This week at progressive state blogs: With Dem Tony Evers elected, GOP wants to ax governor's power

John Peterson at DemoCurmudgeon of Wisconsin writes—Walker Republicans to Limit Governor Evers powers…”Geez, have we made mistakes giving too much power to Gov. Walker…?”

When you’ve got nothing else to lose, and a compliant voter base that doesn’t care, you get this:

Funny, now Assembly smirker Robin Vos is thinking, “Geez” maybe they gave too much power to Walker? You can’t make this stuff up:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) … Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). FItzgerald is open to the idea.

“If there are areas where we could look and say, ‘Geez — have we made mistakes where we granted too much power to the executive,’ I’d be open to taking a look to say what can we do to change that to try to re-balance it. Maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Gov. (Scott) Walker and I’d be open to looking at that to see if there are areas we should change that, but it’s far too early to do that before I talk to Scott Fitzgerald.”

A staffer at Colorado Pols writes—Trump Throws Coffman Under The Bus, Because Of Course:

Via Denver7’s Blair Miller, you knew this was going to happen:

Colorado Pols

President Donald Trump’s pathological inability to take responsibility for any consequence of his bull-in-a-china-shop presidency made this morning-after insult piled on injury 100% inevitable. Nobody should be a bit surprised, especially after Mike Coffman’s two years of high-visibility dissing of Trump over anecdotal and personal matters–while voting with Trump over 95% of the time–that the president had no interest in softening the blow of Coffman’s defeat yesterday, indeed using Coffman’s loss as a cautionary tale with his own supporters to stay close.

Back in reality, of course, locals are aware that CD-6 has consistently elected Democrats in other races, and Coffman survived for three elections in a ticket-splitting feat of triangulation that bedeviled Democrats who always knew the seat was winnable. What Trump did most to affect the CD-6 race was to cast Coffman’s two-faced playing off his own party’s soiled brand in undeniably harsh relief. Once that happened, the ticket-splits that kept Coffman office simply evaporated.

We suspect there will be some lingering debate among conservatives whether Coffman should have openly embraced the President, but in the case of swing CD-6, we’re pretty confident that would have only widened Coffman’s margin of defeat.

Cory Allen Heidelberger at Dakota Free Press writes—Libertarians Lose Party Status, Independents Make No Progress:

The only people who had a worse election night than South Dakota Democrats were South Dakota Libertarians and independents. […]

Dakota Free Press

Libertarian George Hendrickson drew only 4,912 votes for U.S. House. That’s well below Ron Wieczorek’s 7,322 votes… and when you can’t even beat the LaRouche guy, that’s gotta hurt. Still, Hendrickson managed in his four-man race to outpoll his Libertarian ticketmates Kurt Evans and Richard Shelatz, who in the three-way race for Governor and lieutenant drew only 4,844 votes.

Alas, at 1.46% and 1.43% respectively, the two statewide Libertarian candidacies fell short of the 2.5% threshold required to maintain party status. If Libertarians want their party label on the ballot in 2020, they’ll have to circulate a petition, collect 3,392 signatures from registered voters, and submit it to the Secretary of State (Steve Barnett, alas), by July 1, 2020. But look on the bright side: thanks to the passage of House Bill 1286 this year that was prompted by their successful lawsuit against South Dakota’s oppressive ballot access laws, the Libertarians have less work and more time to do it to regain party status. Under previous law, they would have had to collect 8,479 signatures and submit them by March 31, 2020. […]

Rob Schofield at The Progressive Pulse of North Carolina writes—Damning new report: NC General Assembly is forcing state judges to “criminalize poverty”

A new report from the good people at the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund is shining new light on an important area in which the General Assembly has been doing its worst to attack and undermine the independence of the judiciary: the micromanagement of court fines and fees.

The Progressive Pulse of North Carolina

The report is entitled “Forcing Judges to Criminalize Poverty: Eroding Judicial Independence in North Carolina” and in it, authors Gene Nichol and Heather Hunt build on their past research efforts regarding the burdensome nature of court fines and fees for poor people. As Nichol and Hunt explain, state lawmakers have, through their repeated enactment of news laws in recent years limiting the ability of judges to use their discretion in meting out fines and fees, done great damage the basic concept of of an independent judiciary.

This is from the introduction:

In 2017, the legislature piled on. It amended the court fees law to prohibit any waiver unless “notice and opportunity to be heard” was presented to all government entities potentially receiving funds from court fees. The notice must proceed by first class mail, to apparently hundreds of agencies, at least 15 days prior to any granted waiver. It, too, is a first-in-the-nation hurdle — consuming court time and money and requiring secondary hearings. State judges reportedly believe the goal of the agency notice is to make “the process to waive a court fee so burdensome” that judges simply won’t bother — tightening the screws on judicial discretion. Early this year the waiver law was altered again, demanding that the AOC report annually to a legislative oversight committee “on the implementation of the notice … to government agencies” requirement. […]

Brandon Hanick at Better Georgia writes—The final word:

There’s no way around it: About half of Georgia voters are going to cast their ballots for candidates who want to defund public education, strip away healthcare access for people with pre-existing conditions, will refuse to do anything about gun violence and will continue to attack the rights of LGBTQ Georgians, Black Georgians, women, immigrants and any other group of people that they don’t consider a part of “their America.”

state blogs, Better Georgia

But about half of Georgia voters are going to vote for the future envisioned by true leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.: One in which fairness, freedom and opportunity for ALL reign supreme.

We’re voting for a future in which young Georgians — regardless of their background — can get a quality education, see a doctor when they need to and work towards their dreams in a society that values people and our planet more than corporate profits.

The race in Georgia is close. Dangerously close. Like 50/50 close.

The future that we choose for our state and our country all comes down to YOU.

BronxinIowa at Bleeding Heartland of Iowa writes—Midterm post-mortem:

Quick takes from Ira Lacher on the Iowa and national election results. Some takeaways from Tuesday’s midterms:

In Congress, Democrats represent Iowa; a Republican continues to represent IowaBamaSippi.

state blogs

OK, there will be those who insist that the people of northwest Iowa remain curiously unable to grasp tolerance and even Jesus H. Christ couldn’t beat Steve King, who was called out as never before for his racist, white supremacist rants. But there may be something else involved: The people calling him out were largely from out of state. And Iowans don’t like to be told by people from out of state what to think. Unless the critical mass of KKKing critics comes from inside Iowa, he will continue to hold sway.

Kim Reynolds was beatable; Fred Hubbell ran a lousy campaign.

Friends I spoke with before the election told me they just didn’t like Hubbell. A common reference was that he had a “deer in the headlights” demeanor, especially in his commercials. On the other hand, they said, Reynolds came off like a nice neighbor who’d just as soon bake you a pie. It was Tip O’Neill, the legendary House speaker, who once said, “It’s always the candidate.” When you’re not likable, your policy positions may not be enough to pull you through.

I said throughout the campaign that Hubbell’s greatest ongoing mistake was playing defense when confronted with Reynolds’ attack ads about his wealth. O’Neill or Machiavelli or Sun Tzu or somebody constantly urged that when you’re under attack, counterattack. Reynolds was extremely vulnerable for her policies of profiteering Medicaid, emasculation of workers’ rights and other actions that directly impacted Iowans. But Hubbell didn’t lash out at those till the very end, when too many people had already made up their minds that he was a millionaire who was going to raise our taxes.

El Jefe at Juanita Jean’s of Texas writes—Meltdown:

state blogs, Juanita Jean's

As I watched Trump’s post election response yesterday, including the unceremonious firing of Jeff Sessions, I was reminded of this scene from the Untouchables where Robert DeNiro, as Al Capone, dispatches one of his “team” with a baseball bat for disloyalty. The impression was reinforced for me, though, when Trump went full-on De Niro during his press conference, gloating about how Republicans (which were individually named) who refused to kiss his ring were defeated on Tuesday. The meltdown came, though, after members of the press started asking Trump really tough questions.  He paced, shouted at reporters, and almost walked off the stage as Jim Acosta from CNN pressed him about the racist fake caravan issue that Trump had relentlessly flogged in the run-up to election day. The day ended with Acosta being banned from the White House and Sarah Sanders falsely accusing him of putting his hands on a WH intern when she tried to wrench a microphone out of his hand during Trump’s meltdown. In a statement, CNN responded to Sander’s lie, calling her lie a lie.

After Sander’s false allegations, the Twitterverse erupted, attacking Sanders, and pointing out the irony of the White House accusing a reporter for touching a young female intern after defending Trump against almost two dozen accusations of actual sexual assault.

So what’s really going on here?  What’s going on is that Trump is terrified of what happens next.

Colleen Clemens at Raging Chicken Press of Pennsylvania writes—Pennridge Community Pushes Back Against Quarry and Asphalt Plant:

A concerned group of citizens has come together to try to stop the addition of an asphalt plant at a quarry in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County, PA. The Rock Hill Quarry was virtually inactive for almost 40 years, but the company is now planning a massive expansion.  New industrial operations will create more noise, pollution, and traffic in the suburban community that is also dealing with a major development of the local airport and water issues potentially caused by a 1986 fire at a tire store.  

raging kitchen press state blog

As corporate interests create a trifecta of major changes to living conditions in this small community of 5,000 people, residents are pushing back against the latest attempt to add another environmental concern to the onslaught of proposals to change East Rockhill Township.

With the help of the Rockhill Environmental Preservation Alliance (REPA) community members have organized in hopes of stopping the asphalt plant and preventing the quarry from moving into full production. Full production would mean increasing from 500 to 800,000 tons of stone per year next to residential neighborhoods, without compliance with current local zoning ordinances.  Richard E. Pierson Materials Corp., who is leasing the quarry from Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania, stated in their application to the Department of Environmental Protection, that they estimate 175 truckloads of stone will be moved through the residential community in a typical 9-hour workday – one truck leaving the quarry every 90 seconds.  This estimate did not include any other support vehicles, such as diesel fuel and propane delivery trucks, that will be associated with the proposed quarry’s work.

Traffic is only one of the group’s many concerns. They are also worried about the various types of pollution, noise and water issues.  If the quarry moves into full operation, blasting (which literally makes my house shake, and I live over a mile from the quarry), machinery, and trucks can begin work as early as 7 AM.  If the quarry operator has a contract calling for night work, this noise pollution can continue all through the night. 

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