Iowa Senators Consider Increasing Governor’s Role on District Court Judge Selection

Iowa senators advanced a bill Monday that would change the makeup and leadership of district judicial nominating commissions.

Iowa’s 14 judicial election subdistricts each has a nominating commission that screens applicants and selects two nominees for district court judicial vacancies. The governor chooses one of the two to appoint for a district court vacancy.

Currently, the judge of the longest service in the district is the chair of the nominating commission, according to Iowa state statute. If there are two longest-serving judges, the elder is the chair. The commissions have 11 members: five elected by lawyers; five nonlawyers appointed by the governor; and the chair. Each commissioner, apart from the chair, serves a six-year term.

Read More

Michigan Independent Redistricting Committee Says Some Media Analysis is ‘Concerning’

While the Michigan Independent Citizen Redistricting Committee (MICRC) draws political boundaries for the next decade, its spokesman complained that some members of the media are unfairly criticizing them.

Bridge reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán tweeted:

“The spokesman of the commission said that “the way we’ve been picked apart and analyzed is concerning” and continued: “The commission is a public body. We are watching. We are reporting. The public is watching. Seems like there’s not a real understanding on what’s the role of the press here.”

Read More

Ohio Redistricting Commission Fails to Produce 10-Year Map

Vernon Sykes

Republicans blamed the federal government and Democrats blamed Republicans after the Ohio Redistricting Commission failed to pass a new state legislative boundary map that would last for a decade.

Instead, the commission passed a four-year map with the group’s two Democrats voting “no” after long hours of negotiations and recesses Wednesday, the constitutional deadline to pass new maps.

The 5-2 party line vote came early Thursday morning shortly after the 11:59 p.m. Wednesday deadline. The approved map likely preserves the Republicans’ veto-proof majority in the Senate and House.

Read More

Georgia to Issue Licenses to Companies for Medical Marijuana Production

Zane Bader

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will pick six companies to start producing the plant for medical uses in the state.

Nearly 70 companies applied for licenses to grow marijuana and convert it to oil to treat various illnesses. Once the commission approves them, the companies could be looking at paying up to $200,000 in licensing fees to the state. They will have one year to get product to thousands of Georgians who have been waiting for more than five years.

Patients with a Low THC Oil Registry card legally can purchase up to 20 fluid ounces of the THC oil from licensed dispensaries or pharmacies under legislation signed into law by former Gov. Nathan Deal in 2015. However, without guidelines and a medical marijuana marketplace, the 14,000 registered patients in Georgia have no way of legally obtaining the oil.

Read More

House Democrats Prepared to Offer Ohio Redistricting Proposal

Rep. Hicks-Hudson speaks on the House floor in support of House Bill 1

Ohio House Democrats plan to offer their own solutions to potential redistricting issues caused by late census data, and it centers around following the state constitution and providing more public access to the process.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced last month redistricting data will not be available until September, creating a constitutional issue for Ohio. The state must meet certain requirements by the end of September.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has sued the U.S. Census Bureau to release information sooner, and Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, floated a constitutional amendment change last month.

Read More

Commentary: Your Freedom of Speech Ends Wednesday

The Senate’s Committee on Rules and Administration Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has announced she is holding a hearing Wednesday, March 24th at 10:00 AM ET on H.R.1/S.1, the Democrats’ misnamed “For the People Act.”

This is the first announced Senate hearing on the Democrats’ plan to do away with your freedom of speech, and if you were hoping the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration would act to correct the outrages that are central provisions of the House-passed bill, think again.

Read More