State Net Analysts Release their Preview of 2008's Hottest Legislative Topics

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With 2008 only weeks away, State Net, the online legislative information service, has released Part I of its annual preview of key issues lawmakers will face in the coming year. Part II of the review will be released on Monday, Dec. 24.

With 2008 only weeks away, State Net, the online legislative information service, has released Part I of its annual preview of key issues lawmakers will face in the coming year. Part II of the review will be released on Monday, Dec. 24.

According to Rich Ehisen, editor of State Net's Capitol Journal and co-author of the preview, "With Washington stuck in partisan-fueled gridlock, states are taking on more and more of the critical issues that once fell to the federal government. That means state legislatures in 2008 will face an ever widening spectrum of difficult problems, from healthcare woes to illegal immigration.

The topics State Net experts preview this week include:

Foreclosure/Bankruptcy/Lending - Many proposed state measures deal with foreclosures, future mortgage lending and credit. Specifically, proposed measures are providing for free mortgage foreclosure counseling and education to homeowners who have defaulted or are in danger of defaulting on the mortgages on their homes, as well as setting certification standards for such counselors. Other proposals will require loan applicants for complex or nontraditional home loans to receive consumer counseling before the closing date. States are also looking at a new issue: discharged debts under bankruptcy still being reported as live and collectible, prompting them to be grabbed up by bankruptcy-debt buyers.

Hiring Immigrants/E-Verify/Sanctuary Cities - States considered over 1,400 immigration-related bills in 2007, and many expect a similar number to go before lawmakers in 2008. But states and municipalities are also responding in wildly different ways to undocumented workers. Lawmakers in at least a dozen states are mulling whether to introduce anti-illegal immigration measures similar to those adopted in 2007 in OKLAHOMA and ARIZONA allowing police to detain illegals and exposing employers to state fines and civil liability for hiring undocumented workers.

Physician Gifts: Increasing numbers of hospitals, healthcare systems, and states are beginning to regulate drug company "promotions" to physicians and pharmacy benefit managers. MINNESOTA has already set limits on gifts, while at least 13 other states have similar bills that will be considered in 2008.

Other issues covered in the report include legislation related to global climate change, universal healthcare coverage, plastic recycling and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Go to http://www.statenet.com/capitol_journal/08-06-2007/html to view the entire countdown.

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