Only seven states — Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania — are still in session.
If you live or inspect in any of those states, stay on guard for surprises either in activity on legislation introduced earlier in the session, or in legislation introduced at the last minute. Check with ASHI’s Legislative Action Center for updates and make sure you stay in contact with your lobbyist, if you have one.
Activity in the remaining states has come to a halt.
...but that doesn’t mean the rest of you can relax!
Only five states will not have a 2008 regular legislative session (Ark., Mont., N.D., Ore. and Texas). Thirty six states will convene state legislative sessions in January, four in February (Ala., Conn., Minn., Okla., Wyo.), two in March (Fla., La.) and N.C. in May. But you shouldn’t wait until then to be surprised by a bill affecting you as an inspector. You should be on alert now for pre-filed bills after the elections.
In most states, bills may be introduced only when the legislature is in session. But bills may be pre-filed in more than 75 percent of legislative chambers. They allow pre-filing to streamline the lawmaking process. That means the paperwork staff has to do before a bill is introduced may 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 following states do not allow pre-filing: California, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In addition, pre-filed bills are not publicly available in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico and Rhode Island.
If an inspector bill died in the last session or if it was vetoed, especially if the sponsoring lawmaker(s) are still in office, expect that bill to be re-introduced. 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!