Lifting the ban on county tobacco taxes

HB 2870 would have allowed counties to create local tobacco taxes with limitations on the amount of the tax and the use of the revenue.  The bill narrowly passed the House of Representatives on a 31 to 29 vote and had a hearing in the Senate Revenue Committee.  Late in the session, the bill was part of negotiations that included consideration of a statewide tobacco tax increase.  Strong opposition from the tobacco lobby prevented the final passage of this legislation.

Improving public safety

HB 3259 and SB 70 were among the bills that would have further shifted spending away from expensive prisons and towards more cost-effective strategies.

Requiring insurers to cover some inmates

SB 457 would have reversed the cost-shifting that occurs when private health insurers stop providing coverage to policy-holders who become incarcerated.  When private health insurers do not pay the health care costs for these inmates, taxpayers have to pick up the tab.  Although the bill failed, there is substantial support and the issue is likely to be reconsidered in the 2014 session.

Regulating chemicals in children’s products

HB 3162 would have required the state to maintain a list of dangerous chemicals and begin the process of eliminating those chemicals from toys and eating utensils used by children.  The measure passed the House of Representatives but did not get a vote on the Senate floor.

Registering voters with existing government information

HB 3521 would have registered thousands of potential voters based on the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles.  The bill narrowly passed the House of Representatives but failed by one vote in the Senate.

Clarifying local gain share from Strategic Investment Program

SB 223 and SB 314 would have strengthened the statutes requiring the state to share increased income tax receipts with local governments that have foregone property taxes to support the creation of the jobs that generate the income.  While neither bill passed, some of the problems with the program have been resolved administratively.

Preventing gun violence

SB 347 and a number of other firearm safety bills were introduced, but none passed.