This Week in Statehouse Action: What a Fool Believes edition

This Week in Statehouse Action: What a Fool Believes edition

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.

(Sigh or scream? Up to you!)

We’ve almost made it through another week!

But before the weekend, a quick update on what’s shaking in the states:

Fool’s Gold: If you’ve been enjoying my takes and enduring my bad puns and such for, say, about two years or more, you may recall the long-ago time of late 2018, when Wisconsin Republican lawmakers were mourning Scott Walker’s loss of the governorship to Democrat Tony Evers.

Campaign Action

  • The GOP-controlled legislature observed this solemn time by ramming as many bills through the lame-duck session as possible to undermine the authority of the incoming governor and his administration.
  • The power stolen by the GOP-controlled legislature from the incoming Democratic administration includes curtailing the governor’s authority to
    • Guide economic development,
    • Halt litigation on the state’s behalf, and
    • Set administrative rules to carry out new laws.
    • The new laws also limit the state attorney general’s power to defend legal challenges to state laws.
  • Evers was understandably extremely unhappy with the laws passed specifically to usurp his gubernatorial authority, and the whole thing quickly ended up in court.

But not much happens quickly in the courts, so it took until, well, today for the whole matter to get resolved.

… sort of.

  • The conservative-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a generally-not-great ruling for the Evers administration Thursday.
    • The court upheld the laws that 
      • Empower a committee of legislators, rather than the (currently Democratic) attorney general, to sign off on some court settlements involving the state.
      • Allow lawmakers to easily intervene in those lawsuits involving the state.
      • Give the legislature the power to repeatedly suspend administrative rules (those rules I mentioned above that are implemented by the executive branch and generally carry the force of law).
  • The news wasn’t all bad:
  • The ruling also remanded parts of the case back to a lower court.
    • … which means, even after all this, the fight over the Wisconsin GOP’s power-grab isn’t actually over!

But let me found out this court-related discussion with some good news:

  • This week, a federal judge struck down a 2018 law passed by the GOP-controlled Indiana legislature that required healthcare providers to snitch to the state on women treated for post-abortion complications.
    • The “unconstitutionally vague” law made failing to report one of 26 listed conditions to the state a misdemeanor, and, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn,
      • Had absolutely no basis in medicine and
      • Was intended to shame and stigmatize women who receive abortions and make providing reproductive healthcare to women more burdensome for doctors.

Ship of Fools: So there’s still a pandemic on.

And it’s getting worse in a LOT of places.

… including, it turns out, in the Mississippi legislature.

Sadly, some of these folks probably contracted the coronavirus over the past couple of weeks as lawmakers worked to pass legislation (FINALLY) removing the Confederate battle insignia from the state flag.

Mississippi is suffering from a huge upswing in COVID-19 cases right now.

  • Hospitals are already stretched to capacity, and some doctors are sending coronavirus patients out of state to get treated because of the dearth of in-state facilities.

… it’s also hurricane season but maybe let’s not think too much about that right now.

The Fool Off the Hill: Speaking of getting rid of Confederate iconography, the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest is finally about to be gone from the Tennessee state capitol.

  • This week, the State Capitol Commission, which is in charge of all the statues and stuff in the building, voted to remove the bust of the brutal Confederate general and first grand wizard of the KKK.
    • Did you know? The bust of this racist horrorshow was first placed in the capitol in the 1970s!
  • The commission also voted to remove the bust of Union admiral and Civil War hero David Farragut, because, um … both sides?
    • FWIW, a bust of Admiral Albert Gleaves, who served in the Spanish-American War and in World War I, is also being removed.

Chain of Fools: But back to GOP lawmakers and COVID-19.

Because oy.

So, yeah, Republicans are continuing to handle the ongoing pandemic super well.

Sigh.

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for tuning in!

And hang in there. I know it’s weird. I know it’s hard.

Stay safe. We need you.

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