STATE LEGISLATURES MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2013
MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR STANLEY ROSENBERG (D) SAYS HE HAS SUPPORT from an “overwhelming majority” of his caucus in his bid to become the next Senate president, succeeding current leader Therese Murray (D). “A succession plan is now in place for the Senate,” Rosenberg said. Murray’s term ends January 2015, but there is some speculation she may step down before then. Senator Stephen Brewer (D), chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, also competed for the post. Rosenberg was elected to the Senate in 1990 after serving in the House since 1986.
IN NORTH CAROLINA, MORAL MONDAY PROTESTERS HAVE TAKEN THEIR DEMONSTRATIONS FROM THE CAPITOL TO CITIES AROUND THE STATE. Thousands of people have demonstrated at the Capitol since April in opposition to what they say are setbacks in education, voting rights and economic equality by the Republican-controlled legislature. Some 930 people have been arrested in the Raleigh protests. Now protesters are taking their message to the state’s 13 congressional districts, starting in Asheville, where some 5,000 people showed up.
ILLINOIS HOUSE SPEAKER MICHAEL MADIGAN (D) AND SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON (D) are taking Governor Pat Quinn to court after he vetoed the money for the salaries of all 177 Illinois lawmakers because they failed to address the state’s $100 billion pension liability by Quinn’s deadline. The two leaders argued that Quinn’s action violates the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive branch. The legislative salary appropriation totaled $13.8 million, and Quinn said he would voluntarily suspend his own $177,412 annual salary as well. Lawmakers are likely to lose at least two months’ pay before a hearing on a preliminary injunction against the governor is held this month. The two leaders want legislative salaries reinstated with interest.
MICHIGAN LT. GOVERNOR BRIAN CALLEY (R) A FORMER TWO-TERM MEMBER OF THE MICHIGAN HOUSE before joining Governor Rick Snyder’s ticket, is not conservative enough for the state’s Tea Party establishment, which would like to replace him with someone they believe would bring a more balanced perspective to the administration. The Tea Party has objected to the governor’s support of Medicaid expansion, increases in road revenue and changes to Common Core standards. The governor’s office said he and Calley “have made a strong team.”
WISCONSIN HAS A LONG HISTORY OF PROTESTS, DATING BACK TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND THE VIETNAM WAR. A new wave began in 2011 with some 100,000 protesters in and around the Capitol decrying Governor Scott Walker for ending collective bargaining for most public employees. Now, protests have become, well, melodious. Solidarity sing-alongs, aimed at Walker and majority Republicans, take place each weekday at noon on the Capitol lawn, with lyrics such as “Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand.” A federal judge recently ruled that protesters need a permit, and numerous arrests have been made in the weeks since the ruling. A Republican counter-group is singing a different tune, but with a permit. The crackdown is serious. Capitol policed threatened Representative Sondy Pope (D) with arrest if she didn’t move along from her post by an upper floor banister where she’d stopped to watch the singers. “I have a duty to observe what is happening to my constituents who are expressing their discontent,” Pope said. “How can I be arrested for that?”
LOIS DEBERRY (D), THE LONGEST-SERVING MEMBER OF THE TENNESSEE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, died in August from pancreatic cancer. She was 68. DeBerry was a respected trailblazer who focused on the tough issues, “daring others to join her and, by her words, could inspire people to get involved,” said Senator Lowe Finney (D ). DeBerry was first elected in 1972. She was the first African-American woman to serve as speaker pro tem, a position she held for 20 years. “Lois quickly became one of my favorite people on Capitol Hill because of her wit, charm and dedication to her constituents,” said Governor Bill Haslam. “Lois was a history maker, a wonderful woman, a great legislator and a true friend. I will miss her.”
MARYLAND SENATE MINORITY LEADER E.J. PIPKIN (R), A VETERAN LAWMAKER WHO BECAME THE GOP LEADER IN 2011, has resigned from the legislature to pursue a master’s degree in sports management at Southern Methodist University in Texas. “It’s an interesting risk, but it’s time,” Pipkin said of his career change. A former Wall Street bond trader, Pipkin led a caucus outnumbered by Democrats 35-12. His decision to resign, he said, was to give another Republican the advantage of serving before running for re-election. Governor Martin O’Malley will appoint the successor from recommendations from GOP county committees.