If 2021 is known for anything, it should be remembered as the year with the most restrictive state legislation to date. Republican lawmakers across the country have proposed a record number of bills that limit voting rights, target LGBTQ+ people, curtail gun control, and obstruct Covid-19 prevention measures. They aren’t alone in this effort; Professional associations and national corporations have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsors of these bills, helping to keep them in office.
Forensic News combed through the sponsors of state bills in the following categories:
- voting restrictions
- Critical Race Theory ban
- school curriculum requirements
- FORUM Act (prevents schools from acting against racist/sexist/transphobic speech; based on ALEC model bill)
- Parental Bill of Rights (gives parents legal right to dictate school environment, e.g. library books, masks in schools)
- protest limits and criminalization
- police oversight limits
- permitless gun carry
- federal gun law preemption
- gun control restrictions
- Firearm Industry Protection (prevents lawsuits against firearm manufacturers, forces banks to work with firearm manufacturers)
- presidential power restrictions
- Keep Nine Amendment (limits U.S. Supreme Court to nine justices)
- social media regulation (e.g. ban on de-platforming due to racist speech)
- anti-vaccine or anti-Covid-prevention measures
- curbs on the power of executive officers related to public health
The two lawmakers—from the state House and the state Senate—who sponsored the highest number of restrictive bills are profiled in this article, below. There are 44 in total, from 22 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Forensic News also looked at the companies that donated to these lawmakers. The amount of political money at the state level is typically much less than at the national level. State legislature leaders, like Assembly speakers and Senate majority leaders, tend to garner the highest amount of funds from national companies and organizations. These individuals often do not sponsor controversial bills. Instead, lawmakers who are not in leadership positions usually introduce, sponsor, and argue for legislation that may garner blowback from parts of the community. Due to their lower profile, sponsors of restrictive and contentious bills rely more on partisan donations—from Republican committees, for instance—than on funding from corporations.
Nevertheless, Forensic News identified the major supporters of lawmakers pushing harmful legislation:
- Each state’s respective Association of Realtors gave the highest amount, with a combined total of over $276,000 given to the 44 profiled lawmakers (Table 1). Medical Associations and Dental Associations each donated over $75,000. Automobile Dealers Associations and Optometric Associations are close behind, each giving over $70,000.
- AT&T leads the corporations in donating to sponsors of restrictive state bills (Table 2). The company has given over $76,000 to the 44 profiled lawmakers. Nationwide Insurance has donated over $34,000. Charter Communications and Comcast each gave about $20,000 and Farmers Insurance gave over $18,000.
Table 1. Organizations that donated to profiled lawmakers.
|State Farm Agents Association||Auto Dealers Association||Credit Union League||Dental Association||Education Association||Healthcare Association||Hospital Association||Justice Association||Medical Association||Nursing Home Association||Optometric Association||Pharmacy Association||Realtors Association|
Table 2. Corporations that donated to profiled lawmakers.
|American Electric Power||Allstate Insurance||Altria Group||AT&T||Blue Cross Blue Shield||BNSF Railway||CenturyLink||Charter Communications||Chevron||Comcast/NBC||Cox Communications||Exxon||Farmers Insurance||GEO Group||Humana Insurance||Koch Industries||Nationwide Mutual Insurance||NextEra Energy||Pfizer||UnitedHealth Group||UPS||Walmart|
We can also zoom out and look at how much corporations and professional associations have given to all of the sponsors of restrictive legislation, not just the top 44 profiled here. In order to identify the larger pool of sponsors, Forensic News cross-referenced lawmakers who sponsored anti-LGBTQ+ bills, anti-abortion bills, anti-protest bills, and bills that weaken gun control. Then we investigated what entities donated to legislators who sponsored measures across three out of the four categories. The final tally, across 22 states, was 392 legislators.
- Among professional organizations (Table 3), Associations of Realtors donated the most to legislators of restrictive legislation, giving $2.7 million. Medical Associations donated over $1.8 million and Hospital Associations gave nearly $930,000.
- AT&T topped the corporate donor list (Table 4), giving over $730,000 to legislators across all but three of the states in this study. Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance donated over $360,000, Charter Communications donated over $300,000, and UnitedHealth Group gave $260,000.
Table 3. Organizations that donated to all sponsors of restrictive legislation.
|State Farm Agents Association||Auto Dealers Association||Credit Union League||Dental Association||Education Association||Healthcare Association||Hospital Association||Justice Association||Medical Association||Nursing Home Association||Optometric Association||Pharmacy Association||Realtors Association|
Table 4. Corporations that donated to all sponsors of restrictive legislation.
|American Electric Power||Allstate Insurance||Altria Group||AT&T||Blue Cross Blue Shield||BNSF Railway||CenturyLink||Charter Communications||Chevron||Comcast/NBC||Cox Communications||Enterprise||Exxon||Farmers Insurance||GEO Group||Humana Insurance||Koch Industries||Nationwide Mutual Insurance||NextEra Energy||Pfizer||UnitedHealth Group||UPS||Verizon||Walmart||Wells Fargo|
Rep. Shane Stringer, representing the area northwest of Mobile (District 102), co-sponsored a bill (HB391) to exclude transgender youth from athletics that was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in April. He also co-sponsored two permitless carry bills (HB405 and HB618) that would have allowed people to carry loaded handguns in public without a background check.
Anti-abortion HJR109; anti-LGBTQ+ HB391; limits/criminalizes protest HB445; permitless gun carry HB405 and HB618; attempts to limit presidential power HB319; Keep Nine amendment HR49; social media regulation HB213; anti-vaccine/vaccine mandates HB10, HJR6, HJR166.
Top donors: Alabama Education Association, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and American Federation For Children.
Sen. Shay Shelnutt, representing the area north of Birmingham (District 17), sponsored a bill prohibiting transgender youth healthcare (SB10 in 2021, SB5 filed for 2022).
Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project: “Science and medicine are clear: That the way to reduce harm to trans youth is to provide them with gender-affirming health care where it is medically indicated. This bill takes that life-saving treatment option off the table and makes it a felony. Moving forward with this bill will be deadly for trans youth, push doctors out of a state that has a shortage of medical providers, hurt Alabama’s economy, and subject the state to costly litigation.”
Sponsored bills: Anti-LGBTQ+ SB10; limits/criminalizes protest SB398; Keep Nine amendment SR131; social media regulation SB10; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB97, SJR3, and SR49; limits power of executive officers to declare public health emergencies SB97.
Top donors: Retailers of Alabama PAC, Alabama Association for Justice, Medical Association of the State of Alabama, and Compass Bank.
Rep. John Kavanagh, representing the area northeast of Phoenix (District 23), sponsored a slew of voting restriction bills this year. These include HB2792, to prohibit mailing unsolicited absentee ballots to voters, and HB2793, to ban automatic voter registration. When asked why we need voting restrictions when there was no evidence of significant voter fraud, Kavanaugh said “everybody shouldn’t be voting…quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB2792, HB2793, HB2358; opposition to H.R. 1 election reform HCR2023; limits/criminalizes protest HB2552 and SB2309; limits police oversight HB2567; preempt federal gun laws HB2111; Firearm Industry Protection HB2827; Keep Nine amendment HCR2002; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures limits SB1377; power of executive officers related to public health HB2570.
Top donors: Top donors: Arizona Association of Realtors, GEO Group, Cox Communications, and UnitedHealth Group.
Sen. Nancy Barto, representing an area north of Phoenix (District 15), sponsored a bill (SB1457) that bans abortion due to genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. Abortion providers who do so face a felony criminal charge. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed SB1457 into law in April.
“We need to protect our most vulnerable, especially those with treatable genetic conditions,” said Senator Barto. “They are loved, integral members of our community that make Arizona whole — and I’m proud to sponsor legislation that gives them a voice before they’re even born.
In September, Barto said she is “seriously considering” introducing a version of Texas’ anti-abortion bounty law in Arizona.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB2358; anti-abortion HB1457; school curriculum requirements SB1456; limits/criminalizes protest HB2552; preempt federal gun laws SB1328; forces banks to work with firearm manufacturers HB2827; Keep Nine amendment HCR2002; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB2570, HB2648, SB1377, and SB1648; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB1084 and SCR1003.
Top donors: American Dental Association, Arizona Association of Realtors, Arizona Optometric Association, and Pfizer.
Rep. Mary Bentley, representing a district (73) between Little Rock and Fort Smith, sponsored a bill that would bar public schools from requiring employees use students’ preferred names and pronouns if those differ from a student’s “biological sex.” She infamously defended the legislation, HB1749, by claiming that students must be dissuaded from identifying as animals:
“We have a real issue in our state, and I need our districts to take a look at this and do more than this bill does,” she said. “This bill is just a first step to help protect our teachers, but when we have students in school now that don’t identify as a boy or a girl but as a cat, as a furry, we have issues.”
Bentley also sponsored a bill (HB1701) to allow creationism to be taught as a science in schools. It passed the House 72-21 but was voted down in the Senate Education Committee.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB1112, HB1715, SB485, SB486, and SB487; anti-abortion HB1195, SB6, and SB1195; anti-LGBTQ+ HB1570, HB1749, HB1882, SB389, and SB450; bans teaching of CRT/1619 Project HB1231; school curriculum requirements HB1701, HB1831, and HB1832; limits/criminalizes protest HB1508; preempt federal gun laws HB1386 and HB1957; social media regulation HB1647; anti-vaccine/vaccine mandates HB1547, HB1958, HB1977, SB301, and SB719; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB1637.
Top donors: Arkansas Health Care Association, Koch Industries, and Union Pacific Corporation.
Sen. Gary Stubblefield, representing the area east of Fort Smith (District 6), co-sponsored a bill (SB6) that bans all abortions unless the mother’s life is severely endangered. There were no exceptions for rape or incest. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the bill in March but a federal judge blocked it in July.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB485, SB486, and SB487; anti-abortion anti-abortion SB6 and SB289; anti-LGBTQ+ HB1570, HB1749, HB1882, and SB450; bans teaching of CRT/1619 Project HB1231; school curriculum requirements HB1701; limits/criminalizes protest SB553; preempt federal gun laws HB1435 and SB298; social media regulation HB1647; anti-vaccine/vaccine mandates HB1958, SB301, and SB719.
Top donors: Arkansas Health Care Association, Arkansas Realtors Association, Walmart, and Cox Communications.
Rep. Jason Fischer, representing the area southeast of Jacksonville (District 16), co-sponsored two of Florida’s most controversial bills this year: HB7041, to ban giving food or beverages to voters waiting in line, and HB1, which allows vehicle drivers to run over protestors blocking a road, among other provisions. HB1 was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in April but was blocked by a federal judge in September.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB7041; anti-abortion HB351 and HB1221; anti-LGBTQ+ HB1475; bans critical race theory training in public schools/colleges and in state agencies or municipalities HB57; school curriculum requirements HB241 and HB1553; Parental Bill of Rights SB582; limits/criminalizes protest HB1; preempt federal gun laws HM1301; weakens gun control measures HB259; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB7.
Top donors: Walt Disney, AT&T, GEO Group, Charter Communications, and Comcast.
Sen. Dennis Baxley, representing a district (12) that includes The Villages, sponsored a bill (SB90) that bans 24/7 ballot drop boxes and criminalizes any person who possesses two or more mail ballots other than the person’s own ballot and an immediate family member’s. SB90 further requires voters to provide a state ID number or SSN number to obtain a mail ballot.
Many also claim that these laws impose little burden because everyone has the requisite ID — but the reality is that millions of Americans don’t, and they are disproportionately people of color.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB90; anti-abortion SB774 and SB1986; Parental Bill of Rights SB582; preempt federal gun laws SM1630; weakens gun control measures SB498; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB72.
Top donors: Walt Disney, Florida Association of Realtors, Florida Medical Association, AT&T, and United Parcel Services (UPS).
Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, representing an area west of Marietta (District 36), sponsored two bills that distcriminate against transgender individuals: HB372 excludes transgender youth from athletics and HB401 prohibits transgender youth healthcare. As a candidate in 2018, Ehrhart compared transgender people to moose:
“This does not mean certain individuals are entitled to special favors, rights and accommodations because they’ve been identified as ‘victims’ by leftist ideologues. Whether a person identifies as a man or a moose, he does not have the right to demand special treatment from his neighbors,” Ginny Ehrhart said.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB366; anti-LGBTQ+ HB372 and HB401; FORUM Act HB1; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB358; limits public housing opportunities SB144.
Top donors: Georgia Association of Realtors, Georgia Optometric Association, and AT&T.
Sen. Bruce Thompson, representing an area between Atlanta and Dalton (District 14), co-sponsored 10 bills to limit voting. One of these bills (SB202) was Georgia’s massive voting restriction package that included a ban on giving voters food or water in line, a voter ID requirement, and a provision allowing state officials to replace county elections boards. Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed SB202 into law in March. The Justice Department subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the bill as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB67, SB68, SB69, SB71, SB73, SB175, SB177, SB202, SB232, and SB241; anti-LGBTQ+ SB266; limits/criminalizes protest SB171; limits public housing opportunities SB144.
Top donors: AT&T, Allstate Insurance, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and Georgia Optometric Association.
Rep. Sandy Salmon, representing the area north of Waterloo (District 63), sponsored two anti-pornography measures this year. HF288 would require all internet-capable devices to come with pornography-blocking software installed and would impose a fee on all adult live entertainment patrons. Salmon also co-sponsored a resolution (HCR9) declaring pornography “a public health crisis” that “fosters less egalitarian attitudes” and increases “sexual aggression”.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion HF515; anti-LGBTQ+ HF170, HF184, HF187, HF193, and HF272; school curriculum requirements HF154 and HF185; limits/criminalizes protest HF251; preempt federal gun laws HR16; attempts to limit power of SCOTUS rulings HF109; Keep Nine amendment HR17; social media regulation HF171; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HF571; anti-pornography HF288 and HCR9.
Top donors: Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Bankers Association, Iowa Hospital Association, and John Deere.
Sen. Jason Schultz, representing the area southeast of Sioux City (District 9), co-sponsored a bill (SF82) that would bring back the death penalty in the state of Iowa. Iowa’s last state execution was in 1963 and the state outlawed the practice in 1965.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion SJR2; anti-LGBTQ+ SF167 and SF436; Firearms Industry Protection SF344; Keep Nine amendment SCR2; social media regulation SF402; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SF193; reinstate death penalty SF82; anti-immigrant SF84.
Top donors: Iowa Bankers Association, John Deere, Iowa Health Care Association, and Pfizer.
Rep. Melinda Prunty, representing District 15 in western Kentucky, co-sponsored five bills to restrict abortion this year. Two of these became law: HB2 takes away the power of career health experts in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to oversee abortion care providers. Instead, the bill gives the state’s anti-abortion Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, the ability to “interfere with and undermine” abortion care, according to the ACLU. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed it but the legislature had the votes to override the veto, making HB2 law without Beshear’s support.
The other anti-abortion bill co-sponsored by Prunty and passed by the legislature, HB91, gives voters the opportunity to approve a ballot measure that amends the Constitution of Kentucky to state: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” In effect, the amendment would pave the way for a total ban if Roe v. Wade is weakened or overturned.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion HB2, HB91, HB96, HB103, and HB460; anti-LGBTQ+ HB336; social media regulation HB583; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB101; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB1; anti-environment HB95.
Top donors: UnitedHealth Group, Alliance Coal, Charter Communications, and Kentucky Physical Therapy Association.
Sen. Robby Mills, representing the far east of Kentucky (District 4), co-sponsored legislation that would allow healthcare providers, hospitals, counselors, pharmacists, social workers, and insurers to deny care based on their “religious” or moral beliefs. Potential denial of services include contraception, pregnancy and reproductive services, counseling and behavioral health, fertility treatment, PrEP and HIV treatment, end-of-life care, and vaccination.
Many Kentuckians — Blacks, addicts, rape victims, immigrants, gays and lesbians, transgender people — already feel unwelcome in health care settings because of long histories of neglect or harsh judgments, the critics said. It would send a dangerous message if medical professionals could reject patients because of their prejudices, [health care advocates] said.
Sponsored bills: Anti-LGBTQ+ SB83 and SB106; Parental Bill of Rights SB97; attempts to limit presidential power SB264 and SJR56; social media regulation SB111; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB8; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB5; anti-environment SR63.
Top donors: UnitedHealth Group, Alliance Coal, and Kentucky Medical Association.
Rep. Beryl Amedee, representing an area in southern Louisiana (District 51), co-sponsored three bills that limit Covid-19 vaccination efforts. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed all three, saying that the legislation “contribute[s] to the false narrative that the COVID-19 vaccines are anything other than safe and incredibly effective.”
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB167; election audits SB220; anti-abortion HB578; anti-LGBTQ+ HB542; permitless gun carry HB16; Firearms Industry Protection HB597; social media regulation HB602; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB103, HB349, and HB498; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB149.
Top donors: Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Louisiana State Farm Agents, Entergy Corporation, Chevron.
Sen. Heather Cloud, representing the area between Lafayette and Alexandria (District 28), was the sole sponsor of a bill (SB224) to require a driver’s license or social security number to vote by mail. Gov. Edwards vetoed it in July, saying the measure “would make the application to vote absentee by mail more stringent than what is currently required to actually vote absentee by mail.”
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB219 and SB224; election audits SB220; preempt federal gun laws HB118; anti-pornography SR195.
Top donors: Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Louisiana Realtors Association, Chevron, and Koch Industries.
Rep. Eric Lucero, representing an area between Minneapolis and Saint Cloud (District 30B), co-sponsored over 70 bills that impede civil rights, harm the environment, weaken gun control, and reduce the power of the Democratic governor. A vocal supporter of former President Trump, Lucero attended a rally in Minneapolis on Jan. 6th to cheer on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“We are at the threshold of a civil war…Historically in America, the only time we have progressed…the only time we have evolved as a society, is after a war. We have reached that point. Right now. We cannot move forward, We cannot evolve as a people because we are being choked off by weeds. Weeds of communism, weeds of socialism, weeds of leftist liberals suffocating us…We need to purge. We need to pull the weeds.”
Lucero spearheaded the effort to overturn the 2020 election result in Minnesota, introducing two bills to impeach officials involved in election administration. The first, HR5, would impeach Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) for expanding access to voting during the pandemic. The second, HR3, would impeach Second Judicial District Judge Sara Grewing for allowing the expansion of voting access by, in part, permitting voters to skip the witness signature requirement.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HF211, HF293, and HF365; 2020 election HR3 and HR5; general election changes HF435; anti-abortion HF643 and HF1928; anti-LGBTQ+ HF350, HF352, and HF1657; bans teaching of CRT/1619 Project HF1527; school curriculum requirements HF232 and HF345; limits/criminalizes protest HF466, HF787, and HF1558; limits charitable bail HF128 and HF583; prohibits limits on police equipment/budget HF120 and HF220; permitless gun carry HF212 and HF513; preempt federal gun laws HF824 and HF1056; weakens gun control measures HF392, HF437, HF459, and HF2218; Stand Your Ground law HF131 and HF579; attempts to limit presidential power HF423 and HF2140; social media regulation HF66 and HF1739; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HF26, HF452, HF533, HF1194, HF1243, HF1244, HF1245, HF1330, HF1583, HF2159, HF2530, and HF2627; limits power of executive officers related to public health HF28, HF36, HF101, HF124, HF159, HF371, HF509, HF555/556, HF688, HF1198, HF1326, HF1545, HF1579, HF1643, HF2160, HF2161, and HF2422; anti-environment HF420, HF985, HF1009, HF1548, and HF1698; anti-immgrant HF422; Right to work HF2491; repeals corporate minimum tax HF1502.
Top donors: Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association and Minnesota Association of Realtors.
Sen. Mark Koran, representing an area north of Minneapolis (District 32), sponsored a bill (SF442) that would eliminate the duty to retreat in cases of self-defense outside the home. Currently, in Minnesota, a person must take any reasonable opportunity to retreat before using deadly force. Koran’s legislation would effectively turn Minnesota into a Stand Your Ground state.
Sponsored bills: Limits/criminalizes protest SF1285; limits charitable bail SF415; permitless gun carry SF664; preempt federal gun laws SF1026 and SF2328; weakens gun control measures SF275, SF664, and SF2327; Stand Your Ground SF442; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SF1589, SF2394, SF2430, and SF2450; limits power of executive officers related to public health SF1, SF4, SF36, SF1133, SF1202, and SF2356; anti-environment SF948.
Top donors: Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association and Minnesota Association of Realtors.
Rep. Dan Eubanks, representing the most northwestern part of the state (District 25), introduced a bill (HB338) that would find anyone who performs or induces an abortion guilty of murder. It would also apply a harsh one to 10 year prison term to anyone “who writes or prints, or causes to be written or printed, a card, circular, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind, or gives information orally” that helps someone else obtain the procedure.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB4 and HB586; anti-abortion HB338 and HB1282; bans teaching of CRT HR87; attempts to limit presidential power HC23 and HC58; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB475 and HB719; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB1327.
Top donors: Koch Industries, AT&T, Mississippi Association of Realtors, and Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association.
Sen. Angela Burks Hill, representing an area west of Hattiesburg (District 40), sponsored legislation (SB2536) to ban transgender students from participating in sports according to their gender identity. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the bill into law in March.
“I’ve had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there’s a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB2254; anti-abortion SB2622; anti-LGBTQ+ SB2171 and SB2536; bans teaching of 1619 Project SB2538; limits/criminalizes protest SB2034, SB2283, and SB2374; weakens gun control measures SB2107; social media regulation SB2617; food stamp limits SB2170; criminalize homelessness SB2093.
Top donors: State Farm Mississippi Agents, Mississippi Dental Association, Chevron, AT&T, and Centene Corporation.
Rep. Nick Schroer, representing an area northwest of Saint Louis (District 107), co-sponsored three pieces of legislation that prevent oversight of local police departments. HJR37 allows voters to approve a measure that forbids municipalities from decreasing a law enforcement agency’s budget by more than 5%. HB499 protects officers involved in internal investigations. Finally, SB26 combines aspects of both bills, making it more difficult to hold officers accountable and banning a decrease of police department budgets. Gov. Mike Parsons (R) signed SB26 into law in July.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion HB1, HB2, and HB635; limits/criminalizes protest HB1441; limits police oversight HB499, HJR37, and SB26; weakens gun control measures HB634; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB3.
Top donors: Missouri Association of Realtors, Missouri Hospital Association, General Motors, and BNSF Railway Co.
Sen. Rick Brattin, representing the area south of Kansas City (District 31), sponsored a bill (SB138) that would institute work requirements for the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). Food stamp recipients who cannot prove they work at least 20 hours a week would be ineligible for the program. “The only way we’re going to get people off these programs is to ensure that they’re able to get back to work,” Brattin said.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion SB458; bans teaching of CRT SB586; limits/criminalizes protest SB66; preempt federal gun laws SB39; Firearms Industry Protection SB492; attempts to limit presidential power SB588; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB68; limits power of governor in other matters SJR14; work requirements SB138.
Top donors: Missouri Bankers Association, Missouri State Medical Association, BNSF Railway, CenturyLink, AT&T.
Rep. Steve Gunderson, representing an area of northwestern Montana (District 1), sponsored two measures that make it harder for voters to effect change through elections. The first, HB384, would raise the number of signatures required to get a proposal on the ballot. Currently, 5% of eligible voters across one-third of the state’s House districts is required. Under HB384, 10% of voters in three-fifths of the House districts would be necessary. The second, HB385, would double the requirement to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot from 10% to 20%, also across three-fifths of the state’s districts.
During the committee’s March 10 hearing on the measures, Gunderson said he was inspired to propose HB 384 following the 2018 introduction of I-186, which would have put new requirements on hard rock mine permits based on water quality standards and reclamation plans.
Sponsored bills: Election restrictions HB384 and HB385; limits/criminalizes protest HB481; preempt federal gun laws HB560; anti-environment HB320 and HB498.
Top donors: Charter Communications, BNSF Railway, Montana Association of Realtors, Montana Medical Association.
Sen. Keith Regier, representing north-central Montana, introduced a bill (SB298) that would create a public education right of conscience. Under the measure, teachers could refuse to teach or participate in curriculum that “is contrary to the employee’s conscience,” including moral convictions arising from religious beliefs and moral philosophy.
Sponsored bills: Medical Right of Conscience SB245; Education Right of Conscience SB298; anti-union SB89; Keep Nine amendment SJ8; increases governor’s power SB140.
Top donors: BNSF Railway, CenturyLink, Montana Association of Realtors, and Montana Dental Association.
Rep. Mark Pearson, representing an area southeast of Manchester (District 34), co-sponsored a bill (House Constitutional Amendment 3) that would further erode the state’s ban on spending taxpayers dollars on religious schools.
Since 1784, New Hampshire’s Bill of Rights has included a clause meant to create a financial barrier between the state and religious schools. “…No person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination,” Part 1, Art. 6 of the state’s constitution reads.
That firewall was strengthened in 1887, when the state constitution added the “Blaine Amendment”: “No money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination,” Part 2, Art. 83 states.
Constitutional Amendment 3 would do away with the 1887 provision, allowing the state to direct taxpayer money towards religious schools.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB523 and SB54; anti-abortion HB430, HB434, and HB622; anti-LGBTQ+ HB198; reduces separation of church and state CACR3; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB149.
Top donors: Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association and Professional Fire Fighters Of New Hampshire.
Sen. Kevin Avard, representing southern New Hampshire (District 12), co-sponsored legislation (HB430) that would have repealed the state law allowing buffer zones around abortion clinics. The law prevents demonstrators from getting too close to abortion providers, protecting patients, doctors, and employees. In 2017, a federal appeals court found New Hampshire’s buffer zone law to be constitutional.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion HB430; FORUM Act HB234; preempt federal gun laws SB154; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB220 and HB221; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB440; anti-union HB348.
Top donors: New Hampshire Association of Realtors, New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association, Altria (tobacco), and Pfizer.
Rep. George Cleveland, representing the area north and east of Jacksonville (District 14), co-sponsored two bills that penalize protest this year. HB321 would impose a criminal penalty on public officials who “interfere” with law enforcement officers during a protest. According to the [International Center for Not-for-Profit Law](https://www.icnl.org/usprotestlawtracker/), the bill “could bar, for instance, a mayor from publicly encouraging police to respect protesters’ rights and not use excessive force.” HB333 would impose mandatory punishments on students who damage university property during a protest. Due to the bill’s broad language, a student who uses chalk to write on a university wall could be expelled or have their financial aid suspended.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB782 and HJR330; anti-abortion HB31, HB158, and HB453; anti-LGBTQ+ HB358, bans teaching of CRT HB324; school curriculum requirements HB790; limits/criminalizes protest HB321 and HB333; permitless gun carry HB197 and HB559; preempt federal gun laws HB189; weakens gun control measures HB134 and HB200; Keep Nine amendment HB286; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB558; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB264 and HB564; limit First Amendment HB799; anti-immigrant HB62.
Top donors: North Carolina Association of Realtors, North Carolina Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and First Citizens Bank.
Sen. Warren Daniel, representing an area east of Asheville (District 46), co-sponsored legislation (SB101) that would force law enforcement officials to detain those suspected of being undocumented immigrants. Under the bill, local police and sheriffs would face a misdemeanor charge for refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB326; anti-abortion SB404 and SB405; anti-LGBTQ+ SB514 and SB515; limits/criminalizes protest SB300 and SB335; limits police oversight SB100; weakens gun control measures SB43 and SB687; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB116; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB264 and SB312; donor secrecy SB636.
Top donors: Duke Energy, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and Eastern Band Of Cherokee Indians.
Rep. Ben Koppelman, representing an area west of Fargo (District 16), co-sponsored four bills that restrict voting rights. One of them, HB1253, limits the time voters may spend filling out their ballots to just 30 minutes. Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed it into law in May. Another, HB1280, would have shortened the early voting period from 15 days to nine days before the election.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB1189, HB1253, HB1280, and HB1373; opposition to H.R. 1 election reform HCR3047; anti-abortion SB2030; anti-LGBTQ+ HB1298; limits/criminalizes protest HB1240; weakens gun control measures HB1248, HB1297, HB1450, HB1498, and HCR3021; Firearms Industry Protection HB1396; Keep Nine amendment HCR3023; social media regulation HB1144; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB1307.
Top donors: North Dakota Association of Realtors, Nextera Energy, and BSNF Railway.
Sen. Janne Myrdal, representing northeast North Dakota (District 10), co-sponsored legislation (SCR4010) that rescinded the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. The ERA would guarantee equal legal rights regardless of sex and was ratified by 35 states prior to the ratification deadline in 1979.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB1373; anti-LGBTQ+ HB1298; anti-Equal Rights Amendment SCR4010; limits/criminalizes protest HB1240; Stand Your Ground HB1498; attempts to limit presidential power HCR3020; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB1323 and HB1468.
Top donors: North Dakota Association of Realtors, Nextera Energy, and BSNF Railway.
Rep. Jon Cross, representing an area south of Toledo (District 83), co-sponsored a bill (HB22) that would criminalize taunting an on-duty law enforcement officer and diverting their attention. The bill, introduced after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, would have made it a crime for onlookers to record the incident or to tell Chauvin that Floyd couldn’t breathe.
“It leaves it up to the interpretation, by being so vague, to the interpretation of the law enforcement officer …,” Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell said Thursday. “That is bad. Just think about what happened with George Floyd. The officer could have said turn that recording off. Turn that recording off, and we wouldn’t have seen any injustice whatsoever.”
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB294; opposition to H.R. 1 election reform HCR5; bans teaching of CRT HB322; school curriculum requirements HB327; limits/criminalizes protest HB22, HB109, and HB190; permitless gun carry HB227; weakens gun control measures HB325; Firearm Industry Protection HB297; attempts to limit presidential power HB295; Keep Nine amendment HR57; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB202; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB90, HCR21, and SB22; anti-environment HB118 and HB201.
Top donors: Ohio Credit Union League, Ohio Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Electric Power, Charter Communications, and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.
Sen. Timothy Schaffer, representing the area southeast of Columbus, introduced two bills that constrain movement away from fossil fuels. The first, SB127, prevents local governments from limiting the use or sale of natural gas. The second, SB52, gives local township trustees the power to veto the development of wind and solar facilities.
Sponsored bills: Anti-abortion SB123 and SB157; limits/criminalizes protest SB16, SB41, and SB59; weakens gun control measures SB185; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB169; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB22; anti-environment SB52 and SB127; work requirements for SNAP and Medicaid SB17.
Top donors: Ohio Association of Realtors, Ohio Dental Association, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, and American Electric Power.
Rep. Sean Roberts, representing the area northwest of Tulsa (District 36), co-sponsored 13 bills that weaken gun control and introduce firearms into risk-filled environments. For instance, HB1673 would allow individuals to carry a firearm in bars “as long as the person carrying the firearm is not consuming beer or alcoholic beverages.” Another, HB2645, also allows guns in bars and adds a ban on local governments creating more stringent gun safety ordinances. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed HB2645 into law in May.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB2842, HB2846, HB2847; election audits/recounts SB7 and SCR1; anti-abortion HB1102, HB1904, SB778, and SB918; anti-LGBTQ+ SB2 and SB331; bans teaching of CRT/1619 Project HR1038; limits/criminalizes protest HB1674, HB1578, and SB560; preempt federal gun laws SB631; weakens gun control measures HB1630, HB1673, HB2401, HB2588, HB2645, SB186, SB443, SB646, SB767, and SJR21; Stand Your Ground HB1662 and SB925; attempts to limit presidential power HB1236 and HR1005; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB1004 and HB2335; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB2648 and SB368; anti-immigrant SB781.
Top donors: Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma Physical Therapy Association, Oklahoma Medical Association, and Farmers Association.
Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, representing the northeast corner of Oklahoma (District 1), co-sponsored eight bills to further curtail abortion rights in the state. One, HB2441, is a ‘fetal heartbeat bill’ that bans abortion when a so-called heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound; typically around 6 weeks of pregnancy. Another, HB1904, makes it illegal for anyone without an OB/GYN board certification to perform an abortion. “This would disqualify over half of the providers currently giving abortions in Oklahoma,” according to local media. Stitt signed both bills into law; a judge blocked HB2441 from taking effect but declined to block HB1904.
Sponsored bills: Gives legislature control over election procedure SB523; anti-abortion HB1102, HB1904, HB2441, SB584, SB612, SB778, SB779, and SJR17; anti-LGBTQ+ SB2, SB331, SB615, and SB1100; bans teaching of CRT/1619 Project HB1775 and SB503; school curriculum requirements SB588; limits/criminalizes protest HB1674 and SB560; preempt federal gun laws HB1629, SB18, and SB631; weakens gun control measures HB1630, HB2645, SB186, SB646, SB767, and SJR21; Stand Your Ground SB925; attempts to limit presidential power HB1236; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB2335 and SB658; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB2648 and SB368; anti-immigrant SB781.
Top donors: Oklahoma Association of Realtors, Nextera Energy, and Farmers Insurance.
Rep. Robert Kauffman, representing an area of southern Pennsylvania (District 89), is a staunch supporter of Trump’s “stolen election claims.” Earlier this year, he traveled to Arizona to observe the sham audit conducted by CyberNinjas. In his home state, Kauffman sponsored three bills that increase voting restrictions (HB853, HB1334, HB1596), a bill to declare the 2020 electors unlawful (HR7), and another to mandate post-election audits under the control of a new agency (HB1482).
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB853, HB1334, and HB1596; election changes HB1482, HB2044, and HR7; anti-abortion HB118, HB904, and HB1500; anti-LGBTQ+ HB972; bans teaching of CRT HB1532; creationism in schools HB1097; permitless gun carry HB659; preempt federal gun laws HB357; weakens gun control measures HB979; Stand Your Ground HB921; attempts to limit presidential power HR109; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB262, HB1225, HB1439, HB1980, and HB1986; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB594, HB620, HB2070, and HR56; anti-immigrant HB1094 and HB1625; anti-environment HB637; donor secrecy HB2087.
Top donors: Pennsylvania Bar Association, Verizon, and CenturyLink.
Sen. Patrick Stefano, representing the border area south of Pittsburgh (District 32), is also a supporter of overturning the 2020 election. Just two days before the insurrection, Stefano was one of dozens of Pennsylvania lawmakers to sign a letter asking Congress to delay certification of the electoral votes.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB422 and SB735; election changes SB71, SB528, SB573, and SB640; anti-abortion SB21 and SB378; limits/criminalizes protest SB293; permitless gun carry SB565; preempt federal gun laws SB624; weakens gun control measures SB448; social media regulation SB604; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB618 and SB937; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB946.
Top donors: Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, Pennsylvania Health Care Association, and Comcast.
Rep. Bill Taylor, representing south-central South Carolina (District 86), co-sponsored three bills that impose voting restrictions by cutting voting locations, limiting eligibility for absentee voting, and adding more voter ID requirements. Taylor also co-sponsored a bill, HB3444, to remove election control from local boards.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB3771, HB4150, and HB4162; election changes HB3444; anti-abortion HB3163, HB3518, and HB3568; anti-LGBTQ+ HB3105, HB3477, HB4047, HB4153, HB3518, and HB3878; school curriculum requirements HB3002 and HB3338; limits/criminalizes protest HB3249 and HB3491; permitless gun carry HB3096; preempt federal gun laws HB3012; weakens gun control measures HB3094 and HJR3710; Firearm Industry Protection HB3506; attempts to limit presidential power HB3869 and HJR3205; Keep Nine amendment HR4364; social media regulation HB3450; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB3218, HB4391, HB4560, HB4561, and HB4565; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB3443.
Top donors: South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, South Carolina Association of Realtors, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and AT&T.
Sen. Rex Rice, representing the area west of Greenville (District 2), co-sponsored legislation (SB534) that mandates the teaching of material derived from Trump’s “patriotic education” report. Curriculum includes American exceptionalism, anti-communism agenda, the white-washing of violence against Native Americans, and specific rebukes of systemic racism. Furthermore, SB534 would require all public schools to “read the original account of the first Thanksgiving feast” prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB365; election changes SB499 and SR 660; anti-abortion SB381, SB385, and SB399; anti-LGBTQ+ SB531; school curriculum requirements SB534; permitless gun carry SB32 and SB155; preempt federal gun laws SB369, SB584, SB614, and SB5084; weakens gun control measures SB44, SB386, and SB589; attempts to limit presidential power SB357, SCR33, SCR133, and SCR141; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB177 and SB838; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB104, SB147, SB382, and SB803; anti-immigrant SB353.
Top donors: American Hospital Association, South Carolina Optometric Association, Anheuser-Busch, and Duke Energy.
Rep. Paul Sherrell, representing an area southeast of Nashville (District 43), co-sponsored four pieces of legislation that discriminate against transgender individuals. Three were signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee (R): HB3 bans transgender students from participating in sports according to their gender identity, HB1182 bans transgender students from using the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity, and HB1233 makes schools liable if a student believes they have shared a bathroom or locker room with transgender students.
Sponsored bills: Impeach a judge involved in 2020 election HR23; anti-abortion HB1181 and HB1252; anti-LGBTQ+ HB3, HB578, HB1182, and HB1233; bans teaching of CRT HB580; school curriculum requirements HB529 and HB1238; limits/criminalizes protest HB513, HB881, and HB1432; permitless gun carry HB18; preempt federal gun laws HB928; weakens gun control measures HB1171; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB13, HB9077, and HJR9005; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB869.
Top donors: Tennessee Medical Association, American Federation for Children, AT&T, and Comcast.
Sen. Janice Bowling, representing south-central Tennessee (District 16), co-sponsored 15 bills that prohibit various entities from instituting Covid-19 vaccine and/or mask mandates. She has also spread Covid-19 misinformation, claiming at one public hearing that the vaccine would alter a person’s DNA.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB1510; anti-abortion SB654, SB829, and SB1370; anti-LGBTQ+ SB657; bans teaching of CRT SB623; limits/criminalizes protest SB451, SB843, and SB1066; permitless gun carry SB318; preempt federal gun laws SB557 and SB1335; weakens gun control measures SB1391; social media regulation SB1011; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures SB7, SB186, SB187, SB320, SB564, SB9044, SB9045, SB9050, SB9064, SB9066, SB9067, SB9068, SB9069, SB9073, and SJR9005; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB859 and SB9072.
Top donors: Jack Daniel Distillery, Tennessee Medical Association, and Tennessee Hospital Association.
Rep. Briscoe Cain, representing the area east of Houston (District 128), co-sponsored two bills that prevent localities from decreasing police department budgets. HB1900 financially penalizes cities with more than 250,000 residents that reduce police funding from the previous year. SB23 requires voters in Texas counties with more than 1 million people to approve of any law enforcement budget cuts. The bills are aimed at the more populous areas of the state because those localities are most likely to vote Democratic. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed both pieces of legislation into law in June.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB6, HB25, HB329, HB335, HB895, HB2339, HB2478, SB7, and SB1509; 2020 election audit HB241; anti-abortion HB69, HB1165, HB1280, HB1291, HB1623, HB2337, HB2337, HB3641, HB3760, HJR113, and SB8; anti-LGBTQ+ HB10, HB25, HB68, HB84, HB212, HB1399, HB1424, HB1458, HB2693, HB4042, and HB4500; bans teaching of CRT HB3979; school curriculum requirements HB2681, HCR1, and SB797; limits/criminalizes protest HB9 and HB446; limits police oversight HB1900 and SB23; permitless gun carry HB1927; preempt federal gun laws HB112 and HB2622; weakens gun control measures HB55 and HB957; Firearm Industry Protection HB2558 and HB2622; attempts to limit presidential power SCR12; social media regulation HB20, HB95, HB2587, and SB12; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures HB37, HB39, HB109, HB168, and HB1687; limits power of executive officers related to public health HB525, HB1239, HB1487, HB1500, and SJR27; criminalizes homelessness HB1925; ban on Medicaid expansion HJR130.
Top donors: Chickasaw Nation, Texas Association of Realtors, University of Houston, and Charter Communications.
Sen. Bob Hall, representing the area east of Dallas (District 2), co-sponsored 16 bills to impose new voting restrictions. For example, SB1111 imposes new limits on what type of addresses can be used to register to vote, making it more difficult for students to vote. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed the bill in June and it was challenged in court shortly after.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions HB3920, SB1, SB7, SB9, SB155, SB208, SB1111, SB1114, SB1115, SB1235, SB1607, SB1608, SB1609, SB1610, SB1613, and SJR51; 2020 audit SB20; election changes SB47 and SB1236; anti-abortion HB1280, SB8, SB9, SB391, SB394, SB650, SB802, SB1146, SB1173, SB1439, SB1671, and SJR25; anti-LGBTQ+ SB3, SB15, SB16, SB17, SB18, SB29, SB29, SB32, SB66, SB1311, SB1646, and SB1674; bans teaching of CRT HB3979; school curriculum requirements SB3; limits/criminalizes protest SB912 and SB1416; preempt federal gun laws HB2622 and SB513; weakens gun control measures HB957 and SB20; Firearm Industry Protection SB19; attempts to limit presidential power SCR12; Keep Nine amendment SCR41; social media regulation SB12; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB11, SB12, SB13, SB14, and SB36.
Top donors: Texas Association of Realtors, Texas Optometric Association, AT&T, and Chickasaw Nation.
Rep. James Edming, representing the area northeast of Wausau (District 87), co-sponsored a bill (HB675) that allows employees to show a past Covid positive test as proof of “natural immunity” to avoid work-mandated Covid-19 vaccines and regular testing. Edming has spread Covid misinformation, saying the vaccine wasn’t safe and should be “elimate[d].”
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions AB398, SB203, SB204, SB205, SB206, SB209, and SB212; election changes SB210; anti-abortion AB6, AB262, AB493, AB528, AB593, AB595, and SB260; limits/criminalizes protest AB279; permitless gun carry SB619; preempt federal gun laws AB293 and SB314; weakens gun control measures AB597; Firearm Industry Protection AB572; attempts to limit presidential power AJR9; social media regulation AB530, AB589, AB590, and AB591; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures AB303, AB347, AB542, and AB675; limits power of executive officers related to public health SB183.
Top donors: Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Hospital Association, and Humana.
Sen. Steve Nass, representing an area southeast of Milwaukee (District 11), co-sponsored a bill (SB547) that provides unemployment insurance for individuals who quit their jobs in order to avoid having to get a Covid-19 vaccine. He also co-sponsored legislation (SB375) to ban public universities from requiring students to be tested for, or vaccinated against, the coronavirus.
Sponsored bills: Increases voting restrictions SB203, SB204, SB205, SB206, SB209, and SB212; election changes SB207 and SB210; anti-abortion SB16, SB261, SB503, SB591, and SB593; anti-LGBTQ+ SB322 and SB323; bans racial/sex stereotype teaching and training SB409 and SB411; preempt federal gun laws SB314; weakens gun control measures SB584; Firearm Industry Protection SB570; attempts to limit presidential power SJR8; social media regulation SB525, SB581, and SB582; anti-vaccine/Covid-prevention measures AB23, AB299, AB347, SB5, SB547, and SB721.
Top donors: Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Dental Association, and Humana.