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Health Care Reform Remains On Center Stage

In deep-red Georgia, legislators have introduced a bill that attempts to block implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). HB 707, which is currently awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary Committee, would prohibit the state from participating in any health care exchange and preclude any state or local government agency or employee from actively aiding in the enforcement of the ACA.

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States Begin to Convene for 2014 Sessions, Focus on Fiscal Outlooks

Lawmakers in 46 states will start returning to their respective capitols this month to debate the year’s pressing policy issues, most dominantly taxes and spending, healthcare, education, immigration, energy and election reform.

Legislators once again be tasked with preparing budgets in a climate of fiscal austerity; state are still struggling to recover from the recession. Program growth will be small and new taxes rare; it is after all an election year.

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States Look to Tax and Regulate E-Cigarettes in 2014

The U.S. Congress, the European Union, the FDA and state legislatures from coast to coast are examining ways to regulate, tax, or ban advertising of e-cigarettes, a $1.7 billion industry in the U.S. and growing. Because these products generally contain no tobacco, they fall outside the jurisdiction of most traditional state laws regulating tobacco products. Legislation was introduced in almost every state in 2013 and Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, North Carolina and South Carolina passed bills, primarily addressing the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to minors. Other states and municipalities have moved to more broadly regulate advertising or have added e-cigarettes to existing regulations banning indoor smoking in public spaces.

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Missouri Legislature Taking Up Bill to Lure Boeing 777X Project

The Missouri Legislature will convene Dec. 2, at 4 p.m., for a special session to take up legislation to entice Boeing to produce a new commercial jetliner, the 777X, in St. Louis. The proposal would grant Boeing up to $150 million in annual tax incentives.

“Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing – and that’s why I am committed to competing for and winning this project,” Gov. Jay Nixon in a statement emailed on Nov. 22.
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Illinois Legislature to Take Up Pension Proposal in Early December

The Illinois Legislature will convene during the first week of December for a special session to decide on a remedy to the state’s $100 billion pension crisis, reports StateTrack’s Alex Manuel Moya. The House will hold committees sessions on Dec. 2 and likely move to floor action on Dec. 3. The Senate may return on Dec. 3 and 4.

A conference call was held last week between House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and other key lawmakers over a proposal that could save Illinois $150 billion over the next three decades. The plan, which originated from a series of guidelines devised by a bipartisan pension panel a few months earlier, would reduce employee contributions and replace retirees’ 3 percent annual compounded cost-of-living increase with one that’s half the inflation rate.