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NCSL in the News April 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: April 2012

April 30

NC legislators try paperless chambers
At least half the states in the country have had specific projects to reduce paper use at their legislatures, and more than 40 states buy computers for lawmakers to use on chamber floors, said Pam Greenberg with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Assocatied Press in WAVY-TV

Job Front: Social media privacy bills advance in Sacramento
Along with California, lawmakers in another eight states – Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and Washington – have filed or are reviewing bills barring employers' access to applicants' and employees' social media accounts, according to the
National Conference of State Legislatures. Sacramento Bee

Lawmakers mix work with fundraising in Sacramento
Many of the bans in other states were put in place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue nationwide. San Francisco Chronicle

Term limit talk prominent in campaigns
Talk of term limits nationwide died down 10 years ago, said Karl Kurtz, a political scientist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cincinnati.com

Historic recall
The National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org) reports that three-quarters of recall elections occur at the city council, or school board level. Governors Journal

Close the online tax loophole
Each year, it is estimated that Massachusetts loses $335 million in uncollected sales tax revenue according to a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) study. Opinion in the Metro West Daily News in Wicked Local

Term limits become popular topic in state and congressional races
There are 15 states currently with term limits for their state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They range from six years to 12 years. Some only limit
consecutive years served while others only allow a certain number of years lifetime. Cincinnati.com blog

Legislature considers replacing some laptops with iPads
outh Dakota isn’t alone in considering iPads for legislators. Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures said a majority of legislatures buy or lease laptops for their members. She said at least seven states have pilot programs to provide iPads to members. Rapid City Journal

Ron Paul says 40,000 new laws were "put on the books" on the first day of 2011
A quick Google search led us to the likely basis of such a figure. In a Dec. 27, 2011, press release, the National Conference of State Legislatures said U.S. states and territories passed
more than 40,000 bills and resolutions into law in 2011. Yet, the release also said, laws do not always take effect at the start of a year. Politifact

For Legislators, the breaks are long; the voting calendar short
New Hampshire, which is one of the nation's smallest states, has, at 424 members, has the largest state Legislature in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Blog in the Morning Call

New ID law poses few problems for Schuylkill County's voters
Signed into law March 14, Pennsylvania is one of 16 states that will require photo identification before voting while an addition 16 states require identification, but no photo, according to the
National Conference of State Legislature. Republican Herald

April 27

Red-meat ballot initiatives MIA
Ballot initiatives can increase voter turnout by a couple of points, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Jennie Drage Bowser. “The tie between turnout and a ballot measure is clear,” Drage Bowser said. “The more controversial the better.” Politico

Illegal immigrant tuition bill fails in Colorado
Thirteen states — including Texas, California, Illinois, Connecticut and Utah— have passed legislation granting in-state tuition for immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Aurora Sentinel

Featherstone contributions top $100,000
Oregon is one of only four states with no limits on political contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group. East Oregonian

Nebraska decision on prenatal care bittersweet victory for women
For every $1 invested in prenatal care, states save between $1.70 and $3.38, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New America Media

Area schools preparing for Concussion Awareness Act
Effective July 1, the state of Nebraska will require all coaches of youth sports to take a training course regarding concussions and other brain injuries under the Concussion Awareness Act, joining 38 other states that have enacted similar legislation, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sidney Sun Telegraph

'I love representing Beverly'
He secured $50,000 to fix up the GAR Hall in Beverly as part of the $32 billion state budget the House passed Wednesday night, and leadership has asked him to be the Massachusetts representative to the National Conference of State Legislatures' Military and Veterans Affairs spring meeting in Denver. The Salem News

Resident exploring recall election, but target unclear
The petition also needs to contain a general statement of the grounds for which the removal is sought, according to the charter. However, no specific grounds are required for the recall process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Cumberland Times-News

April 26

Other states watch for Arizona immigration ruling
"Every state is dealing with immigration," said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Special requests for the Farm Bill
The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, and to oppose any amendments that would increase costs for states. National Journal

Bills to lower tuition costs for illegal immigrants are rejected in 2 states
A dozen states currently have laws allowing immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chronicle of Higher Education

Senate passes parent grading proposal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah passed legislation this year that creates an online survey where parents can evaluate their own involvement, but the school does not assign them a grade and it's voluntary. WBIR-TV

April 25

A better states’ welcome for immigrants (Opinion)
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in December that in the first 11 months of 2011 about 1,600 bills and resolutions related to immigration were introduced in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, and more than 250 of those were enacted. Washington Post

Few reports of problems with RI's new voter ID law
Thirty states now plan to require voters to show some form of identification at the polls in this November's election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Boston Globe

High court to take on Arizona's immigration law
In the first half of 2011, legislatures in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have introduced a record number of bills or resolutions relating to immigrants or refugees, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. WDSU New Orleans

Our View: Legislature shouldn't be cowed by governor's threatened veto of any tax increase
The state tax on cigarettes is 42.5 cents per pack, the fifth lowest among the 50 states as of Nov. 17, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median state tax -- half the states are higher and half are lower -- was $1.29 per pack. al.com (blog)

More than good enough for government work
According to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, “From 2009 through 2011, 43 states enacted major changes in state retirement plans for broad categories of public employees and teachers to address long-term funding issues.” The American

Detroit judge defends nude text: 'I've got no shame in my game'
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan has yet to enact any law or legislation regarding the transmission of nude or "indecent" photos via cell phones (i.e. sexting). The Grio

New Jersey wants your unused gift card balances, so start spending!
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about half of states have laws that give them authority to claim all or a portion of unused gift cards or gift certificates, usually after three to five years of inactivity, writes Sandra Block for USA Today. newjerseynewsroom.com

Senate Judiciary Committee takes up Arizona 1070 law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 30 states introduced SB1070 copycat bills in 2011. Tucson Citizen

April 24

Nevada, Amazon.com agree to deal to collect sales tax
Consumers may not want to pay more, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states lose $23 billion a year from untaxed online purchases. KLAS-TV Las Vegas

Spend those gift cards, especially if you live in New Jersey
About half of states have laws that give them the authority to claim all or a portion of unused gift cards or gift certificates, usually after three to five years of inactivity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Immigrant tuition bill moves on in Colo. House
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.AP/Denver Post

The legacy of SB 1070: Three ways it changed the immigration landscape
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported late last year that in 2011, there were 1,607 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees introduced in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, up from a little more than 1,400 in 2010. Bolstered by the relative success of SB 1070, immigration restriction-minded legislators in many states banded together to introduce new crackdowns. 89.3 KPCC

Alabama Legislature 2012: Panel to review cigarette tax plans
Alabama' current state cigarette tax of 42.5 cents per pack was the fifth lowest among the 50 states as of Nov. 17, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The median state tax was $1.29 per pack. al.com (blog)

April 23

RI readies for statewide test of voter ID law
Thirty states now plan to require voters to show some form of identification at the polls in this November’s election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Boston Globe

Health reform law poses quandary for states
Joy Johnson Wilson, who heads health policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said a few states mentioned the possibility of a special session a couple of months ago, but they haven’t said much about it since. “I’m surprised that anybody even mentioned it,” Wilson said, adding that special sessions are especially rare in an election year. Politico

Helmetless motorcyclists cheer rule’s end
As for motorcycle crash-helmets, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Washington state lawmakers are weighing whether to ease laws requiring them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bloomberg

Redefining beauty, W.Va. needs to take a stand against tanning
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is currently the only state that bans usage for those 18 years and younger though, at least 31 states place some sort of limitation on usage by minors. For example, many states have ruled out the use of such facilities for those 14 years of age and younger, while others only allow usage with parental consent. Editorial in The Parthenon

Immigration law, politics see wave of change in 2 years
The laws passed in five states: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. All have been partially or wholly blocked by the courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.This year, lawmakers in Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, West Virginia and Tennessee introduced similar bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some have failed; others are pending. Arizona Republic News

Echoes of Trayvon Martin in Wisconsin shooting
Over the past decade nearly 20 states have enacted "stand your ground" laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minneapolis Star Tribue

Power idle no longer
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 44 states today have line-item vetoes. Kennebec Journal

Md. becomes first state to pass bill outlawing password requests by employers
Seven other states have introduced legislation to limit employer access to social media user names and passwords, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maryland is poised to become the first state to make it a law. Washington Post and IT World

Christie signs legislation to curb aggressive drivers
Anne Teigen, who has tracked aggressive-driving legislation for the last six years for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said New Jersey's was the only law she knew of that deals with road rage through an assault-by-auto statute. Eleven states have separate aggressive-driving laws, she said. Associated Press in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Health exchange special sessions could be called
Joy Wilson, senior health policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), said it is possible states will explore special sessions if the law stands, but considering the timetable, legislatures would need an already firm idea of what the exchange would look like. A Jan. 1, 2013, deadline, by which states must receive at least conditional approval from the
federal government for state-run exchanges, doesn’t leave much time for states that have decided to wait. “It’s not typical for a state to have a special session after an election, but this is
an extraordinary thing,” Wilson said. “If they had already done the planning, they could probably pull it off. But if they hadn’t, I don’t see how they could.” Governing

Nearly 60 new charter schools could open this fall in Ohio
Decisions about how to cap or expand the number of charter schools are really important, the National Conference of State Legislatures says, because they show a state’s approach to charter schools: whether to limit them or to encourage their growth. NPR's State Impact

April 20

Maryland the first state to pass bill protecting passwords
While the Maryland legislation is the first of its kind, lawmakers in at least seven other states have introduced legislation to limit employer access to social media user names and passwords, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Tribune and Politico

House rejects Capitol restoration bill by 1 vote
Minnesota's Capitol, built in 1905, is one of just a few its age that hasn't undergone a full-scale renovation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Repairs to the building have been piecemeal, and several past restoration initiatives never fully took off. AP in the Seattle Post Intelligencer

Maryland not alone in budget drama
The budget process in any state is one of the most politicized battles lawmakers face, and the recession only has exacerbated the issue by increasing the size of the budget gaps, said Todd
Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Gazette

Controversial policy group casts long K-12 shadow
Besides California, where the parent trigger originated, and Connecticut, which passed a law in early 2010, five states had passed parent-trigger laws in various forms between January 2011, when ALEC approved model parent-trigger legislation, and February of this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 20 have considered such laws. (Louisiana subsequently adopted a parent-trigger in this month.) Education Weekly

State revenues rise to pre-recession levels
Falling tax revenues ripped holes in the budgets of US states , culminating in collective gaps of $174bn in fiscal year 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a
bipartisan research group. Fiscal Times

Guest column: The need for fair taxation
A study by the University of Tennessee shows that states have lost more than $52 billion during the past six years from untaxed online purchases, while the National Conference of State
Legislatures predicts that states could lose $23 billion this year alone. Cincinnati News

April 19

CEO of federal bank describes interest rate policy
According to the National Employment Update released by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the national unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.2 percent in March, from February’s 8.3 percent unemployment rate. Still, there are players in the recession-weakened economy.  Utah Statesman

Reformers: Sex offender mandate would hurt Illinois
The National Conference of State Legislatures says only 15 states have implemented the law, and many states continue to struggle with issues the law would create, such as in-person registration requirements, the length of time juveniles would stay on the registry, and retroactive punishment for offenders already serving their sentences.  Illinois Times

NY bill targets theft of family pets; felony charge possible
The ASPCA, the National Conference of Legislatures and the Animal Legal and Historical Web Center at the Michigan State University College of Law didn't immediately know Wednesday of any state that has gone as far as the New York proposal.  Utica Observer Dispatch/AP

Governor signs parental involvement legislation
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation is similar to a proposal passed in Michigan in 2001.  The Leaf Chronicle/AP

Aiming to outlaw government revenue bounty hunters
In August 2011, a National Conference of State Legislatures task force passed a resolution opposing certain contingent-fee based auditing practices. The resolution is awaiting full NCSL consideration in 2012.  Michigan Capitol Confidential

Brewer vetoes bill allowing guns in buildings
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have similar gun laws to what Arizona lawmakers had proposed.  Real Clear Politics

Is think tank a font of ideas for Iowa Legislature, or a shadowy partisan?
It’s a policy development organization that claims to be nonpartisan and charges membership dues paid by states on lawmakers’ behalf. That’s similar to groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, to which all U.S. state legislatures belong and which provides research and data on numerous public policy issues.  Opinion in the Des Moines Register

California’s court-developed Stand Your Ground law
The WSJ lists its sources for the map as Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; Legal Community Against Violence; National Conference of State Legislatures.  Overlawyered

Do you know the minimum marriage age in Kenya?
The state with the lowest marriage age is New Hampshire, which allows 13-year-old girls and 14-year-old boys to marry although parents can annul their children’s marriages until the children reach 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Star

State Rep. Goggles to seek re-election in November
During this year's budget session, Goggles was on the House Revenue Committee, House Rules and Procedures Committee, Management Council, Select Committee on Tribal Relations, National Conference of State Legislatures's Legislative Effectiveness, Council of State Governments-West's Executive Committee and the Joint Subcommittee on Federal Natural Resource Management.  The Ranger

Potestio to bring experience and values to Foundation
Prior to her position at CSU-Pueblo, Potestio was vice president and financial consultant for Charles Schwab Bank, financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, an executive administrator for Simchat Torah Beit Midrash, a coordinator and senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures and a senior financial consultant at Arthur Andersen L.L.P.  The Emporia Gazette

April 18

Half of U.S. legislatures contemplating hydraulic fracturing bills
The findings are part of a report published this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which highlights what continues to be a contentious topic in the nation's quest to balance energy independence with environmental stewardship. International Business Times

Georgia welfare law requires drug test to receive aid
Two states, Michigan and Florida, have adopted similar legislation, and a drug-testing bill is pending in the Oklahoma Senate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Immigrant tuition bill faces crucial vote
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. KMGH-TV, Denver

Union pensions under the knife
Since 2008, 43 states have reduced pension benefits for new public-sector employees, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. IndyPendent

Court says Arizona can demand voter identification
Thirty states have laws requiring that voters show at least some type of identification to vote in November, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Means-tested programs, work incentives, and block grants
If Congress is to create additional block grants, it would be advisable to negotiate the terms of the block grant with states. In the case of TANF, Congress worked with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Public Human Services Association to find mutually acceptable provisions on work requirements, data reporting, and other details. Brookings Institute

April 17

Colleges to prove worth for state funds
That has budget-minded legislators and governors fretting over how to get the most out of dwindling resources and what they see as inefficient campuses, said Julie Davis Bell, education group director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  "They're frustrated about completions. They're frustrated about transfers. They're frustrated that students are taking six or seven years to graduate," Bell said.  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Legislators in Arizona are pushing for more state tax cuts
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that last year, for the first time in a decade, states cut taxes more than they increased them. Most resulted from the expiration of temporary tax increases, put in place to help state budgets weather the recession.  KPNX-12/Arizona Republic

Union pensions under the knife
The American Airlines pensions freeze is only the latest development in the ongoing attack on workers' pensions--especially public employee pensions. Since 2008, 43 states have reduced pension benefits for new public-sector employees, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Opinion in the Indypendent

Voter ID prevents immigration anarchy
As a result, many states are taking up the gauntlet to protect the sacred right of citizenship, the vote. The National Conference of State Legislatures has listed states with voter identification (ID) laws and those without, along with those state legislatures in the process of strengthening their voter ID laws with the following measures.  Opinion in NewsMax

April 16

Coaches face new scrutiny on sex abuse
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks such laws, most states spell out exactly which professions must report child abuse, including everyone from teachers to social workers to health care providers. Legislators say the proposed new laws are not meant to cast doubt on innocent coaches, but  to close loopholes in states where they are not explicitly named in abuse-reporting laws.  New York Times

New York takes Rhode Island route: ACA exchange via executive order
Reports from New York media did not indicate if lawmakers would still attempt to pass legislation.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 10 states have established exchanges post-ACA via passed legislation.  Governing

Shooting stirs stand your ground critics at NRA meeting
In Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina, lawmakers have proposed limiting self-defense laws or barring the use of deadly force against an aggressor who is running away, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Corporations under pressure on political spending
A record eight states approved new or stricter voter identification laws last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today

Bill pushes parental involvement in schools
The contract legislation is similar to a proposal passed in Michigan in 2001, and Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Daily News Journal

Oregon's Legislature is unique
In Oregon, the changes are most identified with Jason Boe, an optometrist from the south coast town of Reedsport who was Senate president from 1973 to 1981 — and who was president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1978.  Statesman Journal

Analysis: What’s at stake in shrinking the legislature?
The National Conference of State Legislatures has consistently ranked the Commonwealth as the most expensive legislature, per capita, in the nation.  The Times Herald

New Arizona law bans most abortions after 20 weeks
The state would be the ninth to allow firearms in public buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Seattle Times/Los Angeles Times

“Fracking” comes to Southern Illinois
Jacquelyn Pless covers energy legislation around the country for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  “There are at least 137 bills across 24 states that have been introduced so far this legislative session that specifically address hydraulic fracturing, and the most frequently addressed trend this session so far is to require disclosure of fracking fluid chemical additives.”  WUIS News

Florida holds the record for redistricting incumbents together, Will Weatherford says
"Florida moved much closer to the Iowa system with the amendments and the way they approached it," said Tim Storey, the National Conference of State Legislatures redistricting analyst.  PolitiFact Florida

House Speaker: Economy an issue next session
Williams, of Little Rock, announced the formation of a bipartisan transition team to examine the House's inner workings and procedures. He also said he wants to bring in representatives from the National Conference of State Legislatures to examine state procedures.  Coshocton Tribune/AP

Ethics ruling regarding House speaker raises concerns
West Virginia is one of 17 states with a legislature where being a lawmaker is a half-time job or less, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About 10 states have nearly full-time legislatures and the rest are a mix of part-time.  Charleston Daily Mail

Brewer may allow guns in Arizona’s government buildings
If Brewer, a 67-year-old Republican, signs it, the state would be the nation’s ninth to allow firearms in public buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

NRA: 10 ways it has weakened gun-control laws in the US
This year, at least 14 states have introduced 35 bills, with NRA encouragement, that would allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on the campuses of state colleges and universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Guardian

No limit on gifts to Ga. legislature, senator says
The NCSL chart says Indiana requires lobbyists to report gifts, but does not specify any limits of what they can give lawmakers. In 2010, state lawmakers changed some of the rules on gifts from lobbyists. They must now disclose any gifts in a day greater than $50.  PolitiFact Georgia

The war on women voting
There are a number of organizations that provide similar maps — the NAACP , the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and the National Conference of State Legislatures to name a few. But Anderson said her application will be more user-friendly because voters can find information based off their zip code — a sort of Yelp! for voting-related locations.  The Indypendent

300-foot buffer proposed for Ohio park drilling
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 130 bills have been recently introduced in 24 states to address fracking.  The Review/AP

Meredith appointed to task force
State Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Republican from Fayetteville, has been appointed to serve on the Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fayetteville Observer

Get to know Mike Box, a fixture at Chickasaw Civic Theatre
During his last term, he served as Democratic Majority Chair. In 1996, he was president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the nation’s largest organization representing all the state legislatures — the only Alabamian ever to hold that post.  The Press-Register

April 13

Should legislators hold two public jobs?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states do not restrict legislators from holding government jobs at the state and local level in any way, 14 states ban some but not all forms of public employment, and 9 states ban public employment completely. Two states allow legislators to keep public jobs they held prior to their elections. Stateline

Cuomo acts to advance health law in New York
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, 11 states have set up insurance exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Times

Arizona Senate OKs bill on guns in public buildings
If the bill becomes law, Arizona would join nine other states in allowing guns inside public government buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona Republic

Medical pot states mull driving laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have what are known as “per se” laws regarding drugs and driving. McClatchy-Tribune News Service

ODNR proposes buffer of 300 feet between park campers and drillers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 130 bills have been recently introduced in 24 states to address fracking. Urbana Daily Citizen

Calif. lawmakers pass bill inspired by Penn State
At least 30 states are considering mandatory reporting legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states have already enacted such laws. AP/U-T San Diego

Ariz. House moves to end online sales tax law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states enable online and catalog vendors to gather sales taxes from residents. Herald Times Reporter

April 12

Wealthy group seeks to reform election giving in New York
The median cap among states that limit contributions is $5,000 for candidates for governor, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York Times

Maryland to ban employers from asking for Facebook, Twitter passwords
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, bills similar to the one in Maryland are being considered in several states, including Illinois, where a bill has already passed the state House. Huffington Post

In the medical marijuana age, how high is too high to drive?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states have what are known as "per se" laws regarding drugs and driving. Belleville News Democrat

Rushed bills compromise disclosure
A few other states have passed constitutionally-mandated reading periods for all bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Mateo Daily Journal

Maryland bill to forbid employers requiring social media logon, passwords
The National Conference of State Legislatures said Illinois, and other states are reviewing bills similar to the one passed in Maryland. Social Barrel

Bill to allow self-evaluation for parents
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation. WDEF News

Voter ID battles often land in court
Any challenges based on people’s voting rights probably could not occur unless voters pass the ballot measure, said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politics in Minnesota

'Garden bar' creates healthy options for school children
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, one out of every three children in Missouri and Arkansas is considered overweight. KY3 - 17

Global marketplace stifles youth activism
We have been accused of viewing college as a "spectator sport" by multiple organizations, including College Parents of America. In 2009, The National Conference of State Legislatures commissioned a report on our generation's participation in government. Huffington Post

Health IT: The common ground in health care reform?
According to a January report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, state officials are prioritizing efforts to establish such exchanges to meet the January 2013 deadline for having some infrastructure in place. California Healthline

April 11

Pennsylvania takes step toward smaller legislature
With 253 members, the Pennsylvania General Assembly trails only New Hampshire in size. But, at $82,026 annually, it also has the second-highest legislative salaries after California, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

State pre-k funding stagnates after economic downturn
Steffanie Clothier, early education policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Governing that pre-k programs had largely fared better than other state programs during the economic downturn. Governing

Parent grading bill headed to House floor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation. WRCB-TV

House votes to crack down on texting while driving
Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, who joined Thomas as a prime sponsor, said that a National Conference of State Legislatures study showed somebody who was texting while driving was 20 times as likely to cause an accident or a near accident than someone who wasn’t. Juneau Empire

Opinion: Youth unfairly labeled apathetic
In 2009, The National Conference of State Legislatures commissioned a report on our generation’s participation in government. The report asserts that voters under age 26 “do not understand the ideals of citizenship, they are disengaged from the political process, and they lack the knowledge necessary for effective self-government.” UT Daily Beacon

Proposal endorses "good resident" standing for illegal immigrants
Between 2005 and 2011, the number of immigration-related bills before state legislatures jumped from 300 to 1,607, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures's Immigrant Policy Project. The bills enacted rose from 39 to 197, according to the report. SouthCoastToday.com

Monsanto threatens to sue Vermont if GMO labeling bill passes
As of February, almost 20 states  were considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Care2.com (blog)

Medically inclined college bound to work alongside USF researchers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 45 percent of American students who enroll in college will ultimately earn a bachelor’s degree, which is why pre-college camps are so important. 83degreesmedia

Local nonprofit, director asked to join national initiative
Frontiers of Innovation is an initiative of the Early Childhood Innovation Partnership, a collaborative effort of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the TruePoint Center for High Performance and High Commitment. Statesman Journal

April 10

Rushed bills compromise disclosure
A few other states have passed constitutionally-mandated reading periods for all bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Mateo Daily Journal

Haslam expresses little interest in using veto this session
Most states require a two-thirds or three-fifths legislative vote to override a veto. Only six states require a simple majority to trump the governor; the others are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Missouri News Horizon

Prenatal care a 'magnet' for illegal immigrants?
For every $1 invested in prenatal care, studies indicate a savings of between $1.70 and $3.38 by reducing neonatal complications, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Omaha World-Herald

Should general assembly members be term-limited?
According to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, voters in the states that do have term limits overwhelmingly supported the changes. GoLocalProv

Tanning law is ‘nanny-like,’ parents need to set rules
According to a state-by-state comparison of tanning restrictions for minors issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures, “While exposure to UV light is fairly consistent across all age groups, research indicates that high risk exposure happens more commonly in teens and that blistering sunburns and overexposure during childhood greatly increase the chances of developing skin cancer later in life.” K-State Collegian

Tennessee bills encourage involvement of parents
The contract legislation is similar to a proposal passed in Michigan in 2001, and Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Weakley County Press

Seattle council protects public breastfeeding
Dozens of states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Long Island Press

Dayton decries photo ID push with a 'veto'
Eight states already have laws on the books or amended to state constitutions, and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are photo ID proposals pending in 30 more. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Bills aim to encourage parental involvement in education
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the contract legislation is similar to a proposal passed in Michigan in 2001, and Louisiana is currently considering legislation to grade parent participation. WBIR-TV

Caught on camera: Man attempts to vote as Eric Holder
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states, including Virginia have passed voter ID laws, but some of these laws are being challenged in court. WTOP

Does Fla. need foreign law ban?
By the count of the National Conference of State Legislatures, two dozen states this year, including Florida, considered proposals to bar any use of foreign laws in their courts. Orlando Sentinel

AP: Rushed bills compromise disclosure
A few other states have passed constitutionally-mandated reading periods for all bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KCRA Sacramento

ALEC: What it does and why three major corporations cut ties
In many ways, ALEC resembles groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a nonpartisan resource for state lawmakers that provides assistance, research and a brainstorming forum. But ALEC is unique in its ideology — the NCSL and other groups like it have no political bent. TIME Magazine

April 9

Md. likely to raise school dropout age to 18
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states (including Virginia) plus D.C., American Samoa and Puerto Rico require kids to stay in school until they are 18, unless they qualify for an exception. WTOP (Washington, DC)

Tenn. bills encourage parental involvement
The contract legislation is similar to a proposal passed in Michigan in 2001, and Louisiana is considering legislation to grade parent participation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Jackson Sun

Drug-test bill draws legal heat
The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking proposed bills including drug testing for unemployment, Medicaid, TANF and food stamps. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Taking hard look at businesses that use tax-cheating software
In most cases, the vendors offered ways for the restaurants to underpay their taxes, said Max Behlke, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Buffalo News

Missouri lawmakers weigh indoor tanning restriction
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 31 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, which all have parental consent requirements. STLtoday.com

Ballot boxing
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 31 states require voters to present some form of identification before voting at the polls. World Magazine

Keep pushing legislative cuts
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania's base pay for legislators of $82,026 is the second highest in the nation behind California, which pays $95,291 a year. Altoona Mirror

Editorial, 4/8: Stand firm for prenatal care
Every dollar spent on prenatal care saves between $1.70 and $3.38, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lincoln Journal Star

Legalizing hemp in Kentucky seems to be gaining support
Hemp bills have been introduced in 11 state legislatures this year, but so far none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Tennessean

Twofold dilemma of DWI: State wrangles with repeat offenders; some focus on first-timers
But groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Institute of Corrections and the Urban Institute all argued that incarceration hasn't proved to be an effective deterrent. Santa Fe New Mexican

Suicide prevention hotline now offers texting to teens in distress
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and 14.5 percent have made plans to kill themselves. Patch.com

Maryland set to raise school attendance age to 18
Aside from Maryland, at least 12 other state legislatures have introduced legislation this year to raise the compulsory school age, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states now require schooling until 18. Baltimore Sun

Oregon's split House gets props, job growth slows and OLCC drama continues: Oregon Politics Roundup
As it happens, evenly split legislatures aren't so uncommon, "Since 1984, every two years at least one legislative chamber has ended up tied after the elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures." OregonLive.com

State legislatures: How small is too small?
By 2002 population statistics cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania ranks 7th among all states for the number of constituents per Senate seat and 14th for the number of constituents per House seat. The reduction in size would obviously increase those ratios with more people represented by relatively fewer legislators. Newsworks.org

Senate passage means voter ID amendment heads to November ballot
Besides Minnesota and Pennsylvania, 12 other states this year tried or are trying to pass a similar requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twin Cities Planet

April 6

Maryland poised to raise high school dropout age
Maryland is poised to join 21 other states, including Virginia, and the District in having a dropout age of 18, according to Sunny Deye, a senior policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven states have set the age at 17; the rest, 16. Washington Post

Contention and compromise in Virginia, Oregon tied chambers
Since 1984, every two years at least one legislative chamber has ended up tied after the elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Wyoming not alone in waiting on health insurance exchange studies
Martha Salazar, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said many states are following the same path as Wyoming.She said a number of states are awaiting the Supreme Court ruling, which could come in late June, to decide whether to proceed."For some, it can be a political move in not wanting to have anything to do with the health-care law, like Florida is," she said. "And other states are taking the wait-and-see approach to see if the law is upheld before they commit any more resources." Wyoming Tribune in Insurance News Net

Ariz. bill against 'annoying' online to get change
Across the country, more than 30 states have laws against harassment and stalking that reference electronic communication, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in USA Today and LoHud

Minnesota Legislature bypasses Gov. Mark Dayton, puts measure on ballot
Thirty states have laws requiring voters to show at least some type of identification to vote in November, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huffington Post

Two major gift card companies announce plans to stop selling in New Jersey
About half the states have some type of law dealing with the collection of unclaimed property, according to data published in January by the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in
the Press of Atlantic City
and Business Week

April 5

A bill makes it illegal to 'annoy' others online
Across the country, more than 30 states have laws against harassment and stalking that reference electronic communication, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Arizona Republic/AP

Withstanding criticism, Pa. lawmakers vote to reduce the size of the legislature
G. Terry Madonna, pollster and political analyst at Franklin and Marshall College, said surveys he has conducted over the years indicate that, in general, reducing the legislature's size is popular with voters. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only New Hampshire, with 424 lawmakers, has more legislators than the Keystone State.  Philadelphia Inquirer

Hemp supporters say support growing in Kentucky
Hemp bills have been introduced in 11 state legislatures this year, but so far none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bills include allowing privately funded industrial hemp research, allowing hemp production under strict licensing programs and urging the federal government to allow hemp production for industrial uses.  San Francisco Chronicle/AP

Colorado Senate panel rejects bill on photo IDs for voters
Colorado is one of 16 states that require identification but not a photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters may use a utility bill, birth certificate, bank statement, government check or other government-issued documents.  Denver Post

Prenatal care makes sense
The National Conference of State Legislatures says studies have estimated that every dollar spent on prenatal care saves between $1.70 and $3.38 by reducing complications in newborns. "The savings increase dramatically," the report said, "when the long-term costs of caring for newborns with physical and developmental disabilities are considered."  Editorial in the Omaha World-Herald

Voters will have say on term limits, legislative pay
Nebraska is one of 15 states that limit the terms of state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. During the peak of the term limits movement in the 1990s, 21 states moved to restrict lawmakers' tenure.  Lincoln Journal Star

D.C. holds $23 bln fix for cash-strapped states
Washington may just hold a $23 billion fix for the nation’s cash-strapped states. That’s the upper limit of what could be raised if local governments were allowed to tax online retailers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Handling of Capitol threat bashed
Some states, like Florida and California, have off-site government mailrooms, some of which were enhanced or put into place after the 2001 anthrax incident, said Kae Warnock, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Des Moines Register

Minnesota voter ID measure going on fall ballot
Sixteen states have photo ID voting requirements, and new voter identification legislation is pending in 14 other states, including Minnesota, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  St. Paul Pioneer Press

State services organization renews major lease on Capitol Hill
The SSO was founded in 1976 as a joint venture of the Council of State Governments, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, with the mission to provide its tenants with affordable office space and services at a convenient location in close proximity to the Capitol and congressional offices.  CoStar Group

'We'll deal with it then': The state of play if ACA is struck down
The National Conference of State Legislatures has prepared a visual guide to states' progress on new health benefits exchanges. And as a benchmark, that progress is a telling indicator.  California Healthline

Bill would require labels on genetically engineered food
However, there is a growing movement in America for improved GMO labeling. As of February, almost 20 states  were considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Daily Planet

Doane students protest for concealed weapons on campus
Nebraska law states that it is illegal to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Doane Line

New bill protects religious freedom
As of 2001, Missouri law requires health care coverage providers to include coverage for contraceptives with the exception of those that induce abortion. Companies owned and operated by religious-based entities are exempt from this law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Northwest Missourian

Suicide prevention hotline now offers texting as option to teens in distress
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and 14.5 percent have made plans to kill themselves.  NJ Today

Senate passage means voter ID amendment heads to November ballot
Besides Minnesota and Pennsylvania, 12 other states this year tried or are trying to pass a similar requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Minnesota Daily

Internet sales tax "Amazon Tax" back in the news
An article by David Harsanyi reveals in an article on this matter that The National Conference of State Legislatures claims that legislation would "enhance state sovereignty." He anticipates that collecting Internet sales tax will go Federal.  Opinion in Gather

Bills would require ID to vote
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, 16 states require a form of ID, but not a photo ID for a person to vote. Seven states currently require voters to show a photo ID before they are allowed to vote, though people unable to show a photo ID can still vote if they meet other criteria.  Illinois Times

Safety vs. privacy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states had expanded DNA collection to suspected felons as of August 2010.  Editorial in the Cape Cod Times

April 4

State governments target tax-cheating software
Meanwhile, Ainsworth has made it a point to share his knowledge about the issue with policymakers. His presentation at a National Conference of State Legislatures gathering last summer in San Antonio called attention to the problem for the first time, said NCSL policy specialist Max Behlke.  Bloomberg Businessweek/AP

Gay couples, where spouse is a foreigner, sue over DOMA
Thirty-nine states have defense of marriage acts, while six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There are an estimated 36,000 binational gay couples in the U.S.  MSNBC

States race to improve broadband speeds
States’ interest in broadband isn’t likely to slow anytime soon.  “They’ve all been able to realize the economic value and return on investment,” said James Ward, a committee director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Government Technology

Albany's problem with on-time budgets not seen in many other states
"Since 2002, 19 states have gone into the new fiscal year without finalizing their state budgets. And of those 19 states, five of them have had to go into partial government shutdowns," said Jon Kuhl of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NY1

NH bill barring tuition break gets hearing
About a dozen states allow illegal immigrant students who have lived in the U.S. for several years to become eligible for in-state tuition if they met certain criteria, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Foster's Daily Democrat/AP

Tennessee lawmakers pass bill banning students wearing saggy pants at school
Currently, Arkansas and Florida are the only states to target schools for a saggy pants ban, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CBS Charlotte/AP

Appeals court in Boston to hear Defense of Marriage challenge
Another 10 have statutory provisions defining marriage as between a man and a woman, though some of them may have provisions for civil unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota and North Carolina are set to vote in the fall on constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.  Worcester Telegram/Boston Globe

Capitol pay rise next on agenda?
Lawmakers in Vermont and Michigan recently voted to cut their pay, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. A 2011 survey by the NCSL found that the only states where lawmakers make more than they do in New York are California, which pays legislators $95,290.56 per year, and Pennsylvania, where base pay is $79,613 per year.  Albany Times Union

Craven board lends support to state marriage amendment
Presently, 38 states, including North Carolina, limit marriage to relationships between a man and a woman by law or constitutional provision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  New Bern Sun Journal

GOP rep plans aliens’ tuition hurdle
There are 12 states that expressly permit in-state tuition for non-resident immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The only Northeast state where it’s legal for illegal aliens to get in-state tuition is New York.  Nashua Telegraph

Experiment: 10 random policy points
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states in 2008 lost $18 billion in uncollected taxes from out-of-state sales, including $7.7 billion from online sales. This total is expected to rise to $23 billion in 2012 with almost half coming from Internet transactions.  Canon-McMillan Patch

How many undocumented immigrants live in the United States?
There are more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., according to The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan and social policy research organization trusted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Independent Florida Alligator

April 3

NJ wants to collect on unredeemed gift cards
About half the states have some type of law dealing with the collection of unclaimed property, according to data published in January by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those that do, few seek to recover the full amount left on a gift card rather than a portion of the balance, and most allow three or five years before making a claim.  San Francisco Chronicle/AP

Pennsylvania lawmakers begin a debate on reducing their own numbers
With 253 members in two chambers, Pennsylvania's General Assembly is the largest full-time legislature in the country and the second-largest in total seats behind New Hampshire, a little state with a big legislature of 424 part-time lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Philadelphia Inquirer

Missouri House committee reviews texting ban
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and Washington, D.C., ban all drivers from texting behind the wheel — nine of them and the nation's capital ban any hand-held use of cellphones.  Kansas City Star/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Bill follows debate on food labels
However, there is a growing movement in America for improved GMO labeling. As of February, almost 20 states  were considering such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Minnesota Daily

Saggy pants bill headed to Tennessee governor
Currently, Arkansas and Florida are the only states to target schools for a saggy pants ban, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Memphis Commercial Appeal

N.J. to debut TRU-ID licenses in wake of federal REAL ID Act
Other states are fighting the Constitutionality of the federal ID act, saying that it violates the 10th Amendment, citing privacy concerns and cost issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  New Jersey Newsroom

The complicated history of the voter ID law in Georgia
Thirty two states, including Georgia, have enacted voting identification laws, ranging from legislation requiring photo identification to cast a ballot to those allowing some other sort of identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Grio

Funding infertility: A look at the financial implications of trying to get pregnant
Since the 1980s, 15 states have passed laws that require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Dakota and Minnesota are not among them.  In-Forum

April 2

Why is Wisconsin governor facing a recall election?
Just two other governors of U.S. states have lost recall elections: Lynn Frazier in North Dakota in 1921 and Gray Davis of California in 2003, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Tribune/Reuters

E-commerce tax to target out-of-state retailers
The National Conference of State Legislatures opposes such legislation at the state level, and is lobbying for a federal law.  "States want to go after this money that's owed to them, which is understandable," NCSL lobbyist Max Behlke said. However, he said, unless federal legislation is passed that gives states greater authority to collect the tax, states will continue to miss out on billions in revenue.  Miami Herald/AP

Ariz. bill targets cell phone use by teen drivers
Meanwhile, 30 other states already ban cell phone use by teen drivers. That's according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Arizona Daily Sun/AP

Welfare drug testing laws gain momentum
Twenty-five states are looking at making drug testing part of the application process for the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Deseret News

Warning from Trayvon’s killing: don’t ignore the legislatures
A major effort was to bring the nonprofit and progressive community to meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures, maintaining a healthy policy balance in debates and contacts there.  Opinion in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

How Virginia, Maryland tax, and how much
But aides for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley point to a study by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures that ranks Maryland as having the third-lowest state and local tax burden in the country as a percentage of income. Virginia is ranked eighth.  Washington Examiner

New Jersey's upgraded driver's license to debut May 7
More than 20 other states are dragging their feet. Some have taken formal action protesting the law or have indicated refusal to comply, citing privacy concerns and cost issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Asbury Park Press

New York bans synthetic marijuana
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 40 states have banned the synthetic drugs, and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency banned five chemicals used to make K2 last year.  NACS Online

Is the voter ID debate really dead?
Thirty-one states require people to present some kind of identification in order to vote — and in 15 of those states it must be a photo ID. But Nebraska is one of 20 states with no voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Nebraska Watchdog

Vermont lawmaker travels to see New Mexico waste site
Edwards says she wants to learn all she can about radioactive waste because some is being stored at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, which is near her district.  The trip is being organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NECN/AP

Saggy pants bill to be heard by House, Senate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arkansas and Florida are currently the only states to target schools for a saggy pants ban.  Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

 

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