What’s On State Legislative Agendas in 2010?

Insurers make key contributions to state, local and national economies, so it’s worth taking a look at the annual list of the most pressing issues on state legislative agendas from the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). It forecasts that fiscal conditions will continue to dominate state legislative sessions in 2010,  as balancing state budgets and creating revenues top the list. “Economic conditions have forced many states to continue looking at cutting or scaling back programs, increasing taxes and implementing hiring freezes and furloughs. But these actions may not be enough for some state budgets,† NCSL said. Some 35 states and Puerto Rico currently project a cumulative budget gap of $55.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2011. At least five states report that an official gap estimate is unknown, but indicated that a gap in FY 2011 is expected, while 16 states do not currently project a gap for FY 2011. Managing health costs and coverage and lowering unemployment rates round out the top three issues on state legislative agendas in 2010. Meanwhile, developing clean energy alternatives ranked as the eighth most important issue on the list. NCSL noted that some 29 states now have requirements for renewable electricity, while six more have renewable energy targets. Distracted driving is another issue that states will be monitoring during the 2010 legislative session. According to NCSL, some 19 states and the District of Columbia prohibit drivers from text messaging while driving; 12 of those laws passed in 2009. Florida and Kentucky have already pre-filed texting ban bills for the 2010 legislative session. Check out the I.I.I. online publication “A Firm Foundation† to see the myriad ways in which insurers support national and state economies.

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