Something we’ve told people about state legislatures: 98% of the times you hear about what a legislature is doing, it’s because lawmakers did something that landed them on cable news. But 98% of what they actually do is the quiet, and usually bipartisan, work of running a state that you’ll never hear about.
This week, we bring you a little of both. Here are six things that happened this week that you might have missed:
TENNESSEE: The state House of Representatives formally voted to expel Reps. Justin Jones (D) and Justin Pearson (D) for their role in a protest over gun control legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Nashville school. The House narrowly failed to boot Rep. Gloria Johnson (D), who also participated in the protest.
But Jones and Pearson won’t be out of work for long: Local lawmakers tasked with filling vacancies in Pearson’s hometown of Memphis and Jones’s hometown in Nashville have said they will simply reappoint the two men to their old seats.
And here’s the kicker: House rules do not allow Jones or Pearson to be expelled a second time for the same offense. So they’ll be around at least through the end of session. (Pluribus News)
SOCIAL MEDIA: The Arkansas legislature has given final approval to a bill requiring social media platforms to verify the ages of their new users. The bill, similar to a measure passed last month in Utah, will actually take effect before the Utah version — so Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) will be able to claim that she, not Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), was the first to enforce new social media rules. (Arkansas Times)
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed measures barring gender-affirming care for minors. (Indianapolis Star, Associated Press) The ACLU is suing both states over the new measures.
North Dakota lawmakers have sent Gov. Doug Burgum (R) bills banning gender-affirming care and barring transgender girls from school sports leagues. (Fargo Forum)
Lawmakers in Arkansas and Kansas approved bills barring transgender people from the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity. (Associated Press) In Florida and Texas, gender-affirming care bans passed state Senates. (KXAN, Orlando Sentinel)
ABORTION: The Florida Senate passed a bill barring abortions more than six weeks after conception, and banning the distribution of abortion-inducing medicine by mail. (Pluribus News)
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed legislation rolling back the state’s 1931 ban on abortions, legal language that was made obsolete last year when voters approved a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights. (Pluribus News)
EDUCATION: Florida’s House approved a bill banning instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through eighth grade, expanding the state’s so-called “don’t say gay” law passed last year. (Orlando Sentinel) The House also backed legislation requiring middle schools to start after 8 a.m., and high schools to begin after 8:30 a.m. (Florida Politics)
In Arkansas, the state Senate approved a measure prohibiting schools from deducting union dues from teacher paychecks. (Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
Watch this fight unfold in Texas: The Senate approved a bill creating education savings accounts for students. But the state House isn’t on board — the House backed a budget amendment opposing school vouchers. (Texas Tribune)
POLITICS: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) will run for governor, and he’s got a powerful ally behind him: The conservative Club for Growth said it would spend $10 million or more to help Morrisey through the Republican primary. (WV Metro News)
Gov. Jim Justice (R) is term-limited, and may challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in what would become a marquee Senate contest next year.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) will run to replace term-limited Gov. Mike Parson (R), he said this week. Ashcroft, the son of former Gov. John Ashcroft (R), will face Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe (R) in the GOP primary. (St. Louis Public Radio)
In Wisconsin, liberal candidate Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the state Supreme Court, swinging control to the left for the first time in 15 years. At the same time, state Rep. Dan Knodl (R) won a seat in the state Senate, giving the GOP a supermajority. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)