The legislative session has ended. As expected, the Legislature failed to pass any of the progressive reforms we advocated for. We weren’t the only group scorned by the Assembly and Senate; very few issues were able to be resolved before the two houses gaveled out.
Election law reforms, single payer health care, the Reproductive Health Act, the Contraceptive Coverage Act, and closure of the LLC loophole all passed in the Assembly but were not taken up by the Senate. Our two priority anti-corruption bills, the Database of Deals and Procurement Integrity Act, were passed by the Senate but not the Assembly.
Typically, towards the end of session, the “three men in a room” (the Governor, Senate Leader, and Assembly Speaker) get together and make a deal on what issues they are willing to trade in order to pass a large package of reforms known as “the big ugly.” This year, there was no package of reforms. Instead of meeting with the house leaders, the Governor appeared on several national news stations to chastise the federal government over family separation (an issue our National League has been working to end).
The legislature did manage to pass an opioid take back program, implementation of a prosecutorial accountability office, a mandate for feminine hygiene products to be available for all female inmates, and tougher laws on ticket scalpers.
It was a difficult year for all advocates. Between the Senate stalemate and the fear of looming state primaries for nearly all sitting members, it seemed the Legislature was afraid to vote on any meaningful reforms that could hurt their reelection bid.
Now that the session has ended, we are turning our focus to the upcoming primary and general elections. The League has been actively promoting our new electronic voter guide for the Congressional primary on June 26th. You can find our guide here. We will continue our election education work into the summer and fall.
Over the course of the session, we were able to hold several member-wide calls on issues and advocacy that could be taken by members. We also kept members informed using our Facebook and Twitter pages to share what was happening in real time at the Capitol.