Major topics in the 2012 state legislative sessions

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This page is a collection of issues and themes in the 2012 state legislative sessions.

There are 46 states that convened regular sessions in 2012. Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas did not hold regular sessions.


This is a list of session guidelines for all 50 state legislatures:

Alabama State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from February 7 to May 16. It held a special session from May 17-24 to address redistricting.[1]

Alaska State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 17 to April 15. It was in special session from April 15 to April 30.[2]

Major issues

Legislators took up Governor Sean Parnell's (R) suggestion to decrease the oil tax in order to increase economic growth. They also considered a ban on texting while driving, education funding, the state's unfunded pension liability, and whether to extend the legislative session from 90 to 120 days.[3]

Arizona State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in regular session from January 10 through May 3.[4]

Arkansas General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 13 to March 13.

California State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 to August 31.

Colorado General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 11 to May 9. A special session began May 14.[5]

Connecticut General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from February 8 to May 9.

Delaware General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through June 30.

Major issues

Legislators focused more on economic rather than social issues this session, including reforms to Medicaid and addressing the budget deficit.[6]

Florida State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 9.

Georgia General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 9 through March 29.

Hawaii State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 18 to May 3.

Major issues

The legislature focused on job creation, creating a sustainable economy, sustainable and renewable energy, improving the state's information technology infrastructure, and education funding.[7]

Idaho State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through March 29.

Major issues

Legislators considered setting up a state-based health care exchange as required under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Conservative legislators opposed to the law sought to set up a public-private ownership as a compromise, rather that risking the federal government setting up one on the state's behalf. The budget and public education reform were also major issues.[8]

Illinois General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 11, meeting throughout the year.

Indiana General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through March 14.

Major issues

Main issues included "Right-to-work" legislation, a statewide smoking ban, a tax raise to finance a mass transit system, and eliminating the state's inheritance tax.[9] The issue at the heart of the matter was "right-to-work" legislation that Republicans long said would be their top priority in 2012. The legislation sought to ban companies and unions from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to pay union dues. Republicans argued the move would bring jobs to the state while Democrats said it would lead to lower wages.[10]

Iowa General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 9 to May 9.

Kansas State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was scheduled to be in session from January 9 through May 14. However, due to infighting among Republicans, the session had to be extended through the 20th. Major issues which remained unresolved included education funding, state employee pension reform, redistricting and the budget. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) stated, “I think it’s reasonable for people to say they should have gotten things done in 90 days. My hope is that they wrap it up here pretty soon.”[11]

Major issues

Alongside the budget, legislators considered reforming the school financing formula and expanding Medicaid's managed care system.[12]

Kentucky General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through April 9.

Louisiana State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from March 12 through June 4.

Maine State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through April 14, was in recess from April 14 through May 13, and adjourned May 31.

Major issues

Lawmakers faced a $221 million budget deficit. They also looked to restructure the state Medicaid system, reduce energy costs and improve charter schools.[13]

Maryland General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through April 19.

Massachusetts General Court

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Court was in session starting January 4 through July 31, but informal sessions may take place throughout the year.

Major issues

Leading the agenda was a crackdown on abuses at special education collaboratives in the state. Other issues included controlling health costs and a sentencing bill that would bar parole for prisoners convicted of more than two violent crimes.[14]

In August 2012, Sen. Mike Rush (D) and Rep. Ed Coppinger (D) released a record of legislative accomplishments from the session. Among the major policy items successfully addressed, they note the passage of balanced FY 2012 and 2013 state budgets, a health care cost containment bill, strategic economic development legislation, and the legalization of casino gaming.[15]

Michigan State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 though a date yet to be determined.

Minnesota State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 24 to May 10.

Mississippi State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through May 3.[16]

Missouri General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 4 through May 30.[17][18]

Major issues

The budget was the main focus of the session, as the state faced a $500 million spending gap in January. The agenda at the start of the session also included economic development, Workers Compensation reforms, and overhauling public school funding.[19] Those items joined health care exchanges, birth control, charter schools, and sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine crimes as points of contention and accomplishment over the course of the session.[20]

Montana State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

Nebraska State Senate (Unicameral)

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through April 18.

Major issues

At the top of the list for the legislature was reforming the state's child welfare system, while Governor Dave Heineman's priorities were job creation and maintaining fiscal discipline.[21]

See also: Nebraska State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Nebraska State Senate were held in Nebraska on November 6, 2012. A total of 26 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was February 15, 2012 for incumbents and March 1, 2012 for non-incumbents.

Nebraska state senators are subject to term limits and may not serve more than two four-year terms. In 2012, 8 state senators were be termed-out.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.

During the 2012 election, the total contributions to Senate candidates was $4,167,514. The top 10 contributors were:[22]

Nevada State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

New Hampshire General Court

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Court was in session from January 4 through June 27.

Major issues

Major issues on the agenda included economic development, job creation, same-sex marriage, and gambling.[23]

New Jersey State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through a date to be determined by the Legislature.

New Mexico State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 17 through February 16.

Major issues

In their 30-day session the legislature considered drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, voter identification, business income tax, ethics reform, and defining homeowner rights in foreclosure proceedings.[24]

Gov. Susana Martinez (R) watched as the state legislature ended its session by rejecting a bill that would have repealed the law allowing drivers licenses to be issued to people without Social Security numbers. It was the third time she has tried to undo the law. The bill was initially passed by the House but defeated in the Senate. The Senate instead passed a measure shortening how long the licenses are valid and imposing harsher penalties on those committing fraud.[25]

New York State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 4 through June 22.

Major issues

Redistricting was a divisive issue in 2011 and had to be dealt with in 2012. Other issues included addressing a $3.5 billion budget gap and a proposal to ban hydrofracking.[26]

North Carolina General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature convened on May 16 and adjourned July 3.

North Dakota Legislative Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

Ohio General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly began its legislative session on January 3.

Oklahoma State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 6 through May 25.

Oregon State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 1 through March 6.

Pennsylvania General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly began its legislative session on January 3.

Rhode Island General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 3 through June 13.

Major issues

The legislature had to address a $120 million budget deficit. Legislators wanted to cut spending to close the gap while Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) pushed for a tax raise. Major issues also included reducing municipal pension costs and reducing regulations to spur economic growth.[27]

South Carolina State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through June 7.

Major issues

Legislators addressed a budget surplus of $900 million. Major agenda issues included tax reform, job security measures, reforming the state retirement system, and creating a new school funding formula.[28]

South Dakota State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 19.

Tennessee General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 10 through May 1.

Major issues

Republican legislators began the session by passing new congressional and state legislative maps, but redistricting may remain a major issue as Democrats have threatened a lawsuit over the new districts. Republican leaders said the session will focus on job creation and eliminating policies and regulations that restrict businesses, including the inheritance tax, and reforming unemployment insurance.[29]

Texas State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.

Utah State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 23 through March 8.

Major issues

Major topics included a projected $13 billion budget, improving technology for students, illegal immigration, and infrastructure improvements.[30]

Vermont State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through May 5.

Virginia General Assembly

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 11 through March 10.[31]

Washington State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 9 through March 8.

West Virginia State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 11 through March 10.

Wisconsin State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from January 10 through March 16 with a return for limited business on April 24.

Major issues

With potential recalls of Governor Scott Walker (R), Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) and four Republican state senators, debate on major legislation was expected to be limited.[32] Going into the session, Republican leaders said they were focused on passing bills on only four main issues - clearing the way for an ore mine in northern Wisconsin, easing laws regarding development on wetlands, environmental regulation, and creating a venture capital fund to help start-up businesses.[33]

The six recalls dominated the session. Ultimately on June 5, recalls against the Governor, Lt. Governor, and three of the state senators were unsuccessful. The fourth recall, that against Van Wanggaard, went to a recount. Wanggaard was defeated, giving Democrats control of the Senate.

Wyoming State Legislature

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was in session from February 13 through March 9.


See also

References

  1. WAAY, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," May 24, 2012
  2. StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
  3. Anchorage Daily News, "Lingering issues to test Legislature," January 16, 2012
  4. StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
  5. Pueblo Chieftain, "Civil Union supporters rally prior to special session," May 14, 2012
  6. Delaware First Media, "Legislators begin to form 2012 agenda," January 8, 2012
  7. Hawaii Reporter, "Hawaii State Senate Majority Caucus Sets its Priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session," January 17, 2012
  8. Times News Magic Valley, "See What the Idaho Legislature's Toughest Issues Are This Session," January 9, 2012
  9. Indianapolis Star, "Lawmakers face rematch with 'thousand-pound gorilla'," January 3, 2012
  10. Indianapolis Star, "Rare joint hearing accelerates 'right to work' bill," January 6, 2012
  11. Kansas City Star, "Republican infighting forces Kansas Legislature to extend session," May 12, 2012
  12. Topeka Capital Journal, "Legislative session to start Monday," January 8, 2012
  13. Bangor Daily News, "Maine lawmakers return Wednesday for 2012 session," January 3, 2012
  14. Washington Examiner, "Mass. lawmakers to weigh bill on special ed groups," January 4, 2012
  15. Wicked Local Roslingdale, "Sen. Rush, Rep. Coppinger announce legislative highlights," August 18, 2012
  16. StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
  17. National Conference of State Legislators,"2011 Legislator Session Calendar," accessed June 5, 2012
  18. The Associated Press,"Mo. Legislature officially ends its 2012 session," May 30 2012
  19. St. Louis Beacon, "Missouri legislature opens, with last session's issues at top of agenda," January 4, 2012
  20. St. Louis Public Radio,"2012 Missouri legislative session ends," May 19, 2012
  21. Lincoln Journal Star, "As session begins, child welfare reform a priority," January 3, 2012
  22. Follow the Money "2012 Nebraska State Senate Campaign Contributions," accessed December 17, 2013
  23. Concord Monitor, "House GOP: Jobs the focus," January 4, 2012
  24. Santa Fe New Mexican, "Election-year tension and redrawn districts set stage for political dramas at the Capitol," January 15, 2012
  25. Latin American Herald Tribune, "Undocumented New Mexicans Can Still Get Driver’s Licenses," February 19, 2012
  26. Poughkeepsie Journal, "Divisive issues to test Cuomo's popularity in 2nd year," January 9, 2012
  27. Boston.com, "Issues to watch in 2012 RI session," January 2, 2012
  28. The State, "Legislative key issues," January 8, 2012
  29. The Tennessean, "TN lawmakers gear up for fast session, re-election," January 8, 2012
  30. Salt Lake Tribune, "Top issues to watch in the upcoming Utah Legislature," January 21, 2012
  31. StateScape, Session schedules, accessed April 30, 2012
  32. Governor Journal, "Recalls Make for Quiet Session," January 16, 2012
  33. Appleton Post Crescent, "Wisconsin legislative agenda influenced by negative effects of recalls," January 16, 2012