Governors Preview Their 2012 Priorities
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
While most governors will announce their legislative agendas in speeches they deliver to state lawmakers at the beginning of next year's legislative sessions, some are getting head start on their priorities. They are using the normally quiet week between Christmas and New Year's to outline what could be some of the biggest legislative fights in their states in 2012.
In Idaho, Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter wants to build a state health insurance exchange — so the federal government doesn't do it in the state's behalf. Otter may face opposition from members of his own party in the legislature, however, since some of them "are upset that the state would use money from the federal health care law" to do so, as the Idaho Statesman reports .
In Kentucky, Democrat Steve Beshear wants a constitutional amendment to expand gambling and a law that would raise the high school dropout age to 18 . Expanded gambling has been a longtime subject of debate in Kentucky, and Beshear will need to win votes from the state Senate, which is led by David Williams, the Republican he defeated in this year's contest for governor.
Some of the most consequential debates, meanwhile, could take place in Kansas, where Republican Governor Sam Brownback has already announced his intentions to revamp the state tax code, reshape the K-12 school funding formula, scale back pension benefits for public workers and overhaul the state Medicaid program, as the Lawrence Journal-World reported .
Lawmakers in most states will return to work in January. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all but four states — Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas — will meet for legislative sessions next year.