Legislators Balance the Books, Head Home
In an exclusive roundup of legislation that has emerged from state capitols in 2007, Stateline.org finds — on issues ranging from civil unions to “living wages” — Democrats are making their mark now that the party is in control of 28 governorships and 23 statehouses. Policymakers in Washington, D.C., may get more attention, but the action is in the states.
Governors Expect Tighter Budgets in 2008
Only three states ran into red ink this year, while more than half sailed through with higher-than-expected revenues. States overall are finishing a spending spree, but the best revenue picture in six years may be behind them.
Abortion Ruling Sets New State Battle Lines
Prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s approval of a federal ban on partial-birth abortion, activists on both sides of the abortion battle are aiming their sights at state capitols, where new campaigns already are under way.
Vouchers See Mixed Success This Session
After a string of successes, voucher advocates see setbacks in this year’s legislative session.
States Say No to Teen Tanning
Spurred by worries about skin cancer, Utah and Virginia have joined 25 other states in limiting underage access to bronzing beds
Which Governor Has the Most Clout?
In a new ranking of the states, Massachusetts’ chief executive out-powers his peers in Alaska, Maryland and New Jersey — not to mention New York and California.
Cell Phone Counter-Revolution
To keep lawmakers focused on debate — and limit lobbyists’ influence — statehouses from coast to coast are restricting cell phones, instant messaging and use of those mini-computers found under the thumbs of compulsive e-mailers on the floors of state legislatures.
Mega-donors Get Mixed Election Returns
A bevy of big donors poured some of their personal fortunes into last year’s gubernatorial, state legislative and ballot-measure contests. But the super-rich had a mixed record in their single-handed efforts to sway election outcomes. In some cases, the motives of wealthy donors even backfired against their candidates or causes.
Bush Builds on States’ Agenda
It’s too soon to know how far the new Congress might go in accepting the president’s State of the Union proposals on health care, energy, immigration and education, but states aren’t waiting to find out – they’ve taken the lead on these domestic issues.
Want to Buy the Brooklyn Bridge?
It’s not for sale yet, but in the latest trend of revenue generating strategies, states have taken to selling off, leasing out and cashing in on some of their most valuable assets, primarily toll roads. Several big deals were consummated in 2006, including a $3.8 billion deal in Indiana to lease a state toll road to a private Australian-Spanish consortium.