higher education schools reopening covid

The Oregon Capitol is now open to the public for the first time since the pandemic began.

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of July 12, 2021

By Gene Rose | July 16, 2021 | State Legislatures News | Print

First Branch News is NCSL’s weekly roundup of legislative headlines from news sources across the country and throughout the territories.

Arizona legislators get a long-awaited daily expense increase. Idaho lawmakers consider a special session, and special elections fill seats in Alabama, Georgia and Oregon.

Legislative Operations

The two political parties in Texas are literally miles apart regarding a special session. Connecticut lawmakers passed resolutions in a special session extending the governor’s emergency powers. Arizona legislators who live outside the metro Phoenix area will get a boost in their daily expenses, the first increase since 1984. A Montana judge refused a media lawsuit challenging closed majority party meetings held prior to votes on bills, but the state Supreme Court ruled legislative leaders overstepped their authority in seeking emails of the court’s administrators. The Wisconsin Assembly is appealing a ruling on open records laws. Idaho senators are considering a special session over employers requiring COVID-19 vaccinations. Oregon opened its Capitol after 16 months of being closed to the public. Massachusetts House leadership is opening temporary office space for first-year representatives.

Legislators and Staff in the News

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal (R) was elected to fill an Alabama House seat, becoming the first Black Republican elected to the body since Reconstruction. In the Alabama Senate, April Weaver won a race for a vacant seat. In Georgia, Leesa Hagan (R) and Devan Seabaugh (R) won special election runoffs to serve in the House. Anna Scharf (R) won a special election to an Oregon House seat. Maryland Senator George Edwards (R) announced he will not seek reelection this year, as did Alabama Representative Harry Shiver (R). Maine Representative Justin Fecteau (R) resigned to accept a teaching job outside his legislative district. Lawmakers from 15 states met at the 75th Southern Legislative Conference in Nashville. Kentucky Senator John Schickel (R) penned an op-ed explaining the difference between U.S. representatives and state legislators.


This Week From NCSL’s State Legislatures News

The Other Epidemic: COVID-19 and Opioid Overdose

What’s the Risk? Pension Stress-Testing Guidance Updated

Guidance on Surprise Billing Legislation Released

My District: Is Home to Hot Springs National Park

Staff Snapshot | Heshani Wijemanne

Buckle Up—Your Redistricting Ride Is About to Get Bumpy

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.

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