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Point of Order635309482

Point of Order | April 2014

4/1/2014

STATE LEGISLATURES MAGAZINE

NCSL Data Stream

New!  NCSL Elections Database

Legislators considered 2,171 elections bills as of March, a reflection of the nation’s ongoing interest in improving the voting process.

Now, elections officials have a powerful new tool to help them.

The NCSL’s new Elections Administration Research Database, created with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts, brings together more than 1,800 reports on topics ranging from election costs and voter ID to online voter registration. Reports are searchable by subject, title, author, publication, date and state.

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Say What?

This winter, Mother Nature is not only breaking records, she’s breaking budgets as well. From the Midwest to the Southeast and up through New England, states are reporting historic spending on snow removal.

— Erica Michel, NCSL research analyst, in The Guardian

“State legislators have once again made the tough decisions that are required to balance their budgets in a slowly recovering economy.”

— William Pound, NCSL executive director, in Connecticut’s Darien News

Trending@ncsl.org OnlineONLINE

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#NCSL opposes “Chemicals in Commerce Act.” Read how it could impact your state: http://buff.ly/1qsLBcS  @HouseCommerce

Only half of teen moms earn a high school diploma by the time they reach age 22. #NCSL State Legislatures Magazine http://buff.ly/1fQ5Q15

Almost half the members of Congress are former state legislators. What it meant and what they learned in @USATODAY - goo.gl/LVzgaO

Dispatches

Every state has an NCSL staff liason assigned to it to be a point of contact. Three NCSL  staffers recently visited their states and shared these highlights. (For the name of your state liaison, visit www.ncsl.org and type “state liaisons” in the search box.)

Alaska: Lawmakers are keeping their ears to the tundra on five controversial issues: the growing movement to overturn the state ban on public funding for private schools; construction of the proposed $50 million All-Alaska gas pipeline, which enjoys support in both houses; development of the Pebble Mine Project, which supporters say would yield hundreds of millions of dollars in gold and minerals and critics say could pollute the rich salmon runs; and ways the state can replace declining severance taxes. I met with 28 lawmakers and their staffs, but also was treated to a couple great adventures outside the Capitol, including a night in an old Forest Service hunting cabin on an island 25 miles from Juneau and crystal clear views of the Northern Lights.

 —Morgan Cullen, NCSL senior policy specialist and Alaska liaison

Indiana: I learned legislators have tackled a number of tough issues this session—including concussions in youth football. Both chambers recently passed a measure requiring all youth and high school football coaches to complete a certified concussion education course, which includes a test, every two years. The measure would also ban student athletes from playing the sport for 24 hours if they were called off the field for a concussion or head-related injury. Other states have concussion-awareness training laws, but Indiana’s is considered the most comprehensive.

—Martha Salazar, NCSL policy specialist and Indiana liaison

Kansas: The 13-year, nearly $325 million renovation of the State Capitol is almost complete. The Civil War-era building was sorely in need of repairs: its limestone was crumbling in places, and its tarnished dome had been battered by an F5 tornado. I worked as an intern at the Capitol in 2005 and have been watching the renovation progress ever since. Being able to walk through the rotunda now and look up at the gorgeous dome is awe-inspiring. On the ground floor, visitors are surrounded by big blocks of limestone, all quarried in Kansas. When you touch them, it feels like you are literally touching the foundation of all of Kansas.

 —Anne Teigen, NCSL senior policy specialist and Kansas liaison

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