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Session Review

2008 Session Roundups: Arizona

For
Arizona, it was a session marked by papering over a large fiscal
deficit, the approval of a ballot measure to ban gay marriage, and a
number of nasty initiatives that were thankfully vetoed by the
governor.

2008 Session Roundups: Delaware

Delaware

The Delaware General Assembly completed floor sessions after lawmakers agreed on several measures, including a $3.3 billion state budget; a $601.7 million bond bill; and a $45 million grant-in-aid bill.

2008 Session Roundups: Illinois

Running for the US Senate representing Illinois in 1858, Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  In present-day Illinois, animosity between Democratic leaders - Governor Rod Balgojevich and Speaker Michael Madigan - may bear this out.  The hostility between the two men, who are not on speaking terms, is the result of fierce disagreements over past and current budget provisions and a federal investigation into gubernatorial appointments and campaign donations.  The Speaker recently sent a memo to Democratic legislative candidates with talking points concerning when and how to bring impeachment proceedings against the Governor.  The breakdown in communication has clearly effected the state's business.

2008 Session Roundups: Kansas

Gridlock on the top issues dominated Kansas’ legislative session and prevented movement on most significant legislation.  This generally played out to progressives favor as the legislative majorities top priorities for the session were misguided immigration policies and granting permits for two coal-fired power plants that the executive branch had previously denied.

2008 Session Roundups: Rhode Island

The Rhode Island General Assembly adjourned after lawmakers reached agreement on a $6.9 billion state budget which, among other things, closes a $422 million deficit for the next fiscal year.   Overall the Rhode Island legislative session ended in mix results, with Governor Carcieri vetoing some important foreclosure and environmental legislation.  In fact, over a four-day period last week the Republican Governor vetoed 49 of the bills approved late last month before the Democrat-dominated Assembly adjourned. The legislature may, if they choose, hold a special session before January to rescue the swath of bills.

2008 Session Roundups: South Carolina

South Carolina's legislative session was marked by a failure to pass major pieces of legislation such as healthcare and payday-lending reforms, the passage of a regressive immigration bill, and significant time spent on small, controversial measures such as posting the ten commandments in public buildings, “I Believe”? license plates, and outlawing pants worn below the hips.  Fixing budget deficits and hiring much needed additional judges were two other important issues that could not get resolved while less consequential legislation was debated.  In the end, lawmakers showed how important those small measures were by overriding vetoes of bills like S 577, which increased penalties for attacking a coach in a sports league.

2008 Session Roundups: Minnesota

With a last minute deal to close a billion-dollar deficit, Minnesota had a good session that would have been a landmark one -- if the Governor had not vetoed more bills (34!) this session than in any other since World War II.  

2008 Session Roundups: Maine

Maine lawmakers addressed a $190 million shortfall with unfortunate cuts to education and health care services for low-income and indigent Mainers, but fortunately continued to support the state's health care reform efforts.  Lawmakers also passed a minimum wage increase from $7 to $7.50 over two years, strong protections for children from toxic chemicals, legislation to combine the state and county corrections systems while capping property taxes that will fund the new system at 2008 levels, and a model cable franchise agreement that municipalities can use to negotiate local video franchises.

2008 Session Roundups: Missouri

Missouri's legislative session was largely a repeat of last year - the best that can be said is that some particularly bad bills failed to pass. Unfortunately, others did.  The state passed a particularly regressive immigration bill, but failed to take action on voter ID legislation.  Beyond those issues the session mostly played out as a

2008 Session Roundups: Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Legislature adjourned late Friday, May 23, a week earlier than constitutionally-mandated.  Lawmakers closed the session with an agreement on a $7.1 billion state budget for the next fiscal year.  Overall the short 16 week session led to a mix bag of results.