|By Chris Kardish, Governing|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Hall sees the last half-century as one of steady achievement that pulled the state ahead of most of its Southern neighbors in everything from voter participation to higher education. Democrats, who ran the state during most of those years, now find themselves on the sidelines, watching a Republican legislature turn back decades of Democratic priorities and enact a starkly conservative agenda in a state that helped elevate
Aided by a national backlash against Obama,
Finally in total control in 2013, Republicans passed a long list of contentious laws, from strict voter identification requirements to a system of private school payment vouchers. These moves have generated endless media coverage and drawn tens of thousands of people to "Moral Monday" protests on the grassy mall behind the legislative building in
But even in a quiet legislative session, bitter differences over last year's legislative product remain close to the surface.