Illinois Statehouse

Illinois lawmakers return to the Capitol Monday for a session on redistricting.

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of Aug. 23, 2021

By Gene Rose | Aug. 27, 2021 | State Legislatures News | Print

This week: A respected lawmaker in Alabama dies. A Rhode Island senator has emergency surgery to remove a leg. A Minnesota legislator is called to duty in the Middle East. And the Tennessee House speaker appoints a new chief of staff.

Legislative Operations 

Kentucky lawmakers now have most of the authority to respond to the state’s response on the pandemic. A North Dakota legislative panel says it will keep the number of legislative districts at 47. Illinois lawmakers will return to the state capital on Monday to redraw legislative districts. The Massachusetts Senate will require members and staff to provide proof of vaccination by mid-October. New Mexico legislative leaders are resisting a mask mandate for legislators after a member tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. New Hampshire committees will meet next week to consider bills that were set aside for more work. Visitors to the Kansas Statehouse no longer need to wear masks.

Legislators and Staff in the News

Alabama Representative Thad McClammy (D) died on Aug. 21. He was 78. Florida Senator Joe Albtritton (R) has been selected to lead the Florida Senate after the 2024 elections. Kay Bounkeua (D) is the newest member of the New Mexico House and the state’s first Asian American woman to serve in the chamber. Minnesota Senator Zach Duckworth (R), a member of the state National Guard, is being deployed to the Middle East. Rhode Island Senator Jeanine Calkin (D) had to have a leg amputated after falling ill recently. Christine Goodwin (R) was appointed as a new Oregon House member, to replace Gary Leif, who died of cancer last month.

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R), who was vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19. Massachusetts Representative Brad Hill (R) has resigned to become a commissioner of the state gaming commission. Kentucky Representative Robert Goforth (R) resigned this week and is facing possible domestic violence charges. New York Senator Brian Benjamin (D) is the state’s new lieutenant governor. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) named Sammie Arnold as his chief of staff.

2022 Election Moves by Sitting Legislators 

Delaware Representative David Bentz (D) will not seek reelection next year. Colorado Representative Yadira Caraveo (D) will run for a seat in Congress. Arizona Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R) is running for secretary of state. Connecticut Senator Matt Lesser has filed paperwork to run for secretary of state. Massachusetts Representative Andy Vargas (D) will run for a seat in the state Senate. Idaho Representative John McCrostie (D) is running for a seat on his local city council in November. Montana Representative Willis Curdy (D) will seek a seat in the state Senate. Arizona Representative Aaron Lieberman (D) is running for governor.

In Remembrance

Former Kentucky Representative Brent Yonts died after fighting COVID-19 (see State Legislatures News article). Dale Derby, who previously served in the Oklahoma House, died this week in a boating accident. Former Alabama Senator Jack Floyd died at age 92. Nicholas Felice, who served as a speaker in the New Jersey Assembly, died Tuesday. He was 94. Wyoming mourned the death of former assistant chief clerk and doorman George Geyer, who died at 81.

This Week From NCSL’s State Legislatures News

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories. Articles from news sources curated in First Branch News are provided for information purposes only and do not reflect NCSL views.  

Gene Rose is NCSL’s communications director.