Capitol Ideas

This edition of Capitol Ideas focuses on the reports, data and information released at NCSL's 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team.

State Budget Update: Slow and Steady
State budgets are much improved since the end of the Great Recession, but they still face considerable challenges as detailed in a new report.  NCSL’s “State Budget Update: Summer 2012” offers an in-depth look at the mixed bag of strengths and challenges facing states in fiscal year 2013. More


Immigration Bills Decline 20% in 2012
Lawmakers in 41 states enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions dealing with immigration in the first half of 2012, marking a decrease of 20 percent from the first half of 2011, according to a new NCSL report. Law enforcement and identification/driver’s licenses remained the leading issues addressed by state legislatures. More


Quiet Year for State Taxes
The first six months of 2012 were a notably quiet time for state taxes with only five states reporting sizable net changes, according to a new NCSL report. During that period, states made the smallest aggregate tax cut in the 32-year history of the NCSL's State Tax Update. More


On the Move: State Transportation Policies
Transportation policy has reached a critical juncture in America. States are exploring new ways to meet the nation's future mobility needs in the face of budget shortfalls and other challenges. A new NCSL report examines the shifting trends underlying recent policy developments across the states. More


Decade of Decisions: Trends in Juvenile Justice
A new NCSL report explores trends in juvenile justice legislation over the past decade. As juvenile crime rates have dropped, state legislatures have reexamined juvenile justice policies to balance the interests of public safety and the rehabilitation of young offenders, while seeking to make them as cost effective as possible during a difficult budget climate. More


Supreme Court Roundup
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent term included decisions in several cases with implications on states and states’ rights. This streamed session provides an overview of the court's review and opinions handed down in these cases. Watch the video


Voter ID: What’s Next?
Nine states have enacted new voter ID laws in 2011-2012, each with unique provisions. To find out what these new laws will mean for voters on Election Day, watch our streamed session. Watch the video


Taxing the Cloud – Not a Weather Phenomenon
Cloud computing has changed the landscape of how businesses operate and has changed the way we live. By the end of this streamed session, you'll be able to clarify the hazy definition of "cloud" and explore how some states have taxed digital services and products. Watch the video


Placing Bets on Gaming: What's on the Screen?
Learn about the possible regulatory impacts on states if a federal online gambling bill is enacted. In this streamed session, explore state gaming developments, news regarding state legalization of online gaming, and how a proposed federal bill would encroach on state authority. Watch the video


States Innovating with iPads
Several state legislatures have completed pilot projects using iPads or tablets. In this streamed session, hear from states that are integrating iPads into daily operations of the legislature and committees and learn about the challenges and rewards of the projects from a variety of perspectives. Watch the video


Social Media Safety
Social networking sites have created new security challenges for states, with hacking, high-jacking and impersonation happening too frequently. Watch this streamed session to hear about the security and privacy risks of social media and learn some simple steps to keep your accounts secure. Watch the video