Thursday, January 12, 2012

My state, your state

The 2012 Legislative session opens next week Wednesday, January 18, 2012. Bills will be introduced, new and old ideas will be debated in hearings and in the media, and the Capitol will be aflutter with people coming and going.

Before our session starts, let’s take a look at what other state legislatures are doing or considering.

The National Conference of State Legislatures magazine touches on a few odd and some controversial issues facing state lawmakers, including prisoner food cuts for Texans, the chimichanga as Arizona's state food, giving farmers unlimited control in North Dakota, and banning campaign fundraising while the Utah legislature is in session. Read more here.

In case you're wondering, Hawaii doesn’t have a state food.

What do you think about banning campaign fundraising during the legislative session? Some lawmakers in Utah don't believe they would have enough time to raise money before an election. According to NCSL, 28 states restrict giving and receiving campaign contributions during the session.

But wait. There's more.

Will we be seeing 51 stars on the American flag?

One lawmaker in Illinois thinks that Chicago should become its own state because of the "different and firmly seated views" it has from its neighboring counties. Rep. Bill Mitchell says that the cities liberal policies are an insult to the rest of the state's traditional values. His main concerns are Chicago's higher tax rates and stricter gun laws. If the measure driving this idea passes, it will be voted on by constituents in the next election, and if successful there, it must be approved by Congress and the president.

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