Lawmakers have begun to pre-file legislation on a myriad of issues in preparation of the 2006 legislative season during which 44 states are scheduled to meet.
The 2006 season will begin January 2 when the opening gavel falls in Ohio. All but six states begin their deliberations in January and North Carolina is the final state scheduled to convene with a session set to start May 9. Most states are entering the second year of a two-year term which means serious work should begin quickly as there is less pomp and ceremony scheduled this year than last. California lawmakers will begin working on carryover bills when they convene on January 4 as hold-over legislation is exempt from rules that stipulate new bills must be deferred for a month before hearings may be held. In the first year of a biennium, California legislators rarely advance legislation during the first month of the session.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has scheduled a two-day conference in Chicago November 6 to discuss the commercial benefits and personal privacy concerns raised by radio frequency identification (RFID). Lawmakers anticipate RFID will be a hot topic in the states next year.
Meanwhile lawmakers from around the nation have convened in Delaware this weekend to participate in the Council or State Government's (CSG) 2005 Annual State Trends and Leadership Forum. CSG's Committee on Suggested State Legislation will meet Friday and Sunday and we will have a report on their action next week.
Four states are in regular session: Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin. Pennsylvania currently is holding a special session.
Stay tuned for legislative developments in 2006!
Emily Hackett is Executive Director of the Internet Alliance, the leading Internet trade association operating in the states. The IA represents a broad spectrum of Internet users, including marketers, content providers, ISPs and consumers. She can be reached at +202.861.2476 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.