Ending its session on April 14, the Nebraska legislature made
great gains in the areas of renewable energy production, job creation
and education; however, it will now be notoriously known as the state to
implement the most restrictions on reproductive health.
Much of the attention on the 2010 legislative session focused on closing
a $43 million gap in the state’s $1.2 billion budget. The session was
more combative than usual between the Legislature and the Governor with
more vetoes (8) and more overrides (3) than in any of Governor Rounds’
eight previous years in office. Two of the vetoes the
legislature overrode were on a bill creating tax incentives for
wind energy projects and a bill that will soften the blow of public
college tuition hikes by creating a need-based grant for students.
The Fiscal Session of the 87th General Assembly convened on Monday,
February 8, 2010, recessing the state’s first-ever fiscal session after passing bills
determining lottery scholarship amounts for students and setting
priorities for state spending for the next fiscal year.
Like other states, Iowa battled the effects of the national
recession and state revenues that were 4.27
percent lower than last year. Legislators managed to balanced
the state budget without making major cuts in public services, while
funding job creation programs, and increasing aid for local education.
Despite confronting a $2.8
billion deficit and 9.5
percent unemployment rate, Washington state lawmakers
were able to score key progressive victories this year. Although tax
and budget issues were undoubtedly the predominant legislative focus,
elected officials made significant strides on several issues during both
the regular and special
session, including, children's health, workers' rights,
weatherization, and providing initial foundation for the implementation
of federal health care reform.
Despite its brief legislation session, Oregon's State
Legislature used progressive revenue increases to protect key
priorities and pass major progressive bills to expand economic justice
for job seekers and those seeking credit, extend environmental
protections, protect religious freedom of teachers, stop predatory
banking practices, and protect public employee whistleblowers.
The 2010 General Assembly adjourned March 14th, one day later than
scheduled, and was dominated by a single overriding issue:
unprecedented cuts to state spending and core services once thought to
While the Legislature is challenged with a record”setting economic
downturn not seen in 75 years, leadership had a strong focus on wrapping
up the session in March (each day at the legislature costs $30,000) and
consequently kept the number of bills down this year.
In spite of New Mexico’s brief one month session that focused
mainly on budget issues, a number of progressive reforms were passed. The legislature enacted new health insurance regulations to prevent
wasteful administrative costs by insurance companies and discrimination
based on gender. In addition the state expanded "medical homes" to
improve care and established a Health Care Reform Working Group to
implement federal reforms.
Faced with tough budget challenges, legislators avoided most major new
initiatives and controversial bills during the 2010 regular session.
Using federal recovery and lottery dollars, most major budget cuts were
avoided and some coal severance taxes will be shifted to coal-producing