A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with Republicans in a redistricting ruling that will lay the groundwork for drawing new political boundary lines.
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Some Democrats have begun saying out loud what others are saying privately — that Joe Biden’s political standing is so weak less than a year into his presidency that he may not be able to win reelection in 2024 if he were to run again. Such anxiety-fueled parlor games are common among Washington’s political class. But this one has spread to the states and constituencies that'll play a central role in the next presidential election. Speculation has intensified about the short list of would-be successors should Biden not seek reelection. The list is led by Vice President Kamala Harris, but includes other 2020 presidential candidates such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has followed through on his promise to veto the Republican-drawn redistricting plans, calling the maps “gerrymandering 2.0.”
A bipartisan bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature would lighten penalties for marijuana possession in many parts of the state and increase fines in a few of the state’s largest communities. Under the plan sponsored by Republican Rep. Shae Sortwell and Democratic Sen. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, the state penalty for possessing up to 14 grams of marijuana would be reduced to a $100 civil forfeiture. Current state law makes first-time marijuana possession a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Local governments are currently allowed to establish their own penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis. The new proposal would require communities to enforce fines between $100 and $250, along with up to 40 hours of community service.
Republicans are increasingly optimistic about flipping governor’s offices in key battleground states next year. The GOP is buoyed by President Joe Biden’s sagging approval ratings, Democratic infighting in Congress and better-than-expected results in elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats were already battling historical precedent dictating that the party that captures the White House struggles in subsequent elections and a 27-23 GOP advantage in occupying governor’s offices nationwide. Democrats insist the national political landscape could shift before November 2022, and see some of their own pickup opportunities in top races.