running in the Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped one top candidate from courting voters in the Lone Star State.  Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) swung through Texas on a campaign trip this week, drawing a crowd of nearly 2,500 at a stop at Texas Southern University.  The senator is looking to position herself as a frontrunner amidst a very crowded field.  Kentucky: Barr invites AOC “underground.”  U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) this week, when commenting on the controversial “Green New Deal” plan pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) threw out an invitation to the freshman lawmaker to come tour parts of Kentucky struggling alongside the coal industry.  Perhaps to his surprise, Ocasio-Cortez quickly accepted, saying that part of  her plan was to fully fund the pensions of coal miners.  Barr’s staff said they are working out an official trip some time this spring.  North Carolina: Abortion law struck down.  A state law passed in 2015 that banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy has been ruled as unconstitutional by a federal court.  State lawmakers now have 60 days to either write a new abortion law or appeal the...

Around the South for March 21st: TN, FL, & AR

Tennessee: Conservative group takes aim at Haslam.  As former Governor Bill Haslam continues to ponder a 2020 run for U.S. Senate to replace the retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander, some conservative groups aren’t too keen on his potential candidacy.  One such group, the The Club for Growth, has launched an ad campaign highlighting a federal investigation into a diesel rebate scam at Haslam’s family’s truck stop chain, Pilot Flying J.  The group has urged Republican Congressman Mark Green to join the primary.  Florida: Legislature disagrees on education budget.  The Florida state House and Senate each released their own version of a proposed state budget this week, and there seems to be a disagreement over education.  The House’s version contains more than $600 million less for k-12 education than does the Senate’s, a total of nearly $200 per student.  The two chambers will be forced to come together and try to meet in the middle as they move towards passing a budget this spring.  Arkansas: State rejects flag proposal.  A proposal to change the meaning of Arkansas’ state flag was rejected this week by the state House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.  Currently the blue star above the word ‘Arkansas’ on the flag represents the Confederacy, but this proposal would have changed that meaning to the U.S. (currently represented by a different star) and then attached to that star the Native American...

Around the South for March 14th: KY, TX, & VA

Kentucky: Teachers revolt against school-choice bill.  In response to Kentucky House Bill 205, teachers in several prominent public school districts including in Louisville and Lexington have held “sick-outs,” effectively cancelling school for the day.  The bill would allow parents to receive tax credits for their donations to  scholarship-granting organizations, which would then provide private school scholarships.  Advocates for public schools say the legislation is taking money out of local schools.  Gov. Matt Bevin has pledged to sign the bill into law.  Texas: Green calls for Trump impeachment.  U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Houston) is going against his party’s wishes – and after Donald Trump.  Despite House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi telling her caucus not to, Green has said he will move forward with bringing an impeachment vote against the president to the House floor.  Green first brought impeachment to the House floor in 2017, where it was defeated by a 364-58 margin.  Virginia: Northam vetoes handgun bill.  Embattled Governor Ralph Northam issued his first veto of 2019 this week, rejecting a Republican proposal to expedite concealed handgun permits for out-of-state residents.  The bill narrowly passed both the House and Senate, so it is not expected to muster the 2/3 majority it would need to bypass the governor’s...
Trump in trouble in Florida poll

Trump in trouble in Florida poll

By  Marc Caputo (Politico) – Donald Trump is in trouble in Florida, a state that’s crucial to his reelection hopes. Just 40 percent of Florida voters said they believed the president should be reelected, while 53 percent were opposed to a second term, according to a new Bendixen & Amandi International poll. Trump’s approval ratings were also poor, with 43 percent having a favorable impression of Trump, and 52 percent viewing him unfavorably — and 46 percent very unfavorably. Trump’s approval ratings look even worse when compared with the man he helped make Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, who has a 50 percent approval rating while only 23 percent disapprove. Read...

Around the South for March 7th: TN, FL, & NC

Tennessee: Lee touts school choice, criminal justice reform.  In his first State of the State address, Gov. Bill Lee unveiled his early legislative agenda that includes a heavy emphasis on charter schools, health care, and criminal justice reform.  He also pitched his plan for expanding rural broadband, as well as increasing the state’s rainy day fund to over $1.1 billion.  Florida: Too much money in politics?  A report from the Florida Phoenix says that the average net worth in Florida’s 40-member state Senate is $5.48 million.  Seven out of 10 members are millionaires.  It’s no secret that money rules politics, but critics point to the numbers as evidence that their elected officials, on either side of the aisle, are out of touch with the typical Floridian.  North Carolina: Date set for 9th District re-do.  The dates for the new elections to replace former Rep. Republican Mark Harris, forced to resign following a vote-rigging scandal, have now been set.  Primaries for both parties will be held on May 14th, with the general election set for September 10th barring any runoffs.  Harris will not run again, but his Democratic opponent Dan McCready is already campaigning and is expected to win his party’s nomination for his second...