As the first fiscal quarter of 2018 comes to a close, most state legislatures are off and running. With an important election coming up this year, many state legislators are making a case to return to their respective capitols. Others are trying to accomplish their work in less time, and some have not announced session dates at all.
At the time of this post, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas have not announced meeting dates for 2018. These 15 states are also out of session:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Additionally, 2018 session is a shorter one for many states. In GovDocs’ home state of Minnesota, for instance, the 2017 legislature passed a two-year budget for the state. The legislature’s main task this year is to enact a bonding bill. However, Minnesota did not start its session until Feb. 20, 2018, and plan to adjourn by May 21.
Many other states have compressed legislative years where their session either starts later or ends earlier. This ramps up the pressure on legislators and stakeholders to pass bills in a timely manner.
2018 Bill Trends
Currently, GovDocs is tracking more than 1,800 labor law bills that impact the employer/employee relationship. These bills cover a wide range of topics, but some of the major legislative themes we see across the country include:
- 12.5% are related to minimum wage laws.
- 8.8% related to various types of employee leave, excluding sick leave. The biggest proportion of these bills relate to family leave. Another 2.2% of the total bills we are following amend or create sick leave laws specifically
- 3.8% deal with equal pay and another 2.6% of bills are salary history bans
- 2.5% relate to scheduling laws
- 1.9% approach workplace harassment, bullying, and violence
By the numbers, minimum wage and employee leave remain hot topics in state legislatures. This pace will surely keep up in the foreseeable future. Additionally, bills ensuring that workplaces are safe, and proposals to ensure gender equality in compensation and benefits remain popular. However, with several weeks left in most legislative calendars, it remains to be seen how many of these bills become laws.
So, exactly how many bills have become laws, how many are in progress, and how many have not made significant progress? Of the more than 1,800 bills GovDocs is monitoring, their place in the legislative process breaks down as follows:
- 6.2% have passed the chamber in which they were introduced (e.g., a house bill passed the House of Representatives)
- 1.6% have passed the second chamber (e.g., a house bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate)
- 8.7% have failed at some point in the process (e.g., they were voted down in committee or on the floor of one of the chambers)
- 1.8% have completed the legislative process and have been turned into laws
As you can see, only a small percentage of bills have shown significant progress; only a tiny percentage of bills have been enacted, and more than 1,600 bills remain up for consideration. Most legislatures still have several weeks to wrap up their work, and GovDocs will be following labor law legislation every step of the way.