Back 

NCSL in the News: April 2010

NCSL in the News

State and Policy News Archive: April 2010

April 30

Will sates follow Arizona on immigration?
According to the NCSL, in the first three months of 2010, there were 1,180 bills and resolutions related to immigrants and refugees considered by state legislatures. Non Profit Quarterly. More

State ballot measure opposed to health-care overhaul can be single issue, court rules
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that members of at least 39 state legislatures have proposed legislation to limit, alter or oppose actions related to the health-care overhaul. Columbus Dispatch. More

Bill seeks disclosure of advocacy spending
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states currently prohibit or restrict corporate or union spending. Connecticut Mirror. More

Marblehead texting ban still on town meeting docket
Nationwide, according to statistics compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws prohibiting all drivers from text messaging. Marblehead Reporter. More

Education: Funding likely to get worse
The National Conference of State Legislatures in recent days sent a notice to state lawmakers across the nation saying that the additional Medicaid dollars for the states appeared to be in trouble on Capitol Hill. Opinion in the Clarion Ledger. More

Illegal immigration in the United States
In just the first three months of 2010, more than 1,180 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees were introduced in state legislatures across the country. Of those bills, 71 laws were enacted and 87 resolutions adopted in 25 states. Source: NCSL Reuters. More

Missouri passes $23 billion budget, early
That decision may prove prescient: Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said the National Conference of State Legislatures is now warning that the extended stimulus money may fall through in Washington. St. Louis Post Dispatch. More

Comparison of Wisconsin, Minnesota prison data prompts questions
Wisconsin was one of 13 states to create or expand programs last year to speed up early release, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eau Claire Leader-Telegram in the Pioneer Press. More

Health care reform means ND Medicaid expansion
Wednesday's hearing included presentations by analysts for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C., that is skeptical of government entitlement programs. Business Week. More

Arizona Governor signs immigration bill, reopening national debate
The legislation makes Arizona the first state to criminalize illegal immigration by defining unlawful presence as trespassing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Between 2007 and 2009, California, Colorado and Texas considered similar proposals but killed them. Texas Insider. More

April 29

Justice Department considers suing Arizona to block immigration law
The measure makes Arizona the first state to criminalize illegal immigration by defining it as trespassing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post. More

Lawmakers expected to pass antibullying legislation today
Massachusetts has been one of just seven states without a specific law targeting school bullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and laws are pending in Wisconsin and Hawaii. Boston Globe. More

Arizona immigrant law energizes Hispanics, Democrats
The National Conference of State Legislatures said similar state immigration enforcement laws may be proposed in Georgia and Texas in coming months, following a summer recess. Reuters.  More

Legislators talk health care
Officials with the National Conference of State Legislatures say health insurance rates aren't likely to drop under the new health care law passed in Congress this year. Joy Johnson-Wilson told legislators the "jury is still out" on how small businesses will react to the new mandates regarding offering health insurance to employees.
KXMB CBS12 Bismark. More

Health care reform means ND Medicaid expansion
Wednesday's hearing included presentations by analysts for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C., that is skeptical of government entitlement programs. Associated Press in CNBC. More

From copper state to Gestapo state
It was left to local politicians to take the heat: according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 222 immigration laws enacted and 131 resolutions adopted in 48 states last year alone. New Statesman. More

Legislative staff is a few sizes too large
New York and Texas are the states second and third in hiring help, with 2,751 and 2,388 staff members, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. More

NJ police to issue Amber Alert in family disputes
Data on the existence of an Amber Alert policy similar to New Jersey's was not available from analysts at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which last conducted an analysis in 2002, a spokeswoman for the conference said. Associated Press on CBS3 New Jersey. More

Antibullying bill clears conference committee
Massachusetts is one of only seven states without a specific law targeting school bullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Boston Globe. More

Vermont to track drug company promotion pay to docs -- others to follow?
"Requiring the reporting of gifts to doctors or creating databases where people can see what companies are doing with their advertising and marketing budgets in their states may reduce the amount of money that a company spends on marketing in that area," said Karmen Hanson, principal of the Cancer, Tobacco, Prescription Drugs and Insurance Issues Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wallet Pop.com. More

States stepping up to limit pre-employment credit checks
So far in 2010, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that lawmakers from 18 other states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation that aims to limit the use of credit information in employment decisions. FoxBusiness.com. More

April 28

Shift in approvals of college tuition hikes on table
While many states are attempting the switch to a high-tuition, high-aid model, there are frequently criticisms that the aid doesn't always match up, said policy analyst Brenda Bautsch with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Low-tuition states . . . have had to play catch-up, in a sense, to get their financial aid levels up to the levels needed to offset tuition costs," Bautsch said. Denver Post. More

Colorado tax funds Medicaid expansion, hospital pay raise
At least 43 states have adopted some version of a hospital or physician tax, according to Dick Cauchi, health program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. American Medical Association News. More

O'Brien students compete in 'Project Citizen'
Some students from O'Brien Middle School are scheduled to be at the Pearson Community Center in North Las Vegas this weekend to compete in the statewide "Project Citizen" event. The program was designed to promote responsible participation in local and state government by teaching students to monitor and influence public policy in their communities. One student portfolio will be selected to represent Nevada at the 2010 National Conference of State Legislatures.Reno Gazette-Journal. More

Rail plans raise hope and doubts
A new fast-rail system will be expensive — about $65 million per mile, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, or $600 billion for a complete, 17,000-mile national network, according to the U.S. High Speed Rail Association. Funding from private investors or governments is hard to come by for even the most commonplace infrastructure, much less one that aims to fundamentally change how Americans get from place to place and whose public benefits are, according to the NCSL, “difficult to predict.” In addition, unlike highways and aviation, “passenger rail has no dedicated federal revenue source or trust fund,” and many states “have limited resources for passenger rail planning and development,” the NCSL said in a recent report. Bond Buyer. More

Pension pains: States cut benefits to skirt massive funding shortfall
Seven states, including Arizona, Illinois and New Jersey, have reformed their pension systems so far this year, and three more -- Michigan, Missouri and California -- are pushing for changes, according to Ron Snell, director of state services at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). WCIV ABC Charleston. More

Who gets to ask the askers?
Of course, the $16 million Council budget is small potatoes compared with the state Legislature's, and a recent analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that the support staff for the General Assembly is the largest in the nation. The 253 state lawmakers employ nearly 3,000 staffers, more than states with much larger populations, like New York, at 2,751, and Texas, with 2,388 staffers.  Opinion in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  More

States lag on high-risk pools
"Everyone is right in the middle of this," said Richard Cauchi, health program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's a very fast-paced process." Congress.org.  More

Moody's Report: States will feel pinch of reform's Medicaid, health care expansions
At a recent Washington meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, state policy-makers worried that the U.S. government had not provided extra staffing money or funds for systems to accommodate the swell of new Medicaid enrollees. Kaiser Health News. More

Prescription drug disposal programs can deter drug abuse, protect our environment
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Maine and 12 other states have enacted or are considering legislation affecting pharmaceutical collection or disposal, according to the Associated Press. The Hill. More

Healthcare could stretch states' budgets: Moody's
At a recent Washington meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, state policy-makers worried that the U.S. government had not provided extra staffing money or funds for systems to accommodate the swell of new Medicaid enrollees. Reuters. More

Eligibility sponsor fears GOP protecting Obama
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma also has pending in a legislative committee a referendum that could be put before voters.  World Net Daily. More

April 27

Deadline looms for states to decide on high-risk pools
Richard Cauchi, health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that the agency promised that states would not be expected to pay for the program. California Health Line. More

Betting on federal aid to balance the budget suddenly looks riskier
Cafero said his "gulp" came last week after the National Conference of State Legislatures sent out an "action alert" policy statement to legislatures across the country. "The attitude has definitely changed," Joy Johnson Wilson, the league's health policy director, said Monday. The Connecticut Mirror. More

States expect revenue rise, though recovery pace slow
“Schools and districts are used to planning for about a 5 or 6 percent increase in their operating budgets every year,” to pay for items such as increased teacher salaries, said Daniel G. Thatcher, an education and fiscal-policy associate at the Denver-based NCSL. Education Week News.More

IN THE STATES: Building Better Lifeboats
Martha King, the health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures, was out in hard-hit California last October leading policymakers through a conversation about health. “We have only so much money,” she told them. “How can do we use that money better to accomplish goals of health?” New America Foundation (blog). More

Idaho has stake in Washington open-records case
The 23 states, which also include Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Colorado and are being led by Ohio, are among a long list of parties who’ve filed supporting briefs on one side or the other in the case, from the American Conservative Union to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Spokesman Review (blog). More

Bill passes making it easier for overseas troops to vote
He said the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Pew Research Center for People and Press reported last year that one-third of states did not allow enough time for overseas voters. The Chattanoogan. More

Senate financial bill action heats up
Representatives from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver, and the Council of State Governments, Lexington, Ky., also signed the letter. National Underwriter Life and Health Insurance News. More

States spar with big insurers over treasury monitor concept
On Friday the leaders of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators wrote a letter also signed by officials of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments to all Senate members urging them to strike a provision to create an Office of National Insurance. National Underwriter Property And Casualty Insurance News. More

April 26

State hopes for more Medicaid aid
"It's dog-eat-dog for funding offsets," said Rachel Morgan, a senior health-policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is pushing hard for the extra Medicaid money for states. "Many states are so sure it will go through, and I am not sure it will. It's in real jeopardy." Columbus Post Dispatch. More

Temporary high-risk insurance pools to start in July
States' fiscal conditions are not expected to improve much in the short term, according to a survey released in March by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although 42 states predict that their fiscal 2011 revenues will increase over fiscal 2010 levels, 38 states expect a combined fiscal 2011 budget shortfall of $89 billion. American Medical News. More

Region girds for swelling Medicaid rolls
"This is a big challenge for states," said Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The Medicaid program has exploded with the recession. This is putting incredible pressure on state budgets." Washington Examiner. More

Supreme Court takes up Wash. case involving disclosure of petition signatures
A brief filed by the National Conference of State Legislatures in support of McKenna's position noted that out of 24 states that allow citizen referendums or initiatives, 23 disclose petition signatures as public records. Seattle Times. More

Snag kept Idaho legislators from passing texting while driving ban
Nineteen states – including Idaho – have no specific laws against texting while driving, though Idaho’s inattentive driving law could cover texting in some cases. Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures. Spokesman Review. More

Boulders placed around Nevada capitol for security
Nevada is among 21 states with Capitol entrance metal detectors and screening devices, according to a new National Conference of State Legislatures study. The AP in KOLO-TV. More

Arizona immigration law signed
Last year, there were a record number of state immigration-related laws enacted (222) and resolutions (131) passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The New York Times in the Omaha World Herald. More

Pennsylvania legislative staff is nation's largest
The numbers are drawn from a 2009 analysis, the latest available, by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Towanda Daily Review. More

New Arizona law throws gauntlet on immigration
Last year, there were a record number of laws enacted (222) and resolutions (131) in 48 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. St. Louis Today. More

Another state considers Arizona eligibility plan
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma also has pending in a legislative committee a referendum that could be put before voters. World News Daily. More

Fla. House green lights red light camera bill
Across the country red light running kills about 750 people and injures 260,000 annually, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. It also reports more than 400 communities nationally use red light cameras. Miami Herald. More

Health overhaul to help millions
The federal legislation didn’t include provisions to deal with health care for illegal immigrants, said Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The AP in the San Angelo Standard-Times. More

FACTBOX-Illegal immigration in the United States
Last year, legislatures in 48 states enacted 222 immigrant-related laws and adopted 131 resolutions. Sources: The National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters. More

What does Arizona's immigration law do?
State laws relating to immigration have increased in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN. More

Arizona enacts stringent law on immigration
Last year, there were a record number of laws enacted (222) and resolutions (131) in 48 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Times. More

Obama calls for immigration reform as Arizona enacts controversial measure
There have been over 1,000 immigration-related measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, introduced just this year, in the 2010 session. There were 1,500 estimated in '09, 1,500 in -- in '08. This is not something that came out of a vacuum. PBS News Hour. More

Arizona governor signs immigration bill, reopening national debate
The legislation makes Arizona the first state to criminalize illegal immigration by defining unlawful presence as trespassing, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Between 2007 and 2009, California, Colorado and Texas considered similar proposals but killed them. "There's a huge concern, and states have been down this path before, where they have been taken to court and that has been very costly. . . . This will be very much a wait-and-see approach," said Ann Morse, director of the NSCL immigration policy project. Washington Post. More

April 23

Insurer enacts reform early
In Illinois, the age limit is 26, but dependent children who are military veterans can stay on their parents’ plan until they are 30 years old, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Quad City Times. More

Internet voting hits West Virginia
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states now offer some form of early voting. Opinion in the Daily Mail. More

Official says governor needs more time to make decision on high-risk pools
Joy Johnson Wilson, the health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, talked about the high-risk pools when she testified Thursday in front of a House committee tasked with overseeing health insurance changes. She agreed with Suehs that states would be challenged by the April 30 deadline."Right now, everybody's not sure what they want to do because they don't have enough information," she said. Austin Statesman. More

Texas house tackles health care reform
Joy Johnson Wilson is the health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said she hopes Congress will be willing to extend some of the scheduled deadlines. "With the deadlines coming so quickly, and a lot of states already adjourned, it doesn't work well for us, she said. "For biennial states, it's even more of a problem." News 8 Austin. More

Official says law will cut roll of uninsured Texans
The federal legislation didn't include provisions to deal with health care for illegal immigrants, said Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Assoicated Press in the Houston Chronicle. More

Medicaid uncertainty leaves Va. legislators anxious
The bill that carries the $25 billion extension of the stimulus' Medicaid benefits -- while approved in both the U.S. House and Senate -- has been bogged down by the need to match the new spending with offsetting cuts, said Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Examiner. More

State agencies slow to implement health care rules without federal guidance
Joy Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislatures has been traveling the country advising states on how to comply with the law. The law allows states to set up alternatives to insurance exchanges; she said there just aren't clear rules explaining how to do that.  "We have to wait and see if some states try and how far they get in the process - right now we don't have a process in place,” Wilson said. KVUE-TV. More

Florida among states already allowing young adults to stay on parents' health insurance
What wasn’t noted to the public is that 30 states already require coverage inclusion for young adults, usually up to age 25 when employment coverage is not available. That’s according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Marco Eagle News. More

Is there a better way to spend anti-crime $$$?
The result: average length of stay behind bars increased, and prisons took up a larger share of state expenditures. The National Conference of State Legislatures says such expenditures now amount to an average of six percent of state spending, or $36 billion each year nationally. The Crime Report. More

SC lawmakers debate yanking licenses for dropouts
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 20 states have passed similar laws. WCSC-TV and WLTX-TV. More and More

Cash-strapped Kansas legislators look at raising 'sin taxes'
About 30 states are considering measures to raise taxes on tobacco products and cigarettes, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eagle Topeka. More

Kansas lawmakers eye ‘sin’ tax hikes
More than two-dozen states are looking at bills to increase tobacco taxes, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures survey. NACS Online. More

Valley reps appointed to national homeland security taskforce
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus appointed state Reps. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, and Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, to the National Conference of State Legislators’ Task Force on Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The Montior. More

SC lawmakers debate yanking licenses for dropouts
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 20 states have passed similar laws. The Associated Press in WMBF-TV. More

Federal officials seek input from states on health reform
State legislators and health policy stakeholders, looking for insight into how national health reform will unfold in their states, got two messages loud and clear last week at the National Conference of State Legislators Spring Forum: Federal leaders aren't exactly sure yet how everything's going to work, and they welcome all the help they can get. California Health Line. More

Too young to tan?
At least 31 states, including Florida, now have some regulation over the use of tanning facilities by minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ocala. More

April 22

Lawmakers debate yanking licenses for dropouts
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have passed similar laws. The State. More

Voters may be asked to expand gambling to aid universities
With higher education funding facing cuts in 42 states, only Colorado is considering an expansion of gambling this year, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Instead, states are imposing unprecedented tuition hikes across the country, said NCSL education policy specialist Brenda Bautsch, pointing to up to 20 percent increases in both Arizona and California. Denver Post. More

Tea Party activists forcing change through ballot initiatives
What's known for sure is that the National Conference of State Legislatures says that more than 70 measures have already qualified for November and another 21 will appear in primary and special elections, and it's a safe bet that a fair percentage of these, like those in Washington and Idaho, have clear Tea Party origins. New Jersey Newsroom. More

S.C. bill would take license from school dropouts
Louisiana's law requiring school attendance for a license was repealed in 1997, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It was unclear why. Associated Press in the Times and Democrat. More

April 21

New money-making idea fors tate: iTax
Since 2007, 19 states have imposed similar download taxes, including Indiana, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Kentucky, Mississippi and Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Sun Times. More

Will others follow Arizona's lead on immigration?
Whether Arizona becomes the standard-bearer on illegal immigration depends on the fate of the legislation, said Ann Morse, the program director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigrant Policy Project."Certainly states will look at it, but not in a rush," she said. With court challenges promised from opponents, states will be watching to see if the legislation is deemed constitutional and if it's costly, Morse said. CNN.com.  More

Georgia malpractice suit results in $1.5M award after cap overturned
As of 2005, ten states had capped recoveries specifically on medical malpractice cases and another 22 had imposed caps on all injury suits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AboutLawsuits.com. More

Hoppy's commentary For Wednesday
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states now offer some form of early voting. West Virginia Metro News. More

Bill to legalize medical marijuana in Tenn. deferred for another week
But in 1996, California became the first state to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 14 more states have enacted similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Kingsport Times News. More

Cash-poor states betting gaming will help fill empty treasuries
State legislatures are mulling 20 major gambling proposals, says Dylan Engberg, research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "All the states that have gambling legislation are facing a budget gap," he said.
Investors Business Daily. More

Canada's fiscal advantage
New figures released by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Washington-based organization that provides research for the 50 U.S. state legislatures, shows just how bad the fiscal situation is for U.S. states and the Obama administration. CBC.com. More

Excerpts from recent Iowa editorials
Just because taxpayers can see what's going on in Illinois state spending doesn't mean they'll like what they see. Spending still exceeds revenue. The National Conference of State Legislatures ranked the top anticipated state budget gaps. Guess who's leading the way? Illinois. Associated Press in WCCO.com.  More

Elected officials support provides hope to public safety's D Block effort
But last week, this effort received a big boost when the “Big Seven” state and local governmental organizations — the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association — issued a letter asking for D Block reallocation for public safety. Urgent Communications. More

States are cracking down on indoor tanning practices
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states regulate indoor tanning salons, such as by banning tanning among people younger than 14 or requiring parental permission for people younger than 18. Los Angeles Times. More

April 20

Georgia Supreme Court overturns malpractice cap
According to NCSL, 30 states have caps on damages in malpractice cases.Clinical Advisor. More

Tribal energy dollars increase with changes
Tribal economic development possibilities brought attendees from a number of stakeholders, including ... NCSL. Indian Country Today. More

Colo. pushes natural gas to cut plant emissions
Three other states have passed laws to reduce carbon emissions — California, Washington and Massachusetts — that effectively prohibit any traditional power plants from being built, said Glen Andersen of NCSL. The Associated Press. More

Health care bill will be bad for Ohio
According to estimates released by the National Governors Association and NCSL, Ohio may have to provide an additional $350  million in Medicaid payments beginning in 2017 through 2019 under the health care overhaul. Hillsboro Times Gazette. More

Views conflict on medical suits
Thirty states impose caps on jury awards in malpractice cases, according to NCSL. Chattanooga Times Free Press in Leagle.com. More

We can actually learn from Illinois state government
NCSL ranked the top anticipated state budget gaps. Guess who's leading the way? Opinion in Dubuque Telegraph Herald. More

Tax Day rhetoric aside, Americans' bills lower
In all, states increased personal income taxes by $11.4 billion, according to NCSL. AP in Seacoastonline.com. More

April 19

Budget cutters target Mo. pensions
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 18 states made similar changes in the last five years, scaling back pensions but preserving the "defined benefit" nature of their retirement plans. St. Louis Today.com. More

State police stances puzzle some legislators
Still, 2009 figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that more than 30 states have speed limits of at least 70 mph on some highways. Roanoke Times. More

Bill would take licenses from school dropouts
At least 20 states have passed similar laws, including neighboring Georgia and North Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Aiken Standard and in the State. More and More

Health reform reality: Forecast for uninsured includes familiar faces
At least 30 states have adopted legislation extending dependents' insurance eligibility, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AMEDNews. More

S.L. County: Key lawmaker wants to split it four ways
"The 2nd District is an urban-rural mix and I think I like how that has played out," said Clark, a past chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures' redistricting committee. Salt Lake Tribune. More

Think 'sexting' makes parents uncomfortable? Try legislators
Last year, Nebraska, Utah and Vermont enacted legislation relating to sexting by minors, according to Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Other states passed legislation relating to the use of text messaging to send explicit materials or to solicit children as well as to close loopholes in state laws or to change penalties, she added. Opinion in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. More

How young adults can get health care
For more details on your state's laws, go to the National Conference of State Legislatures' Web site at ncsl.org (click on "Issues & Research" tab, then "Health" and then "Access"). Chicago Tribune. More

Springtime in the Rockies
The fact: Not even close. State tax increases of all kinds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, total $28.6 billion — less than one-sixth the size of the cutsat the federal level. Opinion in the Great Falls Tribune. More

Aguilar a new member of Humanities Council
A member of the Hispanic Conference of State Legislators, he was on the National Conference of State Legislatures Immigration Task Force and was vice president of the NCSL’s Committee on Health and Human Services. Grand Island Independent. More

As prepaid grows, states start to impose prepaid 911 fees
As such, CTIA has been working with the National Conference of State Legislatures to develop model legislation about how to best levy 911 fees on prepaid services. RCR Wireless. More

US judge won't ask Nebraska Supreme Court to review law
At least 30 states have passed legislation in an effort to comply with the law and many others are studying it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Associated Press in the Journal Star. More

State, local governments join call for allocation of D Block to public safety
The organizations signing the letters are the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association. Fire Engineering. More

Stimulus does poor job plugging budget holes
Those revenue declines have slowed and are poised to resume growing soon according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal Blog. More

April 16

Tax day likely more bust than boom for US states
"If April turns out to be worse than projections, that raises the level of concern over revenue performance going into the next fiscal year," said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst at the NCSL. Money Control. More

Federal officials seek input from states on health reform
Joy Wilson, health policy director for NCSL, said the new law is complex and far-reaching and "it's going to take a while for it all to shake out. It's like a really long math problem. We in Washington are working through all this, and we're still getting different answers." California Healthline. More

Worst expected state budget gaps
In the most recent state budget report from the NCSL, the highest estimates for the 2011 budget gap demonstrate how bad the situation could get in the coming year. CNBC. More

Early voting in N.C. steady on first day
About two-thirds of the states, or 32, provide some version of early voting, reports NCSL. WXII 12. More

Nev. Capitol grounds security buoyed with array of big, ugly boulders
Nevada is the 21st state that has installed metal detectors and screening devices at its Capitol entrance, according to a new NCSL study. Las Vegas Review-Journal. More

A day to talk taxes
Earlier this week, NCSL called the revenue drop-offs the “principal cause” for state budget woes this fiscal year. Stateline.org More

State tax revenue stabilize in 2010
A separate report released Wednesday by NCSL showed that 42 states project their revenues will grow in the fiscal year that ends in June 2011. Blog in Wall Street Journal. More

Wyss rewarded for security expertise with task-force selection
He’s currently chair of the Indiana Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs and co-chair of the Homeland Security and Preparedness Task Force for NCSL. The News-Sentinel. More

Check your state law before credit-checking your employees
According to NCSL, Illinois and New York are just two of at least 19 states across the country that are considering legislation to ban or limit credit checks on job applicants. Lexology. More

April 15

Revenue picture brightens a bit for states, but budget gaps are looming
The deep declines in tax receipts that have hammered states over the past year are slowing, but they face budget gaps for at least the next two years—in large part because federal aid is going away, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wall Street Journal. More

Arizona endorses immigration curbs
Since an effort to overhaul federal immigration law collapsed in 2007, immigration-related bills in the states have surged, with more immigration bills than ever posted last year, including efforts to restrict public services and encouraging more local police cooperation with federal authorities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Times. More

More pain coming: State budget gap is $89 billion
States will have to find a way to close an $89 billion budget gap before their 2011 fiscal year begins in July, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures released Wednesday. CNN Money. More

Focus on red-light cameras
Nationally, red-light running kills about 750 people each year and injured 260,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Opinion in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  More

U.S. Congress and Arizona deliver one-two punch to immigrants
In 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state governments considered and enacted record levels of immigrant-related legislation, with 222 laws enacted and 131 resolutions adopted in 48 states. Arizona adopted nine immigration laws. Huffington Post. More

Tax Day rhetoric aside, Americans' bills are lower
In all, states increased personal income taxes by $11.4 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They increased sales taxes by $7.2 billion and business taxes by $2 billion. Associated Press.  More

State officials urge Congress to reject D-block auction
The letter was signed by the NGA as well as the Council of State Governments, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National Conference of State Legislatures, National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. National Journal. More

Arizona expected to pass anti-illegal immigrant law
Since an effort to overhaul federal immigration law collapsed in 2007, immigration-related bills in the states have surged, with more immigration bills than ever posted last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cleveland Plain Dealer. More

Tax day likely more bust than boom for U.S. states
Still, 25 states reported personal income taxes were below targets for the first eight months of fiscal 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on Wednesday. Reuters.  More

Health reform’s expansion of coverage for dependents could be more effective than similar state efforts 
Approximately 13 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 are uninsured — that accounts for about 30% of all people who fall into this age bracket, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Atlantic Information Services. More

Ariz. close to tougher immigration law
Since an effort to reform federal immigration law collapsed in 2007, immigration-related bills in the states have surged, with more immigration bills than ever posted last year, ranging from efforts to restrict public services to encouraging more local police cooperation with federal authorities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. MSNBC.com. More

Welcome to the state we're in, part 2
The State We're In includes an article by Edward Smith of the National Conference of State Legislatures that was originally published in State Legislatures magazine. Nonprofit Quarterly. More

Senate approves ban on sending text messages while driving
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 19 states and Washington D-C ban all texting by drivers.
Pierce County Herald. More

 

April 14

Viewpoints: Waxman inquisition over new health law drips of hypocrisy
California led the nation in tax hikes in 2009 with $11 billion in new taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sacramento Bee. More

Medical marijuana bill deferred in committee
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, making that state the first in the union to allow for the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 14 more states have enacted similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Kingsport Times News. More

States examine role in health reform implementation, worry over scams
"Because the U.S. Congress used a maneuver known as 'reconciliation' to pass the final healthcare bill, it could not change dates included in the original draft from months ago, Mann told a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Medical News Today. More

Reform bill to help youth
Approximately 30 percent of young adults aged 19 to 29 are uninsured, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They make up 13 million of the 47 million uninsured Americans today. The State Hornet.  More

State Senate adopts ban on texting while driving
Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., ban all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. More

Utah House speaker pushes feds for health reform flexibility
"They were open and receptive," said the Santa Clara Republican. "It was an opportunity for us to express why there should be some flexibility among states going forward." Clark held similar discussions with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the conservative Heritage Foundation and the World Health Care Congress.  Salt Lake Tribune.  More

Kentucky lawmakers announce revised guidelines to cut travel costs
The Courier-Journal reported last year that 17 of the nearly 50 lawmakers who attended the National Conference of State Legislatures' July convention in Philadelphia were paid salary for seven days — a total of $1,307.11 apiece. Louisville Courier Journal.  More

Idaho lawmaker to propose medical marijuana law
In state legislatures nationwide, there are about 100 bills related to medical marijuana, including measures to create or update existing programs, said Karmen Hanson, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's a little higher than what we generally see, but I'd say a lot of states are looking at it given budget concerns," Hanson said, noting that some states have considered taxing it to generate revenue. Idaho Statesman. More  

April 13

La. House stalls red-light bill
More than 40 towns and municipalities use cameras to enforce speed laws, according to NCSL. AP in The Advertiser. More

Health care reform 'baton' passes to states
Because the U.S. Congress used a maneuver known as "reconciliation" to pass the final healthcare bill, it could not change dates included in the original draft from months ago, Mann told a meeting of NCSL. The Washington Post. More

Wis. Senate to take up texting while driving ban
Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., ban all drivers from texting behind the wheel, according to NCSL. The Journal Sentinel. More

Credit monitoring of compromised data
Fifteen additional states are considering bills to ban credit checks on most job applicants, according to a Mar. 1 story by the Associated Press that attributed the information to NCSL. Business Week on MSNBC. More

PR guv submits bill to slash legislature's size
Only full-time lawmakers in California, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania have higher base salaries than Puerto Rico's legislators get, according to a 2010 compensation chart provided by NCSL. The Associated Press. More

Lawmakers take a look at red-light traffic cameras
More than 400 communities around the country are using red-light traffic cameras, according to NCSL. AP in Miami Herald. More

The nullification crisis, coming to a state near you
NCSL reports that “members of at least 39 state legislatures have proposed legislation” which, in one way or another, is aimed at stopping Obamacare in its tracks. Human Events.com. More

Lawmakers take the flight controls
More than 200 state legislators and staff from across the nation came together for a reception following NCSL's 2010 Spring Forum to find out more about the excitement, utility, and economic importance of general aviation. AOPA Online. More
 

April 12

Medical tax getting look from NC lawmakers
The concept isn't entirely new in North Carolina, one of 44 states that have at least one kind of Medicaid-related provider tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Business Week. More

The problem of bullying
Massachusetts is one of only seven states without a specific law targeting school bullying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Opinion in the Benton Courier. More

Many states raise taxes to fill budget holes
Of those, Wisconsin's tax increases for 2010 were by far the largest in the Great Lakes and Plains states - and only six states nationally enacted bigger increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Journal Sentinel. More

Health reform may alter high-risk pools
"The clock is ticking very quickly. It's not even a clock. It's a race to a deadline," said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "In practical terms, many states are not going to be able to make formal or permanent changes to their current programs." San Francisco Chronicle. More

Kansas' budget tightrope; N.H. takes on health care
This weekend, state lawmakers from around the country are in Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures. NPR. More and More on WBUR

Red light traffic cameras under fire
Eight states have made the cameras illegal and Louisiana is one of six states where debates are going on this year, said Anne Teigen, policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. The Advocate. More

Leading lawmakers ask lobbyists to help fund convention
“Typically the fundraising goes to pay for social events, the guest and spouse program, provide for transportation, and take care of any convention center costs,” Rose said. Courier-Journal. More

Wisconsin committee approves raw milk bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while, the sale of raw milk is not permitted by the federal government, states can adopt laws allowing its sale without crossing state lines. Visti Bulgaria.com. More

April 9

What's wrong with pong?
South Carolina was the first to have a statute on the books, dating back to 1976, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Now. More

Looking a $20 million gift horse in the mouth
Ten years ago, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures created the Streamlined Sales Tax compact. St. Louis Today. More

Voters deserve clear, unbiased ballot initiatives
The National Conference of State Legislatures reiterated the impact of an unbiased title and summary. Opinion in Town Hall.com More

Options for reining in corporate election cash
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and Common Cause provide a breakdown of public financing provisions in the states. Blog in Progressive States Network. More

Tide turning in Minn. on four-day week
Koepp concluded there “is not a lot of hard, scientific evidence, but 35 years of anecdotal evidence.” I agree after reading a 2008 report from NCSL. Editorial in the Lake County News Chronicle. More

Young adults, teens forming political action committees
In at least 8 states such programs are illegal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Blog Open Secrets.com. More

April 8

 

The Raleigh Report
The information below is provided by NCSL, a national, bipartisan organization that provides information, resources and technical assistance to lawmakers and their staffs in all 50 states. The Macon News. More

General Assembly bills could impact election officials
According to NCSL's Web site, for a first-time offender in Maryland convicted of theft or an infamous crime, other than buying or selling votes, the right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of a sentence, including any probation or parole. Cumberland Times-News. More

Graham helps select replacement
Illinois is one of 18 states in which a legislator may not hold a second state level elected office but allows the legislator to hold a second county or municipal office if those offices are not "incompatible," according to a study conducted in 2007 by NCSL. Austin Weekly News. More

Utah launches clean trucking initiative
Engines that idle for a long time cost the trucking industry more than $2.5 billion a year in fuel and engine repairs, according to NCSL. AP in standard.net. More

Campaign finance board weighs post-Citizens United rules
According to NCSL, in addition to Minnesota, the other states that are considering altering their disclosure laws are Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. Politics in Minnesota. More

April 7

Cameras cut speeding, but raise drivers’ ire
Anne Teigen, a transportation policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the trend to add enforcement cameras continues to grow nationwide. “Cameras have gone from red lights and speed, and they have now expanded to school zones, railroad crossings and toll roads,” Teigen said. Issaquah Press.com. More

Census means votes later -- and cash now
"A court-drawn plan in Texas is going to be far better for Democrats than the one they've got now or the Republican-drawn plan," says Tim Storey, who tracks redistricting and the Census for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Salon.com. More

Georgia House approves bill targeting slowpokes
At least 20 states have similar left-lane restriction rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In recent months, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas have enacted laws to limit left-lane use. Land Line Magazine.  More

Assessment proposed for Arizona jobless benefits
Arizona is among 33 states that as of late March had borrowed a total of $38.2 billion from the federal government to help pay for unemployment benefits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press.  More

Tax increases slated for Arizona
Arizona currently has a budget deficit of $3.5 billion, the worst in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That deficit represents 24.2 percent of the state's general fund, outpacing second-worst New York by 20 percent. Convenience Store News. More

Utah big rigs to cut emissions
Long engine idling costs the trucking industry more than $2.5 billion a year in fuel and engine repairs, and releases 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Salt Lake Tribune.  More

EDITORIAL: Want to be a legislator? You probably can't afford it
There are two Latinos in the House, but the National Conference of State Legislatures classifies Idaho’s Legislature as 100 percent Caucasian. Twin Falls Times-News. More

 

April 6

Tax plan eyes beer, candy
State taxes on alcoholic beverages increased by $193 million in 2009, according to NCSL. The Olympian. More

All amicus briefs are now filed in U.S. Supreme Court for Doe v. Reed
The brief of NCSL, footnote 8, refers the reader to a New York Times story of October 14, 2004, titled “Court Strikes Nader from Pennsylvania Ballot.” Ballot Access News. More

Calif. eyes fee hike to file ballot initiatives
Alaska, Mississippi, Ohio, Washington and Wyoming charge citizens between $5 to $500 to submit an initiative on the ballot, according to NCSL. Associated Press. More

Possible redistricting lights up state races' fundraising
"There's little doubt there will be more money spent on legislative races this year than ever," says NCSL's Tim Storey. USA Today in APP.com. More

Undoing the damage, too late
California was the leader of all states in raising taxes in 2009, according to a survey by NCSL. Editorial in VV Daily Press. More

Fixing the count is easier and more necessary than it sounds
For some citations, see the fact sheet about the authority of states and counties to correct what they see as Census Bureau flaws recently distributed by Brenda Wright of Demos and myself at the recent NCSL Redistricting Law Seminar. Blog in Prisoners of the Census. More

April 5

Big revenue gap awaits lawmakers next session
Iowa is far from alone in using one-time funding sources. Nearly every state has done that in recent years, said Todd Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Des Moines Register. More

Schools face mounting pension crisis
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing March 17 on the pension problems, taking comment from Ron Snell of the National Conference of State Legislatures on the status of public pension plans across the nation. Indiana Gazette. More

Members of Congress text and tweet about official business and their daily lives on the floor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about half of state legislatures have no rules prohibiting electronic device use on the floor. Some states, such as Hawaii, require cell phones to be in silent mode. In other states, including Massachusetts and California, the use of cell phones is prohibited. Kansas City Info Zine. More

Elections-reform bill in the offing
Seventeen other states are considering same-day registration bills this year and four have rejected such provisions, according to Tom Intorcio, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Post. More

ID theft recovery remains struggle
Still, it can be difficult for state laws to keep pace with electronic identity theft's constant evolution, said Pam Greenberg, who tracks technology and Internet issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's always a game of keeping one step ahead of whatever new scheme is created," Greenberg said. Tennessean. More

States mount challenges to health reform law
"It's not as if states are moving in lockstep direction," says Richard Cauchi, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The one thing that is clear is that by the end of May we'll know more, because there will only be a dozen states still in session." PBS NewsHour. More

April 2

Ban on texting while driving may finally roll into law
According to Anne Teigen, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures, similar legislation died in South Dakota this year. Tuscon Weekly. More

GE Capital, Microsoft join forces On new financing for SLED
According to state government watchers like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Conference of State Legislatures, as many as 41 U.S. states will end FY 2010 -- which began on July 1, 2009 in most cases -- with new budget gaps and even bigger shortfalls than previously thought. Channel Web. More

Pay raised in Hawaii special
Hawaii's state lawmakers have higher salaries than the members of any other part-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico. More

No. 1 in all the wrong ways
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that combined, the states increased taxes by $28.6 billion. Of that amount, California alone accounted for $12 billion. Opinion in the ong Beach Press-Telegram. More

April 1

City speed cameras cut number of violations
Anne Teigen, a transportation policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the trend to add enforcement cameras continues to grow nationwide. “Cameras have gone from red lights and speed, and they have now expanded to school zones, railroad crossings and toll roads,” Teigen said. Issaquah Press. More

Crowley, Maloney praise jobs bill passed by house
The fund is supported by the National Governors’ Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Association of Counties. The Queens Gazette. More

Florida lawmakers try to pull the plug on teen 'sexting'
This year, at least 15 state legislatures are considering measures to deal with sexting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Associated Press in the Marcon News. More

Let’s put an end to tax tyranny
They don’t need to see the new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures to tell them that last year’s tax increase was the highest percentage increase—more than 10 percent—of any of the 24 states that raised taxes in 2009. Opinion in the Metropolitan News-Empire. More

Editorial: California still No. 1, in raising taxes
Sadder yet, California again distinguished itself as No. 1 among all states in raising taxes in 2009, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Opinion in the Orange County Register. More

Web slurs target suicide victim
More than 15 states have laws making cyberbullying a crime or making it easier to investigate or prosecute, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WPTV. More

Ah, the free market
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported a 10-year, 231 percent increase in family insurance premiums from 1999 to 2009.Opinion in the Salt Lake Tribune. More

 

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