Newsmakers | What's going on under the domes




“From my perspective, tax increases that go on forever for something that looks like a short-term problem is not the right answer.”

—Montana Representative Nancy Ballance (R) arguing for spending cuts rather than tax increases to make up lost revenue, in The Missoulian.


“If I had a couple of kids at home and I was worried about how I was going to pay for their college, I don’t think I would have stayed in the Legislature for 20 years.”

Washington Representative Eileen Cody (D) on how difficult it can be to serve in a part-time citizen legislature if you are not wealthy or retired, in The News Tribune.


“We have to make decisions as legislators—do we do what is right or do we do what is politically right?”

California Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R), on his and seven other Republicans’ support for an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade law, in the Los Angeles Times.


FORMER NCSL PRESIDENT AND NEVADA SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH, WHO DIED LAST YEAR AT AGE 60, WAS INDUCTED INTO THE STATE SENATE HALL OF FAME. Smith was elected to the Assembly in 2000 and served as speaker pro tem. She moved to the Senate in 2012 and became majority leader, finance committee chair, then assistant minority leader. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015 and lost her courageous battle a year later.


“My colleagues’ first reaction to this bill was mostly, ‘Seriously? We need a bill for this?’”

Utah Representative Craig Hall (R) on his measure allowing kids to bring sunscreen to school without a doctor’s note, in Stateline.


“I’m not embarrassed to say that I know how to govern without being an extremist.”

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R) on the backlash following his opposition to a bill restricting transgender people’s use of public bathrooms, in the New York Times.


MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS SCORED A VICTORY AGAINST GOVERNOR MARK DAYTON (D) when a county judge struck down Dayton’s line-item veto of the House and Senate budgets. The judge ruled Dayton’s veto was “effectively eliminating a coequal branch of government” to force the Legislature to revisit tax cuts and other issues. The judge ruled the veto “null and void,” saying it “effectively abolished the Legislature.” The governor said the state Supreme Court should have the final say.


“There’s no reason Illinois shouldn’t be participating in this market.”

Illinois Senator Toi Hutchinson (D) on her proposal to allow hemp cultivation, in The Chicago Tribune.


ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE STEVEN ANDERSSON (R) IS OUT AS FLOOR LEADER following his decision to side with Democrats in overriding Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the state budget. More than a dozen House Republicans voted with the Democrats to end the state’s record, two-year budget impasse. House Leader Jim Durkin (R) asked Andersson to step down from his post. The new $36 billion spending plan includes a $5 billion tax hike.

New York

“If the federal government lags, the states have to lead. And that’s what we’re doing.”

New York Senator Tim Kennedy (D) on the efforts of some states to enforce regulations cut by the federal government, in Bloomberg.

West Virginia

“I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the state is dependent to a great degree for important programs on the lottery.”

West Virginia Senator Charles Trump (R), whose state’s lottery revenue is more than double that from corporate income taxes, in Stateline.


TENNESSEE HOUSE SPEAKER BETH HARWELL (R) ANNOUNCED SHE IS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, joining a Republican field that includes Senator Mae Beavers, U.S. Representative Diane Black and two businessmen. Harwell has served in the House since 1988 and is the state’s first female speaker. She was elected to the top post in 2011.


FLORIDA REPRESENTATIVE MIKE MILLER (R) ANNOUNCED HIS BID FOR THE SEAT HELD BY U.S. REPRESENTATIVE STEPHANIE MURPHY (D). Miller was elected to the House in 2014, defeating an incumbent Democrat. Murphy won her seat by defeating a 24-year incumbent Republican in 2016. Voters in Miller’s current House district gave Hillary Clinton the largest margin of any district in the state in the presidential election..

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