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November 14, 2016

Election 2016: Republicans Retain Control Of Majority Of State Legislatures

According to LexisNexis’ Capitol Journal, the Republican party’s success in the presidential race and in statewide races “may have helped some GOP candidates further down-ticket too, with Democrats having failed to make the state legislative gains that had been predicted for them.” 

As the Capitol Journal noted, heading into the election last Tuesday, party control in at least 18 legislative chambers in 13 states was considered up for grabs. Republicans controlled 12 of the 18 vulnerable chambers while Democrats held six. On Tuesday, Democrats were able to wrest control away from Republicans in four of those contests (Nevada’s House and Senate, New Mexico’s House and Washington’s Senate), and Republicans made gains in the Connecticut Senate where there is now an 18-18 tie and took over control of Iowa’s Senate, Minnesota’s Senate, and Kentucky’s House. According to Capitol Journal, “The net effect of those changes is that there are now a total of 32 legislatures controlled by Republicans, 14 controlled by Democrats and three split between the two parties.” 

Among the other results in the states last week:

  • Voters in four states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington) passed ballot initiatives calling for an increase in the minimum wage;
  • Voters in South Dakota rejected a ballot initiative that would have excluded workers under the age of 18 from a recently-passed minimum wage increase;
  • Colorado voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have increased income taxes in order to pay for a government-run healthcare option for all residents; 
  • Alabama voters passed a referendum guaranteeing the right to work without having to join a union; and
  • Voters in Idaho passed a measure that will allow the state legislature to approve or reject regulations promulgated by state agencies.