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    • Result of 2018 Gubernatorial Elections   HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA – Across the nation, low turnout elections saw Republicans maintain their historic edge in terms of control of the states. Republicans retained several governor’s mansion in traditionally blue states including Michigan, and scored wins in other blue states by flipping Connecticut, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. The wins came despite early concerns over funding for Republican state parties and elected officials—which have continued to underwhelm relative to past election cycles over dissatisfaction from major Republican donors who have felt that the Republican dominance in politics has not translated to conservative policy outcomes.   Democrats on the state level had felt particularly bullish given a very favorable map and Republicans who had found themselves relatively under resources compared to past cycles. The implosion of Democrats on a national level, coupled with an increasingly demoralized state Democratic parties which have seen a growing series of in state legislatures, saw a year which should have been filled with notable victories to one which followed a national trend—with Democratic defeats in the majority of state governors’ elections. Democrats only saw a gain in New Mexico, a state whose population is predominately Hispanic.   Also, notable this election was the growth in the number of independents who will occupy governors’ mansions in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Alaska. Political commentators have suggested that growing dissatisfaction with the two major parties, high profile candidates like former-Governor Jesse Ventura in Minnesota, and favorable political tides allowed the trio of independents to sweep into power. “The states in which politically unaffiliated candidates won have been ones which have historically been most receptive to those types of candidates—and have seen a crop of colorful leaders like Paul LePage which helped set the stage,” said Henry Lima, a political science professor at Dartmouth College. “But, these, the attempted run from Timmy Barker for President, may suggest that the foundation two party system may not be as solid as we once thought,” he added.   Moving forward, for the next few years, Republicans will likely have an easier time to continue to aggressively push their agenda on the state level given their dominance. However, Republicans are also going to be forced to contend with exceptionally high expectation to see their promised conservative agenda passed—particularly if they desire to maintain this political dominance following the 2020 elections. Conservative donors have grown angsty over promised policy items that seem to be on the backburner while Democrats have shown increasing reluctance to go along with the President, as evidenced by the unsuccessful push for cloture on the President’s Secretary of State nominee last session—the type of political moves which have attempted to reenergize a beleaguered Democratic party and base.   Alabama – Robert Bentley (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Luther Strange (R) Alaska – Bill Walker (I) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Arizona – Doug Ducey (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Arkansas – Asa Hutchinson (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected California – Jerry Brown (D) Retirement, Succeeded by Gavin Newsome (D) Colorado – John Hickenlooper (D) Retirement, Succeeded by Cynthia Coffman (R) - FLIPPED Connecticut – Dan Malloy (D) Seeking Reelection, Defeated by Tom Foley (R) - FLIPPED Florida – Rick Scott (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Adam Putnam (R) Georgia – Nathan Deal (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Brian Kemp (R) Hawaii – Dave Ige (D) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Idaho – Brad Little (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Illinois – Bruce Rauner (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Iowa – Terry Branstad (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Kim Reynolds (R) Kansas – Sam Brownback (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Jeff Colyer (R) Maine – Paul LePage (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Shawn Moody (I) - FLIPPED Maryland – Larry Hogan (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Massachusetts – Charlie Baker (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Michigan – Rick Snyder (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Bill Schuette (R) Minnesota – Mark Dayton (D) Retirement, Succeeded by Jesse Ventura (I) - FLIPPED Nebraska – Peter Ricketts (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Nevada – Brian Sandoval (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Adam Laxalt (R) New Hampshire – Chris Sununu (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected New Mexico – Susana Martinez (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) - FLIPPED New York – Andrew Cuomo (D) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Ohio – John Kasich (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Mike Dewine (R) Oklahoma – Mary Fallin (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Todd Lam (R) Oregon – Kate Brown (D) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Pennsylvania – Tom Wolf (D) Seeking Reelection, Defeated by Charlie Dent (R) - FLIPPED Rhode Island – Gina Raimondo (D) Seeking Reelection, Reelected South Carolina – Nikki Haley (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Henry McMasters (R) South Dakota – Dennis Daugaard (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Kristi Noem (R) Tennessee – Bill Haslam (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Bob Corker (R) Texas – Greg Abbott (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Vermont – Phil Scott (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Wisconsin – Scott Walker (R) Seeking Reelection, Reelected Wyoming – Matt Mead (R) Retirement, Succeeded by Cynthia Lummis (R)
    • López: "Let's Extend the Promise of Education to the 21st Century"     WASHINGTON, DC -- Today in Congress, Senator Ernesto López (D-NM) introduced legislation that would bring greater access to higher education to more than 9 million Americans every year. "I campaigned on a message of leveling the playing field for all Americans," said López in comments to the press. "The best way to do this is by educating Americans to achieve their dreams." S.1, America’s College Promise Act of 2019, as introduced by Senator López, would establish a state-federal partnership to provide for free 2-year community college attendance by all students, regardless of their ability to pay.   The bill calls upon states and community colleges to undertake "evidence-based institutional reforms and innovative practices to improve student outcomes." This objective is not a mandate of any particular reform, which allows for greater latitude and exploration of what works and what doesn't. Additionally, there is a requirement of greater alignment between the K-12 education system and postsecondary education. "This bill not only gives students who maintain satisfactory progress the ability to attend college for free, but it also promotes reforms that will benefit all students and our nation's education system," López said.   The bill has already received past support from organizations ranging from AFL-CIO to the Association of Community College Trustees to the American Association of Community Colleges. These organizations recognize, as does Senator López, that it is increasingly necessary for Americans to attain some level of postsecondary education to obtain real work opportunities that contribute to society's overall well-being. Addressing his fellow Senators and other legislators on Capitol Hill, López said "I challenge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: Let's extend the promise of education to the 21st century!"
    • 116th Congress   General Session   H.R.02   IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES   MR. Macmillan, along with, and others, on behalf of the President of the United States present;    A BILL to preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.   Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.   This Act may be cited as the “National Right-to-Work Act of 2019."   SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT. (a) Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) (29 U.S.C. 157) is amended by striking “except to” and all that follows through “authorized in section 8(a)(3)”. (b) Section 8(a) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(a)) is amended by striking “: Provided, That” and all that follows through “retaining membership” in paragraph (3). (c) Section 8(b) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(b)) is amended by striking “or to discriminate” and all that follows through “retaining membership” in paragraph (2) and by striking “covered by an agreement authorized under subsection (a)(3) of this section” in paragraph (5). (d) Section 8(f) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(f)) is amended by striking clause (2) and by redesignating clauses (3) and (4) as (2) and (3), respectively.   SEC. 3. AMENDMENTTO THE NATIONAL RAILWAY LABOR ACT.  Section 2 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. 152) is amended by striking paragraph Eleventh.   SEC. 4. PLAIN ENGLISH SUMMARY   Amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to repeal those provisions that permit employers, pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement that is a union security agreement, to require employees to join a union as a condition of employment (including provisions permitting railroad carriers to require, pursuant to such an agreement, payroll deduction of union dues or fees as a condition of employment).
    • H. R. X IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mrs. Banks of Florida, (for herself), introduces A BILL To title 38, United States Code, to permit veterans to grant access to their records in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration to certain designated congressional employees, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the “Working to Integrate Networks Guaranteeing Member Access Now Act” or the “WINGMAN Act”. SEC. 2. PROVISION OF ACCESS TO CASE-TRACKING INFORMATION.   (a) In General.—Chapter 59 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: “§ 5906. Access of certain congressional employees to veteran records “(a) In General.—(1) The Secretary shall provide to each veteran who submits a claim for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary an opportunity to permit a covered congressional employee employed in the office of the Member of Congress representing the district where the veteran resides to have access to all of the records of the veteran in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration. “(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon receipt of the permission from the veteran under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide read-only access to such records to such a covered congressional employee in a manner that does not allow such employee to modify the data contained in such records or in any part of a database of the Veterans Benefits Administration. “(3) A Member of Congress may designate not more than two employees of the Member as covered congressional employees. “(b) Requirements.—The Secretary may not impose any requirement other than the requirements specified under subsection (e)(1) before treating an employee as a covered congressional employee for purposes of this section. “(c) Nonrecognition.—A covered congressional employee may not be recognized as an agent or attorney under this chapter. “(d) Limitation On Use Of Funds.—None of the amounts made available to carry out this section may be used to design, develop, or administer any training for purposes of providing training to covered congressional employees. “(e) Definitions.—In this section: “(1) The term ‘covered congressional employee’ means a permanent, full-time employee of a Member of Congress— “(A) whose responsibilities include assisting the constituents of the Member with issues regarding departments or agencies of the Federal Government; “(B) who satisfies the criteria required by the Secretary for recognition as an agent or attorney under this chapter; and “(C) who is designated by the Member of Congress as a covered congressional employee for purposes of this section. “(2) The term ‘database of the Veterans Benefits Administration’ means any database of the Veterans Benefits Administration in which the records of veterans relating to claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary are retained, including information regarding medical records, compensation and pension exams records, rating decisions, statements of the case, supplementary statements of the case, notices of disagreement, Form–9, and any successor form. “(3) The term ‘Member of Congress’ means a Representative, a Senator, a Delegate to Congress, or the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.”. (b) Clerical Amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
      “5906. Access of certain congressional employees to veteran records.”. (c) No Authorization Of Appropriations.— (1) IN GENERAL.—No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section or the amendments made by this section. This section and such amendments may only be carried out using amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated. (2) AMOUNTS OTHERWISE AVAILABLE.—For the period of fiscal years 2018 through 2021, not more than $10,000,000 may be made available to carry out section 5906 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a).  
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