Kansas Governor-elect Sam Brownback wants to use his inaugural ball to raise money for charities, but a current state law won't allow it, The Lawrence Journal-World reports . A 1994 law calls for any money left over after paying for the ball to go toward the swearing-in ceremony and upkeep of the governor's residence. On Jan. 10, the day the legislature opens, Brownback plans to ask lawmakers to change the statute so he can give the proceeds to charity. Like many other incoming governors, he also says he's planning a frugal inaugural event.
California Governor-elect Jerry Brown says he'll cut the state's lobbying staff in Washington, D.C. from six to two, McClatchy Newspapers reports . The downsizing is part of Brown's effort to cut state expenses and shrink the state's gaping budget gap. With an eye on the revenue side of the ledger, Brown fired state Lottery Director Joan Borucki , The Sacramento Bee reported . Although Brown's spokesman gave no reason for the change, the state's most recent reports show the lottery took in only $2.95 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal year — a 5.6 percent decline from the year before.
A Republican lawmaker in North Dakota , Rep. George Keiser , has proposed a bill to establish a statewide insurance exchange , a key element of national health care reform, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports . Another bill is being proposed to beef up the staff needed to create and run the exchange. So far, only California has enacted a law authorizing an insurance exchange. Under the federao health care reform law, all states that choose to operate their own exchanges must have them up and running by Jan. 1, 2014. If a state chooses not to run an exchange or is unable to meet statutory deadlines, the federal government will take on the job.
Iowa's Governor-elect Terry Branstad has declared the state's $587 million shortfall in its Medicaid program "the biggest challenge we've got in putting the budget together," the Quad-City Times reports . To keep costs down in the future, Branstad wants his new human services director, Chuck Palmer , to consider requiring everyone on Medicaid to undergo annual health checkups, the DesMoines Register reports . Branstad said the idea worked well when he was president of Des Moines University. "It helped identify what your risk factors are and helped get buy-in from the individual to try to control those risk factors and try to control costs," he said.