Oh, What a Night - Midterm Elections
Nov 7, 2018


Democrats won control of the House as the GOP kept control of the Senate in a high water mark for midterm voter turnout.  We’ll take a look at how it all shook out.



Democrats last had a majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.  For Democrats to flip the House, they needed to gain 23 seats.  They gained at least 27 seats.  A surge in millennial and minority voters, coupled with a deep gender gap, helped propel Democrats to victory.  However, in a triumph to the Trump Administration, Republicans retained and expanded control in the Senate.  Republicans ousted Democratic incumbents in Indiana, North Dakota, and Missouri.  Folks in Arizona may be waiting until Thursday to find out who is their new senator.



In the 36 governor’s races on the midterm ballot, Democrats flipped seven seats.  Including a couple of hotly contested races, Democrats won the governorship in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin.  In Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp was ahead with 50.7% of the vote.  However, Democrat Stacey Abrams vowed to remain in the fight until every vote was counted.  Under Georgia election law, a candidate for governor must obtain 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. 



Democrats were able to flip control of state legislatures and key governorships to win full control in at least six new states – Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and New York – and to break Republicans’ full control in Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.  Full control – the trifecta of the state House, state Senate, and governorship – brings huge benefits to enact policy agendas.  This includes significant changes to healthcare, expanding Medicaid, taxes, education, and crime. 



Congrats to everyone who exercised their right to vote!  We’re looking forward to reporting on the changes to our industry that this election cycle brings.


Ballot Initiatives


Voters in 37 states considered ballot measures, which can dramatically reshape states, economically and politically.   Three states – Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah – approved ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid, which would provide access to health care coverage for about 300,000 working adults.  Two states – Missouri and Arkansas – voted to increase the minimum wage.  In Missouri, voters hiked the minimum wage by 53% to $12 an hour by 2023.  Arkansas voted to increase the minimum wage by 29% to $11 an hour by 2021.  California voted to require paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to remain on-call during work breaks.  On the other coast, voters in Massachusetts rejected a call to limit the number of patients assigned to registered nurses working in a hospital.



Michigan became the first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana, joining nine other states and the District of Columbia.  Missouri and Utah approved medicinal marijuana measures, becoming the 32nd and 33rd respective states to do so.  However, North Dakotans blocked a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana (medicinal marijuana has been legal there since 2016).


Making Our Way Around the Country


Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier ordered a 13.8% workers’ compensation rate decrease for 2019, which was slightly larger than the rate submitted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in August.  This will follow a 9.5% rate decrease that took effect this year.  In the Commissioner’s order, it pointed to the long-term decline in the frequency of claims, which is due in part to safer workplaces, enhanced efficiencies in the workplace, and increased use of autonomous and innovative technologies.  Up the way, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak approved a 19% reduction in workers’ compensation rates.  This reduction will become effective March 1, 2019.



The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) announced that the Office of Administrative Law approved emergency rules that will require California employers with 250 or more employees to submit injury reports electronically for calendar year 2017 by Dec. 31.  The rules will also require businesses with 20-249 employees in specific industries, such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture, to file their injury reports electronically.  Cal/OSHA will be submitting documentation, including a public hearing and comment period, to make these rules permanent.



Next week is Kids' Chance Awareness Week. Kids' Chance is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps provide educational opportunities and scholarships for children of workers seriously injured or killed on the job. We've seen the emotional impact this organization has on families of injured workers. Way to go, Kids' Chance! You are making a positive difference in our industry, and we are proud to be sponsors!


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