By Julie Lays

State Legislatures magazine begins celebrating NCSL’s 40th year this month. But that’s not all we’re celebrating. The magazine recently won national recognition for editorial excellence at the FOLIO: Eddie & Ozzie Award Ceremony in New York City in December. "Legally Green," the February 2013 cover story on new marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, won first place in its category.

The January issue should be in your mailbox now, and I hope you enjoy reading it in print or online. The cover is sure to catch your eye with its collage of various covers from over the years. It’s the publication’s 40th anniversary as well, and inside, Executive Director William Pound gives an overview of the past four decades. More will come in future issues this year.

Our traditional January centerpiece is our look at the issues expected to play a large role in 2014's legislative sessions. This year the article focuses on emerging issues, some so new you may not have even heard about them before.

NCSL staffer Todd Haggerty discusses state budgets, pointing out why revenue growth is not always what it appears to be, in his article, “Cautious Optimism.” Julie Poppe and Robyn Lipkowitz put their heads together for a fascinating look at how brain research is shaping early childhood education policy. Suzanne Weiss contributes an interesting read on “The Cloud” and tax policy, which you can blow through quickly.

Many of you heard Sandra Day O’Connor at the Legislative Summit in Atlanta. Now you can read her answers to Mark Wolf's questions in our On the Record feature. 

No first-of-year issue would be complete without our overview of new state laws which took effect Jan. 1. You can discover which state (it's not California) now requires high schools to conduct annual earthquake-evacuation drills, along with a bevy of other new laws. In addition, this issue contains our ever-popular "15 Tips to Being an Effective Legislator" and Tricia Simmons' book review of "Why States Matter," by Gary Moncrief and Several Squire.

All of this and more is wrapped around our usual suspects: Statestats, Stateline, Trends and Transitions, and the quotes and cartoons in As They See It.

Julie Lays is editor of State Legislatures magazine.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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