Next year’s lawmakers: Fast and furious

By Keith Goble
state legislative editor


With 83 percent of elected officials on ballots this November, the activity at capitals across the country will likely be fast and furious with a lot of new lawmakers anxious to make an early mark during their tenure.

According to various reports, there’ll be a nearly 50 percent increase from 2010 to 2011 in the number of bills introduced at state capitals and Congress. From Providence to Phoenix, 147,800 bills are anticipated next year.

Once the new year starts, two states are expected to be churning out far and away more bills than any other state. You’ve likely heard that everything is bigger in Texas. The 12,400 bills that are expected in Austin next year seem to prove that statement. But even the Lone Star State appears to be no match for the Empire State. New York lawmakers are expected to offer a whopping 16,000 bills.

Amazingly, the two states are pegged to offer nearly 20 percent of all anticipated bill introductions throughout the nation and Congress.

Even more interestingly, New York lawmakers will be busy throughout the year while Texas is slated to cram all of their work into less than five months. That is more than 2,700 bills each month in Austin – or 675 per week.

The per-week average in Texas is more than the total number of bills that are expected to be offered during the regular sessions in four states (Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota and Wyoming.)

At the U.S. Capitol, 9,100 bills are expected to be introduced in 2011. That is nearly double the 4,850 bills anticipated for 2010.

It shouldn’t be surprising that a nearly 50 percent increase in bill introductions from a year ago is predicted. Capitals are expecting many fresh agendas.

And with so many governors on ballots across the country – 37 seats total – with four of every five state lawmakers and 88 percent of Congress, the agendas could reflect different attitudes on a lot of issues. That should be reason enough to make sure to cast a ballot this November. LL