With a two-year state budget behind them, Ohio lawmakers head into a new year with their workloads a little lighter.
Next up: an agenda that's likely less controversial than 2011. The year was marked with heated debate over collective bargaining restrictions for unionized public workers. Voters overwhelming rejected the new limitations in November.
Cracking down on the ownership of exotic animals and spurring development of the state's oil and natural gas industry are expected to be among the top issues before the Legislature in 2012.
Ohio has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets. And efforts to strengthen the state's law took on new urgency in October when police were forced to kill 48 wild animals after their owner freed them and then committed suicide.