NCSL in the News | April 2015

4/1/2015

April 30

Hike NY lawmakers' pay — and kill their pensions
New York Post
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that Albany lawmakers are already among the best-paid in the nation. But that’s not necessarily the best benchmark.
 
House-Passed Bill Could End Final Exams
Carolina Journal
Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, like Lucas and Johnson a primary sponsor of the bill, said during committee debate that the school grading system came from Florida, which has changed its formula 34 times. He said legislative research staff and the National Conference of State Legislatures determined from a national survey that Arizona, Maine, and Oklahoma use a 50-50 split between growth and proficiency. Utah has a 50 percent performance and 50 percent growth split, but the growth is divided between performing and nonperforming students.
 
Gov. Signs Bill Prohibiting Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors 
KTVH 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently 42 states and one territory prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes or vaping/alternative tobacco products to minors. 
 
Maine’s revenge porn bill wins approval of legislative committee
Portland Press Herald
The measure is one of at least a dozen proposed nationwide this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2013, at least 13 states have enacted laws that ban revenge porn, which is also known as non-consensual pornography.
 
Taking flight: Brandon High School teacher creates drone program ...
The Oakland Press
About 10 states nationally have enacted drone laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures at ncsl.org.

Officials raise concerns about powdered alcohol
Concord Monitor
As of last month, several states including Louisiana, Virginia and Vermont had passed legislation prohibiting the sale of powered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

April 29

People helping man fired after he was hospitalized
USA TODAY
Separately, an employer in South Dakota doesn't need a specific reason to fire an employee, a legal concept called termination at will that is in force in all states and the District of Columbia except Montana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Officials raise concerns about powdered alcohol
Concord Monitor
As of last month, several states including Louisiana, Virginia and Vermont had passed legislation prohibiting the sale of powered alcohol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dozens more are considering legislation this year that would regulate or limit sales of Palcohol.
 
Attorney General files felony charge against man accused of ...
The Republic – Associated Press
Several other states are considering adopting laws to allow online games, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Guest Commentary: Colorado law currently protects pregnant women
Denver Post
As the National Conference of State Legislatures has acknowledged, Colorado is in line with 37 other states that have adopted statutes to criminalize wrongful acts that result in a woman's loss of her pregnancy.
 
Online voter registration moves forward
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
 Senate bill analysis notes that 20 states already allow voters to register online, four have approved such a system but not yet implemented it and three states have a limited form of online voter registration according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ferndale backs down on proposal to ban use of drones
Macomb Daily
About 10 states nationally have enacted drone laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures at ncsl.org.
 
States Move To Impose Limits On Biosimilar Drug Substitution 
Mondaq News Alerts  
The National Conference of State Legislatures ("NCSL") reports that through the end of 2014, eight states have passed biosimilar substitution laws and a dozen or more states have bills pending in their current legislative sessions. Moreover, at least one State Board of Pharmacy (Idaho) has taken action on biosimilar substitution by proposing an amendment to the regulations governing the practice of pharmacy.

April 28

Congress seeks to ban plastic beads in cleansers
Washington Examiner
Four states have enacted bans and 21 are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Stand Your Ground Laws: An Antidote for Baltimore-Style Riots
Breitbart News
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists the states with such laws: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
 
States Move to Impose Limits on Biosimilar Drug Substitution
National Law Review
The National Conference of State Legislatures (“NCSL”) reports that through the end of 2014, eight states have passed biosimilar substitution laws and a dozen or more states have bills pending in their current legislative sessions.
 
Maine Lawmakers Eye Hayride Regulations After Deadly Crash 
ABC News 
The National Conference of State Legislatures said in October that Rhode Island is the only state that explicitly requires a permit to operate hayrides. In Maine and other states, operators must display signs warning of the rides' dangers, but there's no requirement that the rides be checked for things like working brakes.
 
The Stickiest Points of Using Family and Medical Leave
U.S. News & World Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures website offers an overview of family and medical leave laws by state.
 
Sen. Del Marsh to release Auburn University at Montgomery study on how gaming could benefit state 
AL.com 
The AUM report included results of a 2009 survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures on state gaming compacts with Indian tribes. The NCSL survey found that states that offer tribes an exclusive gaming franchise receive payments from the tribes to cover the cost of regulation plus a percentage of tribal revenue.
 
Hoping to buy powdered alcohol? You'll have to wait
Military Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Palcohol is already forbidden in six states — Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia — and will be strictly regulated as concentrated alcohol in Colorado, Delaware and Michigan.
 
States Move to Impose Limits on Biosimilar Drug Substitution
National Law Review
The National Conference of State Legislatures (“NCSL”) reports that through the end of 2014, eight states have passed biosimilar substitution laws and a dozen or more states have bills pending in their current legislative sessions. Moreover, at least one State Board of Pharmacy (Idaho) has taken action on biosimilar substitution by proposing an amendment to the regulations governing the practice of pharmacy.
 
Stand Your Ground Laws: An Antidote for Baltimore-Style Riots
Breitbart News
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists the states with such laws: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
 
Decriminalization vs. legalization: What the latest cannabis bills mean for Wisconsin
UWIRE
Decriminalization of marijuana typically means first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use is considered a misdemeanor and generally will not result in a criminal record or prison time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
More states are working toward campus carry
Campus Reform
According to National Conference of State Legislatures, there were 19 states in 2013 that introduced legislation to lift the restriction of concealed carry licensees on college campuses. Fourteen states continued to work on similar legislation in 2014.

April 27

Downside of Police Body Cameras: Your Arrest Hits YouTube
New York Times
Some state legislatures, though, are coming out against broad disclosure policies. Among a flurry of 87 bills related to body cameras that have been introduced in 29 legislatures, 15 states are moving to limit what the public is allowed to see from the recordings. In some cases, lawmakers have sought to remove the videos from public records laws, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind
Bloomberg
(NCSL Data Cited) Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court on April 28 will hear arguments about whether to extend that right nationwide. The case comes amid a wave of gay marriage legalization: 28 states since 2013, and 36 overall.
 
A boss often can fire you while you're hospitalized
USA TODAY
South Dakota has had a constitutional amendment that prohibits joining a union as a condition of employment, what supporters call a right-to-work law, since 1946, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Union contracts often provide additional protections for ill workers; 6% of the state's workers are represented by unions and 5% are members.
 
Angry Over Drug Prices, More States Push Bills for Pharma to Disclose Costs 
Wall Street Journal 
“While it is too soon to know if this prescription transparency legislation will continue to expand this year,” says Richard Cauchi, the program director for health insurance, financing and pharmaceuticals at the National Conference of State Legislatures, “state legislators often do look at what their colleagues in other states are doing.”
 
Your Fuel-Sipping Car Screwed Up the Funding to Fix This
Bloomberg
After no legislature increased gasoline taxes from 2010 to 2012, six states and the District of Columbia did in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. 
 
Online voter registration for Pa. makes sense in this digital age
LancasterOnline
Arizona, the pioneer in paperless voter registration, implemented its system a full 13 years ago, in 2002.  As of March 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states offered online registration, and another two had passed enabling legislation and were in the process of implementation.  All have tapped encryption systems and other cyber-security tools to protect voter information and the integrity of the voting process.
 
A surprising history of same-sex nuptials
Times Colonist
Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, allowing spouses the same benefits as for husbands and wives. But there is no federal law that recognizes same-sex marriage performed by states. The Supreme Court will decide “whether it is constitutional for states to prohibit same-sex marriage and whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed out of state,” says the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Fort Hood drug expert: Smoking Spice like 'Russian roulette'
The Killeen Daily Herald
Synthetic marijuana has been banned in all 50 states since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that researches policy information for state governments. “Synthetic cannabinoids are chemically engineered substances similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana,” according to the NCSL website. “When smoked or ingested, the high can mimic that of marijuana but also can result in more severe reactions.
 
Data Trackers: License Plate Scanning Technology Raises Privacy Questions
WUIS 91.9
State lawmakers are starting to take notice. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states enacted laws last year regulating the use of ALPRs. This year, lawmakers in at least 14 sates are weighing legislation that would regulate license plate readers. One of them is Illinois.
 
Gun rights advocates share message during walk across University of Akron campus
Akron Beacon Journal
While open carry is legal in Ohio, concealed carry on campuses is not. Only seven states allow concealed carry on public campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Editorial, 4/25: Police right to move on K2
Lincoln Journal Star
Like other states, Nebraska lawmakers have tried the “whack-a-mole” approach to banning K2, revising state law to cover specific chemical compounds only to have K2 chemists tweak the formula so that it no longer is covered by the law. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, other states are trying different approaches and new tactics in an effort to combat the danger.
 
We can use an old tax trick to improve housing affordability 
Crosscut 
The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2002 reviewed circuit breaker programs in the context of the range of available property relief policies.
 
Why Kansas-Style Welfare Crackdowns May Not Work 
The Fiscal Times 
At least 23 states have laws on the books restricting or limiting the use of EBT cards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Ruth: Why Rick Scott fights online voter registration 
Tampabay.com 
And, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states — from California to South Carolina to New York to Utah — have implemented online voter registration without any indication Che Guevara has been elected to office.
 
North Carolina considers ban on new powdered alcohol 
Triangle Business Journal 
Other states that have already banned Palcohol include Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
States shoulder road-building burden as U.S. government stalls
Finance and Commerce
After no legislature increased gasoline taxes from 2010 to 2012, six states and the District of Columbia did in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.
 
Mississippi Veto Shows States' Diverse Political Responses to Common Core
Education Week
Fortunately, Dan Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy map tracking reviews, executive orders, and other state actions with respect to the standards. 

April 24

State Senate votes to end 'philosophical' vaccine exemption
Washington Times
All states allow medical exemptions; 48 - all but West Virginia and Mississippi - allow a religious exemption; and 20 allow a philosophical or personal belief exemption, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal investigators reviewed top Va. lawmaker's relationship with lobbyist
Washington Post
No states prohibit relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists, according to Peggy Kerns of the National Conference of State Legislatures. In some cases, lawmakers have taken steps to minimize the appearance of a conflict by abstaining on votes or prohibiting the lobbyist from directly lobbying the lawmaker or that person’s staff.
 
Vermont Senate votes to end 'philosophical' vaccine exemption
WCVB Boston
All states allow medical exemptions; 48 - all but West Virginia and Mississippi - allow a religious exemption; and 20 allow a philosophical or personal belief exemption, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The Heartbreaking Plight of Colorado's 'Marijuana Refugees'
VICE
The firsthand reports especially piqued the interest of parents with children suffering from Dravet Syndrome, a rare, incurable condition that afflicts children with hundreds of small seizures a day. As word spread through epilepsy support groups, activists began to push for access in more and more states. Along with Georgia, 11 states have recently passed legislation allowing limited access to CBD, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Republicans propose cutting Maine Legislature's budget
Lewiston Sun Journal
The proposal includes reducing by half the number of Legislative mailers sent to constituents during the end of the lawmaking session. The proposal would also flat-line the amount the Legislature spends to help support the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments while ending all funding for any commissions that may be duplicating their activities.
 
Why won't legislators take away rapists parental rights? 
Des Moines Register 
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that each year, 17,000-32,000 pregnancies result from rape, and about 10,000 of those pregnancies result in a child being raised by their birth mothers.
 
States' lobby group engages with Vitter-Udall staff 
Chemical Watch  
The Udall-Vitter bill has made a “lot of strides” in terms of states' rights, which “we are happy with”, said Melanie Condon, policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), an NGO representing the members and staff of state legislatures. Because the Udall-Vitter bill has the best chance of passing, the NCSL is working with the staffs of the two sponsor senators to work out “some things of concern to us” in the preemption provisions, Ms Condon said. She declined to discuss the areas that NCSL is seeking to address with the senators' staff, saying they were still being discussed. The NCSL has not “delved into” the House draft measure, said Ms Condon. There are certain provisions “we are interested in” but other aspects of the preemption clause have not “taken into account state legislatures' feelings” and Mr Shimkus's staff have not sought input from the NCSL, she added. “So we are basically focusing on the Senate right now.”
 
VT Senate votes to end a vaccine exemption 
Burlington Free Press 
All states allow medical exemptions. All but West Virginia and Mississippi allow a religious exemption. And 20 allow a philosophical or personal-belief exemption, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Del. Ken Plum: Institutional Stress in Richmond 
Reston Now 
Absolutely do away with the pleasure trips that I have never taken and that are an embarrassment to other legislators who have not gone on these trips, but legislators should be able to go the annual conference of the National Conference of State Legislatures that provides the best continuing education for legislators available.
 
Obama Gun Control Plan: How President's Stance Has Impacted American Laws 
Newsmax 
Obama proposes that gun sellers should consider people’s mental health and psychiatric evaluations. To accomplish this, he recommends lowering HIPAA’s guard and making it easier for states to obtain personal mental health records, as summarized by the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL). 
 
Let's talk about sex 
Bulletin 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, abstinence cannot be taught without including information about contraceptives and disease prevention.
 
Push to help legalize hemp production dies in Indiana Legislature
Capital Press
Nineteen states, including Indiana, have established laws that provide for hemp pilot studies and production under the law’s conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
Farmers lobby to grow industrial-grade hemp
New Castle News
Twenty states have allowed for some production of hemp, which can be used in food, fiber, plastics, building materials, textiles and paper, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 23

Powdered alcohol challenged in Illinois
Northwest Herald
Many other lawmakers feel the same, as legislators in 39 states have introduced 77 bills in 2015 that either prohibit or regulate the sale and distribution of powdered alcohol products, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
                  
Advocates for domestic violence victims voice support for criminalizing revenge porn
Press Herald
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, the House minority leader, and has 48 bipartisan co-sponsors. The measure is one of at least a dozen proposed nationwide this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since 2013, at least 13 states have enacted laws that ban revenge porn, which is also known as non-consensual pornography.

Farmers lobby to grow industrial-grade hemp
Sharonherald
Last year’s federal Farm Bill allowed state universities and agriculture departments to conduct research on industrial-grade hemp. Twenty states have allowed for some production of hemp, which can be used in food, fiber, plastics, building materials, textiles and paper, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State Senate votes to end 'philosophical' vaccine exemption
Vermont Public Radio
All states allow medical exemptions; 48 — all but West Virginia and Mississippi — allow a religious exemption; and 20 allow a philosophical or personal belief exemption, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Push to help legalize Indiana hemp production dies in Legislature, issue headed for study
Associated Press - The Republic
Nineteen states, including Indiana, have established laws that provide for hemp pilot studies and production under the law's conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bills to scrap front license plates, regulate college textbooks introduced in Ohio House
Cleveland Plain Dealer
House Bill 159, introduced Tuesday, would make Ohio the 20th state in the U.S. to require only a rear license plate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Research underway to test marijuana extract for epilepsy 
The Salinas Californian 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states have broad medical-marijuana programs, while another 11 states have more recently passed legislation allowing limited access to some cannabidiol-containing products.
 
Medical cannabis bill passes key committee, will head to Senate floor 
LancasterOnline 
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia now have similar laws on medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Numerous other states are considering it.
 
Green energy job growth outpaces losses in coal industry 
Bellingham Herald 
Twenty-nine states specify a percentage of renewable electricity that utilities should meet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Kentucky and West Virginia are not among them.
 
Stop blowing smoke - legalize medical marijuana: Editorial 
PennLive.com 
Twenty-three states, including neighboring New York and New Jersey, now "allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs," according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

April 22

Maine governor opens up ambitious new front in crackdown on welfare abuse 
Fox News 
LePage wants to expand drug-testing to all recipients, which would make Maine -- which hasn't voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988 -- a seemingly unlikely addition to the 12 mostly red states that have passed broader drug-testing legislation for welfare recipients. They include: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maine wants to help you get fertility treatments — unless it was an STD that made you infertile 
Washington Post  
So far, 13 states have laws requiring insurers to cover assistive reproductive therapies according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A Day In the Life of a Welfare Recipient, According to GOP Legislation
Huffington Post
Maine is one of at least a dozen states considering a drug testing program this year. In addition, twelve others have already enacted drug testing initiatives since 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Mom Loses Custody After Son Talks About Her Medical Pot Use at School
Yahoo News
Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Kansas isn't one of them.
 
Bipartisan agreement reached on sex trafficking legislation
Grand Forks Herald
At least 28 states had Safe Harbor laws enacted as of 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and North Dakota just added the law into its books with Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s signature earlier this week, making it at least 29.
 
Renewable energy shows growth in employment
Tribune-Review
State laws helped drive the growth outside of Appalachia, Pratson said. Twenty-nine states specify a percentage of renewable electricity that utilities should meet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kentucky and West Virginia are not among them.
 
Law gives parents opportunity to protect child's identity
Channel3000.com - WISC-TV3
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 19 states require credit reporting bureaus to allow a parent or guardian to freeze their child's credit.

Green Energy job growth outpaces losses in coal industry
The Olympian
Twenty-nine states specify a percentage of renewable electricity that utilities should meet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Kentucky and West Virginia are not among them.

Indiana lawmaker seeks to drop drug testing for welfare recipients, asks for further study
Associated Press – The Republic
More than a dozen other states, including Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, have either passed or are considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Consent in sex education is nonnegotiable 
The Appalachian Online 
Only 22 states in the U.S. require sex ed to be taught in schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Price tag for drug testing of welfare recipients: $2.3 million 
Indianapolis Star 
Indiana is one of at least 15 states to consider drug testing or screening for public assistance this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twelve states already have such requirements
 
Strong Support For Bipartisan Legislative Agreement To “Fix No Child Left Behind” 
The Chattanoogan 
“The National Conference of State Legislatures applauds your bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Every Child Achieves Act is a strong, state-centered bill and an important step forward in fixing the current law. We appreciate that the legislation includes many provisions recommended in the reauthorization plan that NCSL released in partnership with the National Governors Association. Under your legislation, states would receive greater flexibility in areas such as accountability systems and school improvement strategies. It also ensures that states will determine academic standards and can use innovative assessments to measure student achievement.”
 
Maine to consider bill making job applicants' credit history off limits 
Press Herald
Eleven states – including Connecticut, Vermont and Illinois – have laws that restrict the use of a job applicants’ credit information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill would prevent employers from checking job seekers' credit histories 
Lewiston Sun Journal 
Eleven states — including Connecticut, Vermont and Illinois — have laws that restrict the use of a job applicants' credit information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Green energy job growth outpaces losses in coal industry 
TheNewsTribune.com 
Twenty-nine states specify a percentage of renewable electricity that utilities should meet, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Kentucky and West Virginia are not among them.
 
Traction Limited in Rolling Back Common Core 
Education Week News  
To date, 19 states this year have considered bills to repeal the common core, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
Rural Missouri Districts Adopt Four-Day Week 
Education Week Blogs  
Nationwide, at least 120 school districts in 21 states operate on a four-day week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

April 21

Colorado fetal homicide bill mired in familiar, complicated debate
Denver Post
The roughly 40 states with fetal homicide laws vary on the starting point, defining it as fertilization, implantation, viability or a certain number of weeks into gestation, according to a review of laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan Denver-based organization that tracks legislation. But most states define it near conception.
 
Religious vaccination exemptions will completely end in Australia
Washington Post
While Australia has taken a broad approach in dealing with vaccines, nearly all states in the United States allow religious exemptions for immunizations. Only West Virginia and Mississippi don’t allow such exemptions, according to 2014 data from the National Conference of States Legislatures.
 
Maine wants to help you get fertility treatments — unless it was an STD that made you infertile
Washington Post
So far, 13 states have laws requiring insurers to cover assistive reproductive therapies according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The specifics vary: some states specifically exclude in vitro fertilization, which is an expensive procedure; others have eligibility rules related to the mother’s age or how long she has been trying to get pregnant.
 
Senate panel tables Motl confirmation to ethics commission
Albany Times Union
Argenbright said the position used to be more about assisting political candidates with compliance rather than litigating when they don't. It's a distinction he said is especially grave given the influence Montana has concentrated in its one-person watchdog. According to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, every other state political ethics board comprises at least four people.
 
Texas Senate OKs divisive tax credit scholarship bill
Austin American-Statesman
More than a dozen states have implemented voucher-type programs with mixed results, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Rodríguez said Monday there is no evidence that students helped by such programs perform any better.
 
30 States Considering Laws To Fight Senior Financial Abuse
Financial Advisor Magazine
Thirty states are considering new laws to heighten senior financial protection, according to a list compiled by National Conference of State Legislatures financial services analyst Heather Morton. Morton said the list was current as of April 7. Many of the bills mandate that financial advisors, banks and medical workers report elder financial abuse to authorities when they suspect it.
 
Hemp talk planned at Glen Rock Historical Society gathering
York Daily Record/Sunday News
Only 13 states have statutes establishing commercial industrial hemp programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Money Talk (Q&A): Broker trading fees, Social Security file and ...
OregonLive.com
States that recognize common law marriages entered into prior to certain dates include Pennsylvania before Jan. 1, 2005; Ohio before Oct. 10, 1991; Indiana before Jan. 1, 1958; Georgia before Jan. 1, 1997; and Florida before Jan. 1, 1968, according to the NCSL.
 
NC Lawmakers Consider Deregulation Of Health Care Facilities ...
WFAE
"Certificate of Need programs were really aimed at restraining health care facility costs and allowing coordinating planning of new services and construction," says Richard Cauchi of he National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 20

GOP proposal to slash college tuition puts House, Senate at odds
The Seattle Times
”It really is kind of a unique idea,” said Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. If it were to pass, he said, “That’s going to start a lot of conversations in other states. They’ll be asking: ‘If Washington can do this, why can’t we?’ ”
 
These Maps Show Changing Marijuana Laws Across America
TIME
With April 20, the unofficial holiday celebrating marijuana upon us, here’s a look at the drastically changing American legal landscape for pot users. Data provided by the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Conference of State Legislatures shows just how much of the country’s laws have altered since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996.
 
Can I shift Roth IRA broker fees?
Los Angeles Times
The states that currently recognize common law marriages under some circumstances include Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States that recognize common law marriages entered into prior to certain dates include Pennsylvania before Jan. 1, 2005; Ohio before Oct. 10, 1991; Indiana before Jan. 1, 1958; Georgia before Jan. 1, 1997; and Florida before Jan. 1, 1968, according to the NCSL.
 
Identity Theft Poses Extra Troubles for Children
New York Times
In the last few years, though, that’s been changing. According to Heather Morton, a program principal with the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states now require the credit agencies to help parents and guardians create a new credit report for a minor child for the express purpose of immediately freezing it. Those states are Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
 
New Kansas welfare spending law is 'tax on the poor' 
Al Jazeera America 
At least 23 states have additional restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Colorado fetal homicide bill mired in familiar, complicated debate
The Denver Post
The roughly 40 states with fetal homicide laws vary on the starting point, defining it as fertilization, implantation, viability or a certain number of weeks into gestation, according to a review of laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan Denver-based organization that tracks legislation. But most states define it near conception.
                  
Mayor Stothert's use of text messages raises public records concerns
Omaha World-Herald
Most other states don’t specify whether text messages are public records, said Pam Greenberg, an expert on information technology from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas and Georgia are the exceptions: Their laws explicitly say that text messages can be public information.
 
NJ lawmakers, educators, push to ban powdered alcohol product: Palcohol
NJ.com
Currently, powdered alcohol is banned in Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Senate OKs Parent-Trigger Reboot, Tennessee Bill Stalls 
Education Week 
Nationally, only six states have adopted parent-trigger-inspired laws since 2010. The National Conference of State Legislature reports that lawmakers in six more states are considering parent-trigger legislation this year.
 
Iowans wary of shift in Medicaid
DesMoinesRegister.com
Laura Tobler, an analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, warned Iowa lawmakers not to count on big savings right away, because it can take a while for the changes to pay off. Also, she said, it's crucial to have strong, knowledgeable state officials watching the results. "The states aren't passive purchasers. They really need to work on managing their managed care," Tobler said.
 
New Hampshire liquor enforcement chief nixes powdered booze
Foster's Daily Democrat
Vermont and five other states have banned its sale, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
What if enterprise incentive program should go away?
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures’ brief noted that academic reviews of enterprise zones “have found little evidence that programs actually result in net job creation and increased community investment.”
 
Getting your digital affairs in order
Worcester Telegram
State probate laws haven't kept up with technology either. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only eight states — Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia — have enacted laws addressing access to email, social media accounts or other electronically stored information upon a person's death or incapacity. Nevada provides for the termination of a person's social media accounts upon death.
 
Use of e-cigs sees spike among teens
Idaho State Journal
At least 42 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but teens can still shop online.
 
Teen e-cigarette use tripled in the past year
13newsnow.com
At least 42 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, studies show teens can easily buy e-cigarettes online.
 
Gay marriage still on hold: Public Health awaits governor's directive 
Pacific Daily News 
Same-sex marriages are still legal in Alaska and Montana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. All states within the 9th Circuit Court's jurisdiction allow same-sex marriage.
 
Voting changes put N.C. on par 
News & Observer 
Until then, the Tar Heel State had some of the least restrictive election laws. Now, it likely falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. Here’s how our state compares today, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures:
 
Kansas rules to limit spending of welfare benefits 
McPherson Sentinel 
At least 23 states have their own restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida jobless rate remains unchanged; Rick Scott touts job gains
Saint Peters Blog
he U.S. unemployment rate is 5.5 percent and 21 states have lower unemployment rates than Florida, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report.

Palcohol Creator Fights State Bans 
Sci-Tech Today 
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

April 17

College sexual assault crackdown sparks effort to protect rights of accused
Washington Times
In other states, bills have been introduced to enact mandatory reporting requirements, strengthen relationships with law enforcement, establish task forces and create victims’ bills of rights, said Suzanne Hultin, analyst with the National Conference on State Legislatures. “Every state is looking at something kind of different,” said Ms. Hultin. “There’s a handful of states that are looking specifically at affirmative consent policies. There are other states that are looking at other types of reporting. There are other states looking at creating community partnerships with organizations that help support victims. There’s a whole swath of ideas that they’re looking at.”
 
California officials may declare end of Disneyland-linked measles outbreak 
Reuters 
Almost all states also grant religious exemptions against immunizations, with 20 states also allowing philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Kansas signs sweeping welfare crackdown 
CNNMoney 
At least 23 other states have passed laws restricting how benefits cards can be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Powdered Alcohol Creator Fighting State Bans
NBC Philadelphia
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Teen e-cigarette use tripled in the past year 
USA TODAY 
At least 42 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Louisiana lawmaker wants to give more power to the people at the ballot
NOLA.com
Citizens in 26 states have the right to propose constitutional amendments and/or statutory changes, according to Wendy Underhill with the National Conference of State Legislatures. The most recent state to adopt an initiative process was Mississippi in 1992, but "most of these states adopted the initiative process in the early part of the 20th century."
  
New Kansas rules would limit spending of welfare benefits - AOL.com 
Associated Press
At least 23 states have their own restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the The National Conference of State Legislatures. A few states - not Kansas - prohibit buying guns, according to the NCSL, and a few ban tattoos or body piercings. 
  
Powdered alcohol creator tries to head off ban in Maine, other states 
Portland Press Herald 
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
No tattoos, psychics or lingerie: New Kansas rules would limit spending of welfare benefits
Aiken Standard
At least 23 states have their own restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A few states -- not Kansas -- prohibit buying guns, according to the NCSL, and a few ban tattoos or body piercings. Massachusetts prohibits spending on jewelry, bail bonds, or “vacation services.” A 2014 Louisiana law bars card use on cruise ships, which is also on the Kansas list.
 
Delays, dodges no help in legislative staff reforms
Lexington Herald Leader
It was a year ago, in April 2014, that a few legislative leaders received a draft report that you'd thing would shock anyone into action. Prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the performance audit examined the structure and culture of the Legislative Research Commission's professional staff — the people who research and write legislation and aid legislative committees.
 
More states warming up to allowing college students to carry guns
Oswegonian
If passed, Texas would join Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Mississippi who already allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Uniform trafficking law heads to governor's desk
Dickinson Press
At least 28 states had Safe Harbor laws enacted as of 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Powdered Alcohol Creator Tries to Get Ahead of State Bans
Fox 28
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Georgia governor OKs medical marijuana law 
WBAL Baltimore 
A form of medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Georgia. Take a look at which other states allow recreational and medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Here's what you can't buy with welfare in Kansas 
Bellingham Herald 
At least 23 states have their own restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Fetal Homicide Bill Introduced at Statehouse 
KRCC 
Thirty-eight states have fetal homicide laws on the books according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cadman’s bill is modeled after language from several states. 
 
Welfare Crackdown: Kansas Bans Cruises for the Poor 
The Fiscal Times 
At least 23 other states have also passed laws restricting how these public benefits can be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Revenue sharing uncertainty clouds debate on local option sales tax 
Bangor Daily News 
A majority of states have a local option sales tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 16

Lawmaker rethinking welfare drug-testing proposal
USA TODAY
Indiana is one of at least 15 states to consider drug testing or screening for public assistance this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twelve states already have such requirements.
 
Medical marijuana bill gets Senate approval
The Washington Times
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, and 11 others offer more limited access to some cannabis products, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.
 
Proposed Arkansas Bill Permitting Employer Access To Employees' Social Media Accounts Rejected 
The National Law Review 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, such legislation has been introduced or considered in at least 22 states so far in 2015.
 
New Kansas Rules Would Limit Spending of Welfare Benefits
ABC News
At least 23 states have their own restrictions on how cards can be used, mostly for alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult-oriented businesses, according to the The National Conference of State Legislatures. A few states — not Kansas — prohibit buying guns, according to the NCSL, and a few ban tattoos or body piercings. Massachusetts prohibits spending on jewelry, bail bonds, or "vacation services." A 2014 Louisiana law bars card use on cruise ships, which is also on the Kansas list.
 
Powdered alcohol creator tries to get ahead of state bans
U-T San Diego
Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia passed bans as of early April, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawmaker rethinking welfare drug-testing proposal
Indianapolis Star
Indiana is one of at least 15 states to consider drug testing or screening for public assistance this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twelve states already have such requirements.
 
Medical marijuana bill gets Senate approval
The Herald
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, and 11 others offer more limited access to some cannabis products, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.
 
Suing Priceline, Travelocity to Bring In Big Money for Local Governments 
Free Times 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states — Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Minnesota, Wyoming and Oregon — and the District of Columbia require taxes be paid on the amount a consumer pays for a hotel room, whether paid in person or through a website. 
 
Idaho To Join Handful Of States That Charge Electric Car Owners Extra 
Northwest Public Radio 
Seven states have existing or pending laws that charge electric vehicle drivers extra, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Eight cases of whooping cough confirmed at Radnor schools 
Main Line 
Though there is no federal requirement, all 50 states have laws requiring certain vaccines for students, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures through March 3.
 
Maine senator withdraws religious freedom bill 
Portland Press Herald 
At least 16 states are considering legislation this year to create or alter a state religious freedom law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Medical marijuana bill gets Senate approval 
The Daily Nonpareil 
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive medical marijuana programs, and 11 others offer more limited access to some cannabis products, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.
 
10 States That Have Proposed or Passed Legislation to Restore Voting Rights to Felons 
Newsmax 
Here are 10 states that have restored voting rights to felons, according to the Sentencing Project and the National Conference of State Legislatures:
 
Florida Lawmakers Set Sights On Industrial Hemp Production
WUFT
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 22 states have passed hemp-legalization laws. Of these, 13 allow commercial production and seven permit state-approved cultivation.

April 15

DC wants to keep police body camera footage hidden from public eye
Washington Times
The District’s proposal — essentially declaring them not to be public records — sticks out because most other jurisdictions drafting such regulations are balancing matters, trying to identify scenarios under which videos should or should not be released, said Richard Williams, a criminal justice policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s significantly more common to have them trying to find a balance rather than a blanket policy one way or the other,” said Mr. Williams, noting that 34 states have introduced some form of legislation regarding body cameras.
 
Medical Marijuana: the Myths and Realities
U.S. News & World Report
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and recreational use of the drug in small quantities is legal in Washington and Colorado. For more information on state medical marijuana laws, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures website or call your state’s Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about the laws regarding medical marijuana where you live.
 
Why Photo IDs Won’t Stop Food Stamp Fraud
Governing
At least 12 states are considering legislation related to photo identification and food assistance in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill banning e-cigarette sales to minors headed to governor
Great Falls Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 42 states currently prohibit sales of e-cigarettes or “vaping” alternative tobacco products to minors.
 
North Carolina comes back to the pack on election laws
Asheville Citizen-Times
(NCSL Information Cited)
 
Prostitution bill offers assistance, not penalties to minors
The Decatur Daily
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in July 2014 there were 18 states, including Alabama, without “safe harbor” legislation that addresses minors as victims. At least six states make minors immune from prosecution for prostitution. At least 20 states allow minors to make an affirmative defense that their actions were the result of human trafficking.
 
Georgia Slams Brakes on Electric Cars
Government Technology
Only five states have an annual fee on EVs. They range from about $50 to $100, said Kristy Hartman of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Montana Senate panel advances sex offender residency bill 
Ravalli Republic 
Eighteen states have enacted laws restricting sex offenders' residencies in some way, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven of those specifically restrict offenders from living near children.
 
Can Marijuana Extract Cannabidiol Treat Severe Epilepsy? 
Capital OTC 
So far, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 23 states have initiated medical marijuana programs – with 11 others that follow suit by adopting legislation on the matter.
 
Washington state school district removes 143 students over vaccine ...
Grand Forks Herald
Almost all states also grant religious exemptions against immunizations, with 20 states also allowing philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wash. school district pulls students from classes over vaccination ...
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Almost all states also grant religious exemptions against immunizations, with 20 states also allowing philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
North Carolina comes back to the pack on election laws
Asheville Citizen-Times
Up to that point, the Tar Heel state had some of the least restrictive election laws. Now, it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. Here’s how our state compares today, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures:
 
Democratic legislator to introduce bill legalizing pot 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Twenty other states allow marijuana use for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and Governing magazine.
 
Legislators make push to label genetically modified foods
The Herald News
Legislation to require GMO labeling has been introduced in 30 states around the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Senate panel advances sex offender residency bill
Great Falls Tribune
Eighteen states have enacted laws restricting sex offenders' residencies in some way, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Amid push for medical marijuana, studies get started to tell if extract really helps epilepsy
The Vancouver Sun                
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states have broad medical marijuana programs while another 11 states have more recently passed legislation allowing limited access to some cannabidiol-containing products.

April 14

What We Can Learn From the Police That Pioneered Body Cameras
Governing
No state mandates body-worn devices yet, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in 29 states had introduced various body camera bills as of March.
 
The tax hike even Republicans are embracing 
USA TODAY 
According to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than a dozen states have in fact launched pilot projects to test out ways to charge mileage-based fees.
 
Research under way to test marijuana extract for epilepsy
Washington Post
Meanwhile, families desperate to treat their children’s intractable seizures have made headlines over the past year by moving to states like Colorado, which allows medical use of marijuana, in search of the oils — or by lobbying their own states to allow use of the marijuana extract. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states have broad medical marijuana programs while another 11 states have more recently passed legislation allowing limited access to some cannabidiol-containing products.
 
Washington state school district removes 143 students over vaccine law
Reuters
Almost all states also grant religious exemptions against immunizations, with 20 states also allowing philosophical exemptions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Florida Senate considers shielding video from police body cameras
Tampabay.com
At least 30 state legislatures this year are considering bills related to body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some plans are for beginning to use the cameras or require training for officers, while others restrict access to records like Florida's. Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers added body camera videos to the state's public records law.
 
'Safe Harbor' bill offers assistance, not penalties to minors
Times Daily
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in July 2014, 18 states, including Alabama, did not have “safe harbor” legislation that addresses minors as victims. At least six states make minors immune from prosecution for prostitution. At least 20 states allow minors to make as an affirmative defense that their actions were the result of human trafficking.
 
Democratic legislator to introduce bill legalizing pot 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Twenty other states allow marijuana use for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislature and Governing magazine.
 
Can the VI learn from states that have legalized marijuana?
Virgin Islands Daily News
In total, four states in the union - Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon, along with the District of Columbia - have legalized some form of recreational marijuana, and they are in various stages of implementation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado and Washington have implemented their laws.
 
State Democrat wants to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin 
Fox11online.com 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a total of 23 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now allow for some form of medicinal marijuana use.
 
Amid push for medical marijuana, studies get started to tell if extract really helps epilepsy 
Minneapolis Star Tribune 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 23 states have broad medical marijuana programs while another 11 states have more recently passed legislation allowing limited access to some cannabidiol-containing products.
 
Texas Senate voucher bill specifics unveiled 
Austin American-Statesman 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states and Washington, D.C., have voucher-type programs with more than half offering benefits only to low-income or special needs students or both. On its website, the non-partisan group cites a 2011 study by the Center on Education Policy that found that the programs “have had no clear positive effect on student academic achievement, and mixed outcomes for students overall.” 
 
Kansas agency takes to Facebook, Twitter to defend proposed ...
Wichita Eagle
Freed also pointed out that if Brownback signs the bill, Kansas would not be the only state to restrict how TANF beneficiaries can spend money: 23 states had some restriction on the books as of 2014, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why attracting filmmakers to Maine comes at a steep cost
Bangor Daily News
As of last year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 39 states and Puerto Rico offered some form of film production incentive.

April 13

Wealthy donors on left launch new plan to wrest back control in the states
Washington Post
Meanwhile, Republicans have consolidated power in state legislatures, bolstered by lobbying groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and a network of think tanks and advocacy groups funded by the billionaires Charles and David Koch and other conservative donors. The GOP now controls 30 state legislatures, while the Democrats control 11, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Tries to Stop Safeguards for Gays as Rural Areas Hold Sway 
Bloomberg 
Republicans control 30 legislatures, compared with 16 in 2006, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Through redistricting in 2000 and 2010, Republicans have been able to carve out districts dominated by rural and suburban voters.
 
As lotteries grow, states look at rules to rein them in
The Seattle Times/Stateline
A handful of states have considered measures to allow online sales or expand gaming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while others have stepped in to pre-emptively block the practice. Last year, for example, Oregon considered encouraging lottery retailers to embrace video slot machines, a new and potentially lucrative revenue stream. At the same time, Colorado and Maryland moved to outlaw online gaming.
 
The tax hike even Republicans are embracing
MSN
According to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than a dozen states have in fact launched pilot projects to test out ways to charge mileage-based fees.
 
Lone Star lawmakers to once again consider drug testing welfare recipients
The Leader
Twelve states have passed legislation concerning drug screening in public assistance applications, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida's law was halted by a judge. Lawmakers in 14 other states have introduced proposals.
 
Dominant Oregon Democrats leave Republicans in the dust: Will it come back to bite them?
OregonLive.com
Oregon bucked a national trend in last fall's election. While a red wave swept statehouses -- Republicans now control both chambers in 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures -- Democrats here picked up two seats in the Senate and one in the House.  
 
West Virginia GOP: We are still free, despite Hoosier hassle
State Journal
A similar measure currently is federal law, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted by President Bill Clinton in the early '90s. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 other states, or about 40 percent of the United States, have a similar state law.
 
Bill proposes citizen commission to set Nevada lawmakers' pay
The Current
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers last year have been paid $90,526 in California, $79,500 in New York and $67,836 in Illinois, not which includes per diem. On the other end of the spectrum is New Hampshire, exactly where lawmakers receive $200 for a two-year term. Period. 
 
State lawmakers introduce bills aimed at turning up the turnout
LancasterOnline
Twenty states allow online voter registration; three more have passed laws that have yet to take effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Legislators make push to label genetically modified foods
Fall River Herald News
Legislation to require GMO labeling has been introduced in 30 states around the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many contain language — similar to the Maine and Connecticut bills — that the regulation will become law only when four other nearby states pass similar laws.
 
Seeds planted for hemp industry in Virginia
Virginia Gazette
Including Virginia, 22 states have authorized industrial hemp programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They range from California and Colorado to Vermont and South Carolina. Congress opened the door for such programs in the 2014 federal farm bill.
 
Drive-by data: Motorists deserve limits on plate camera collection
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Legislation regarding plate cameras is pending in 14 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania is not among them but should be. The state needs a law specifying what kind of data can and cannot be gathered and when the information must be purged.
 
Malloy expects police body camera law, but not this year 
FOX CT 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says legislatures in 30 states are considering body camera measures.
 
Editorial: Pa. election reform is long overdue 
The Delaware County Daily Times 
Twenty-one states allow voters to register online, and three others will soon have such laws. Thirty-six states permit all voters to cast ballots prior to Election Day and 10 allow voters to register and vote on the same day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Malloy Cites Cost As Potential Obstacle To Police Body Cams This ...
Hartford Courant
Thirty states are considering some sort of police body-camera legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Online Voter Rolls Don't Register With Scott
WFSU
Actually, it’s 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most pay between $250,000 and $750,000 for their systems. Florida may have to spend $1.8 million, Detzner says.
  
Milbank: The rush to humiliate the poor
Longview Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, another state that prohibits welfare funds for cruise ships is true-blue Massachusetts.
  
Civilians can record police encounters, but when is it interference?
89.3 KPCC
There are five states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Texas — that are considering bills that might offer some clarity, according to Rich Williams, who tracks criminal justice policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Minimum Wage and Why It Concerns the Restaurant Industry Most
Market Realist
According to the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislators), 29 states and the District of Columbia had minimum wages higher than the federal minimum hourly wage as of February 24, 2015. The state of Washington had the highest minimum wage of $9.47 as of the date of publication.

April 10

Civilians Can Record Police Encounters, But When Is It Interference?
NPR
There are five states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Texas — that are considering bills that might offer some clarity, according to Rich Williams, who tracks criminal justice policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "The question that the bills are trying to answer is, 'what is the line between peacefully recording law enforcement activity and interfering with the police officer's ability to do his job effectively?' " Williams says.
  
Nevada is latest state to pass private school choice program 
Washington Post 
The number of states offering private school choice programs has grown in recent years, and as of 2014, 24 states and the District offered some kind of public support to broaden access to private schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Kern County sheriff a defiant California maverick on immigration
Los Angeles Times
At a time when the Democrat-controlled Legislature has moved to allow such immigrants to drive, practice law and pay in-state college tuition — passing 26 immigrant-friendly laws last year alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — Youngblood is an outlier.
 
Calif. Lawmakers advance controversial vaccine bill
USA Today
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions based on personal belief and 48 that allow for religious exemptions. 
 
Mandatory vaccine bill sparks protests in California
CBS News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions based on personal belief and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
 
States Take Aim at Social Welfare Programs
U.S. News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 12 states passed laws to drug test public assistance recipients – though Florida's law was ruled unconstitutional – and many more are considering similar mandates. Such requirements are costly to implement, while finding little drug use among participants.
  
NC officials moving to ban powdered alcohol
WRAL.com
Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Vermont banned the sale of powdered alcohol in 2014, and many more states are considering prohibitions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Colorado cleared the way for regulation this year, while Virginia's governor has signed a bill banning the sale.
 
Robert Kennedy Jr. calls vaccines a ‘holocaust’ as California lawmakers move to mandate them
The Kansas City Star
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions based on personal belief and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
 
Distracted driving bill dies in Olympia
Union Bulletin 
Thirteen states now outlaw use of hand-held phones, and 44 states bar sending texts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

California Lawmakers Advance Vaccine Bill Amid Heated Debate
NBC Bay Area
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions based on personal belief and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.

Body Camera Debate Intensifies Following Walter Scott Shooting: Renewed Push In South 
International Business Times 
An increasing number of states, about 30 as of February, have been considering legislation to require police to wear body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California bill to ban childhood vaccine exemptions advances 
Al Jazeera America 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions on the basis of personal belief. Forty-eight states allow religious exemptions.
  
States Review Laws Revoking Licenses For Student Loan Defaults 
Ktoo 
Dustin Weeden, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures says a lot of states passed license revocation laws for student loan defaulters in the 1990s and early 2000s, back before the federal government started taking on a bigger role in lending to students.
  
California Lawmakers Advance Bill Prohibiting Child Vaccine Religious Exemptions 
Tech Times 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is one of 20 states to allow vaccination exemptions due to personal beliefs. It is also among 48 states that recognize religious exemptions.
  
5 ways schools can reduce the need for remediation 
Education Dive 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, anywhere between 28% and 40% of college students have to enroll in at least one remedial class because of failure on placement tests. 

April 9

State Bills Show Passion Stirred by EPA Rules
By Ed Felker, CQ Roll Call
States have intensified their debates over the Obama administration’s controversial plan to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants, with dozens of measures in response introduced this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some 10 states have enacted bills and resolutions, according to a tally by the conference in its latest report on state actions as the EPA moves closer to finalizing its proposed Clean Power Plan this summer.
 
One of Rand Paul's most interesting ideas could actually make the presidency more powerful 
Washington Post 
 Eighteen states set limits on legislative terms between 1990 and 1994, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and limits are now in effect in 15. The idea was popular with voters -- in most states, substantial majorities of 60 percent or more approved of term limits. 
 
Distracted driving bill dies in Olympia
The Seattle Times
In 2007, Washington was one of the first states to enact a ban on texting or talking on a handheld cellphone while operating a moving vehicle. Thirteen states now outlaw use of handheld phones, and 44 states bar sending texts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nevada Legislature: Sen. Debbie Smith returns after brain surgery
Nevada Appeal
Smith said she closely followed developments in the statehouse during her absence. She weighed in on the progress of legislation she sponsored, such as a bill preventing domestic abusers from having guns. Smith was first elected to the state Assembly in 2000 and won a seat in the Senate in 2012. The Reno Democrat has won several lawmaker of the year awards and is the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Dana Milbank: Some new laws more about demeaning poor than stopping welfare abuse
Portland Press Herald
The U.S. government required in 2012 that electronic benefit transfer cards not be used for liquor, gambling or adult entertainment, but many states went further. Massachusetts and Missouri require the EBT cards to have the beneficiary’s photo, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
CA vaccine requirement bill gets first public debate
KCRA Sacramento
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for exemptions based on personal belief and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
 
Law enforcement says controls critical for medical marijuana 
WTAE Pittsburgh 
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Distracted driving bill dies in Olympia: 'The votes weren't there' 
KOMO News 
Thirteen states now outlaw use of hand-held phones, and 44 states bar sending texts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  
 
California vaccine requirement bill gets first public debate
89.3 KPCC
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for personal belief exemptions and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
 
California bill that would require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated gets first public debate
Los Angeles Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is among 20 states that allow for personal belief exemptions and 48 that allow for religious exemptions.
 
House panel OKs ban on powdered alcohol
News Journal
If the bills become law, Florida would join at least six states that have already banned the product, with other states considering similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The next bad North Carolina law? 
Charlotte Observer 
North Carolina doesn’t yet have a law governing TANF funds and EBT cards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Dana Milbank | The rush to humiliate the poor 
The Courier-Journal 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, another state that prohibits welfare funds for cruise ships is true-blue Massachusetts (though it at least touches the ocean.)
 
Bill Giving Oklahoma Attorney General, Legislature Input On EPA Rule Advances 
Times Record 
Legislatures in 27 states have introduced bills dealing with the Clean Power Plan or future greenhouse gas regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirteen states, including Oklahoma, have bills that require the legislature’s approval of a state plan prior to its submission to EPA.
 
Sen. Debbie Smith Returns to Nevada Legislature After Brain Surg - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno ... 
KTVN 
The Reno Democrat has won several lawmaker of the year awards and is the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Judge orders temporary seal in Legislative Research Commission lawsuit depositions 
CN2 TV
But Clay suggested a romantic link between Sherman and Ratliff would reflect the working environment at LRC, noting a draft audit by the National Conference of State Legislatures that found raises granted without rationale.

April 8

States Review Laws Revoking Licenses For Student Loan Defaults
NPR
Dustin Weeden, a policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures says a lot of states passed license revocation laws for student loan defaulters in the 1990s and early 2000s, back before the federal government started taking on a bigger role in lending to students. Activists Stop Paying Their Student Loans "Because states were essentially the direct lenders to students, many states had large loan portfolios," he says.
  
Retreats by Indiana and Arkansas on religion bills may spark wider trend
Reuters
Sixteen states have introduced legislation this year to create or alter their religious freedom bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
No movies, concerts, or tattoos: Kansas bill would limit use of welfare funds 
Christian Science Monitor 
In 2012, the federal government restricted EBT card use for liquor, gambling, and adult entertainment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
The rush to humiliate the poor
Washington Post
A profusion of such laws has bubbled up in states across the country in the last few years, imposing punitive new conditions on the poor. Many of these are from Republican states opposed to big government, but not entirely: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, another state that prohibits welfare funds for cruise ships is true-blue Massachusetts (though it at least touches the ocean.)
  
MIT: Can’t live on minimum wage
CDA Press
According to 2015 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, with the exception of the stark hourly minimum of $5.15 in Wyoming and Georgia, Idaho's (and 15 other states') $7.25 per hour is the lowest, and compares poorly with the $9 in states such as California and Massachusetts.
  
Once maligned, Rep. Greg Chaney off to productive start in House
Idaho Press-Tribune
This session is nearly complete, but looking ahead to next January, Chaney says he hopes to stay on the same committees — Revenue and Taxation, Commerce and Human Resources, and Environment, Energy and Technology. He was also appointed to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the Idaho Industrial Commission Advisory Committee, specifically dealing with workers compensation. In between sessions, he hopes to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures to learn more about tax policy in other states.
  
Is That Powdered Alcohol Or Just Some Kool Aid?
NYU Local
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, six states have already banned the product from being sold.
  
Md. lawmakers seek better way to fill vacancies 
Herald-Mail Media 
At least 14 states have provisions for having either a special election or having one during a general election in case of a vacancy in the state legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Wyoming lawmaker John Patton remembered for kindness, commitment to civility 
Casper Star-Tribune Online 
He also worked at the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, an organization that preceded the National Conference of State Legislatures, which provides state lawmakers across the country training on how to be effective.
 
State Lawmakers Already Introducing Powdered Alcohol Bans 
NACS Online 
Five states have already banned it, and at least 47 bills addressing powdered alcohol have been introduced in 28 states, including Oklahoma, as of mid-March, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hoosier lawmakers clarify Indiana's RFRA; but 'fix' raises unanswered questions 
Today's Catholic News 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), this year 12 states in addition to Indiana are looking to add a state RFRA to their respective state’s law. 

April 7

In California, each lawmaker represents nearly half a million people. In New Hampshire: 3300.
Washington Post
For the sake of completeness, I decided to figure out which states had the most overzealous representation of their citizens. Here, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, are the sizes of the legislatures, upper and lower chambers, in each of our 50 states.
 
Indiana, Arkansas retreat on religion bills may spark wider trend
Reuters
Sixteen states have introduced legislation this year to create or alter their religious freedom bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Working Around Polarization
Governing
Meanwhile, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has nine standing committees that develop policy directives. Before any of those directives are adopted, they must win three-fourths approval of the states. In addition, the chairs and vice chairs of every committee have to be balanced by party. These parameters send a message "that we work in a bipartisan manner, and I think that comes through," said Neal Osten, NCSL's Washington office director, at the February NASS meeting.
 
In Many States, Lieutenant Governors Take on Larger Role
Stateline
Still, for most lieutenant governors, “their main role is as a back-up within the executive branch, someone who can become governor,” said Brenda Erickson, senior research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Missouri lawmaker proposes tax on marijuana, illegal drugs
Belleville News Democrat
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports at least 20 other states now tax drugs. For example, Nebraska taxes marijuana at $100 an ounce. Dealers face additional fees if caught selling without a tax stamp. Last year, the NCSL reported Nebraska has collected at least $544,588 in fines since adopting the tax in 1991.
 
Nevada 'campus carry' bill approved in Assembly
Las Vegas Review-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures in information dated from February 2015, 23 states let universities make the call on carrying concealed weapons, 20 ban weapons and seven, including Utah, Colorado and Idaho, allow firearms to be carried with some limitations.
 
Rep. John Patton dies at 84, leaves legacy of service 
The Sheridan Press  
At that time, he went to work for the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, now the National Conference of State Legislatures, which worked to improve the efficiency and process of state legislatures around the nation.
 
LePage makes second push for welfare changes 
Portland Press Herald 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 37 states use EBT cards to dispense welfare benefits, and at least 23 have passed laws placing restrictions or prohibitions on the use of the cards.
 
Fact Check: Douglas overstated student remediation 
azcentral.com 
Nationally, up to 40 percent of first-time college undergraduates and 50 percent of all new community college students require remedial instruction in math or English before they take freshman-level courses, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Wolf administration pushes Pa. election reforms
Associated Press
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 21 states allow online voter registration and three others have passed similar laws that have yet to take effect.
 
We need an election law overhaul
Times News LLC
Thirty-six states permit all voters to cast ballots before Election Day and 10 allow voters to register and vote on the same day, all according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Lawmakers consider bill to protect from prosecution people who report drug overdoses
Daily Journal – Associated Press
Twenty-two states have some type of drug immunity law for people who call 911, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

April 6

Powdered Alcohol Meets Resistance in U.S. Before It Even Comes to Market
New York Times
Concerned over the potential for abuse, six states have passed legislation to ban powdered alcohol outright, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
School bus cameras start to catch those who don't stop
USA TODAY
"It's quite a different approach," said Douglas Shinkle, a transportation policy expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). "Wyoming has taken a pretty big step requiring this statewide, and appropriating the money to do so."
  
Do state lotteries take advantage of gambling addicts?
USA TODAY
A handful of states have considered measures to allow online sales or expand gaming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while others have stepped in to preemptively block the practice. Last year, for example, Oregon considered encouraging lottery retailers to embrace video slot machines, a new and potentially lucrative revenue stream. At the same time, Colorado and Maryland moved to outlaw online gaming.
  
Religion and RFRA -- Fix it? Nix it?
Huffington Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "Religious Freedom Restoration Acts" (RFRA) laws are now in place in 19 states across the country, and 10 others have similar bills in the works.
  
Maine bill would require carbon monoxide detectors at more sites
Press Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states have enacted laws regarding carbon monoxide detectors. Some, like Massachusetts, require carbon monoxide detectors in any residential unit heated with fossil fuels or that has an attached parking garage. In Michigan, the requirement applies only to newly constructed hotels or motels.
  
Bill would allow hemp crops in New Mexico
Albuquerque Journal
Twenty states have passed laws establishing some sort of industrial hemp programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
NH officials weighing another round of voter ID, eligibility changes
Concord Monitor
The Granite State is hardly alone in wrestling with these issues. Voter identification laws have been a particularly hot topic across the country in recent decades, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New voter ID requirements have increased across the country since 2000, and as of this year some 34 states have some kind of voter ID law in place, according to the NCSL.
  
Driving permits bill may see higher mileage
Amarillo.com
Texas is the latest state to consider issuing driver’s licenses or driving permits to undocumented immigrants. Ten other states and the District of Columbia already allow some unauthorized immigrants to get driving permits or drivers licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Faith, freedom and flowers at gay weddings: the return of the American Culture Wars
Herald Scotland
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 20 US states have already passed so-called religious freedom laws - they include Connecticut, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas - and another dozen are due to follow suit this year. They are modelled on a federal law which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 after being passed in Congress without very much objection. At the time Clinton said the new law would subject the government to "a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone's free exercise of religion."
  
Kansas Bans Poor People From Spending Welfare On Cruise Ships
Huffington Post
Kansas is one of at least 37 states that distributes benefits on government-issued debit cards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
Midwestern states move to place more limits on welfare
Examiner
It is also “one of at least 37 states that distributes benefits on government-issued debit cards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voting change may cause back-ups at ballot boxes
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Ten states still have straight-ticket voting, with seven using it for judicial races, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
  
Powdered alcohol faces stiff opposition
The Bulletin
Concerned over the potential for abuse, six states have passed legislation to ban powdered alcohol outright, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Bill: Would no longer require OT after 8 hours for low income
Nevada Appeal
Ten states still have straight-ticket voting, with seven using it for judicial races, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

April 3

What Indiana's Proposed 'Fix' to Religious Freedom Law Still Allows 
ABC News 
State legislatures in Indiana and Arkansas may have drawn the most attention by passing versions of the "religious freedom" law this week, but similar religious freedom laws are in place in 19 states across the country, and 10 others have similar bills in the works, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Beyond red-tailed hawk, students push obscure state symbols nationwide
Boston Globe
State symbols started with the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where every state was represented by a flower, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Utah got it right by banning powdered alcohol, while Colorado got it wrong
Deseret News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota, New York and Ohio are also considering also bans. 

Indiana controversy looms as Maine senator floats 'religious freedom' bill
Bangor Daily News
While the federal law is still in place, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that it could not be applied to the states, prompting some states to begin passing their own versions of the act. Today, 20 states have their own versions of RFRA, and 15 more have such bills pending in the Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 New North Dakota hemp law could help farmers start growing by 2016

Grand Forks Herald
North Dakota is one of 13 states with laws establishing commercial hemp programs, according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Five of the 13 -- Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont -- already implement their hemp laws. North Dakota will become the sixth.

Voting change will cause ballot box back ups, opponents say 
Pakestine Herald Press
Ten states still have straight-ticket voting, with seven using it for judicial races, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arkansas governor signs amended ‘religious freedom’ measure
Fox 8 Cleveland
There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States Consider Limiting Lotteries
Governing
A handful of states have considered measures to allow online sales or expand gaming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while others have stepped in to preemptively block the practice.

April 2

Fired Wawa attendant fielding new job opportunity 
USA TODAY 
New Jersey, like all states in the Union except Montana, is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Arkansas governor: Bill needs changes before I sign it 
CNN 
There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arkansas gov. sends back religious freedom law after Walmart pressure
CNN Money
In addition to Arkansas, there are 14 other states looking at similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Technology Leaders Call on Lawmakers to Reject Discrimination 
Bloomberg 
Twenty states have such laws, according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixteen states are considering creating or changing religious-freedom laws, according to the site.

North Dakota Legislature passes immunity measure for 911 callers reporting drug overdoses 
Associated Press - Daily Journal 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have some form of a drug immunity law. 

The Debate About Guns On College Campuses Is A New Form Of March Madness 
MTV.com 
This sort of legislation isn’t new: 19 states introduced pro-conceal and carry bills for college campuses in 2013, and 14 other states introduced similar bills the following year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maine lawmakers consider 2 bills to bring independents into primaries
Press Herald
Maine is now one of 11 closed primary states, and the only one in New England, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, the definition of a closed primary and semi-closed primary varies.

ND passes bill for 911 callers reporting drug overdoses
WDAZ/AP
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have some form of a drug immunity law.

Arkansas Senate passes revised religious freedom bill
KPRC Houston
Following Indiana, Arkansas has become the second of what could be a spate of states to add religious freedom laws to their books in 2015. There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New York lawmakers pass ethics legislation, but critics say the measure falls short 
Center for Public Integrity 
Reform groups and Schneiderman have called on the state to eliminate or restrict lawmakers’ ability to earn income from other sources, citing the practice as an inherent conflict of interest. Peggy Kerns, of the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Center she is not aware of any state with such a prohibition. 

Colorado Seeks Fetal Murder Law After Attack On Pregnant Woman 
Daily Beast 
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists Colorado among the the 38 states with what is, in effect, a fetal homicide law—though some like Colorado stop short of designating the unwanted death of a fetus to be murder.

 Arkansas gov. sends back religious freedom law after Walmart pressure 

WCVB Boston 
In addition to Arkansas, there are 14 other states looking at similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

North Carolina considers Indiana-like religious objection law 
Macon Telegraph  
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have introduced legislation this year creating or altering a state religious freedom law.

Wiccan from Cedar Rapids will give invocation next week to Iowa House of Representatives 
Daily Journal 
A spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures said the group does not collect information on who gives invocations in state legislatures around the country. 

N.D. passes bill for 911 callers reporting drug overdoses
The Bismark Tribune
The National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 20 states have some form of a drug immunity law.

Fast food workers in New Orleans, nationwide, plan April 15 strike
The Times-Picayune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states have further minimum wage increases set to go into effect over the next three years. 

PRS Guitars to receive $300000 in conditional grants
The Star Democrat
The minimum wage requirement for the state of Maryland is $8, according to National Conference of State Legislatures website.

Wal-Mart urges Arkansas governor to veto religion bill 
WPTV.com 
There are 14 other states looking at similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ride-sharing company supports proposed regulations, eyes Iowa expansion 
Mason City Globe Gazette 
Six states have passed new laws — Colorado was the first, in June 2014 — and roughly 40 others are considering legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


 April 1

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Says He 'Could Have Handled' Religious Freedom Law Better 
ABC News 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in addition to Indiana and Arkansas there are 10 other states with similar bills in the works and 19 states already have similar laws in place.
  
States Use Cameras to Crack Down on School Bus Scofflaws 
Huffington Post
It’s quite a different approach,” said Douglas Shinkle, a transportation policy expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Wyoming has taken a pretty big step requiring this statewide, and appropriating the money to do so.”
  
Arkansas poised to adopt religious freedom law
CNN
There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Rep. Dennis Ross pushes zero-based budgeting for federal government 
Washington Times 
The effort was abandoned a few years later after state legislatures found the process expensive and time-consuming, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Idaho and New Hampshire’s governors have deployed zero-based budgeting with success, and in recent years 17 states have used zero-based budgeting in some form, and several more have made serious efforts to do so, according to NCSL.
  
School Busing: A New Controversy
The Fiscal Times
“It’s quite a different approach,” said Douglas Shinkle, a transportation policy expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Wyoming has taken a pretty big step requiring this statewide, and appropriating the money to do so.” At least 12 other states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia—have laws that authorize the use of cameras on the outside of buses to catch fly-by drivers, according to the NCSL. And at least seven states, including New Jersey, New York and Tennessee, are considering bills this year that deal with school bus monitoring cameras. They range from providing grants to school districts to buy and install the equipment to authorizing that the cameras be allowed statewide.
  
How South Carolina's 'Religious Freedom' law compare to Indiana's
WCSC Live 5 News
Right now, 20 states have laws classified under the heading of religious freedom. The National Conference of State Legislatures says 16 states including South Carolina have introduced bills this year either creating or modifying such laws.
  
Our View: Will third time be a charm for texting-while-driving ban?
The Midland Reporter Telegram
The AP reports 44 states already have some form of texting ban that affects all drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas should be no different. Craddick, one of the most conservative legislators our state has ever known, sees this. It’s time to make the bill he sponsored reality.
  
New job for Wawa fuel man fired over squirt toy?
Asbury Park Press
New Jersey, like all states in the Union except Montana, is an at-will employment state, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Arkansas about to adopt religious freedom law 
WDSU New Orleans 
There are 14 other states considering similar proposals this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
How Hobby Lobby Paved the Way for the Current Rush of Religious Freedom Laws
Vice News
Those three states join 13 others that have introduced RFRA legislation in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Wisconsin towns talk options for neighboring village that has more than $3 million in debt 

Daily Journal – Associated Press
Twelve states allow municipalities to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Religious Freedom Restoration Act In Indiana: How State ‘Anti-Gay’ Law is Different from others’
IBT
Such language is absent from the federal religious freedom law as well as from the laws of 18 of the other 19 states with such statutes, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
  
NC considers Indiana-like religious objection legislation
The Charlotte Observer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have introduced legislation this year creating or altering a state religious freedom law. South Carolina, among others, has a RFRA but is considering legislation to amend or supplement it.
  
NC to Debate Religious Freedom Bill –
Southern Pines Pilot  
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have introduced legislation this year creating or altering a state religious freedom law.
  
States tackle ?aging out? of foster care 
Bend Bulletin 
So far, 21 states have expanded benefits with federal support to youth up to age 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
  
Powder alcohol ban advances to Texas House 
mySanAntonio.com 
About six states have already banned Palcohol, including Alaska, Louisiana and Maryland. More than two dozen states were poised to debate how to handle powdered alcohol during legislative sessions this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Sen. Vinny DeMacedo to represent state at national conferences 
Wicked Local Plymouth 
State Sen. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, has been appointed by Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, to the Eastern Region Committee on Budget and Tax for the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the committees on Budget and Revenue and Labor and Workforce Development for the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
Ride-sharing company backs proposed rules, eyes Iowa expansion 
Quad City Times 
Six states have passed new laws — Colorado was the first, in June 2014 — and roughly 40 others are considering legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.