News From The States

Evening Wrap

Your daily analysis of trending topics in state government. The snark is nonpartisan.

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Don't touch my pens

House Republicans continued fighting amongst themselves on Tuesday, hurtling closer to a government shutdown as opposition from far-right lawmakers forced GOP leaders to punt a vote on a short-term funding bill, our D.C. bureau reported.


Let’s start with a quick primer on the Electronic Registration Information Center, both because it is pretty wonky and because I cannot refer to my own previous explanation so I, too, need a refresher. The group, known as ERIC, is a nonprofit organization that was launched in 2012 by election officials from seven states — red and blue — with the goal of improving the accuracy of voter registration rolls, improving outreach, and reducing the likelihood of illegal voting. Broadly, the program works by comparing a state’s voter registration records and motor vehicle data to death records and change of address databases, then compiling a report with any overlaps. It’s effective, and historically popular — at its peak, the group counted 31 states as members. 

The days are long but the years are also very long

I don’t really know what day it is, which is fine — time marches on, but the political idiocy stays the same. (Or maybe it gets worse. I honestly can’t tell anymore.) (I’m pretty sure it’s Monday.)

Happy Democracy Day, everyone

Hello, and welcome to Friday. It also happens to be the annual Democracy Day, on which we ponder the fate of our republic.

Two courtrooms and a nesting box

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the Biden administration’s version of a program that has shielded young immigrants from deportation, saying the current iteration remained unlawful despite recent revisions. Those changes, Texas-based District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled, did not significantly alter the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which he had previously struck down after determining that then-President Barack Obama exceeded his authority by creating it via executive order, the Nevada Current reported.

A thing or two

Not every departure is voluntary. In Nebraska, a high school English teacher was asked to resign after helping her students compose a letter asking administrators to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Nebraska Examiner reported.

The men have exhausted me

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday confirmed that he’d directed several House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, once again bowing to the far-right faction to which he traded his soul in exchange for becoming speaker. The probe will focus on unfounded allegations that Biden profited from his son Hunter’s business dealings during the Obama administration, among other fanciful claims, our D.C. bureau reported.

A newsletter about American politics

I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide which of these stories to lead with, which is dumb because they are all equally exasperating. (In a way, then, a fitting exercise!) I decided to solve this nonproblem by going alphabetically, so we’re going to kick things off in Colorado, where lawmakers continue to warn of rising crime rates even though crime rates have been decreasing since 2022, Colorado Newsline reported.

Teeming with tetanus

Here’s the big important news of the day: Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz on Friday referred to fetuses as “human beings” and described Roe v. Wade as an “abomination” during arguments in a legal challenge to the state’s 15-week abortion ban, signaling the conservative-majority panel’s willingness to uphold a policy that opponents say is forbidden under the state’s constitution, the Florida Phoenix reported.

Nothing (everything!) is political

Take, for example, our national epidemic of gun violence. Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers. That rate has worsened dramatically in recent years, jumping from 1,732 gun deaths in 2019 to 2,590 in 2021 — a 50% increase. School shootings have risen concurrently, more than doubling from 2019 (24) to 2022 (51). Since 1999, more than 366,000 children have experienced gun violence at school.

So hot right now

Also feeling the heat: Ocean life off the coast of Oregon, where a growing “blob” of warm water is expected to head inland in the next month. The mass, kept offshore for months by northern winds and colder water, will likely spike ocean temperatures by as much as 15 degrees within days of nearing land, experts told the Oregon Capital Chronicle.

You are, probably, very sweaty

Of course, thanks to climate change, oppressive heat is no longer a regional problem. Last month in Wisconsin, days of extreme heat prompted multiple schools to close down for days at a time. Prolonged drought and scorching heat waves have increased wildfire activity across the state, officials said. On Labor Day, temperatures across the state neared 100 degrees, accompanied by unusually high levels of humidity, experts told the Wisconsin Examiner.