By Michael Green, Manager, State Government Relations

Map of USAElection years – like 2018 – have a reputation for being slow years legislatively. While this may be true for the U.S. Congress, the 50 states would beg to differ. With 2018 not even two months old, 44 state legislatures are currently meeting actively and nearly 3,000 bills have been introduced or prefiled in the issue areas FMI monitors. We expect this number to grow to roughly 5,000 by the year’s end. Fifty-eight bills have already been sent to a state governor for signature or veto, and one state legislature – New Mexico – has already wrapped up its session! 

Indeed, “chaotic” seems almost too mild a word to describe the frenetic pace of legislation at the state level. Meanwhile, looming in the background and fueling much of this chaos are the general elections coming in November. In 2018, roughly 82 percent of all state legislative seats in the U.S will be up for election, as well as 36 governors. Voters will additionally weigh in on what we expect to be over 100 state and local ballot measures.

To help prepare for this onslaught of state legislative activity, FMI releases the 50 State Legislative Outlook every January. This annual report examines the issues our industry expects to confront during the upcoming legislative session on a state-by-state basis. This year, we additionally created an interactive web component to help make the information you need more accessible. Like the report, the web tool also previews the upcoming November’s state legislative and governors elections, as well as potential ballot measures that would significantly impact our industry.

To compile the Outlook, FMI staff surveys state association executives, FMI member companies and holds four regional meetings across the country to discuss priority legislation. While each region brings its own set of priority issues, there are certainly commonalities. Priorities across the regions ranged from food and beverage taxes, to labor and employment issues, to environmental issues like bottle bills and plastic bags, as well as alcohol law reform or modernization. Likewise, every region is dealing with the increasing rise of policymaking at the local level, and like last year, this year’s report includes local information where available.   

To stay up-to-date on these timely matters and to gain insight into other regional, state and local issues, visit to view the interactive tool for more information or read the full 2018 State Legislative Outlook online or visit the new interactive report.