Monday, March 7, 2011

2012 Presidential Primary Movement: The Week in Review (Feb. 28-March 6)

Last week proved to be a busy one for state legislative action concerning the scheduling of presidential primaries. Legislatures convened, adjourned, introduced legislation, held hearings on bills and passed bills moving or potentially canceling primaries across the country. Here's a recap:
  • Pass it on: In Oklahoma, the state Senate passed SB 808 to move the Sooner state's presidential primary back to the first Tuesday in March from the first Tuesday in February. That bill has moved over to the House (where a similar bill has been proposed) for consideration.
In the far northwest of the country, the state House in Washington on Saturday passed a bill to require the two major parties there to utilize the presidential primary to allocate all of their convention delegates as a means of justifying having the primary (and the associated costs) at all in future cycles.
In Alabama, a bill to move the presidential primary back to June to coincide with other statewide and local primaries was not only introduced during the first week of the legislature's session, but it was referred to and favorably reported from the Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee as well.
  • Introducing...: Bills were introduced in Missouri (to move the primary to June), Alabama (to move the primary to June), Georgia (to give the secretary of state the power to set the primary date) and Connecticut (to move the primary to March) last week. Of those, the Georgia bill holds the most intrigue because it would set up a system of primary date selection similar to what New Hampshire has had in place since the 1970s. The other bills merely propose moving the respective states' primaries back into compliance with the national party rules.
  • Can you hear me now?: Hearings were held in the Missouri House and in Washington DC over the active primary legislation in each. Both are still under consideration in committee at the moment.
  • Locked in: Minnesota's state law on caucuses triggered a February 7, 2012 date for the states caucuses next year when the two parties failed to coordinate an alternate date. It remains to be seen whether the national parties deem this problematic, but as it stands, the Minnesota caucuses would fall just one day after the date on which the national parties want the Iowa caucuses to be held.
  • Of those 18 primary states, 16 of them (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Missouri, New York, Arizona, Georgia, Delaware, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia) have convened or completed their 2011 state legislative sessions.
  • Of those 16 states, 10 (Alabama, California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, Connecticut, Georgia, and Virginia) have bills that have been introduced and are active within the state legislature to move their contests' dates back. California, Missouri and New Jersey have bills that would eliminate an early and separate presidential primaries and position those events with the other primaries for state and local offices. That would mean June presidential primaries for both states if those bills pass and are signed into law. In the remaining states, the efforts are to simply shift the states' presidential primaries from dates in violation of the two major parties' rules to the earliest allowed date (the first Tuesday in March). There is also an active bill in Washington, DC to move the districts primary back to June.
  • The Utah legislature will adjourn for the year on Thursday (March 10) and has yet to propose any legislation to shift the date on which the presidential primary will be held next year.
  • During this next week, the state legislature in Florida will convene bringing the total of non-compliant states currently in legislative session to 16. Those 16 early states in conflict with the national parties' rules will be the ones to watch. But we are to a point in the cycle where there are still state legislatures yet to convene but also states that are wrapping up business and are thus unable to make changes to election laws past that point (see Utah above).
  • How would all of this look if all these bills happened to be passed and signed into law? States with active bills to move their primaries are listed twice, once where law has them currently and once in bold and italicized for where active legislation could move them.
Tuesday, January 31: Florida

Tuesday, February 7 (Super Tuesday): Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Minnesota caucuses, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah

Saturday, February 11: Louisiana

Tuesday, February 14: Washington (DC), Maryland, Virginia

Saturday, February 18: Nevada Republican caucuses, Nevada Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, February 21: Hawaii Republican caucuses, Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 28: Arizona, Michigan

Tuesday, March 6: Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia

Tuesday, March 13: Mississippi

Tuesday, March 20: Colorado caucuses, Illinois

Tuesday, April 3: Kansas, Maryland

Tuesday, April 24: Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 1: Tennessee

Tuesday, May 8: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia

Tuesday, May 15: Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon

Tuesday, May 22: Arkansas, Kentucky and Washington

Tuesday, June 5: Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota

Tuesday, June 12: Missouri, Washington, DC

Tuesday, August 7: Kentucky

No comments: