The national economy may have dominated the 2009 state legislative session, but history was also made both politically and on the social policy front.
Many expected 2009 to be quiet in state political circles before the surge of 37 gubernatorial races in 2010, but the year will go down as one of the most explosive with the removal of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) in Illinois, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) surprising decision to step down before her term ended and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's (R) admission to an extramarital affair.
State lawmakers also wrestled with a sweeping assortment of contentious social policy questions, ranging from gay marriage to abortion to the death penalty.
In an exclusive look at major developments in all 50 state capitols, Stateline.org's 2009 Legislative Review found states taking extraordinary measures to cover a staggering $215 billion in estimated budget gaps for 2009 and 2010.
Read the full report Budgets Overshadow Social, Political Highlights on Stateline.org.