Session Updates
Keep on top of the latest session developments.

Ohio
December 19, 2014
Regular Floor Sessions Adjourn
Lawmakers wrapped up the bulk of the 2013-14 regular session early Friday, after reaching an agreement on a new legislative redistricting plan subject to a November, 2015 ratification vote. Legislators also approved restrictions on minors who wish to use tanning beds and a measure to keep the state’s execution drug manufacturer a secret.

As the floor sessions ended, lawmakers could not reach an agreement on a bill to allow fireworks in the state. Speaker William Batchelder (R) also made farewell remarks. While the Senate has adjourned sine die, the House is expected to follow suit December 23.

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Michigan
December 19, 2014
Regular Session Update
Lawmakers wrapped up the bulk of the 2013-14 regular session early Friday, after reaching an agreement on May, 2015 ballot measures to raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent and a $1.2 billion infrastructure improvement package that increases fuel taxes. The package also keeps school funding intact and grants some tax relief for low-income earners.

As the floor sessions ended, the legislature also approved a measure to require Internet companies like Amazon to collect and remit sales taxes on purchases. The House is expected to finish legislative business and officially adjourn sine die December 30.

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Maine
December 03, 2014
Legislature Convenes 2015-16 Session
Lawmakers were sworn in for the 127th Legislature (2015-16) by Governor Paul LePage (R) Wednesday. While the Democrats have retained control of the House, the Senate has switched to a GOP majority. In the House, Mark Eves (D) was reelected Speaker, while Mike Thibodeau (R) was elected as Senate president.

Legislators are expected to consider welfare reform, the next biennial budget, and social program scrutiny. The regular session normally adjourns in mid-June.

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California
December 02, 2014
Legislature Begins 2015-16 Session
Lawmakers convened the 2015-16 regular session Monday. Legislators are expected to consider tuition hikes for the University of California, education funding, and raising the minimum wage. Also on the agenda is expanded healthcare coverage, and granting paid sick days for those who care for the elderly or disabled.

Kevin Deleon (D) officially took over as the Senate president pro tempore, while Toni Adkins took the oath as the new Assembly Speaker. The session is scheduled to adjourn September 11.

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Alaska
December 01, 2014
Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Mallott Inaugurated
Governor Bill Walker will be sworn in as Alaska’s 11th, and first independent, governor Monday along with new Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott. Walker is expected to face issues including a fall in oil prices and increased budget deficits. The new governor has also indicated his support for Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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Hawaii
December 01, 2014
Governor Ige and Lieutenant Governor Tsutsui Inaugurated
Governor David Ige and Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui will be sworn into office Monday. Ige, a nearly thirty-year veteran of the state legislature, has indicated his top priorities will be closing the budget deficit, pension reform, and promoting job growth.

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South
Carolina

October 24, 2014
Speaker Harrell Resigns
Speaker Bobby Harrell (R) resigned his seat Thursday, after pleading guilty to several charges of campaign-finance violations, including misuse of campaign funds. As part of the plea arrangement, Harrell was given a six-year suspended sentence with fines, and has agreed to cooperate in a larger investigation of wrongdoing at the State House. Harrell has also agreed to refrain from running for elected office for three years.

Speaker Pro Tempore Jay Lucas (R) is expected to be elected speaker for the next term.

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Virginia
September 19, 2014
Special Session Update
Lawmakers reconvened the special session called back in March to close a $2.4 billion spending gap. While an agreement was reached on addressing the deficit, the Republican leadership in both chambers resisted calls to also address health care insurance expansion. Legislators are expected to resume the special session next month to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court and two seats on the Court of Appeals.

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Nevada
September 12, 2014
Special Session Ends
Lawmakers concluded a two-day special session Thursday, after unanimously approving a $1.1 billion tax incentive package for Tesla Motors to secure a battery plant in the state. Governor Brian Sandoval (R) signed the legislation into law.

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Nebraska
September 10, 2014
Lieutenant Governor Heidemann Resigns
Lieutenant Governor Lavon Heidemann (R) resigned from office Tuesday, and also withdrew as the 2014 running mate for Republican gubernatorial nominee Pete Ricketts. The resignation came after a judge granted a protection from abuse order against him, as sought by his sister.

Ricketts has named the state auditor Mike Foley to replace Heidemann on the ticket. On September 29, Governor Dave Heineman (R) named retiring Senator John Nelson as a replacement as lieutenant governor for the remainder of the term.

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Nevada
September 05, 2014
Special Session Called
Governor Brian Sandoval (R) has called lawmakers into a special session, that will convene September 10, to approve a $1.25 billion/20 year tax incentive plan for a factory to produce Tesla Motors' new electric car battery. Democratic legislative leaders have indicated a cautious approach to cementing the deal.

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California
September 02, 2014
Floor Sessions End
Lawmakers ended regular floor sessions for the 2013-14 regular session early Saturday, after approving a ban on plastic grocery bags, a measure to restrict firearms from persons deemed to be potentially violent, a campaign finance reform bill, and legislation to address the state’s continuing drought.

Legislators also approved several bonding ballot measures, enhanced ethics requirements for themselves, a shorter timeframe for processing rape kits in criminal investigations, and a measure requiring railroad companies to report crude oil freight schedules to emergency officials. Governor Pat Brown (D) -- who does not possess a pocket veto -- has until September 30 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk. Sine die adjournment is scheduled for November 30.

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North
Carolina

August 21, 2014
Short Session Adjourns
Lawmakers concluded the short session late Wednesday after approving the Coal Ash Management Act to prevent accidents and to clean up groundwater contamination locations owned by Duke Energy and its subsidiary, Duke Energy Progress. As the session ended, legislators could not reach an agreement on creating a new job incentive program to combat unemployment or a budget correction to provide funding for teacher assistants.

Governor Pat McCrory (R) -- who does not possess a pocket veto -- has until September 19 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.

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Florida
August 14, 2014
Special Session Adjourns
Lawmakers concluded their special session Monday after approving a new congressional redistricting plan to meet an August 15 deadline. The new plan was supported by the majority Republicans, while most Democrats voted against it. Governor Rick Scott (R) signed the legislation into law on Wednesday. The voter groups who had challenged the original plan in the courts indicated they will challenge the new lines due to the same perceived flaws.

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New
Jersey

August 05, 2014
Special Session Update
Governor Chris Christie (R) called the legislature into special session last Thursday to consider bail reform legislation. The measures included a constitutional amendment to allow judges to deny bail to defendants deemed dangerous and a companion bill to create bail alternatives for certain defendants charged with nonviolent offenses.

UPDATE (08/05/14): The special session was completed Monday with the approval of the measures.

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Florida
August 04, 2014
Special Session Called
Lawmakers will return to the capitol Thursday to convene a one-week session to make adjustments to the redistricting plan. The current structure (for the congressional districts) was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge, who then ordered a new plan that meets constitutional muster, to be approved by August 15. The state House and Senate redistricting plan is unaffected by the ruling.

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Massachusetts
August 01, 2014
Formal Sessions End
Lawmakers ended formal sessions of the General Court late yesterday after approving a campaign finance bill to increase individual donor thresholds and enhance reporting requirements for super PACs (i.e. corporations, labor unions, and political committees). Legislators also approved a measure to increase scrutiny of public housing authorities.

The General Court usually meets on an informal basis (to consider routine or non-controversial measures) between now and final adjournment in January, 2015. Governor Deval Patrick (D) has 10 days upon transmittal to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.

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Arkansas
July 02, 2014
Special Session Completed
Lawmakers completed the special session early Wednesday with bipartisan approval for three measures: a package to avoid a large increase in school employees’ health insurance premiums and a $36.6 million insurance fund deficit; a measure to temporarily prohibit fast-paced lottery monitor games until March 13, 2015; and $6.3 million in approximate funding for a maximum of 604 additional prison beds.

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Delaware
July 01, 2014
Regular Session Ends
Lawmakers concluded the 2014 regular session early today after approving a $9.9 million bailout of the state's three casinos, a $3.8 billion state budget that raises salaries for state workers and shuffles highway improvement funds, and a $421 million capital budget plan. Legislators also approved ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders, the establishment of a Fort DuPont Redevelopment and Preservation Corporation, and a measure to allow law enforcement to carry the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

As the session ended, lawmakers could not reach an agreement on Governor Jack Markell's (D) proposal to increase the gas tax by ten cents per gallon, a new property tax to finance a water improvement program, and marijuana decriminalization. Governor Markell -- who possesses a pocket veto -- has until July 30 to sign or veto legislation that reaches his desk.

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Arkansas
June 27, 2014
Special Session Called
Lawmakers will meet in a special session Monday to consider a plan to alleviate rising teacher insurance premiums and address overcrowding in county jails. Legislators will be meeting in the old capitol while the current chambers undergo renovation. The special session is expected to last three days.

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