NCSL in the News | April 2018

4/1/2018

April 30

Court upholds Texas' law in another big voter ID ruling
Fox News
Thirty-four states have laws requiring or requesting that voters show some form of identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Virginia Supreme Court Rules On Police Storage Of License Plate Reader Data
The Republican Standard
Currently, fourteen states have laws addressing how the police shall maintain license plate data, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Washington Post reports. Nine states have limits on the length of time the information can be retained – from three minutes in New Hampshire to three years in Arkansas. Virginia, however, does not have a law concerning the amount of time the data may be held.

Democrats strive to tighten their hold in several states
WTOP
Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans control 32 state legislatures, Democrats 13, and four are split between the parties, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nebraska, unique among U.S. states, is unicameral and officially nonpartisan.

Is Wyoming vulnerable to election hackers?
Gillette News Record
That was part of the message delivered Thursday at the Jonah Business Center - the temporary home of the Wyoming Legislature - to lawmakers as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures' conference on election security.

Tribune-Star Editorial: Vigo voters have opportunity to make Legislature more diverse
Terre Haute Tribune Star
The average age of Indiana's legislators is 58, though the average age of Hoosiers in general is 46.8, according to 2015 research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats Gear Up To Tighten Their Hold On State Legislatures
OPB News
Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans control 32 state legislatures, Democrats 13, and four are split between the parties, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Minnesota and its catch-all bills slammed by Republican state governor candidate
St. Cloud Times
More than 40 states, from Alabama to Wyoming, require bills to address only one subject (with exceptions for funding bills), according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oklahoma governor signs industrial hemp legislation
Cherokee Phoenix
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 37 other states have also passed legislation to allow hemp cultivation.

April 27

Rosen introduces anti-Yucca Mountain bill as state readies 2019 legislation
Las Vegas Sun
At the state level, officials have few options aside from passing symbolic resolutions, said Dan Shea, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislators.

Va. Supreme Court revives challenge to police storage of license plate reader data
Washington Post
Fourteen states around the country have laws addressing how the police shall maintain license plate data, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and nine of those states impose limits on the length of time it can be kept, from three years (Arkansas) to three minutes (New Hampshire).

Higher Ed Policy Forum Encourages Action on Access, Affordability, Accountability
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
Approaching the 2019 gubernatorial election cycle, Joan Wodiska, senior federal affairs counsel at for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said her organization is developing a new national toolkit that will help state legislatures craft measures around best practices and models for college affordability. Currently, states are looking at stackable credentials, competency-based education opportunities and ways to “blur and blend” the lines between the K-12 system, higher education and the workforce, she said. “That’s how we as people experience education,” Wodiska said in reference to a future workforce that will require everyone to expand their skill sets for a range of career opportunities.

Letter: Proposed Farm Bill amendment would harm NY residents
Times Herald-Record 
A diverse coalition of over 170 groups strongly opposes the amendment, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Farmers Union, Consumers Union, Natural Resources Defense Council and United Farm Workers.

Why more school districts are holding class just four days a week
San Francisco Examiner
Today school districts in parts of 22 states use a four-day week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Map: As Net Neutrality Officially Ends, States Rush to Pass Workarounds
Government Technology
Source: LegiScan and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Detroit district weighing kindergarten summer school to boost literacy skills
Education Dive
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, roughly two-thirds of 4th grade students failed to score proficient in reading in 2015.

April 26

How Cities Fell Out of Love With Sports Stadiums
Governing
Some 22 stadiums built since the 1960s have been financed entirely with public money, according to a 2010 study from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Singletary: Why does a 2-year-old have a credit card?
The Columbian
Only 29 states allow parents, legal guardians or other representatives to place a freeze. The National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org) has compiled a list of states that allow a security freeze for a minor. On the site, search for “Security freeze state laws.”

Folmer hard at work on redistricting reform
York Dispatch
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), six states use independent commissions to draw legislative redistricting maps, and one state (Iowa) has legislative staff draw the maps for their legislative districts.

Restoration of felon voting rights march to culminate with rally at Capitol Thursday
Tallahassee Democrat
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, Florida and a dozen other states either withhold voting rights until completion of sentence, until after a post-sentencing waiting period or until additional action is taken.

New law linked over 200 DNA samples to crimes Indiana State Police match DNA to unsolved rape case
Hartford City News Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states currently have some form of state DNA collection upon arrest, as does the federal government.

Lawmaker wants pharmacists to be able to disclose price of a drug
WILX – TV 
An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows similar bills in at least 35 other states.

April 25

Oklahoma governor signs industrial hemp legislation
San Francisco Chronicle
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 37 other states have also passed legislation to allow hemp cultivation.

Michigan bill clamps down on pharmaceutical gag clauses
WWMT-TV
An analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows similar bills in at least 35 other states. Laws already are in place in at least 13 states.

Effort to leverage rural Internet grant money to ensure net neutrality fails
The Colorado Independent 
About two dozen states have introduced bills or resolutions seeking to maintain net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California Bills Seek To Ease Hiring Of Ex-Convicts
KPBS 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least a dozen states are considering bills to reduce licensing barriers for people with criminal records.

Isn't That Special
City Journal
Twenty-five states use special elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization, while the other 25 utilize “some form of appointment process.”

April 24

This Florida county voted for Trump. But it's a lot like the sanctuary cities he loathes.
NBC News
According to the National Council on State Legislatures, 54 bills tackling sanctuary cities and immigration enforcement issues were under consideration in 25 state legislatures this year.

SCOTUS' online sales tax ruling crucial for many small businesses 
The Hill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have estimated that they lost $26 billion in sales tax revenues in 2015 from online and catalog sales.

California Bills Seek To Ease Hiring Of Ex-Convicts
CBS San Francisco Bay Area
The legislation is part of a national “fair chance” effort. The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least a dozen states are considering bills to reduce licensing barriers for people with criminal records.

Growing of industrial hemp in Oklahoma becomes legal with just-signed legislation
Tulsa World
Thirty-seven other states have previously passed legislation to allow hemp's cultivation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal Agriculture Act of 2014, signed into law by President Barack Obama, enabled universities and state agriculture departments to begin cultivating the plant for limited purposes.

Navigating a maze of voting laws for felons 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
For comprehensive lists of the laws governing felons’ voting rights in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, try the ones compiled by ProCon.org, a nonprofit public charity, or the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why more school districts are holding class just four days a week
San Francisco Examiner
Today school districts in parts of 22 states use a four-day week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Catching Up: Electronic poll book pilot 'a success' Sun Prairie, others may adopt technology
Wisconsin State Journal
In some municipalities, tablets will be used for the e-poll hardware, while others will use desktop or laptop computers. Jurisdictions in 32 states now use them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii House Needs To Beef Up Harassment Rules — Now
Hawaii Civil Beat
After all, the National Conference of State Legislatures has recognized the Hawaii Senate’s policy as one of five nationwide that meets the NCSL’s recommended criteria for harassment policies. 

April 23

Drug industry facing onslaught from frustrated states
The Hill
At least 35 states in total have considered bills prohibiting gag clauses in 2017 and 2018, and 15 states signed them into law (two other states had enacted similar laws previously), according to data from the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Voting Laws for Felons Can Be Hard to Follow. Here's an Overview.
New York Times
For comprehensive lists of the laws governing felons’ voting rights in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, try the ones compiled by ProCon.org, a nonprofit public charity, or the National Conference of State Legislatures. The United States Department of Justice has also put together a list of links to state government materials on voter registration.

Catching Up: Electronic poll book pilot "a success" Sun Prairie, others may adopt technology
Wisconsin State Journal
Jurisdictions in 32 states now use them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sexual harassment claims nothing new in Kentucky legislature
Glasgow Daily Times
Arnold’s case prompted legislative leaders to contract with the National Conference of State Legislators for a management review of the LRC.

Trump administration reviewing proposal to drug test for food stamp benefits
Springfield News Sun
As of March 2017, 20 more states have introduced legislation which calls for some form of drug testing for public assistance recipients, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ban the tan: new bill proposes prohibiting tanning beds for minors
The Brown Daily Herald
Many states across the country have laws addressing tanning booth use by minors. Sixteen states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, bar anyone under 18 from using tanning booths in all cases except those when patients are prescribed ultraviolet rays as medical treatment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Four-day school week - a trend that's gaining momentum
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 22 states have schools operating on a four-day schedule. Indiana is not among them.

Why more school districts are holding class just four days a week
The Patriot Ledger
Today school districts in parts of 22 states use a four-day week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Editorial: Online sales tax decision will be a game-changer
Bloomington Pantagraph
The National Council of State Legislatures estimated that states lost an estimated $23.3 billion in 2012 as a result of being unable to collect sales tax on online and catalog purchases.

Plan would swap armed school officers for therapists in Illinois
13 WHAM TV
As of early April, 200 bills or resolutions have been introduced in 39 states regarding school safety, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 20

Who Is Kris Kobach? Former Leader of Trump's Voter Fraud Panel, Found In Contempt 
Newsweek
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas’ voter registration laws are some of the strictest in the country. 

Do a majority of Americans live in states with legal marijuana?
PolitiFact
To support the statement that "a majority" of Americans live in states that have legalized cannabis, a spokesman for Chiang pointed us to a November 2017 report by the treasurer’s office. It includes a map based on information from the National Conference of State Legislatures showing 44 states have some form of legal marijuana, ranging from adult recreational use to medical use to "limited medical" use in several states allowing "cannabis extracts."  

How much Alabama legislators are paid and how that compares to other states
AL.com
As MoneyTalksNews found in its analysis of legislative pay, there are as many ways to pay legislators as there are states. MoneyTalkNews used 2017 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine lawmaker pay in each state.

Many other states have increased gas tax for transportation 
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
he report released this week cites the National Conference of State Legislatures as saying states have been in “a near constant state of crisis for about a decade” in terms of funding for transportation needs.

Ban the tan: new bill proposes prohibiting tanning beds for minors 
The Brown Daily Herald
Sixteen states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, bar anyone under 18 from using tanning booths in all cases except those when patients are prescribed ultraviolet rays as medical treatment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 19

Judge: Recall Bid for Nevada Democratic State Senators Fails
U.S. News & World Report
The recalls, which could have swung control of the state Senate to Republicans, did not include any allegation of misconduct or any official cause for the recalls. Nevada is not one of the eight states that require specific grounds for a recall, such as misconduct or incompetence, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Recruiting and retaining educators in rural areas
KFYR-TV
“Teachers aids and others who have finished their associate's degree at a community college can go online and for a year finish up education requirements to be certified to teach. They're already located in their communities, and it's already their home, so how can they be certified to be teachers in that community where they already are?” said Dr. Bennett Boggs, Program Principal, National Conference of State Legislature.

New York Gov. Cuomo gives parolees the right to vote in his state
CNN
What happens to a person convicted of a felony varies from state to state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal appeals court puts chill on Maryland law to fight drug price-gouging
NBC News
Similar price-gouging legislation has been introduced in at least 13 states this year, though none of those measures became law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Many other states have increased gas tax for transportation
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Mississippi is not the only state struggling with transportation needs, according to a report by the Legislature’s Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee. The report released this week cites the National Conference of State Legislatures as saying states have been in “a near constant state of crisis for about a decade” in terms of funding for transportation needs. The report cited the American Society of Civil Engineers as saying the nation as a whole faces major transportation issues.

8 Pros & Cons Of Lowering The Voting Age To 16, Like Washington, DC Is Considering
Bustle
Sometimes minors who commit crimes are given more lenient sentences and greater confidentiality, a report from the Office of Legislative Research indicated. But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, every single state also allows serious offenses to be "transferred" so that minors are prosecuted like adults.

Connecticut announces self-driving car test program
StateScoop
Connecticut is among 22 states with self-driving car regulations in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Democrats again push for local control over the minimum wage
The Colorado Independent
Across the country, over two dozen states have similar preemption laws on the books, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. 

PA moves to capture more online sales tax threatened by Supreme Court case
Meadville Tribune
The inability to collect taxes on these online purchases threatens the future effectiveness of the sales tax as a revenue source for states, according to an April 1 summary of the case's implications in the magazine of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Massachusetts court voids ban on stun guns, citing 2nd Amendment
New Castle News
Stun guns, commercially available for less than $20, are legal in 42 states. In most cases, owners must be at least 18 years old and not have a felony record. Some states require a permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Can we learn from other states on redistricting?: Mike Folmer
Middletown Press and Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states use independent commissions to draw legislative redistricting maps. One state (Iowa) has legislative staff draw the maps for their legislative districts.

April 18

THINK CONGRESS CAN REGULATE FACEBOOK? AFTER 26 YEARS, IT STILL HASN'T FIGURED OUT HOW TO TAX E-COMMERCE
Newsweek
Congress has tried to address the issue, but has failed to enact any legislation, which is why a group of exasperated South Dakota state lawmakers passed a bill they knew to be unconstitutional given current precedent, according to Republican state senator Deb Peters. Supported by allies like the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, Peters introduced a bill in order to force the Supreme Court to re-examine the issue.

Will You Soon Have To Pay Sales Tax On Every Online Purchase?
WAMU 88.5
“I was in D.C. about once a month lobbying this issue, and I became increasingly frustrated,” said South Dakota state Sen. Deb Peters, who is also president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State asks Supreme Court for online sales tax ruling
Sharonherald
The inability to collect taxes on these online purchases threatens the future effectiveness of the sales tax as a revenue source for states, according to an April 1 summary of the case’s implications in the magazine of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Although convenient for the buyer, internet sales have diminished state sales tax revenue by billions of dollars. A joint study by NCSL and the International Council of Shopping Centers estimated that states collectively lost $26 billion in uncollected sales and use taxes in 2017,” according to the article.

Cars threaten climate goals in blue states
E&E News
State officials and environmentalists are quick to point out areas where they are seeking to grapple with transportation. Twenty-three states offer some form of rebates, tax credits or other financial incentives aimed at enticing consumers to buy electric vehicles, according to a 2017 tally taken by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal Appeals Court Puts Chill On Maryland Law To Fight Drug Price-Gouging
Kaiser Health News
Similar price-gouging legislation has been introduced in at least 13 states this year, though none of those measures became law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Three other bills failed to gain passage.

House OKs bill on net neutrality, but Senate odds slim
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Since December when appointees by President Donald Trump on the FCC reversed rules put in place during President Barack Obama's administration, 66 bills have been introduced in 29 mostly blue states seeking to reverse that change, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. To date, only two — Washington and Oregon — have signed such bills into law.

Opponent on proposed ballot initiative policing transgender bathroom use: 'It's a nonissue'
Helena Independent Record
North Carolina is still the only state to have passed a bill restricting access to bathrooms and locker rooms on the basis of someone’s sex at birth, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But plenty of states have tried.

Court shoots down state's stun-gun ban
Eagle-Tribune
Some states require a permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Targeting Austin's sick-leave ordinance is part of a bigger war
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Meanwhile, nine states and Washington, D.C., require paid sick leave, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, with Maryland’s taking effect in February.

CT legislature shines a light, if not too brightly, on harassment
The CT Mirror
The others were Cheryl A. Sharp, the deputy director of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and Jonathan Griffin of the National Conference of State Legislatures

April 17

States Eye Amazon-Type Marketplaces as High Court Tax Case Looms
Bloomberg BNA
Max Behlke, director of budget and tax at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg Tax that he expects state efforts to collect tax from marketplace providers to slow as the high court takes on Wayfair. Practitioners expect a decision in the case by June.

$350M at stake for New Jersey in landmark Supreme Court case about online shopping
Northjersey.com 
“This is the largest tax case of this millennium,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax policy at the National Conference of States Legislatures. “When you see that in the last three to six months, the reports come out that Americans are saving less than ever and shopping more, you would think that would translate to correspondingly higher gross sales tax collections,” Behlke said. “But that isn’t the case. And primarily that is because of internet sales.”

Analysis: The constitutional showdown over President Donald Trump's travel ban
PBS NewsHour
An estimate from the National Conference of State Legislatures says total taxes uncollected because of the physical-presence requirement amounts to almost $26 billion annually.

Supreme Court considers whether states should have power to tax all online sales
Norwalk Reflector
“It’s about the money,” said Max Behlke, who handles budget and tax issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which supports allowing states to collect the taxes. Behlke pointed out that in most states, sales tax revenue never rebounded after the Great Recession, despite the fact that Americans are buying more.

South Dakota Limits Voters' Ability to Put Issues on Ballot
U.S. News & World Report
"South Dakota was a standout," said Wendy Underhill, an expert in initiative and referendum processes at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "There's been more action in South Dakota than in other states."

Connecticut Legislature To Distribute Climate Survey On Sexual Harassment
Hartford Courant
Jon Griffin, a program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the committee “the sexual harassment policies that have been most effective … provide a clear path for a person who believes they suffered harassment to make a claim.” He said effective sexual harassment policies also provide examples of inappropriate conduct, multiple options to report claims, an explanation of the investigation process and potential discipline for the accused, and also clearly prohibit retaliation. So far this year, 11 state legislatures have implemented or introduced policies and rules to improve their sexual harassment policies, Griffin said, although he expected most other states are reviewing their current policies.

CT legislature shines a light, if not too brightly, on harassment
The CT Mirror
Tamburro was one three invited witnesses to a hearing geared to testing the strength of employment policies, not bringing forward new complaints. The others were Cheryl A. Sharp, the deputy director of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and Jonathan Griffin of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Griffin told them their policy should have a clear definition of sexual harassment, offer examples of what behaviors are considered inappropriate in the workplace, provide a diversity of contacts to whom harassment can be reported and provide confidentiality to the greatest possible extent.

April 16

Welcome to Life in America's Child Care Deserts
Slate Magazine
At least 26 states passed laws related to child care access, cost, safety, and quality in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Can the Law Stop Ransomware?
U.S. News & World Report
Those laws follow measures passed in Connecticut and Texas last year, California the year before and Wyoming in 2014 that have explicitly made the use of such software a crime, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Metal Detectors the Norm at Schools and Ballparks. State Capitols? Not So Much
New York Times
Fewer than two dozen states had metal detectors at the public entrances of their capitols in 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; now the figure is more than 30.

Registering by party idea spurs questions, fear ahead of South Carolina primaries
Charleston Post Courier
"It comes down to whether you think political parties are private or whether you see primaries as the gateway to all of our democracy," said Wendy Underhill, program director of elections and redistricting for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Paul LePage, Bill Gates among those behind proficiency-based learning
Lewiston Sun Journal
Sixteen states have considered and, to some extent, adopted what the National Conference of State Legislatures calls “competency-based education.” Many states created pilot programs or received competitive grants to give local school districts flexibility to try this new approach to education.

The Fray: Raises on the horizon for state lawmakers
Times Herald – Record
Even with the long raise drought, the New York Legislature, which is in session during the first six months of each year, still had the third highest base pay among U.S. state legislatures as of last year, behind California ($104,118) and Pennsylvania ($86,479), according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Louisiana House backs expansion of medical marijuana program
Plaquemine Post South
Forty-six states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

No consensus on Beacon Hill for taking guns
Eagle – Tribune 
At least 30 states are considering similar proposals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill would ax state car perk for lawmakers
New Castle News
Pennsylvania lawmakers are paid a base salary of $87,180 annually. Only California pays its state lawmakers more, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tweaks to Virginia House budget plan could signal path to compromise
Daily Press
One of the new amendments in HB 5002 — the new House draft of a budget bill — is something that at least 35 states have been interested in, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 13

Louisiana House Backs Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program
U.S. News & World Report
Forty-six states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The 'balanced-budget amendment' is a joke, says GOP deficit hawk Alan Simpson
Washington Post
The amendment would mimic laws that 49 states have requiring their state governments to pass a balanced budget each year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Louisiana House backs expansion of medical marijuana program
The Advocate
Forty-six states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Regulations for Autonomous Cars
AZO Materials
Also, a letter to Congress by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislators said the legislation encroached on states’ rights.

Utah leads world conversation on pornography's harmful impact
The Daily Universe
According to a publication from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah’s resolution has no practical impact because it doesn’t ban porn or set aside a budget to fight it.

April 12

Maryland legislature passes women's rights bills
Washington Post
Studies over the last two decades have estimated that between 17,000 and 32,000 rape-related pregnancies happen in the United States each year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The spendthrift GOP's very unfunny balanced budget amendment joke
The Hill
Today, the states have large portions of their budgets controlled in some way by the federal government. For example, when the federal government provides funding for roads, schools, or virtually anything, it comes with strings attached. In other words, though the states run the programs or projects, their hands are at least partially tied in the decisions they make, because they took federal funds. Additionally, the federal government has the power to impose unfunded mandates on the states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: “The growth of federal mandates and other costs that the federal government imposes on states and localities is one of the most serious fiscal issues confronting state and local government officials.”

State Senator Sally Doty wins 'Women in Politics Making a Difference Award'
WJTV
Mississippi State Senator Sally Doty is the winner of the Women in Politics Making a Difference Award.
Senator Doty is one of four women honored by the National Conference of State Legislators. NCSL grants the award by recognizing outstanding women who are making their marks in their legislatures and communities. Nominees are reviewed and selected to ensure that a bipartisan, diverse group of women is profiled.

What, exactly, is the Legislature doing to address the opioid crisis in Minnesota? 
Minn Post
Similar bills are pending in at least a dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Montana Lawmakers Look to Improve Legislature's Culture
Flathead Beacon 
The National Conference of State Legislatures suggests the training should include examples of inappropriate behavior, because actions can be inappropriate without rising to the level of harassment, Fox said.

Records: 3 Alaska lawmakers had sex harassment complaints 
KTVA
The Legislature's harassment policy is being updated after criticism that it was vague. The group rewriting the policy solicited input from lawmakers and staff and from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Arizona Supreme Court Denies DACA Students In-State Tuition 
WAMU 88.5
Other states prohibiting in-state tuition for DREAMers are Georgia and Indiana, while Alabama and South Carolina have gone a step further by completely banning them from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

Cynthia Nixon wants to legalize marijuana in New York 
WGRZ
At least eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational consumption, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Drug testing plan considered for some food stamp recipients 
WTOP
But at least 20 states have introduced legislation to screen safety net program participants in some capacity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 11

Arizona Supreme Court Denies DACA Students In-State Tuition
NPR
Other states prohibiting in-state tuition for DREAMers are Georgia and Indiana, while Alabama and South Carolina have gone a step further by completely banning them from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

State Legislatures Tackle Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The National Law Review
More than 100 bills or resolutions related to sexual harassment and workplace misconduct have been introduced during the 2018 state legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

After Parkland shooting, US states shift education funds to school safety
Reuters
Altogether, more than 100 legislative bills to address school safety, not all of which have funding components, have been introduced in 27 states since the Feb. 14 shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to data provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Oregon governor signs net neutrality bill
NR Today
Brown’s signature makes the state the second to enact such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Pennsylvania court to decide if drug use while pregnant is child abuse
WBOY – TV 
States have rarely criminalized the exposure of an unborn child to illegal drugs, but it is common for child-welfare agencies to become involved when a newborn tests positive for exposure to opioids and other substances, said Meghan McCann with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

April 10

Oregon Governor Signs Net Neutrality Bill

U.S. News & World Report
Brown's signature makes the state the second to enact such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It also stakes out the state's claim to a moderate approach, compared to others: Five weeks to the day before Brown, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in his state to directly regulate providers there.

SC Republicans Propose Closing State's Primary Elections
U.S. News & World Report
South Carolina is one of 15 states that currently have open primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Court to decide if drug use while pregnant is child abuse 
Washington Post
States have rarely criminalized the exposure of an unborn child to illegal drugs, but it is common for child-welfare agencies to become involved when a newborn tests positive for exposure to opioids and other substances, said Meghan McCann with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What is immigration reform?
NBC News
The National Conference of State Legislatures has tracked states’ immigration laws over the years.

We Need to Make Sure Student Interns Are Not Being Mistreated in Statehouses
Pacific Standard
Second, the National Conference of State Legislatures has issued recommendations for how statehouses should work to address sexual harassment.

Bullock hopes data from Montana classrooms will sway legislators for public preschool
Billings Gazette
“Quality is paramount. All research points to that,” said Matt Weyer, a preschool specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures who presented to Montana lawmakers in March.

April 9

States move to ban fake urine, a new challenge for drug testing amid an abuse epidemic
Washington Post
Laws making it illegal to sell or use synthetic urine or cheat on a drug test are on the books in at least 18 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Trump Organization's Web Store Collects Sales Tax in Only Two States
Wall Street Journal
“With very few exceptions, businesses are required to collect and remit applicable taxes in states in which they have a physical presence,” said Max Behlke, director of budget and tax for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Internet sales tax in US faces a Judgment Day
The Union Leader
A 2012 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures concluded states were losing $23 billion in potential sales tax revenue and predicted the arc of those "losses" would accelerate with growing online business.

DUI law change increases penalties
Times Daily
Twenty-three states have 10-year lookbacks and a few have lifetime. About a dozen states have the same five-year period as Alabama, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2017.

Targeting Austin's sick-leave ordinance part of a bigger war
Weatherford Democrat
Meanwhile, nine states and Washington, D.C., require paid sick leave, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, with Maryland’s taking effect in February.

In session marked by scandal, Iowa lawmakers pass no bills dealing with sexual harassment
The Gazette
Despite that scandal and lawmakers’ lack of action on sexual harassment measures, this year has seen an “unprecedented amount of legislation on sexual harassment and sexual harassment policies” in state capitols across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan organization.

Stabenow bills will help reduce cost of prescription drugs
Marquette Mining Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures said as of late March a total of 35 states had already enacted or were considering legislation that would effectively block these gag clauses from being included in pharmacy benefit managers’ contracts. Michigan wasn’t on that list.

April 6

Colorado lawmakers urged to unveil misconduct investigations
Washington Post
Statehouses have introduced nearly 90 measures or resolutions on the issue, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Iowa state leaders address sex harassment at Capitol
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
This year has seen an “unprecedented amount of legislation on sexual harassment” across the country, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, a nonpartisan organization that researches statehouse issues.

Targeting Austin's sick-leave ordinance is part of a bigger war
Cleburne Times-Review
Meanwhile, nine states and Washington, D.C., require paid sick leave, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, with Maryland’s taking effect in February.

State legislatures tackle assisted suicide, abortion, school aid
National Catholic Reporter
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 state legislatures have adjourned, 31 state legislatures are still in session and four others have not yet convened their session.

Pay raise for New York lawmakers? It's back on the table
WGRZ
The base salary is among the highest in the nation, trailing Pennsylvania ($86,479) and California ($104,118), according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

April 5

Bid for part-time Michigan Legislature dies for lack of signatures 
Detroit Free Press 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states, including Michigan, have full-time Legislatures. 

Iowa Senate OKs bill opening door to hemp production, marketing 
Des Moines Register 
Thirty-four states have passed legislation related to the production of industrial hemp and 27 states have passed laws creating or allowing for the establishment of industrial hemp research plots or pilot programs to study the cultivation, processing, and economics of industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Why an election tradition in California is banned in other states 
McClatchy Washington Bureau 
A survey of election laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), could not find another state that allows the same kind of description of each candidate to appear on the ballot. 

Iowa state leaders address sexual harassment. Will it be enough? 
Mason City Globe Gazette 
This year has seen an “unprecedented amount of legislation on sexual harassment and sexual harassment policies” in state capitols across the country, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, a nonpartisan organization that researches statehouse issues. 

Martin Luther King: Are there too many white politicians? 
BBC News 
Based on a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in 2015, Hawaii, followed by New Mexico, have the highest proportion of minority lawmakers in their state - 78% and 49% respectively. 

Senate looks at new expulsion rules after extortion scandal 
WPRO 
Ruggerio asked Brenda Erickson, program president for the National Conference of State Legislatures, to speak with the Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee on Wednesday about how the process works in other states.

April 4

Senate Looks at New Expulsion Rules After Extortion Scandal 
U.S. News & World Report 
Ruggerio asked Brenda Erickson, program president for the National Conference of State Legislatures, to speak with the Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee on Wednesday about how the process works in other states. 

Record number of women running for governor in 2018 
The Hill 
There are currently 1,866 female members of state legislatures across the country, making up about one-quarter of all legislative seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Every State Now Has a Data Breach Notification Law 
Governing 
At least 29 states are taking up consumer security breach notification bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Alabama Governor Signs Data Breach Notification Law 
Government Technology 
At least 29 states are taking up consumer security breach notification bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

NY gets pharma to pay up amid opioid epidemic, but concerns linger 
Albany Times Union 
Bills are pending in at least a dozen other states to create a tax on the sale of opioids as a way of consistently funding drug abuse treatment and prevention programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

April 3

Independent Voters Push to Open Primaries to Crash Two-Party System
Washington Times
Most states already allow some sort of unaffiliated primary participation through electoral systems ranging from fully open primaries to allowing parties to decide whether to count independent votes to non-partisan voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Push State Solution to FCC Net Neutrality Decision 
Government Technology 
At least 30 states have proposed similar measures in the past year but so far only Oregon and Washington have passed legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What would downsizing Pennsylvania's legislature actually do? 
WHYY 
Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said it’s ultimately really hard to tell. 

April 2

New York Rewrites Harassment Laws, but Some Say the Changes Fall Short
New York Times
New York’s push mirrored those in many other state legislatures: 29 states have introduced new sexual harassment bills in 2018, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Why you should freeze your child's credit
Chicago Daily Herald
The states that currently require bureaus to create reports for those under 18 in response to a freeze request are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Analysis: Mississippi protects plastic bags, keeps symbols
San Francisco Chronicle
Some other parts of the U.S. are regulating plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . 

PolitiFact: Trump takes inaccurate jab at Amazon, postal service
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Max Behlke, the director of budget and tax at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told PolitiFact in August it was unfair to single out Amazon, given the many other online retailers that follow the same practice.

Tom Ridge column: Shut down the postal drug pipeline
Richmond.com
Closing this loophole to help shut down the flow of synthetic opioids is a bipartisan no-brainer. It’s something national health experts, security experts, and politicians from all parties agree on. In fact, President Trump’s opioid commission backed the STOP Act in its final report, and the bill is supported by groups like the Fraternal Order of Police, the American Medical Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State wants speedup of ruling on voter IDs
Arkansas Online
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have enacted some form of voter-ID laws. The group lists Arkansas as one of 24 states with "non-strict" requirements. The 10 states with "strict" laws require voters lacking necessary identification to take extra steps after an election to ensure their votes are counted.

Louisiana Spotlight: The next target for reform in Louisiana? The state's strict licensing standards
The Advocate
Fourteen states require hair braiders to have a cosmetology license, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Key details still to solve in Capitol sex harassment policy
News & Observer 
The National Conference of State Legislatures says there has been an unprecedented amount of legislation on the subject around the country this year. The NCSL website details bills in 29 states.