NCSL in the News | April 2017

4/1/2017

April 28

As College Deadlines Near, Families Wonder What They Can Pay
They may be waiting a while, since the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that just eight states have created anything like this. Twelve more have bills in the works.
 
Georgia lawmaker deals cannabis oil in shadows of the law
Marijuana remains a federally outlawed Schedule 1 narcotic, even though 29 states now have comprehensive medical marijuana programs. Seventeen others, including Georgia, allow the use of marijuana products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Weaponized Drones: Connecticut Bill Would Allow Police to Use Lethal Force From Above
Just five states ban the use of weaponized drones — Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin — while two others — Maine and Virginia — ban law enforcement from using them altogether, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Trump’s Tax Plan Dumps State, Local Tax Deduction
But elimination of the state and local tax deduction doesn’t reconcile with the intent of the federal code and goes against the principles of taxation, Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg BNA, noting that deductions for state and local taxes have been in place since the institution of the federal income tax in 1913.
 
Vermont Rep may bolster ethics plan with last-minute change
Vermont is one of just five states without some sort of ethics oversight body, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
West Virginia bans indoor tanning by those under 18
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states regulate minors' use of tanning facilities, and 15 other states and the District of Columbia ban them for people under 18.
 
New Home Depot Data Leak Exposes Gap in Consumer Privacy Protection
“Email addresses are mentioned in some breach-notification laws but only when breached in combination with a password,” says Pam Greenberg of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NASCIO: State Cios Push For Federal Partnership On Cybersecurity
State CIOs also discussed cybersecurity and federal priorities with several association partners including the National Governors Association (NGA), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD).
 

April 27

State and local governments express concerns about Trump tax plan
The groups that issued the statement are: The National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments.
 
EPA’s Silence on Drone Policy Launches Industry Debate
Amanda Essex, transportation policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said there has been “limited” state legislative action addressing the use of drones for environmental monitoring and assessment.
 
Wednesday round-up
At the National Council of State Legislatures’ blog, Lisa Soronen looks at Nelson v. Colorado, in which the justices held last week that a state cannot require a defendant whose conviction is invalidated to prove actual innocence before recovering fines and fees imposed as a consequence of the conviction; she notes that this “is one of those rare cases where the Supreme Court invalidates a state law but no other states have anything identical or similar.”
 
States Reconsider Sunscreen as Banned Drug in Schools
At least five states, California, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Utah, allow sunscreen use by students at school, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Why the Flurry of State Action to Overhual K-12 Funding? 
Legislators left those meetings eager to make dramatic shifts in what a K-12 education looks like in their states, said Michelle Exstrom the education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
House committee acts on bills that take felons out of public life
Though the specifics vary widely, 16 states and the District of Columbia allow ex-felons to automatically gain the right to vote upon release from prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-eight other states restore voting rights upon completion of the sentence, meaning after parole terms are complete. 
 
Bill tracker: Preempting plastic bag bans and taxes
In 2014, California became the first state to ban the use of nonreusable plastic bags at large retailers and imposed a tax on certain reusable plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other municipalities have bans or taxes on plastic bags including Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C., according to the NCSL.
 
With Florida as Example, Charlie Crist Files Bill Seeking Seat Belts on School Buses Nationwide
This year, school seat belt legislation has been introduced in at least 20 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That’s far more states than usual — a change some safety experts attribute to a federal recommendation in late 2015 that school buses have seat belts.
 

April 26

Gov. Inslee Lowers Bar to Clear Prostitution Convictions
At least 27 states have created procedures for survivors to expunge, vacate or seal criminal records related to being trafficked, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Reading the Tea Leaves: What Lies Ahead for Broadband Privacy Regulation?
At the same time, according to a recent report of the National Council of State Legislatures, states may be stepping in to fill the gap:  at least 12 states are considering legislation to adopt broadband privacy protections for consumers following the CRA disapproval of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules  and in the absence of clarification at the federal level, state broadband privacy regimes may take on increased significance as the only game in town.
 
Hinds heads to D.C. to stave off budget cuts
They plan to meet with the state’s congressional delegation, several federal agencies, think tanks, public policy organizations, and the National Conference of State Legislators to discuss the impacts of cuts in Trump’s budget blueprint, aimed at fulfilling campaign promises of downsizing federal government regulations and bureaucracy.
 
Medical marijuana activists give up on new law this year – again. Pin hopes on 2018. 
It remains unclear how President Donald Trump’s administration will approach the enforcement of federal marijuana law in states where its use has been legalized for medicinal purposes. More than half of the country has medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. 
 

April 25

What did I make at my last job? None of your business
States and cities across the country are considering legislation that would bar employers from asking about a job applicant's pay history. Massachusetts and Philadelphia already have such laws on the books, and a New York City initiative is sitting on Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk. Twenty-two other states are considering similar measures, from California to Georgia and Vermont, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lawsuit claims Colorado’s Amendment 71 – “Raise the Bar” – violates “one man, one vote”
Half of the 24 states that allow initiatives have geographic rules requiring signatures be collected from various parts of the state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Pennsylvania eyes leap to internet for casinos, lottery
Now, with the Pennsylvania Lottery headed for its first annual drop in revenue since the recession, Wolf’s administration wants to expand the lottery’s reach to cyberspace. Just four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Tennessee House plans final action on gas tax bill
Twenty-two states, including Alabama, are considering fuel tax hikes this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2015, eight states, including Georgia, moved to increase fuel taxes and raised a number of other fees.
 
What the passage of Haslam’s gas tax plan means for politics in Tennessee
"You hear this whole, it's a politically risky thing to vote for a gas tax...but we haven't really seen that," said Kevin Pula, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Proposed minimum wage triggers dispute
California, New York and Washington, D.C. have recently passed legislation to increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
El Paso County looking for bids to get into the drone age
Critics say existing privacy laws aren't enough to protect citizens from the surveillance potential of the emerging technology. States have created laws related to unmanned aircraft use aimed at protecting citizens' privacy rights, although the Colorado General Assembly has yet to pass such a bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Does selling health insurance across state lines make sense?
Second, many states have taken actions to allow interstate sales of health insurance. According to the statistics tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), at least 21 states have introduced legislation to authorize interstate sales of insurance.
 

April 24

Key Question for Supreme Court; Will It Let Gerrymanders Stand?
In contrast, Democrats’ share of state legislature seats has shrunk to a level not seen since Warren G. Harding was president, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in recent years, their numbers in the House of Representatives have hovered near levels last seen during the Truman administration.
 
How Have ESSA-Related Bills Fared in State Legislatures So Far This Year?
Early this legislative season, the National Conference of State Legislators predicted that, with accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act due by this fall, there would be an uptick in bills around teacher evaluations, school accountability systems, and assessments. Any changes made under state waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act would have to be written into law, said Michelle Exstrom, NCSL's education program director. NCSL's prediction has come to fruition.  According to its tracker, there's been an uptick in proposed and enacted legislation regarding accountability and assessments. As of this week, 113 ESSA-related bills had been proposed in legislatures nationwide and 20 had been passed.
 
Tennessee House plans final action on gas tax bill
Twenty-two states, including Alabama, are considering fuel tax hikes this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2015, eight states, including Georgia, moved to increase fuel taxes and raised a number of other fees.
 
In 7 states, rape victims can be forced to share custody of their children with rapist fathers
There are seven states without laws preventing rapists from gaining custody of children conceived without consent. In addition to Maryland, such states include Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
 
New Mexico Legislature sues Governor in escalating conflict
In drawn-out budget standoffs in other states, courts have been called on to determine what core functions of government have to be financed, said Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Can call for urgency and consensus education take hold in Wisconsin?
No Time to Lose. That is the title of a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group. It offers a concise and compelling set of recommendations from a task force on education, with the goal of raising overall success to levels that some other nations are achieving and that the developing world economy requires.
 
Resolution to require voter ID at Nebraska’s polls advances but is expected to stir debate among lawmakers
A total of 32 states have laws in force that request or require some kind of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only seven states have what are called strict photo ID laws.
 
Stopping financial abuse of seniors
A number of states have laws like this on the books, but they vary widely. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks such laws, this type of financial abuse is an active topic in state capitals. Last year, 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, considered measures against the illegal or improper use of seniors’ money, property or assets, in addition to fraud or identity theft targeting the older people. The National Conference of State Legislatures keeps a scorecard of such laws, and, as it turns out, Washington is among about a dozen states that do not define financial exploitation of older people as a specific crime. 
 
NCAA choose pragmatism over principle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states have enacted so-called “religious freedom” bills since 1993. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed one last month. Texas, which is scheduled to stage the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio, is one of 10 more states considering similar legislation. 
 
State workers highest paid? A look at the stats
Meanwhile, as I sought other comparisons, I learned that the National Conference of State Legislatures doesn’t have any recent research on the topic, but there was a 2016 study done for the state of Missouri by CBIZ Human Capital Services. 
 
Pennsylvania eyes leap to Internet for casinos, lottery
Now, with the Pennsylvania Lottery headed for its first annual drop in revenue since the recession, Wolf's administration wants to expand the lottery's reach to cyberspace. Just four states — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan — allow that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
From Battlefield to university campus
Approved by Congress in 2008, the enhanced GI Bill pays in-state tuition and fees for veterans and a monthly stipend for supplies and housing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 

April 21

'Pivotal Moment' for Democrats? Gerrymandering Heads to Supreme Court
In contrast, Democrats’ share of state legislature seats has shrunk to a level not seen since Warren G. Harding was president, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in recent years, their numbers in the House of Representatives have hovered near levels last seen during the Truman administration. 
 
Carbon Taxes Gain Conservative Voters
In the states where carbon tax bills are pending, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, only two bills have made it out of committee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  
 
Washington drivers could face new distracted driving penalties
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states currently ban any hand-held cellphone use while driving a car and 46 states ban texting while driving. However, 37 states along with the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by beginner or teen drivers, including Washington.
 
Resolution to require voter ID at Nebraska's polls advances but is expected to stir debate among lawmakers
A total of 32 states have laws in force that request or require some kind of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only seven states have what are called strict photo ID laws.
 
Tennessee legislators vote to require disclosure of trips funded by lobbyists
The Nashville lawmaker asked McCormick whether the bill would cover organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council or National Conference of State Legislatures or "other organizations where these corporations provide give them millions of dollars to disperse out scholarships to members so they'll come to these conferences and get in front of them."
 
Drugmakers tussle over Ohio opiod bill's price tag
Though House Bill 248 died in December, the National Conference of State Legislatures says 16 bills in 10 states that relate to abuse-deterrent opioids have been introduced since the start of 2017. 
 
Oil-rich Alberta stresses benefits of U.S. trade
Chris Nielsen, a member of the Canadian legislative assembly, represents Alberta trade and development interests during meetings for the National Council of State Legislatures in New Mexico.
 
Restoring LGA is not a partisan issue
Also, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Since 2013, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that will increase or may increase overall state gas taxes.” Even though a huge majority of Minnesotans, including those in the legislature, agree that something must be done we have yet to come up with a solution. 
 
Marcola School Board tentatively approves dropping Mohawk Indians mascot and adopting Mustangs
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe originated in New York, according to a list of federally recognized tribes compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Closing the gap between technology and public policy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every state has a computer crimes statute, and half of the states also have specific legislation aimed at denial of service attacks.  Two states -- California and Wyoming -- have enacted ransomware statutes.
 
Trump EPA plots path to Scalia-inspired regulation
Along with ECOS, other groups invited to the meeting at EPA headquarters were the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Towns and Townships, and County Executives of America.
 
To keep on trucking, states streamline food truck licensing
In all, 13 states have considered 37 bills involving some aspect of food truck regulation since 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Only a handful of the bills became law, but none were controversial, said Doug Farquhar, NCSL's program director for environmental health. 
 
Michigan lawmaker proposes bill banning Sharia Law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — prohibit the use of foreign law in their courts. Another 15 states have pending legislation on it.  
 
Murphy pitches state bank to skeptical crowd
More than a dozen states in recent years have studied public banks to increase revenues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but none has followed North Dakota, which opened its bank in 1919. 
 

April 20

Will the Supreme Court give a big boost to the Trump-DeVos 'school choice' agenda?
If the court were to declare these amendments unconstitutional, voucher programs could proliferate. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states provide state-funded school vouchers to qualifying students. There is one federally funded voucher program, which is in the District of Columbia.
 
Lawmakers Push Bill Authorizing Robot Deliveries – 150 Machines Operating Around the World
The Wisconsin bill came about after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos saw a demonstration at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting last year, Catania said. The speaker’s staff inquired with the company about bringing the robots to Wisconsin, he said.
 
From Gravel to Gavel: How A Supreme Court Case Could Affect The School Choice Movement
School choice is having a moment right now. Fourteen states, as well as Washington, D.C., have voucher programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
U.S. states considering alternative execution methods face legal hurdles
Seven states permit the use of secondary methods if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the necessary drugs are unavailable, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Closing the gap between technology and public policy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every state has a computer crimes statute, and half of the states also have specific legislation aimed at denial of service attacks.  Two states --  California and Wyoming --  have enacted ransomware statutes. 
 
Nevada Senate approves bill for 3 paid sick days yearly
Seven U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws over the last six years mandating paid sick leave in the private sector, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
With rising youth activism in Donald Trump era, Colorado considers lowering age to serve in legislature
Colorado is one of only three states that require state lawmakers to reach age 25 before serving in the legislature. Most allow younger lawmakers to serve in at least one chamber, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill on Indiana gov’s desk to stop ban-the-box ordinance about job seekers’ criminal histories
As of March, 20 states and the District of Columbia regulated when in the hiring process an employer can ask about an applicant's criminal history, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
NRI Committee Launches 2017 Webinar Series
NCSL's Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee, with jurisdiction over transportation, environment, energy and agriculture issues, is pleased to announce its annual Spring Webinar Series beginning April 21, and continuing through June 29.
 
Hawaii resolution calls for creating sanctuary state
Lawmakers in about 15 states and the District of Columbia are pushing proposals to support sanctuary policies, while 29 states are considering policies to prohibit them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Does Ocean County Use Canvas/Cloth Shopping Bags?
In researching a bit for this post I learned that New Jerseyans may be affected by some pending legislation.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, beginning June 1, 2017, store operators must charge a five-cent fee for each single-use carryout bag provided to the customer. 
  

April 19

Sanctuary cities debate has jurisdictions weighing whether to defend the policy
Washington Post
Several cities already have filed lawsuits to defend their policies, while 32 states are debating legislation that would ban sanctuary cities or expand them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Nevada Senate Approves Bill for 3 Paid Sick Days Yearly
U.S. News & World Report
Seven U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws over the last six years mandating paid sick leave in the private sector, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii resolution calls for creating sanctuary state
Miami Herald
Lawmakers in about 15 states and the District of Columbia are pushing proposals to support sanctuary policies, while 29 states are considering policies to prohibit them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oregon was the first to establish statewide sanctuary in 1987, and San Francisco was the first city to adopt a sanctuary policy in 1989.

To Keep on Trucking, States Streamline Food Truck Licensing
Stateline, The Pew Charitable Trusts
In all, 13 states have considered 37 bills involving some aspect of food truck regulation since 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Only a handful of the bills became law, but none were controversial, said Doug Farquhar, NCSL’s program director for environmental health.
 
Lawmakers push bill authorizing robot deliveries
The Kansas City Star
The Wisconsin bill came about after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos saw a demonstration at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting last year, Catania said. The speaker's staff inquired with the company about bringing the robots to Wisconsin, he said.

Proposal to seize guns hits opposition
Gloucester Times
At least 20 states are considering similar proposals, according to gun control advocates and the National Conference of State Legislatures. California, Indiana, Washington and Connecticut have already enacted similar laws. California’s followed the mass-shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014.

Illinois democracy is an empty shell
Mt. Vernon Register-News
For example, a simple rule requiring amendments to be related to the scope or intent of the bill as introduced would do the trick. These type of “germaneness” requirements are used in state legislatures of all political stripes across the country, according to a 2000 survey from the National Council on State Legislatures.

House Sends Bill to Governor to Allow Ridesharing Companies to Expand in Missouri (HB 130)
The Caldwell News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp production for commercial purposes and 20 states have passed laws allowing research and pilot programs.
 
Facing Threats, Nukes Work to Polish Their Green Cred
IEEE Spectrum
A January 2017 white paper by the National Conference of State Legislatures says that since 2013, six nuclear reactors in the United States have closed for good. Another 12 are slated to shut down. And operators of several more have warned of possible closures. 

April 18

Maryland ranks 5th best state for women to live and work
Washington Business Journal
MoveHub used data from the National Partnerships for Women and Families, the National Conference of State Legislatures, WalletHub and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
 
Full plate in final week
The Republic
More than half of states allow for DNA collection in some form when a suspect is arrested or charged, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
States seeking to curb distracted driving
Herald Dispatch
Some of the differences may be explained by state laws. Few Southern states, for example, have blanket laws that ban the use of cellphones while driving, according to an assessment of state laws this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lower speed limits in the Northeast may make it easier to get caught speeding.
 
Time running out on Vermont’s gender-free restroom bill
Brattleboro Reformer
In contrast, 13 states were considering laws by late March that limit bathroom access in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Policy experts say the bills are unlikely to pass, however. 

30 Years Later, Oregon’s ‘Sanctuary State’ Law Serves As A Model For Others
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Rhetoric about immigration policies and reforms during the 2016 presidential campaign has translated into more than 100 immigration bills now under consideration in legislatures across the country, said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Iowa House Oks $250K Limit in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Insurance Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures says noneconomic caps have been declared unconstitutional in 10 states, but several states have upheld such liability limits.
 
Undocumented students remain in the shadows of the chemical sciences
Chemical & Engineering News
Currently, 20 states offer in-state college tuition to students who meet the eligibility requirements, including undocumented students, 16 by state legislative action and four by state university systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states have passed laws to provide state-based financial aid for undocumented students who meet the eligibility requirements.
 
Immigrant Tuition Break Gaining Unexpected Support in Tennessee
Community College Week
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 20 states offer in-state tuition to students who are either in the United States illegally or here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects them from deportation for two years and lets them work. A half-dozen or so of those states tilt Republican.

April 17

Fraternity brother's sexual assault leads Md. legislator to push bill changing definition of rape
Washington Post
In Alabama, for example, a person commits “rape” if “he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex by forcible compulsion,” but commits “sodomy” if “he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion,” according to a survey of rape statues by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People
New York Times
A number of states have laws like this on the books, but they vary widely. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks such laws, this type of financial abuse is an active topic in state capitals. Last year, 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, considered measures against the illegal or improper use of seniors’ money, property or assets, in addition to fraud or identity theft targeting the older people. 
 
Apple secures permit to test self-driving cars in California
Washington Examiner
Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation related to self-driving cars, notes the National Conference of State Legislatures. In California, testing self-driving cars requires a company to prove it has $5 million in insurance and that all test drivers are trained, according to the NCSL.
 
A Growing and Mobile Service Economy Needs One National Standard for Nonresident Income Tax Laws
Bloomberg BNA
As federal mobile workforce legislation was gaining steam, the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC), at the request of the National Conference of State Legislatures, drafted and adopted the Model Mobile Workforce Statute. With input from various stakeholders, including the Council on State Taxation (COST), the MTC's model statute covers substantially similar matters as the federal mobile workforce legislation by holding harmless nonresident workers for income tax purposes and employers for withholding tax purposes, except that the hold harmless period is 20 days rather than the federal legislation's 30 days.
 
Five Costs To Cutting Arts Programs
Forbes
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that for every dollar invested, ECE provides an $8 return, with more than 80% of the benefit translated to the public.
 
Should Legislature go back to meeting every other year?
Hattiesburg American
The National Conference of State Legislatures has crafted a pros and cons list for biennial and annual sessions. It says biennial sessions: Provide “a safeguard against precipitate and unseemly legislative action” (I still prefer the term whack-a-loon). Would lessen “legislative harassment of the administration and its agencies.” Would allow time for lawmakers and commissions to more thoroughly study proposed laws and more time for legislators to deal with constituents and campaign for re-election. Would most likely save some money on legislative session costs. But on the con side, NCSL says biennial sessions: Are “unsuitable for dealing with the complex and continuing problems which confront today’s legislatures.” Might lessen the status of the Legislature as a check on the power of the executive branch and make it harder for lawmakers to make sure their policies are being implemented. Allow states to respond quickly to federal laws pertaining to states and to work more efficiently as opposed to operating “in fits and starts.”
Can increase the need for special sessions.
 
Where are the safest drivers? Hint: It's not Florida
Santa Rosa Press Gazette
Some of the differences may be explained by state laws. Few Southern states, for example, have blanket laws that ban the use of cellphones while driving, according to an assessment of state laws this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lower speed limits in the Northeast may make it easier to get caught speeding.
 
Plan to seize guns hits opposition
Gloucester Daily Times
At least 20 states are considering similar proposals, according to gun control advocates and the National Conference of State Legislatures. California, Indiana, Washington and Connecticut have already enacted similar laws. California’s followed the mass-shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014.
 
Washington state pushes to let kids use sunscreen in school
Tri-City Herald
At least four states have laws requiring schools to allow students to use sunscreen, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are California, New York, Utah and Oregon. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering similar legislation. A bill introduced in Congress last year to allow sunscreen in schools didn't go anywhere, the NCSL said.
 
Records: Drugmakers tussle over Ohio opioid bill's price tag
Lima Ohio
Though House Bill 248 died in December, the National Conference of State Legislatures says 16 bills in 10 states that relate to abuse-deterrent opioids have been introduced since the start of 2017. The industry continues to push these medications despite little proof the reformulated opioids reduce drug abuse or death.
 
Drug lobbyists sought lower opioid estimates
The Columbus Dispatch
Though House Bill 248 died in December, the National Conference of State Legislatures says 16 bills in 10 states that relate to abuse-deterrent opioids have been introduced since the start of 2017. The industry continues to push these medications despite little proof the reformulated opioids reduce drug abuse or death.
     
Fraternity brother's sexual assault leads legislator to push bill ...
Frederick News Post
In Alabama, for example, a person commits “rape” if “he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex by forcible compulsion,” but commits “sodomy” if “he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion,” according to a survey of rape statues by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Capitol notebook: House passes higher ed budget bill
Bismarck Tribune
Senate Bill 2298, introduced by Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, was promoted by business groups as a way to balance the scales between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated North Dakota lost $31.3 million in uncollected sales tax from remote sellers in fiscal year 2012.
 
Local Businesses Advocating for Internet Sales Tax Bill
KTIV
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that in 2012, Nebraska lost over $118 million in revenue due to uncollected sales tax of online purchases.
 
State lawmakers make push to let kids use sunscreen in school
KOMO News
At least four states have laws requiring schools to allow students to use sunscreen, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are California, New York, Utah and Oregon.
 
CBS46 Fact Check: Karen Handel versus Bob Gray, Dan Moody
CBS46 News Atlanta
Her first claim is true. Handel was Georgia's Secretary of State during the 2008 election cycle, which saw record minority and overall voter participation, and she implemented and defended the state's voter photo ID law. (The National Conference of State Legislatures classifies Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin as the most strict states for voting regulations.)

April 14

Where are the nation's worst drivers? This data may hold the answer
PBS NewsHour
Some of the differences may be explained by state laws. Few Southern states, for example, have blanket laws that ban the use of cellphones while driving, according to an assessment of state laws this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lower speed limits in the Northeast may make it easier to get caught speeding.

Antitrust Agencies Say Alaska Health Policy Stifles Competition
Bloomberg BNA
CON programs have been around since the 1970s to prevent hospitals and nursing homes from buying unnecessary equipment by regulating the number of beds in those facilities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hillary Clinton Applauds New York's Free College Plan at Signing ...
NBCNews.com
Free coverage of two-year colleges already exists in Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen other states have seen legislation proposed that would do the same.

How much will that cost? Finding out medical prices in advance
NOLA.com
Some states have terrific pricing tools, such as Minnesota and New Hampshire, but a lot of the state resources are not so great. In Ohio, for example, the prices are simply the list or "chargemaster" prices, which are the top-end rates, and thus not very useful. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a scorecard of those resources.
 
Iowa to become latest state to allow guns in its Capitol
Clinton Herald
At least 17 states allow guns in their Capitols, according to data compiled by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the figure is slightly higher, with an upward trend in the last five years. Among states that allow guns in their Capitols, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah have no restrictions, while Florida, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wisconsin allow only concealed permit holders to be armed. Missouri and Arkansas enacted Capitol gun provisions this year.
     
Teenagers Shouldn't Have To Force Their Schools To Take Sexual Assault Seriously
BuzzFeed News
In September 2016, the Obama White House and the US Department of Education put out a “toolkit” for school districts to set up policies dealing with sexual violence. Meanwhile, in response to pressure from activists, just over half of all states, including Oregon, have passed legislation requiring them to study or launch these efforts in K-12 schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Senate Sends Bill on DNA Collection to Gov. Holcomb's Desk
U.S. News & World Report
More than half of states allow for DNA collection in some form when a suspect is arrested or charged, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana currently allows for collection only upon conviction.

Where Are The Most Distracted Drivers? Where Are The Safest?
Huffington Post
Some of the differences may be explained by state laws. Few Southern states, for example, have blanket laws that ban the use of cellphones while driving, according to an assessment of state laws this month by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lower speed limits in the Northeast may make it easier to get caught speeding.

EPA's Pruitt Seeks State, Local Input on Rescinding, Revising Clean ...
Natural Gas Intelligence
EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told NGI's Shale Dailyon Thursday that the agency invited several organizations to the meeting, including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Towns and Townships, the County Executives of America, and the Environmental Council of States.

Iowa to become latest state to allow guns in its Capitol
Newton Daily News
At least 17 states allow guns in their Capitols, according to data compiled by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the figure is slightly higher, with an upward trend in the last five years.

Eye on Augusta: Tapering Pain Meds, Contraception, #DAPL ...
Freepress Online
The coverage would be required without imposing out-of-pocket costs on the patient. At least 26 states have laws requiring insurance companies to cover Food and Drug Administration–approved contraceptives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Iowa House approves limits to medical malpractice lawsuits
KTIV
The National Conference of State Legislatures says noneconomic caps have been declared unconstitutional in 10 states, but several states have upheld such liability limits.

How vouchers transformed Indiana: Private schools now live or die ...
Chalkbeat Indiana
Graphic includes voucher programs targeted at low-income students. It excludes programs for students with disabilities or rural students without public school access. Data: National Conference of State Legislatures. Graphic by: Sarah Glen/Chalkbeat

Supreme Court Clarifies No-Bond Detentions, NMSU Weighs ...
KUNM
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislative trends range from addressing mental health needs to shifting resources from incarceration to community-based alternatives.

April 13

Agencies: Alaska Laws May Limit Health Care Competition
U.S. News & World Report
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a 1974 federal law mandated that states have a process under which major building projects would need approval by state health agencies. The mandate was repealed in 1987, and a number of states later ended their programs, the organization said.

Free Tuition Plans Could Spread Among States as Sanders Pushes Congress for 'College for All'
Newsweek
Dustin Weeden, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, tells Newsweek that Oregon, Minnesota and Delaware also have established broad policies that cover students' community college tuition. Others, like Arkansas and Rhode Island, have new or in-progress plans. Though he says he doesn't think all 50 states will adopt blanket tuition initiatives immediately, Weeden predicts lawmakers will consider targeted versions that benefit high-need industries.
 
Legislators seek feedback on legalizing recreational marijuana
Chicago Sun-Times
Additionally, Karmen Hanson, the program director of the Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, will also provide testimony on what other states have done around legalizing the drug.
     
Maryland Lawmakers Approve Bill To Fight Drug Price-Gouging
Huffington Post
Maryland is the first state to pass a measure to combat excessive price increases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee have similar legislation pending, the conference said.
     
Iowa to become latest state to allow guns in its Capitol
DesMoinesRegister.com
At least 17 states allow guns in their Capitols, according to data compiled by the National Rifle Association's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the figure is slightly higher, with an upward trend in the last five years.
 
Experts: Legal pot would raise some, but not enough revenue for 
Edmond Sun
In all, 28 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized the drug for adult recreational use.
     
Bill Restricts Election Recounts
Urbanmilwaukee
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 43 states allow losing candidates, voters or other concerned parties to request a recount. Only a few states have laws that only permit a candidate who loses within a specified margin to request a recount.
     
End the charade of the 90-day session: Founders of Alaska ...
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
In case you were wondering, Alaska legislators received a base pay of $50,400 each in 2016, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, plus a per diem of just more than $200 during the legislative session.
 
Brownback Spokesman: Controversial Tax Cuts Worked
American Spectator
Other analyses are more mixed. In a presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures in July 2016, S&P Global Ratings Managing Director Robin Prunty said Kansas has an AA- rating. Prunty’s report noted that Kansas was downgraded from AA in April 2016. Its long-term status, however, improved from “Negative” to “Stable.”
     
Correction: School Vouchers-Arizona story
Arizona Daily Sun
Twenty-seven states have some sort of similar program allowing parents to pay for public schools with direct or indirect state funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most are limited to special needs students or limited groups. Only Arizona and Nevada make them available to everyone, but Nevada's funding scheme has been struck down by its state Supreme Court.

April 12

Why It Is so Hard to Vote If You're Black, Poor or Elderly in America
Yahoo News
Texas is one of 32 states that have some form of voter ID laws. And though the Lone Star state’s legislation is restrictive, it is far from the worst. Seven states— Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin—have similar laws as Texas, but do not include the affidavit option. They are the so-called “strict states,” where voters without ID can only cast provisional ballots and must take extra measures after the election to ensure their ballot is counted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Dow to serve on NCSL budgets and revenue committee
Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald
State Senate Pres. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, has appointed Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro to serve a two-year term representing Maine on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Budgets & Revenue Committee.
 
Montana lawmakers may study recreational marijuana
KBZK Bozeman News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no states have yet legalized marijuana other than by voter initiatives.
 
Poor Whites Just Realized They Need Education Equity As Much As ...
The Beachwood Reporter
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of March 2017, Republications controlled 32 state legislatures - meaning they had a majority of seats - compared to Democrats with 14. 
 
Pot windfall wouldn't fill budget shortfall
Claremore Daily Progress
In all, 28 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized the drug for adult recreational use.
 
And Then There Were Two: Closing the Gap on State-Level Data ...
Lexology
The most recent amendment now provides that encrypted personal information that is breached will not trigger notification unless the encryption key is also acquired. In total, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported last November that at least 26 states had considered amendments consisting of various substantive changes to their existing data breach notification laws in 2016. 
     
States debate tuition break for students in US illegally
Manteca Bulletin
Sixteen other states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to students who are in the United States illegally, and university systems in four others have offered the benefit on their own, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas was the first when it passed a law in 2001, and Florida was the latest, approving a law in 2014.
 
New York Becomes Only State to Offer Free Four-Year College
KVOA Tucson News
Free coverage of two-year colleges already exists in Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen other states have seen legislation proposed that would do the same.
 
Lawmakers may study recreational marijuana
Great Falls Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no states have yet legalized marijuana other than by voter initiatives.

April 11

New York Becomes Only State to Offer Free Four-Year College
NBCNews.com
Free coverage of two-year colleges already exists in Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a dozen other states have seen legislation proposed that would do the same.
 
'Good Samaritan' and drug database proposals move forward as Missouri grapples with opioid crisisSTLtoday.com
STLtoday.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states and the District of Columbia have some form of a “good Samaritan” law on the books, though the scope of what violations fall under immunity can vary.
 
New York State to Offer Free Tuition to Students in Public Colleges
FOX40
State legislators are “paying more attention than ever before” to the movement to provide free and reduced tuition opportunities, notes the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks these proposals.
 
States debate tuition break for students in US illegally
WSB Atlanta
Sixteen other states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to students who are in the United States illegally, and university systems in four others have offered the benefit on their own, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas was the first when it passed a law in 2001, and Florida was the latest, approving a law in 2014.
 
Kankakee earns its wings for statewide pilot program
Kankakee Times
Competency-based learning entails measurable acquisition of skills and knowledge as opposed to education taught in a standard setting. It provides a way to assess mastery rather than measuring time spent on material, according to the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures.

Despite runaway success of 'Get Out,' Alabama could say good-bye ...
AL.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have ended their incentive programs. Most recently, growing budget deficits or unclear economic benefits caused Michigan, New Jersey and Alaska to cut their programs, according to the organization.
 
Experts: Legal pot would raise some funds, but not enough revenue ...
Norman Transcript
In all, 28 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized the drug for adult recreational use.
 
Bills would legalize Internet gambling, but only in casinos
Bridge Michigan
Online gambling made up much of the growth in U.S. gambling markets in 2015 and could offset losses that can happen as brick-and-mortar gambling operations steal customers from one another, the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in December.

April 10

Wage Hikes Popular With Voters, Strategic Headache for Businesses
Bloomberg BNA
“It’s definitely picked up the last few years, both on the ballot measure and legislatively,” said Jackson Brainard, a policy analyst with the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. “Between 2013 and 2016 there have been 30 enacted increases either via legislation or ballot measure.” Some states are counted twice in the tally because they increased their minimum wage more than once in recent years. 
 
Digital Sales Tax: Hit and Miss in States
Bloomberg BNA
However, internal politics—rather than policy considerations—have played a role in obstructing several bills from becoming law, according to Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy at the National Conference of State Legislatures. And some may be watching and waiting for the outcome in those states that have taken the lead, such as South Dakota. “States that have large budget gaps are much more apt to do it,” he said. “Necessity breeds action.”

In town to boost Dems, Clinton calls on Trump to develop Syria strategy
Houston Chronicle
The former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate also ... Just 20 percent of Texas state legislators are women, per NCSL, putting the state ...
 
Iowa poised for major overhaul to gun regulations
Reuters
At least 24 other states have similar measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Changing face of terrorism
VICE News
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, at least 33 states passed legislation that defined terrorism and created new terrorism-related crimes, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York was one of those states, passing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 days after 9/11.
  
Iowa Poised To Approve Controversial Gun-Rights Measures
Huffington Post
At least 24 other states have similar measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Clinton to speak at Houston women's political luncheon
Houston Chronicle
Women are outnumbered on both sides of the aisle. Just 20 percent of Texas state legislators are women, per NCSL, putting the state 33rd in the nation for ...
 
At Houston luncheon, Hillary Clinton responds to Syria strike
Chron.com
Texans last elected a Democrat to statewide office in 1994, and the party holds just 36 percent of seats in the state Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Texas mulls asking drivers to help it clear rape kit backlog
Myfoxspokane.com
Many states are struggling with large backlogs of untested rape kits. Nationwide, there are between 100,000 and 400,000 untested sexual assault kits, and at least 28 states have enacted laws to address the problem, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
Iowa lawmakers OK gun law expansion; bills heads to Branstad
KTIV
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 24 states have approved similar laws.
 
Ethics law supporters to push amendment
Brookings Register
At least 10 states, albeit not South Dakota, have provisions to protect citizens' initiatives from state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill would legalize internet gambling in Michigan, but only inside ...
Crain's Detroit Business
LANSING — The push to legalize internet gambling has states betting on .... from one another, the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in December.
 
Answers about Arizona's new universal school voucher bill
Arizona Daily Star
Twenty-seven states have some sort of similar program allowing parents to pay for public schools with direct or indirect state funds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most are limited to special-needs students or limited groups. Only Arizona and Nevada make them available to everyone, but Nevada’s funding scheme has been struck down by its state Supreme Court.
 
LeDoux's bid for jungle primary is real chutzpah
Alaska Dispatch News
Across the nation, primary election rules are all over the map. The National Conference of State Legislatures says Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania have closed primaries today, where only registered party members can vote.
 
Restoring LGA is not a partisan issue
Herald Review
Also, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Since 2013, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that will increase or may increase overall state gas taxes.” Even though a huge majority of Minnesotans, including those in the legislature, agree that something must be done we have yet to come up with a solution.
 
OUR OPINION: Election bill will strengthen system of voting in Iowa
Sioux City Journal
Voter ID requirements vary from state to state, but 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to produce a form of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A debate over in-state tuition for students in US illegally
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Sixteen other states have passed laws granting in-state tuition to students who are in the United States illegally, and university systems in four others have offered the benefit on their own, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas was the first when it passed a law in 2001, and Florida was the latest, approving a law in 2014.
 
Your Browsing History Is On Sale
Normangee Star
Only a few states regulate specific practices by broadband providers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.
 
The Un-Malling of America
NuWire Investor
Alternatively, a 2017 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found uncollected taxes from remote sales rose went from $23 billion in 2012 to $26 billion in 2015.  For cash-starved states this is a big deal.
 
Finding local cash in hotel fees must wait
theday.com
According to 2016 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Connecticut’s 15 percent hotel occupancy tax far outstrips similar taxes imp

April 7

Senator Dana Dow assigned to NCSL Committee
Boothbay Register
Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) has appointed Senator Dana Dow (R-Lincoln) to serve a two-year term representing Maine on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Budgets & Revenue Committee.

Texas Mulls Asking Drivers To Help It Clear Rape Backlog
CBS DFW
Many states are struggling with large backlogs of untested rape kits. Nationwide, there are between 100,000 and 400,000 untested sexual assault kits, and at least 28 states have enacted laws to address the problem, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
 
World War I still reverberates, locally and across nation
Fredericksburg.com
With $53 billion in defense spending last year alone, Virginia ranked first, ahead of every other state including California and Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. World War I-era military bases just in Virginia employ nearly a quarter of a million people today.
 
Connecticut bill would allow police to use armed drones
Digital Journal
Five states have already banned anyone from using armed drones and two more have specifically banned police from using them according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The use of armed drones would be just one more step towards the militarization of police forces.

Number of women in Louisiana state legislature still low, survey says
bestofneworleans.com
The current National Conference of State Legislatures’ list of states ranked by percentage of women in the state legislature shows Louisiana has improved to 44th place after being dead last in 2015.

Counting credits More high school students earning college credit ...
Chalkbeat Colorado
Sixteen states, and four other state university systems, offered in-state tuition to undocumented students in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states explicitly bar those students from receiving it.
 
Eye on Augusta: Welfare, Water Sovereignty, Professional Licensing ...
Freepress Online
However, opponents of ESAs worry that the policy allows public money to be funneled to religious schools and poor-quality education providers. Four states have established ESA programs since Arizona became the first state to create the program in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
LGBTQIA Community Faces Mixed Support On Texas State Campus
San Marcos Corridor News
Sixteen states have proposed and passed legislation in either the House or Senate restricting transgender access to bathrooms based on gender identity according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Fair tax collection includes online sales
The Spokesman-Review
“The way we are consuming things is so different. Because of that, the states’ sales tax revenue is not keeping pace,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States have to modernize (sales taxes) to the 21st century. If they can’t collect sales taxes, it’ll mean higher state income taxes or property taxes.”
 
School bus seat belt bill clears committee
The Mountain Press
Seven states currently have laws requiring seat belts on school buses, according to Amanda Essex, a transportation policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Alaska lawmaker wants primary elections to be more like California
Kenai Peninsula Online
LeDoux’s idea isn’t a new one for the 49th state. Alaska held a blanket primary from 1947 to 1960, from 1967 to 1992, and from 1996 to 2000. Washington state has a top-two system, as do California and Louisiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nebraska operates one for its state elections but not its federal elections.

April 6

New York lawmakers approve self-driving car tests
USA TODAY
If passed, New York would join 11 states — Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia — and the District of Columbia with legislation related to self-driving vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Arizona and Massachusetts, governors issued executive orders on self-driving cars, the organization said.

Most States Are Pushing Private School Choice Bills, But Some Are Faltering
Education Week
The National Conference of State Legislatures is watching state bills to expand or create new private school choice programs—vouchers, tax credit scholarships, and education savings accounts. More than half of those state legislatures have advanced bills to some extent, at least out of committee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But some efforts have failed or are struggling to push forward.
 
Oklahoma man who shot dead three teenage intruders with an AR-15 won’t face charges but the getaway driver will
National Post
Oklahoma is one of 24 states which have laws allowing citizens to shoot someone if they believe the person threatens their safety, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Community Briefs
Seacoastonline.com
AUGUSTA — Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, has been appointed to the National Conference on State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Communications, Financial Services & Interstate Commerce Committee by the President of the Senate.
 
Filmmakers bill
Choteau Acantha
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states had film incentive programs as of 2016.
 
What Is CBD? Doctors May Prescribe It To Children With Epilepsy
Romper
Even without the FDA's approval, 17 states have legalized the medical use of "low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)" products, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Campus Carry: The Movement to Allow Guns on College Grounds ...
The Trace
The states with laws on the books that mandate public universities to allow guns on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, are Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
     
Iowa Senate approves firearms bill
Marshalltown Times Republican
At least 24 states have similar laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Immigrant tuition break gaining support in Tennessee
Maryville Daily Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 20 states offer in-state tuition to students who are either in the United States illegally or here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects them from deportation for two years and lets them work. A half-dozen or so of those states tilt Republican.
 
House OKs enabling women to get 12 months of birth control
Greenwood Index-Journal
Other states to pass laws requiring insurers to pay for a year’s worth of birth control include Hawaii and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 5

 

State and local governments press Congress on tax-reform priorities
The Hill
The groups that sent the letter were: The Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International City/County Management Association.
 
School Bus Seat Belt Bill Barely Clears Committee
U.S. News & World Report
Seven states currently have laws requiring seat belts on school buses, according to Amanda Essex, a transportation policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Those are Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Laws in Louisiana and Texas, Essex said, are not in effect because they have not been funded. At least 27 other states are considering laws that would require the seat belts on buses.
 
Iowa Senate OKs Gun Bill With Stand-Your-Ground Provision
U.S. News & World Report
At least 24 states have similar laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Debate over Conn. bill that would allow cops to put deadly weapons on drones
Fox News
Five states — Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin — prohibit anyone from using a weaponized drone, while Maine and Virginia ban police from using armed drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other states have restricted drone use in general.
 
State may not require bail for criminal suspects
San Mateo Daily Journal
Every state has made some change to its pre-trial release law since 2012, said Amber Widgery, a criminal justice policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
     
Immigrant tuition break gaining support in Tennessee
Concord Monitor
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 20 states offer in-state tuition to students who are either in the United States illegally or here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects them from deportation for two years and lets them work. A half-dozen or so of those states tilt Republican.

Equal pay fight heats up across US with or without Trump
The Globe and Mail
The National Conference of State Legislatures counts Moller’s among more than 60 bills pending in more than 20 states that attempt to address the stubborn fact that nationally, women still make about 82 cents for every $1 earned by a man.
     
Committee OKs 'constitutionally suspect' bill to fill US Senate vacancies
The Tennessean
Daniel Diorio, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he is not aware of any other states that would allow the legislature to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat.
 
Tennessee Set To Offer Kids Of Undocumented Migrants Tuition ...
Vocativ
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 20 states offer in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrant students — 16 state legislatures passed such laws, while four state university systems have provided tuition benefits to such students.
     
Republicans Want To Toughen Drug-Testing Rules For Maine Welfare Recipients
Civilized
States can opt out of a 1996 federal lifetime ban on welfare for individuals with drug felonies. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine is one of at least four states that require those with drug felony convictions to comply with drug−testing requirements as a condition of receiving benefits.
 
No Charges Against Man Who Killed Three Criminals with AR-15 to ...
Newsline
The National Conference of State Legislatures has indicated that Oklahoma belongs to a list of 24 states that possess laws that permit citizens to use deadly force on a person or persons who threaten their safety.
 
Tax collections on internet sales needs to be fair for all
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
“The way we are consuming things is so different. Because of that, the states’ sales tax revenue is not keeping pace,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “States have to modernize (sales taxes) to the 21st century. If they can’t collect sales taxes, it’ll mean higher state income taxes or property taxes.”

April 4

Teen's carbon monoxide death starts spring break on tragic note
CBS News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 13 states require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in hotels and motels.
     
Equal Pay Fight Heats Up Across U.S. With or Without Trump
Bloomberg
Moeller’s bill would prohibit employers from asking about previous pay as part of the hiring process, modeled on a bill passed in Massachusetts last year. The National Conference of State Legislatures counts Moller’s among more than 60 bills pending in more than 20 states that attempt to address the stubborn fact that nationally, women still make about 82 cents for every $1 earned by a man.
 
Former Utah Senate, farming boss 'Cap' Ferry dies; colleagues recall him as a ‘quiet’ leader, loud dresser
Salt Lake Tribune
Ferry, who led the Senate from 1979 to 1984, was president of National Conference of State Legislatures in 1983-84. In all, he served 20 years in the Utah Legislature, three in the House and 17 in the Senate.
 
Few Maine welfare recipients tested for drugs despite state law
Press Herald
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine is one of at least four states that require those with drug felony convictions to comply with drug-testing requirements as a condition of receiving benefits.
     
Michigan legislator says law could have prevented Niles tragedy
South Bend Tribune
According to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states — California, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin — require the installation of CO detectors. Two states, Kansas and Washington, have administrative regulations pertaining to detectors. Minnesota has a statute that requires detectors within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping purposes, but doesn't explicitly state hotels.
     
Lying-to-Legislature bill narrowed to apply to lobbyists only
Press Herald
Maine is one of nine states that have no laws against providing false information in committee. Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia prohibit lobbyists from providing false testimony, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and some states require speakers to take an oath before testifying in committee.
 
Prosecutor: No charges will be filed against Oklahoma man who ...
Arkansas Online
Oklahoma is one of 24 states that have laws allowing citizens to shoot someone if they believe the person threatens their safety, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 3

Cops could start using deadly drones
New York Post
Five states — Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin — prohibit anyone from using a weaponized drone, while Maine and Virginia ban police from using them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Minimum wage activists call tipping racist
Washington Examiner
Nevertheless, activists pushing for a higher minimum wage have pushed the argument now that their movement has gained ground. Nineteen states are set to phase in higher minimum rates this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Oklahoma home invasion: Suspected getaway driver doesn't 'feel ...
Fox News
Monday's triple shooting also could test the state's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows citizens to shoot someone if they believe their safety is threatened. Oklahoma is among 24 states with such a provision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
The rise of the robocopter: Drones armed with weapons could be ...
International Business Times UK
At the moment, five US states – Wisconsin, Nevada, Vermont, North Carolina and Oregon – have officially prohibited anyone from using weaponised drones, according to the latest report from the National Conference of State Legislatures in January. 
     
The Odd Reason Online Shopping Could Get More Expensive
Yahoo Finance
“If it’s a success in one state, others will almost certainly take it up,” says Max Behlke, director of budget and tax at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington.
    
PolitiFact Florida: Would House punishment for 'sanctuary' policies be stronger than any US law?
Tampabay.com
Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said her group is looking into 100 bills in more than 30 states related to local law enforcement and immigration. Morse said she couldn't find any pending legislation with quite the penalties listed above.
 
Kennedy cites discredited conspiracy theories on autism at DC rally ...
STAT
All states let parents opt out of vaccinating their children for medical reasons, most allow exemptions for religious reasons, and 18 allow opt outs for philosophical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New York state prohibits higher health insurance premiums for older residents
PolitiFact
"Federal law preempts state law, but sometimes it creates a floor instead of a ceiling for actions that can be taken by the states," said Rachel Morgan of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You must also consider that states until recently were the principal regulators of the business of insurance and instituted requirements that best served their markets."
 
Bill would allow Connecticut police to put weapons on drones
WLS-TV
Five states - Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin - prohibit anyone from using a weaponized drone, while Maine and Virginia ban police from using armed drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other states have restricted drone use in general.
  
As NH considers letting towns upgrade polling tech, vendors show ...
Concord Monitor
The National Conference of State Legislators says that jurisdictions in 33 states use some form of electronic polling, and that eight have developed certification programs similar to those used for other voting machines. The lack of certification programs can be a problem, as many state laws require election-based systems to have such certificates.
     
Florida bill proposes reclassifying texting and driving laws
Florida Record
Florida is among the handful of states that currently list distracted driving as a secondary offense, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported on its website.
     
As controversial legislation stalls, immigration debate looms large ...
The Nevada Independent
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures updated this week shows at least 32 states and Washington D.C. are considering legislation this year dealing with sanctuary jurisdictions and noncompliance with immigration detainers.
 
Flood of taxpayer-funded mail drowns incumbents' challengers
Albany Times Union
In 2015, the Senate and Assembly's 213 elected members employed 2,865 staffers, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures. That legislative workforce is the largest in the nation — 750 more than California, which has twice the population of New York.
 
House, Senate bills would undo stricter Michigan vaccination waiver ...
MLive.com
Michigan is one of 18 states that allow a philosophical exemption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.