Back 

NCSL in News June 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: June 2012

June 29

Health Care ruling clears path for Colo. exchanges
Ten states and the District of Columbia have passed insurance exchange laws to establish exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MSNBC

Pa. pols react to court ruling on health care
Pennsylvania has its own state law that allows people up to age 29 to have insurance with several exceptions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states may continue to apply their own laws for dependent insurance to the extent that they don’t preclude federal laws. Delaware County Daily Times

Ruling casts doubt on expanding healthcare for the poor
Medicaid and similar programs are over budget in 10 states this fiscal year, which for most states ends in two days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MSNBC/Reuters

Ramsey says state has time to create health care exchange
Health insurance exchanges are, for most states, new entities that will function as a marketplace for buyers of health insurance and give them choices for health coverage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Kingsport Times News

CNN: What health care ruling means to you
It also established national high-risk pools that people with such conditions could join sooner to get health insurance. As of April, a total of only about 67,000 people were enrolled in federally-funded pools established by the health care law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FOX New Orleans

June 28

U.S. recovery varies greatly by state, county, city
Unlike past downturns, the recession spared only a few states, largely because it hit nearly every economic sector and the states' economies are interconnected, said Arturo Perez at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "When things started going south, no state was able to ward off the bad stuff that was happening," he said. Reuters/Yahoo Finance

Arizona ruling of little impact in Tennessee
The National Conference of State Legislatures said the ruling — which upheld the part of the Arizona law requiring police to try to determine immigration status during a lawful stop, but struck down three other major provisions — would have immediate impact on five states that enacted similar legislation: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Although Tennessee lawmakers debated a similar comprehensive bill, it never won final approval. Memphis Commerical Appeal

Where's The Bathroom? Half Of All State Lawmakers Will Be New On The Job
Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The 2010-12 cycle almost certainly will result in the highest rate of turnover in state legislatures over two elections in the last 50 years," two NCSL analysts wrote in a recent blog post. NPR

What you need to know about 'bath salts'
To fight this staggering trend, at least 38 states have put bans on bath salts into place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fox News

Few Iowa felons pursue voting rights
The trend in the U.S. since 1996 has been to expand felon voting rights and make it easier to have them restored, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pioneer Press/AP

Opinion: MSNBC Pushes 'Block the Vote' Narrative About Voter ID Laws
According to the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the new voter ID law allows voters without photo ID to cast provisional ballots at the polling place. NewsBusters 

June 27

Concerns mount after high court's immigration decision
Lower courts, however, have either partially or wholly enjoined these statutes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News Journal

Anti-foreclosure laws may be prolonging housing crisis, contributing to 'mini-bubble'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization serving the legislators of all 50 states, more than 400 foreclosure laws were enacted across the United States in 2011 alone, and most slowed down the process. Huffington Post/Reuters/MSNBC

Indiana attorneys begin examining Supreme Court decision on immigration law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the laws in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah include the lawful stop provisions. Evansville Courier-Press

Clawbacks in Connecticut: What Idaho could learn from how one state handles breaks for business
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly half of all states attach some kind of provision requiring businesses to pay the state back in such circumstances.  This tool is often referred to as a “clawback.” StateImpact Idaho

A level playing field could give states, counties and cities an annual boost of $23 billion
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, these losses could reach more than $23 billion this year nationally. That money could close the budget deficit in half the states. Myrtle Beach Online

Bill to outlaw 'sharks' would bite cities, counties
Contingency contracts have been controversial in other states. In Alabama, taxpayers sued to stop the practice. The National Conference of State Legislatures has urged its members to abandon the practice. WRAL: CBS Raleigh/Durham

No clear winner in Arizona immigration ruling
The ruling may have implications for other states that have enacted similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Deseret News

June 26

Top court's decision on Arizona will affect other states, too
"In terms of future legislation, I think all states will be looking at the Supreme Court case to determine where they might have room to be engaged in immigrant policy-making and where they're prohibited from doing so," said Sheri Steisel, who directs the conference's task force on immigrant policy and the states. CNN

Justices bar mandatory life terms for juveniles
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 2,500 inmates are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were juveniles, including more than 2,000 — 80 percent — through the kind of mandatory sentencing systems barred on Monday by the court. New York Times

Supreme Court puts immigration reform squarely on Congress' shoulders
But as the debate takes shape on Capitol Hill, Sheri Steisel, Director of the Human Services Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures, says states are the real losers in Congress' inability come to an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. US News and World Report

In Arizona law's wake, other states to forge ahead
The Supreme Court's split ruling Monday on Arizona's controversial immigration law did nothing to settle the debate — providing little clarity on how far states can go to police their borders and solidifying the topic as a key election-year issue (NCSL data cited). USA Today

What you need to know about 'bath salts'
To fight this staggering trend, at least 38 states have put bans on bath salts into place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FOX News

Christie budget nears approval as financing worsens: muni credit
That follows $500 billion of shortfalls filled in the past four years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Tuition hikes in higher education around the country at public colleges in 2012
However, public colleges shouldn't expect a flood of cash to poor in; the National Conference of State Legislatures a large majority of the 29 states projecting surpluses will be putting them into reserves. Huffington Post

Arizona decision unlikely to mean more immigrant workers
In 2011, 30 states considered but didn’t pass bills that would crack down on immigration, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2012, just five states introduced such bills, and none have passed yet. MSNBC

The trickiest question about Daniels’ hire: can he lobby for Purdue?
The law forbids any former member of the Indiana General Assembly from being “registered as a lobbyist… or employed as a legislative liaison” for one full year after his term ends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NPR

Great Recession spawns great uncertainty
“We’ve moved from the Great Recession to the Great Uncertainty,” said Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which recently found that 21 of 29 states projecting surpluses planned to put parts of them into reserves. Other uses include building projects and paying off debt. Daily Reporter

(Opinion) A changing national mood on immigration?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers considered far fewer bills mentioning immigration: Halfway through the legislative sessions, in March, the number was down by 44%. Only two or three states seriously considered far-reaching enforcement measures, and no state enacted a new law. (Alabama revised an existing law, mostly softening it.) CNN

Arizona ruling of little impact in Tennessee
The National Conference of State Legislatures said the ruling — which upheld the part of the Arizona law requiring police to try to determine immigration status during a lawful stop, but struck down three other major provisions — would have immediate impact on five states that enacted similar legislation: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Although Tennessee lawmakers debated a similar comprehensive bill, it never won final approval. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Politicians agree recall laws should be changed, but disagree on how
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states allow statewide recalls, seven of which require that targets display “incompetence” or a “failure to perform duties,” both of which are open for interpretation. Chippewa Herald

Arizona: Did Supreme Court take the steam out of states' immigration activism?
In the first quarter of 2012, legislators introduced 865 immigration-related bills and resolutions, compared with 1,538 in the same period in 2011. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona lawmakers introduced 33 immigration-related bills this year, compared with 57 last year. Alaska Dispatch

Panel proposes lawmaker pay bump
Of the 42 states that set annual compensation for lawmakers, Washington ranks 14th and Idaho ranks 29th, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures; the remaining states set compensation by the day or week of legislative sessions, making comparison more difficult. The Spokesman-Review

Corporate money in state races likely after Supreme Court decision
In 2010, 24 states banned election spending by corporations and/or unions, the National Conference of State Legislatures noted. KGO-AM810

Iowa felons disenfranchised in pursuit of voting rights
The trend in the U.S. since 1996 has been to expand felon voting rights and make it easier to have them restored, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Grio (NBC News)

Tennessee backs checks on legal status
Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah have passed laws somewhat similar to Arizona's, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chattanooga Times Free Press

Rhode Island imposes price-gouging protections
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports nearly 30 states have some type of price gouging ban with others pursuing their own rules. The laws in many of those states are triggered by emergency declarations. Land Line Magazine

Common core legislation: how did your state do?
Have no fear: Daniel Thatcher, education policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, is here to help. Education Week News (blog)

Factbox: U.S. state laws targeting illegal immigration
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday upholding a key part of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants may lend support to states where Republican-led legislatures have passed similar laws, insisting they had to act in a policy area in which the federal government has failed (NCSL data cited). Reuters/Chicago Tribune

State depends heavily on those who still puff
It’s unusual for a state government to be that dependent on its cigarette tax, observed a veteran budget analyst in the Denver office of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Janesville Gazette

June 25

SB 1070 uncertainty cited for drop in immigration bills
The National Conference of State Legislatures said immigration-related bills and resolutions in state legislatures fell sharply this year. But there were still 865 bills and resolutions introduced in the first quarter. Arizona Daily Star

State lawmakers agree recall laws should be changed, but disagree on how
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states allow statewide recalls, seven of which require that targets display "incompetence" or a "failure to perform duties," both of which are open for interpretation. Wisconsin State Journal

Budget turnarounds: Some states socking cash away
"We've moved from the Great Recession to the Great Uncertainty," said Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which recently found that 21 of 29 states projecting surpluses planned to put parts of them into reserves. Monroe News Star/AP

New Hampshire’s child-abuse reporting law is strong
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that so far this year more than 100 bills have been filed in 30 states and the District of Columbia to toughen up rules for reporting suspected abuse of children. In 10 states, new laws have been enacted. New Hampshire Sentinel Source

States await Supreme Court decision on immigration laws
A recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said there was a 44 percent drop in immigration-related state proposals this year, the first decline since the numbers began a steady climb in 2005. St. Louis Today

Opinion: State depends heavily on those who still puff
It’s unusual for a state government to be that dependent on its cigarette tax, observed a veteran budget analyst in the Denver office of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Janesville Gazette

Immigration bills fell sharply in state legislatures this year
A recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said there was a 44 percent drop in immigration-related state proposals this year, the first decline since the numbers began a steady climb in 2005. Sacramento Bee

Retirement systems remain broke
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states enacted reforms to reduce unfunded pension liabilities between 2009 and 2011. Louisiana Daily Comet 

June 21

How 6 states address the immigration issue
In the first three months of 2012, 865 bills and resolutions related to immigration have been introduced in 45 state legislatures and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  National Journal

New La. law: Sex offenders must list status on Facebook, other social media
Several states now require sex offenders and child predators to register with authorities their e-mail accounts, Internet addresses or profile names to social network and other web sites, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CNN

Cuts curb lawmakers' travel
Summer is normally prime time for legislators to attend national and regional conventions. The Southern Legislative Conference meets July 28-Aug. 1 in Charleston, W. Va., and the National Conference of State Legislatures meets Aug. 6-9 in Chicago.  Montgomery Advertiser/AP

A level playing field could give states, counties and cities an annual boost of $23 billion
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, these losses could reach more than $23 billion this year nationally. That money could close the budget deficit in half the states.  Opinion in the Bradenton Herald

Budget turnarounds: Some states socking cash away
“We’ve moved from the Great Recession to the Great Uncertainty,” said Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Sault Ste. Marie Evening News/AP

Snyder signs bill to classify K2, Spice as Schedule 1 drugs
At least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Sault Ste. Marie Evening News/AP

June 20

Some states socking away cash to refill reserves drained to balance budgets during recession
“We’ve moved from the Great Recession to the Great Uncertainty,” said Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which recently found that 21 of 29 states projecting surpluses planned to put parts of them into reserves. Other uses include building projects and paying off debt.  Washington Post/AP

Snyder signs bills banning synthetic marijuana
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that at least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids.  Sentinel-Standard/AP

Miss. counts how many lack ID under voting measure
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 30 states have laws that will require voters to show ID in this November's presidential election. That list does not include Mississippi, whose proposed law awaits federal consideration; or Wisconsin, which briefly had a voter ID law in early 2012 before the law was declared unconstitutional by a state judge.  The Commercial Dispatch/AP

Our efficiency-killing tangle of laws
State governments alone produce nearly 22,000 new laws per year on average, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, resulting in a tangle of regulations that is a nightmare for agencies to administer and for businesses and citizens to navigate.  Opinion in Governing

Marshall County man faces death penalty under Alabama law protecting unborn
Thirty-eight states have "fetal homicide" laws and 23 make no exception for the viability or age of the fetus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Huntsville Times

Caution calls for saving surpluses
National Conference of State Legislatures recently found 21 of 29 states that are projecting surpluses intended to put all or part of the extra money into so-called rainy day funds.  Opinion in the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune

America's extreme politics will get worse after November election
Of course, Democrats were successful in redrawing district lines in a few states, such as in Illinois, said Tim Storey, NCSL's redistricting and elections analyst. “Illinois may have been the most controversial redistricting of the cycle," Storey said, "except perhaps for the Republican redraw in Texas which went all the way to the Department of Justice.”  AlterNet

Kolla stumps in Huntingdon Valley
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, Pennsylvania remains the largest natural gas-producing state with out a severance tax, which ensures that the producers pay costs associated with resource extraction.  Abington Patch

Rookie lawmakers abound across the USA
USA Today cites a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures which says about half of the nation's lawmakers could have 2-years or less of experience after the 2012 elections.  Utah Policy

June 19

Budget turnarounds: Some states socking cash away
"We've moved from the Great Recession to the Great Uncertainty," said Todd Haggerty of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which recently found that 21 of 29 states projecting surpluses planned to put parts of them into reserves. Other uses include building projects and paying off debt.  CBS News/AP

State lawmakers short on experience
"It is an attention-getting data point for us, because we look at what legislatures are doing," says Tim Storey, a co-author of the NCSL report. "At a time when you have essentially gridlock in Washington, the states are making hard decisions on budgets that really matter, which means furloughs for schools and teachers, delayed maintenance on roads and bridges."  USA Today

Funding gap for state retirement benefits rises to $1.4 trillion
Many states are taking action to deal with these budget shortfalls. The Pew report, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures, said 43 states made benefit cuts, increased  employee contributions or both between 2009 and 2011.  MSNBC

Tax credit strategy fuels private school choice push
Despite those concerns, the programs continue to grow. Ten states have laws on the books allowing tax-credit scholarships, and at least 17 others have considered proposals to create them this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Education Week

Report says pension reforms must focus on sustainability, cost controls
Between 2009 and 2011, 43 states enacted benefit cuts, increased employee contributions, or did both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislative activity at the state level.  Pennsylvania Independent

Number of voters needing photo ID sought
The National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website that 30 states have laws that will require voters to show ID in this November's presidential election.  Jackson Clarion Ledger

A 'Vagina Monologues' backstory: Female lawmakers outnumbered in Michigan Legislature
Just 20.9 percent of the lawmakers in the state Legislature are female, down from 24.3 percent in 2000. Michigan’s percentage of female state lawmakers is slightly lower than the national average of 23.6 percent for 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  MLive

KS: State pension fund gap is growing, researchers say
The numbers will probably get worse for at least two more years, predicts Ron Snell, a pension policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  Kansas Watchdog

Too many specialty license plates threaten public safety
All 50 states and the District of Columbia issue specialty plates. Maryland alone has more than 700. In fact, figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures indicate that the total number of specialty plates issued by all states and the District of Columbia is more than 4,100.  Opinion in the Herald Online

New York state legislators eye hiking pay to possibly more than $100K per year
Still, their base pay is $79,500, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only California, which pays its representatives just over $95,000 a year, and Pennsylvania, at just over $82,000, are higher.  CBS New York

Arts mean business
In his role as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, is quoted in the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV report calling some states’ decision to decrease arts funding “counterproductive” and calling on states “to continue – and increase – our support for the arts."  Opinion in the Wichita Eagle

New Pew Center report grim
Ohio’s pension systems need legislative approval before they can implement the changes to benefits and employee contribution rates.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states have already adopted reforms since 2009.  Dayton Daily News

Bath salts: Florida face eater a sign of what's to come from synthetic drugs?
Now, at least 38 states have passed some sort of ban or restriction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration has put three bath salt compounds on its emergency ban list.  Alaska Dispatch

Rep. Denny Coffman receives certificate in Energy Policy
Hawaii State Representative Coffman announced today that he has received a certificate in Energy Policy from the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute, a partnership between The Pacific Northwest Economic Region, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the University of Idaho and the U.S. Department of Energy.  Hawaii Reporter

June 18

Idea to raise dropout age falls flat
At least 13 states considered legislation this year to raise the age, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; however, the bills weren't necessarily introduced in response to Obama's proposal.  Peoria Journal Star/AP

New Mexico ends straight-ticket voting option
Nationwide, only 13 states allow straight party voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states have abolished it since the 1990s, most recently in Wisconsin with GOP-backed legislation enacted last year that ends the practice for all but active duty military personnel and civilians living overseas.  Las Cruces Sun-News/AP

New York to expand teens' tanning booth ban
California is the only state that bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 31 states and a few counties restrict some minors, the group said.  Utica Observer Dispatch/AP

NCSL backs Vermont against 'intruding' federal court
In court papers filed on Monday, the National Conference of State Legislatures argued that a federal judge "distorted the legislative process" by relying on excerpts from Vermont's legislative record to drastically curtail the state's authority over a nuclear power plant.  Power Engineering Magazine

Maryland’s high court turns fate of state’s DREAM Act over to voters
The highest court in the state of Maryland has cleared the way for voters this fall to determine the fate of a 2011 law allowing certain children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland universities. Maryland is among a dozen states to have passed such a law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Juvenile Justice Information Exchange 

Current state of synthetic drugs in Michigan
At least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids, as synthetic marijuana is formally known, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WNEM Saginaw

No minimum age for body piercing? Ouch!
34 states, including Illinois, already have laws in place that require parental consent for piercing minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  That means there are 16  states that do not require parental consent.  Opinion in Chicago Now

June 15

States refuse to abolish taxes, but they’re still eager to roll them back
For the first time in a decade, states cut more taxes than they increased them in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of this was due to the expiration of temporary sales tax increases in California and North Carolina. But states also cut corporate income taxes, among others. Washington Post

State representatives attend "Winnable Health Strategies" conference
State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, attended the "Winnable Health Strategies" conference in Denver June 6-8. The conference was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. During the conference, legislators and government representatives from Kansas, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa and Alabama worked on strategies to improve health, which seem winnable considering the current political and economic environments within each state. Winfield Daily Courier

New York state to expand teens' tanning booth ban
New York officials have agreed to ban children 16 years old and younger from indoor tanning, according to the Senate majority leader. California is the only state that bans the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 31 states and a few counties restrict some minors, the group said. AP in Syracuse Post-Standard

Cyber bullying legislation in Monroe County, NY state
More than 30 states, including New York, have some laws targeting "cyber harassment" and most also have laws focusing on stalking through the internet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ABC Rochester 

June 14

Alabama governor, lawmakers wait for health care ruling
Gov. Robert Bentley could create a health insurance exchange by executive order or within an existing state agency if the federal health law is upheld. Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures health care task force, introduced a health insurance exchange bill. Tuscaloosa News

No NY law seen soon for E-cigarettes
At least 13 states have introduced laws over the last two years to regulate e-cigarettes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. South Carolina and Tennessee have proposed bans, but no state has enacted one. "A lot of states are waiting to see what the feds do," said Karmen Hanson of NCSL. AP in Long Island Press

Delaware House Speaker introduces bill prohibiting teens from using tanning beds
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California and Vermont have passed similar bans for minors, while at least 14 other states have introduced similar legislation in the past year. Delaware State News

Fears of 'creeping sharia'
The National Conference of State Legislatures says anti-sharia measures already have been considered in 20 states, and Oklahoma, Arizona, Louisiana, and Tennessee have all enacted such measures. National Review 

June 13

Michigan House approves bills to tighten voting laws
The Republican-controlled Michigan House has passed several measures aimed at tightening state election laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures says election legislation is pending in 32 states this year, including 10 with proposals to strengthen existing voter ID laws. Fox Chicago/AP

Concussion bill may sideline injured athletes in Ohio
Coaches and referees will be required to pull young athletes out of practices or games if it appears they might have suffered a concussion, under a bill that could get a floor vote in the Ohio House as early as today. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states including Ohio are considering such legislation and 38 states have already adopted such measures. Dayton Daily News

North Dakota votes to retire Sioux nickname, keep property tax
Voters approved a measure Tuesday that lets the University of North Dakota dump its controversial Fighting Sioux nickname and avoid NCAA sanctions. North Dakota voters also resoundingly defeated a proposal that would have made the state the first in the nation to abolish local property taxes. No state ever has eliminated local property taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chippewa Valley Leader-Telegram/AP

North Dakota voters reject ending local property taxes
North Dakota voters on Tuesday resoundingly defeated a proposal that would have made the state the first in the nation to abolish local property taxes. No state ever has eliminated local property taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. RealClearPolitics/AP

Immigration summit: are undocumented workers really taking 'American' jobs?
Agricultural and restaurant business leaders took part Monday in what was billed as the first immigration summit in the Southeast. More than 30 states considered new laws targeting illegal immigration last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fox News

Kansas leads Midwest tax cut race, at least for now
As a group, state legislators nationwide reduced more taxes than they raised in 2011, just before Kansas and the other Midwestern states began honing their tax knives, the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver reported in its latest survey of state capitol trends. But most of those cuts were temporary increases that expired on schedule. Kansas Reporter

States, environmental groups file amicus briefs in Yankee appeal
Nine states and the National Conference of State Legislatures filed amicus or “friend of the court” briefs Monday supporting Vermont’s appeal of a decision invalidating two state laws that would effectively shutter the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Vermont Digger

Miss NY tells Staten Island youngsters she's not afraid of bullies
"Many states have enacted 'cyber stalking' or 'cyber harassment' laws," according to reports by the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Recent concerns about protecting minors from bullying or harassment have led states to enact 'cyber bullying' laws." Staten Island Advance 

June 12

North Dakota weighs becoming first state to end property taxes
Voters were set to decide Tuesday whether to make North Dakota the first state to eliminate local property taxes. No state has ever eliminated local property taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. RealClearPolitics/AP

New York near deal to combat cyber bullies
New York could announce as early as this week a legislative deal to crack down on cyber bullying in schools and through social media. More than 30 states, including New York, have some laws targeting 'cyber harassment' and most also have laws focusing on stalking through the Internet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC New York/AP

Legislatures group rips judge in Vermont nuke case
A group that advocates for state legislatures filed court papers Monday saying a federal judge erred when he relied on excerpts from Vermont’s legislative record for a ruling that sharply limited the state’s authority over the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. The National Conference of State Legislatures was among several parties filing friend-of-the-court, or amicus, briefs supporting the state’s appeal of a January ruling by Judge J. Garvan Murtha of the U.S. District Court in Brattleboro. Boston Globe/AP

Friend of the court briefs support Vermont appeal
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization comprised of the legislators and staffs of the country's 50 states, commonwealths and territories, was among several parties filing briefs supporting Vermont's appeal of a January ruling by U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha. Brattleboro Reformer

Other groups dive in to defend Vermont in VY case
Nine states and the National Conference of State Legislatures joined Vermont in its appeal of the Vermont Yankee case Monday. The NCSL is arguing that the court can’t just consider some of the comments lawmakers made and decide the law they passed is tainted. Burlington Free Press

Undocumented students to pay 150 percent Of in-state tuition in Colorado
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of October 2011, 12 states allow undocumented students who meet certain eligibility requirements to receive in-state tuition rates at public postsecondary establishments. Media Matters

Job interviewer asks for Facebook password. Should you give it?
In May, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill making Maryland the first state to ban the practice, starting October 1. At least 10 states have introduced similar legislation, according to Pam Greenberg, an expert on information technology for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's likely we'll see additional bills added to this list," she writes in an e-mail. Christian Science Monitor

Texas bracing for legal battle against feds over voter ID law
Texas is preparing for a legal showdown next month in federal court over a new voter photo ID law passed by the Legislature but blocked by the Justice Department. The National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks voter ID laws, reports that there is little evidence to bolster either claims of voter fraud or discrimination. Houston Chronicle 

June 11

Wisconsin win emboldens governments vs. unions
Attacks on unions and public-employee benefits have spread across the nation. So far, 600 bills have been introduced in state capitals to curb union bargaining power, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NY Post

Sandusky child sex abuse scandal raises questions about state laws
Forty-eight states require at least some professionals to immediately report knowledge or suspicion of child sexual abuse to some authority, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The list of professionals varies by state and can include teachers, school nurses, doctors, social workers, police, day care workers, coaches and camp counselors. Christian Science Monitor

Strapped state pension funds take scalpel to COLAs for relief
For some states that have curbed their COLAs, including Colorado and South Dakota, it has brought billions of dollars in much-needed relief to their state retirement systems and avoided more painful choices on the investment side. “It can put the plan in a more positive cash flow near term, and with less money flowing out, there is more money to be invested,” said Ron Snell, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Pensions & Investments

'Caylee's Law' is latest in long line of event-inspired penalties
Orlando's must-see-TV Casey Anthony spectacle last year has had a coast-to-coast public policy spillover, with laws inspired by the tragic death of 2-year-old Caylee and acquittal of her mother on murder charges. All told, 32 states filed legislation this year to criminalize the failure to report a missing child, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Orlando Sentinel

Georgia's accidental immigration activist
Georgia was among more than 30 states that considered new laws targeting illegal immigration last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of them were modeled after Arizona's Senate Bill 1070. Fox News

Judges' redistricting ruling resets Kansas landscape
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas was the only state where legislators failed to produce a congressional redistricting plan. RealClearPolitics/AP

Guam senators meet with Webb
While attending the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, DC, two Guam senators hoped to make the most of their visit by meeting both U.S. Senator Jim Webb and his colleagues with the Senate Armed Services Committee. KUAM Guam

Texas prepares for court over voter ID law
The National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks voter ID laws, reported that there is little evidence to bolster either claims of voter fraud or discrimination. San Antonio Express-News

Opinion: Public pension reform can't come soon enough
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 600 bills have been introduced in state capitals seeking to limit the collective bargaining activity of public-sector workers and their unions. States that passed such laws this year included Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Arizona Daily Sun

Opinion: Recalls work best at local government level
In 1908, Michigan and Oregon were the first states to adopt recall procedures for state-level recalls. Minnesota in 1996 and New Jersey in 1993 were the most recent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Traverse City Record-Eagle

Voters clip public employees' paychecks and pensions
Across the country, nearly 600 bills have been introduced in state capitals seeking to limit the collective bargaining activity of public-sector workers and their unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States that passed such laws included Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Appeal-Democrat

Bath salts banned by local governments after last week's 'Miami zombie attack'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of May 14, 2012, 38 states have enacted legislation banning the substances used to manufacture the drug. Daily Distribution

Officials welcome effort to ban synthetic marijuana
At least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids, as synthetic marijuana is formally known, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Daily Telegram

Guam senators meet with Webb to discuss buildup
The Guam Republican senators are in Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials and to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures, the statement said. Pacific Sunday News 

In wake of Sandusky scandal, questions about laws
Forty-eight states require at least some professionals to immediately report knowledge or suspicion of child sexual abuse to some authority, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The AP in the Idaho Press-Tribune

June 8

Eco-friendly vehicles draining state road repair budgets
But simply raising the gas tax isn't a sustainable long-term option, says Jaime Rall, who covers transportation infrastructure issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  "Our current reliance on the gas tax, because there are the alternative fuel vehicles, increasing fuel efficiency—long term, there are concerns about its sustainability," she says.  U.S. News and World Report

‘Bath salts’ bill passes House
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of May 14, 38 states have enacted legislation banning the substances used to manufacture the drug.  Enterprise News

Public employees under scrutiny after recent elections
Across the country, nearly 600 bills have been introduced in state capitals seeking to limit the collective bargaining activity of public-sector workers and their unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The State

Duncan to Vermont: Department still 'open for business' on waiver
Duncan made his remarks after a June 7 meeting in Washington with state lawmakers organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures. During the meeting, he touched on a variety of issues.  Education Week

Teen tanning debate heats up
There are 33 states that regulate the use of tanning beds by minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. An additional 23 states have seen legislation prohibiting tanning introduced since 2011.  Northwest Herald

Massachusetts added to growing list forcing Amazon to charge sales tax
Estimates by the National Conference of State Legislatures indicate Massachusetts will lose out on approximately $250 million in sales tax revenue during 2012 if purchases through Amazon are not charged sales tax.  Tax Law Home

Valley needs general obligation bond bill
My time on a National Conference of State Legislatures nationwide transportation committee has taught me that planning for future growth is much better than trying to catch up once the population exceeds the capacity of local infrastructure.  Opinion in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Consider the job requirements for New Hampshire legislators
The development isn’t unique to New Hampshire. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 1960 the governing bodies of only 19 states met annually; now 46 state legislatures meet every year.  Opinion in the Keene Sentinel

June 7

Walker's victory could bring more efforts to weaken public unions
At least 19 states have passed or considered legislation involving collective bargaining rights in the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CNN

Voter ID bill passes in NH, Governor may veto it
New Hampshire is one of 19 states without a voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracked a surge in similar voter reforms in states in recent years.  Amherst Patch

Michigan lawmakers, moms target synthetic marijuana
At least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids, as synthetic marijuana is formally known, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek/AP

Labor’s loss in Wisconsin seen tempting other governors
Bills related to union membership have been introduced in 21 states during the 2012 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

What could happen to health insurance exchange grants
"We just don't know how this gets handled," said Joy Wilson, senior health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "For states, it's hard to prepare for something that has no model."  Government Technology

Labor regroups after drubbing in Wisconsin
Between 2009 and 2011, 43 states enacted major changes in state retirement plans for broad categories of public employees and teachers to address long-term funding issues, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Fiscal Times

Bad day for unions made worse by Calif. public pension initiatives
In an interview, Ron Snell, a public pension expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures explained: "Some municipalities are in trouble because of the design of their pension plans. Like other governments in the country, they've overcommitted themselves and they have not made their regular payments into the plan. But they've also got a structural financial problem that states don't face which is the limited nature of their tax base."  Boise State Public Radio

Synthetic marijuana in crosshairs
At least 40 states have banned synthetic cannabinoids, as synthetic marijuana is formally known, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Escanaba Daily Press/AP

Metro State officials unanimously recommend lower tuition for illegal immigrants
Twelve states have laws allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California and Texas were the first states to enact legislation in 2001, followed by New York and Utah in 2002.  The Republic/AP

Time for a change? Voters resoundly dislike WI recall law
Nineteen states allow recalls of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which provides research and support for lawmakers and legislative staff.  Hawaii Reporter

June 6

Bill to protect social network passwords awaits Gov. Quinn’s approval
Maryland has a similar law on the books that bars employers from asking a job applicant to disclose a user name or password to a social networking account, according to information provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Austin Talks

Disney takes a stand to curb childhood obesity
The effort is meant to curb childhood obesity, which is a growing problem in Kentucky and nationwide. In 2007, 37 percent of Kentucky children were either obese or overweight, National Conference of State Legislatures numbers show.  WEKU

Pressure mounts on K2 sellers
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 43 states have taken steps to ban some synthetic drugs.  The Detroit News

27 states project budget surplus by the end of the year
In a survey done by The National Conference of State Legislatures, 27 states plus the District of Columbia are projecting that they will have budget surpluses by the end of 2012, according to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's June research report.  Business Insider

Jesse Jackson likens Scott Walker to George Wallace
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Wisconsin state legislature has proposed at least 10 new voter ID measures in 2012. Critics of voter ID laws argue that African-Americans and other minority communities are the primary victims of the measures.  Politico

Bath salts kill: a drug with a bizarre history
Now, at least 38 states have passed some sort of ban or restriction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration has put three bath salt compounds on its emergency ban list.  Alaska Dispatch

Eliminate Medicaid fraud
A National Conference of State Legislatures report estimates Medicaid fraud and abuse nationwide to be between 3 and 10 percent and that fraudulent claims cost states billions of dollars each year.  Opinion in the Joliet Herald News

Metro State considers lower tuition for immigrants
Twelve states have laws allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California and Texas were the first states to enact legislation in 2001, followed by New York and Utah in 2002.  NECN/AP

June 5

If ACA is overturned: What happens to state Medicaid enrollment?
"It would provide some options for how states address Medicaid cuts," said Joy Wilson, senior health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, if the ACA were reversed. "But the impact would be very different across states. Everybody started at a different place."  Governing

Five questions and answers about the Wisconsin recall
Only twice before in U.S. history has a governor of a state been recalled -- Lynn Frazier in North Dakota in 1921 and Gray Davis of California in 2003, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Senate panel approves tougher cellphone law
New Jersey is among nine states and the District of Columbia that ban hand-held cellphone use for all drivers.  It’s also one of 35 states that bans texting for all drivers, along with D.C, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Cherry Hill Courier Post

Metro State considers tuition break for illegal immigrants
Thirteen states -- including Texas, California, Illinois and Connecticut -- have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  7News Denver

Voter photo IDs: Are they evil incarnate or electoral salvation?
Also, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some states allow voters without ID to vote if they sign an affidavit affirming under penalty of perjury that they are the person they claim to be.  Opinion in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

If ACA is overturned: What happens to $1 billion in exchange grants?
Some states have already solicited contracts from software vendors to develop the digital infrastructure for the exchanges, with the expectation of future funding.  "We just don't know how this gets handled," said Joy Wilson, senior health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "For states, it's hard to prepare for something that has no model."  Governing

Paying for roads
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in (vehicle miles traveled) as one of the potential solutions to transportation funding gaps that states are dealing with,” Jaime Rall, senior policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told USA Today.  Watertown Daily Times

June 4

As costs soar, taxpayers target pensions of cops and firefighters
"There is a sense that these are people who do particularly demanding jobs," says Ron Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, who tracks pension changes around the U.S.  Wall Street Journal

States explore new ways to tax motorists for road repair
“We’re seeing a lot of interest in VMT as one of the potential solutions to transportation funding gaps that states are dealing with,” says Jaime Rall, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today

Races for statehouse control are crucial and tight
“The biggest impact is the ground game and we’ve seen it over and over again,” said Tim Storey, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Clearly whoever wins the White House always has coattails.”  National Journal

So-called 'Caylee's Law' overwhelmingly approved in Louisiana Legislature and sent to governor
At least three states have enacted similar laws and 32 others have filed related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Republic/AP

Alabama won't act until after U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Affordable Care Act
Bentley said he believes he can create the exchange by executive order, if needed. Two states -- Rhode Island and New York -- have established ex­changes by gubernatorial executive order, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Birmingham News

PennDOT adds safety features to licenses
They would have to use other forms of identification, such as military identification cards or passports, or go through secondary security screenings, said Molly Ramsdell, a director at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington.  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Mass. group formalizes call for online sales tax
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Massachusetts is estimated to lose $268 million in tax revenue in 2012 from not being able to collect sales tax for online and catalog purchases.  Cape Cod Times/AP

NJ panel approves tougher driver cellphone law
New Jersey is among nine states and the District of Columbia that ban hand-held cell phone use for all drivers. It's also one of 35 states that bans texting for all drivers, along with D.C, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NorthJersey.com/AP

McEuen: People, let's vote
The National Conference of State Legislatures generically describes recall opponents "... argue that it can lead to an excess of democracy, that the threat of a recall election lessens the independence of elected officials, that it undermines the principle of electing good officials and giving them a chance to govern until the next election, and that it can lead to abuses by well-financed special interest groups."  Opinion in the Coeur d'Alene Press

Voter ID laws, fraud and Latinos: Discrimination, a 'big deal' or 'insulting?'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, thirty-two states have some sort of voting identification law.  CNN

Recall madness: the way we live now?
Two governors have been successfully recalled in U.S. history — North Dakota’s Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California’s Gray Davis in 2003 — and recall elections at the state level have been triggered 36 times, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Politico

Nashua’s Campbell looks to unseat O’Brien as speaker
What is known is that Norelli remains on the executive committee with the National Conference of State Legislatures and in line to step up in big leadership of that national group next year.  Nashua Telegraph

End tax loophole for Web retailers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Illinois is estimated to lose more than $1 billion in sales tax revenue in 2012 for uncollected taxes on Internet sales.  Opinion in the Chicago Sun-Times

Ky. voices: ALEC helps legislators
Since most legislatures are citizen legislatures, it is important to find ways to help new members get on their feet quickly as well as help current members stay informed about issues and changes.  There are three major organizations that Kentucky legislators use to help with this need: the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Southern Legislative Conference, and ALEC.  Opinion in the Lexington Herald Leader

June 1

Panel cuts pay of California governor, lawmakers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania is the next highest-paid state and lawmakers there receive $82,026 a year, followed by New York where lawmakers make $79,500 a year. Both states also provide per diems. Sacramento Bee/AP

You can easily buy the drugs that created the Miami zombie online
Although Reuters reports "at least 38 states have enacted bath-salt bans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures," and the DEA considers sale or possession of the main ingredients in most bath salts to be a federal offense, the amphetamine cocktail is still commonplace across the country. Gizmodo

Opinion: why the Wisconsin recall sets a bad precedent
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states allow for the recall of state officials and in most (including Wisconsin) specific grounds are not required. At least 29 states allow for the recall of local officials. RealClearPolitics

Fast facts: same-sex marriage
Legal recognition of same-sex marriage by state (sources: Lambda Defense Fund and National Conference of State Legislatures). Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and six states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and New York. Civil unions are legal in New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and Hawaii. CNN 

 

NAVIGATE

Share this: 
NCSL Summit Resources
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures