florida rep. sam garrison speaking on house floor

Florida Representative Sam Garrison (R) is set to be House speaker in 2026. (Florida House of Representatives)

First Branch News | Legislative Headlines, Week of July 5, 2021

By Gene Rose | July 9, 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.

A respected Kentucky senator dies unexpectedly. Masks are required again for California legislators. More retirements from state legislatures were announced this week, and one Mississippi lawmaker trades a senate seat to be a city mayor. The fight between the Indiana legislature and the governor intensifies, and South Dakota hires a Minnesota legislative staffer.

Legislative Operations

The Vermont Statehouse opened to the public after being closed during the pandemic. California legislators will return to wearing masks after at least nine people who work in the Capitol tested positive for COVID-19. Remote voting may continue in the Massachusetts General Court through September. Minnesota legislators are preparing for a special session in September. Resistance is forming after Connecticut lawmakers approved the removal of a statue from the exterior of the Capitol.

Legislators and Staff in the News

Kentucky Senator Tom Buford (R) died unexpectedly this week. Sam Garrison (R) is in line to be speaker of the Florida House in 2026. John McCullough, who worked for the Minnesota Legislature as a chief deputy revisor, has been hired by the South Dakota Legislature to serve as code counsel. Mississippi Senator Tammy Witherspoon (D) won an election to be mayor of the city of Magnolia and will no longer serve in the Legislature. Texas Senator Jane Nelson (R) announced her retirement this week, as did Alabama Representative Steve McMillan (R) and Mississippi Senator Sampson Jackson (D). Massachusetts Senator Joseph Boncore (D) is stepping down to lead the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. Contests for leadership positions in the New Jersey Legislature are heating up, as is the race to be the new Alabama House Speaker.

Rhode Island Speaker Joe Shekarchi entertained a delegation from Liberia.

Authority of Legislatures

Hawaii legislators concluded a session overriding several of the governor’s vetoes. A judge has allowed the Indiana governor to file a lawsuit against legislative leadership regarding laws that give the legislature more say in a health emergency.

This Week From NCSL’s State Legislatures News

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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