Seven states–Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania–are still in session. Activity in every other state has come to a halt.
If you live or inspect in any of those seven states, stay on guard for surprises, either in legislation already introduced or in legislation introduced at the last minute. Check ASHI’s Legislative Action Center for updates, and make sure you stay in contact with your lobbyist, if you have one.
...but that doesn’t mean the rest of you can relax!
All 50 states will convene state legislative sessions in January for the next two-year legislative session. But don’t wait until then to be surprised by a bill affecting you as an inspector. This is an election year, so you can count on nothing much happening between now and the end of the November elections.
Some states allow pre-filing
Nevertheless, you need to be on alert now for pre-filed bills after the elections. In most states, bills can be introduced only when the legislature is in session. But bills can be pre-filed in more than 75 percent of legislative chambers. Pre-filing is allowed to streamline the lawmaking process. That means the paperwork staff has to do before a bill can be introduced can be done ahead of time. Have you ever seen a session open and found, to your surprise, that a bill affecting you has already been introduced and assigned to committee? That’s one of the reasons for pre-filing: it allows committees to hit the ground running as soon as they convene.
The states that don’t allow pre-filing are California, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition, pre-filed bills are not publicly available in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan and New Mexico.
Stay in touch
If an inspector bill died in your session, or if it was vetoed, especially if the sponsoring lawmaker(s) are still in office, expect that bill to be reintroduced. Have your lobbyist check to see if any bills have been pre-filed. Stay in touch with your own elected representatives and senators. Let them know who you are, what you do and how interested you are in any legislation that affects inspectors.
These days, the legislative game is just like professional sports: there are no more off-seasons!