COLORADO: Denver City Council overrules voter initiative on unlicensed drivers
Liz Navratil for the Denver Post
Denver City Council members voted 9-1 on Monday night to repeal a voter-approved initiative designed in part to impound cars driven by "illegal aliens."
The repeal means that, starting Aug. 1, unlicensed drivers will no longer have to pay $2,600 in bonds and fees after police tow their cars. It will still be illegal to drive without a license, and people who have their cars towed will still pay a towing fee and a daily fee for vehicles sitting in the impound lot.
Monday's vote, the council's last before new members are sworn in July 18, marks the end of years of controversy that have ensued since 54 percent of voters passed the measure in 2008.
FLORIDA: George LeMieux boasts big fundraising in Florida Senate race
Adam Smith for the St. Petersburg Times
It takes loads of money to win a statewide campaign in Florida, and George LeMieux is proving himself a formidable money-raiser in the crowded Republican U.S. Senate primary.
LeMieux, who served 16 months in the U.S. Senate, reported raising more than $950,000 over the past three months.
That's not nearly as much as the $2.6 million raised by Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos in his debut fundraising quarter earlier this year — and Haridopolos added another $900,000 since April — but considerably more than the $560,000 raised last quarter by former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who had been known as one of the most prolific money-raisers in the Legislature.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he was willing to drop his call for more taxes on millionaires, but warned that the state budget stalemate will continue unless GOP leaders agree to raise more revenue and spend more money.
In a letter to Republican leaders, he said he was willing to consider sales tax changes, increasing "sin" taxes or the elimination of tax breaks to get a deal done. But he drew a hard line against cutting spending as deeply as Republicans have urged.
"I'm just offering various possibilities. I want to get this resolved. The people of Minnesota want to get this resolved," Dayton said, standing in front of the closed-down State Capitol on Shutdown Day 11.
NEVADA: From taxes to abortion, pledges secure spot in Republican politics
Anjeanette Damon for the Las Vegas Sun
Given the shaky reputation of campaign promises, it was inevitable that some voters would ask politicians to put them in writing.
Indeed, Republican candidates are being asked to sign a litany of pledges: to declare fealty to the rights of the unborn as defined by a national anti-abortion group; to repeal the estate tax; to not — under any circumstances — raise taxes; to not raise the federal debt limit unless a balanced-budget amendment, spending caps and significant budget cuts are in place.
In Iowa, presidential candidates can pledge to stay true to both their spouse and family-friendly policies. (The pledge is based, among other things, on the misguided assumption that blacks had a better family life under slavery than in modern America.)
OHIO: Sen. Jim DeMint says Sen Sherrod Brown is responsible for 'over $14 trillion in debt': PolitiFact Ohio
Mark Naymik for the Plain Dealer
Josh Mandel, who was elected Ohio treasurer last November, insists he’s not officially running for the U.S. Senate.
But the young Republican, whose two tours in Iraq as a Marine intelligence specialist and his fund-raising prowess has made him a top GOP political recruit, is raising money and collecting endorsements like an official candidate.
He won two endorsements recently that come with fund-raising help, one from the conservative Club for Growth and one from the Senate Conservatives Fund.
PENNSYLVANIA: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey holds most of the cards in re-election run
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. might just have himself to beat next year when he seeks a second six-year term as Pennsylvania’s now-senior U.S. senator.
Casey, 51, has as close to a household name as any politician in the state, thanks in part to his father, the former two-term governor of Pennsylvania. Casey is a Democrat in a state in which registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 4-to-3.
And with a lengthy list of open Senate seats and potentially vulnerable incumbents spread out across the country next year, the Republican Party might have a hard time devoting enough money and resources to whomever the party nominates to challenge Casey.
WISCONSIN: How the GOP redistricting plan protects 3 Republican state senators
Craig Gilbert for the Journal Sentinel
To appreciate how the GOP’s new legislative redistricting plan protects the party’s incumbents, take a look at three state Senate districts in southeastern Wisconsin that have a recent history of competitive elections.
These are the seats now held by Alberta Darling of River Hills, Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa and Van Wanggaard of Racine.
All three districts voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008 (by between four and 12 points).
WISCONSIN: Primaries will gauge voter interest in recalls
Tom Tolan for the Journal Sentinel
Voters get their first chance Tuesday to weigh in on the recall fever that's swept the state for the last four months when they vote in six primary races pitting Democratic recall challengers against "fake" or "protest" Democrats put up by the Republican Party.
As election day approached, some activity was reported in favor of the Republican-backed candidates in at least four of the districts, but Democrats said they're confident their get-out-the-vote efforts will help their candidates survive.
The election is the first one affected by the state's new Republican-backed voter ID law, so voters face some changes at polling places. They'll be asked to show photo identification but will be allowed to vote even if they don't have it, in a "soft implementation" of the new law. Next year, the photo IDs will be mandatory. Voters also will be required to sign a poll book, and anybody registering to vote will have to have lived at their current address at least 28 days, as opposed to the 10 required in the past.
MONTANA: Environmental groups sue to halt logging project in southeastern Montana
Staff for the Billings Gazette
Two environmental groups filed suit in U.S. District Court in Missoula last week to halt a proposed logging and burning project in southeastern Montana’s Ashland Ranger District, the latest move in what has been an ongoing dispute.
“It’s almost a clone of another proposed logging project in the area that we already stopped because it was so far outside the law,” Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said in a statement.
“We have no choice except to ask the court to halt it for the good of the forest, the water and the wildlife,” he added.
Amid all the other headlines from today’s campaign finance disclosures, here’s one that’s a bit off the beaten path.
The GEO Group Inc., a South Florida-based private prison firm, has scrapped its state-level political action committee after an audit by the Florida Department of State found it was taking in contributions that exceeded state limits.
A letter from the company to state election authorities says GEO was operating as a federal committee, and was not aware that filing reports with Florida officials meant it was bound by state contribution limits, which at $500 are lower than what is allowed under federal law. Those letters and other related documents can be found here.
After weeks of relative silence about negotiations to end the state shutdown, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton went on the offensive Monday, announcing a statewide, weeklong tour across the state.
Dayton also released a video articulating his arguments to the people of Minnesota and submitted an op-ed to newspapers across the state.
“This state government shutdown is painful for many Minnesotans. I am often asked, ‘Why? Why are you and Republican legislators putting us through these hardships,’” Dayton wrote in the op-ed. “I believe that the future of Minnesota is at stake. Our way of life, what makes Minnesota special and successful, hangs in the balance.”
NEW MEXICO: Wilson continues to have ‘concerns’ about Ryan plan
Luke Johnson for the New Mexico Independent
Heather Wilson, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate — and former colleague of Rep. Paul Ryan — continued to sidestep questions about his budget plan Friday in an interview with Politico:
“I’m not in the House of Representatives. This is not something that I have to vote on. I don’t agree with some of the things in his budget plan,” said the former congresswoman, now taking her second shot at the upper chamber. “There are a lot of things in there that cause some concern.”
Her primary opponent, Lt. Gov John Sanchez, has also declined to support the Ryan plan in full. The most controversial part of the plan converts Medicare into a voucher program for private insurance.