Session Review

2008 Session Roundups: Connecticut

Revenue projections which tumbled from an over $200 million surplus to a $60 million plus dollar deficit quickly changed the tone of Connecticut’s short session and forced the Governor and legislative leaders to abandon promises of increased spending and tax refunds.  In the end, the Legislature failed for the first time ever to pass a budget, leaving last year’s two-year spending plan in place.  Mayors and non-profit leaders decried the austere plan, which along with the loss of real estate transfer taxes that sunset in June, will spell serious budget woes for cities and towns, many of whom face a foreclosure crisis as well.

2008 Session Roundups: Iowa

In a solid session of achievement, the Iowa legislature made significant progress on expanding health care coverage, expanding public school and pre-K funding, advancing clean energy proposals, protecting veterans and students, taking on foreclosure abuses, expanding workers' rights, and improving the integrity of state ballots.  However, the session was marked by a few significant setbacks, including the governor's veto of a major labor rights bill.

2008 Session Roundups: Colorado

This session, the Colorado legislature had three main priorities: health care, education and fixing the transit system.  They succeeded
in making substantial progress in education, slight progress in health care, and no progress on transit.

2008 Session Roundups: Florida

With the voters enacting a $9.3 billion property tax cut in January and a projected $7 billion dollar state revenue shortfall, the largest one year drop in revenue in the state’s history, Florida’s recent legislative session was marked by hard budget choices.  With legislative leaders committed to raising no taxes to fill a huge budget shortfall, draconian cuts were implemented in state services.

2008 Session Roundups: Nebraska

In the last legislative session before term limits are implemented and many veteran legislators are pushed into retirement, the Nebraska legislature made solid, if relatively small progress, in a number of areas.

2008 Session Roundups: Vermont

The Vermont legislative session ended two weeks early with legislators opting not to return for a veto session to try to overturn potential vetoes by the governor. Tough economic times and declining tax revenues left the state in fiscal trouble, yet lawmakers rightly rejected the governor's dangerous proposal to lease the state lottery to a private operator for short-term cash and long-term loss to the state.

2008 Session Roundups: Hawaii

This session, the Hawaii state legislature made some substantial gains in labor rights, election reform, promoting renewable energy, health care, and a number of other areas, overriding four of the governor's 13 vetoes in the process.

2008 Session Roundups: Utah

While the session started with larger ambitions, a diminished budget surplus and political deadlock led to less dramatic results -- a good thing in the case of a proposed $100 million tax cut which was shelved. 

2008 Session Roundups: Wyoming

In its short session, Wyoming lawmakers largely limited their work to passing the state budget and promoting policies that legislators hope will reduce the carbon emissions from the state's coal production.

2008 Session Roundups: Oregon

Oregon held an experimental even-year session in February that lasted just three weeks.  Designed as a test for a possible switch to yearly legislative sessions (Oregon is one of 6 state legislatures that only meets once every two years), the short duration left little time for resolving controversial issues.  Several bills, however, were passed that implement small but important progressive reforms.  These reforms were focused on children, families, and the environment.