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NCSL in the News: April-May 2011

NCSL in the News: 2011

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: April-May 2011

May 31

Justices’ Arizona ruling on illegal immigration may embolden states
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers set a new record in the first three months of the year, proposing 1,538 bills related to immigration, with 141 measures in 26 states passed into law. New York Times

Conn. looks to cut costs by making workers healthy
"There's a kind of economy of scale. When your program is large enough, having this kind of program seems to work better and more economically," said Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP on FOX News

Administration opposes challenges to Medicaid cuts
The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures filed a friend-of-the-court brief endorsing California’s position that Medicaid recipients and providers could not sue. New York Times

Texas to require photo identification from voters
This year, more than 30 states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Gov. Rick Perry signs voter ID bill into law
At least eight states have strict photo ID requirements, according to a late 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP

Discriminating against non-citizens
Recently, there has been a rash of state-level legislation directed at immigration. In 2010 alone, 46 state legislatures and the District of Columbia enacted 208 laws and adopted 138 resolutions. See The National Conference of State Legislatures, State Laws Related to Immigration & Immigrants, (last visited May 10, 2011). Human Resource Executive Online

Lawmaker wants every bill to get a committee hearing
Steele pointed out that figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that of 102 legislative sessions in the nation, only 22 require that all bills be heard in committee. Tulsa World

Obama administration seeks to block legal challenges to Medicaid cuts
The National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and 31 states have endorsed California’s appeal with friend-of-the-court briefs. State officials argue, “Allowing ‘supremacy clause lawsuits’ to enforce federal Medicaid laws will be a financial catastrophe for states.” World Socialist Website

Dedrawing Massachusetts: How will the congressional redistricting game play out?
Tim Storey, a senior fellow and redistricting expert from the National Conference of State Legislatures said although redistricting is important, it is not the ultimate deciding factor. MetroWest Daily News

Obama Justice Department sides with states in Medicaid case
The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures have also filed an amicus brief supporting California, as have 30 states in a separate filing, arguing that "[a]llowing 'supremacy clause lawsuits' to enforce federal Medicaid laws will be a financial catastrophe for states." Daily Kos

John Ketzenberger: A sigh of relief over budget
The carnage across the United States: $530 billion less in revenue than the states expected, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Unlike Indiana, many of those states raised their rates on sales and personal income taxes. Indianapolis Star

Bills cut number of representatives
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, said 34 states have adjusted the size of their legislatures at least once since 1960. Pocono Record

Wyoming tax revenue on pace to beat projections by $40M
Arturo Perez, director of the fiscal affairs division for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said in a statement that the improving national economy is being reflected in state tax collections. The Columbus Republic

Hall Monitor: A look at school news and events
The North Posey students' project will compete at the national event in San Antonio, Texas, in August and be judged by those attending the National Conference of State Legislatures. Evansville Courier & Press

State revenue projected to beat budget forecasts
This follows a national trend of state budgets seeing some improvement this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, health board at odds over proposed hospital
Used by states since the early 1960s, so-called certificate-of-need programs are designed to rein in health care facility costs while allowing for coordination of new construction and services, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Delaware News Journal

New moped laws aim to save lives
National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) spokesperson Anne Tiegan says that in 2010, 12 states either passed or had pending legislation aimed at reducing the number of moped fatalities. Surprisingly, much of the legislation is related to transportation basics, such as licensing and the use of helmets. World News Report

Where are state gasoline taxes highest in the nation?
For decades, states have used a portion of every dollar spent on gasoline to help fund transportation programs, and probably will for the foreseeable future unless alternative funding streams can be developed, such as private/public partnerships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. National Journal

Did Hawaii do enough to fix public pensions?
Ron Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, says that while the changes aren't radical, he agrees they represent a move in the right direction. Snell, who tracks pension-related legislation for the organization, said other states have made similar changes to their public pension funds this year, and, in some cases, Hawaii has gone further than other states. Honolulu Civil Beat 

May 27

Arizona immigration law upheld
“I don’t think we’ve seen the high-water mark yet,” said Ann Morse, program director for NCSL. “State legislatures are frustrated at federal inaction in this area and they are going to keep doing this. ... States are going to look at (the new ruling) and think they have a go-ahead.”  San Diego Union Tribune

RI weighs in-state tuition for illegal immigrants
Eleven states now grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who are working toward legal status, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut is expected to join the list this year after lawmakers approved such legislation earlier this week.  AP in the Boston Globe

Minnesota governor vetoes voter identification bill
Eleven states now require a photo ID to vote and a Kansas law takes effect January 1. More than 30 states have considered adding or strengthening voter ID requirements this year, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.  Reuters

Supreme Court upholds Arizona illegal-hiring law
In challenging the measure, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said dozens of states have recently enacted laws regulating employment of illegal immigrants. In the first quarter of this year, state lawmakers introduced 279 employment-related immigration bills, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

King statement on importance of reallocating "d block" spectrum for public safety
The legislation is supported by virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country, including the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  TMC Net

May 26

More lawmakers asking for a smaller state House
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, said 34 states have adjusted the size of their legislatures at least once since 1960. Pennsylvania set the current levels of representation in 1966, reducing from 209 members in the state House to 203.  Delaware County Daily Times

Voter ID debate could change 2012 landscape
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states, including Wisconsin, request or require photo ID for voters.  MSNBC

Nebraska lawmakers pass compromise bill on public unions
Labor rights disputes inspired contentious rallies this year in Wisconsin and Ohio. The National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers in 43 states introduced bills to alter collective bargaining for public employees.  Reuters

Immigration measure approved by South Carolina House
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that approximately 30 States have considered stricter policies against illegal immigration, most of which center around law enforcement and employment verification.  Personal Liberty Digest

Wisconsin governor signs controversial voter ID law
Eleven states now require a photo ID to vote. Kansas also added a photo ID requirement this year, but it won't take effect until January 1.  Thirty-three states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

GOP: Feds should let states tighten Medicaid eligibility
Many state officials back the GOP legislation. The National Conference of State Legislatures said, “During these tough economic times, states cannot afford to have their hands tied by the federal government.”  Bangor Daily News

Kansas has new laws on engineering, abortion
But measures aimed at blocking the federal insurance mandate have been approved in more than a dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Stamford Advocate

States weigh raising gas taxes to fill budget potholes
So far this year, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Nebraska introduced legislation hiking their gas taxes and Arkansas might boost its diesel fuel tax, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Tax Foundation. Conversely, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming already have shot down proposed increases this year, NCSL records show.  The Detroit News

Policy report says reform critical to viability of U.S. higher education
The report—borne largely through a meeting convened in December 2010 by the Miller Center, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices—drew both praise and sharp criticism in various quarters of higher education.  Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Rep. Perone: State must reconsider new “internet taxes”
Last year, Perone sponsored sweeping economic development legislation to jump-start job creation, while laying a foundation for long-term economic growth. Incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation, infrastructure, and education are all contained in the bill.  He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Connecticut Plus

May 25

Collective bargaining curbs spread across the U.S.
"It's a year that took us by surprise," says Jeanne Mejeur, who follows labor legislation for NCSL.  She says the number of bills introduced into state capitals this year seeking to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining rights of public workers is staggering — 820 in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  NPR

Kansas likely to enact health care 'freedom' law
Measures aimed at blocking the federal health insurance mandate have been approved in more than a dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Forbes

Illegal immigration bill gets key vote
So far this year about 30 states have considered comprehensive illegal immigration reform bills, many of which center on law enforcement, employment verification and eligibility standards for social services, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Charleston Post Courier

Budget battle spills into special session
During upcoming January elections, Kansas will become the ninth state to require photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Minnesota Daily

Georgia state law turns focus on sex-trafficked girls
She has received help from several large Christian churches and has worked with the National Conference of State Legislatures to pass model legislation on the topic.  Trust Law

First quarter 2011, record 1538 state bills relating to immigrants introduced
As of March 31, 2011, 26 states enacted 63 laws and adopted 78 resolutions, totaling 141 measures. As of March 31, one additional bill was vetoed in New Jersey. Among enacted laws, the top areas of interest were health, identification/driver’s licenses, law enforcement and resolutions.  Hispanically Speaking News

PA House approves “sexting” bill
According to the NCSL, “Kids are not always aware that, by sexting, they may be violating child pornography laws, which often carry felony penalties and can require registration as a sex offender. All 50 states have laws prohibiting the production, possession or distribution of images depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child.”  PoliticsPA

Ballot law update: California circulator restrictions move forward
Since the beginning of the year, 229 laws have been proposed in 40 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Ballot News

The return of Reagan's 'welfare queen'
This powerful conservative meme first surfaced at the very beginning of the economic crisis. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 20 states proposed bills in 2009, and 10 did so in 2010.  The Guardian

Wake County looking for a new budget plan
More than 120 schools in 20 different states already operate on this four day school week, according to Ashley Wallace, an education policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said small, rural districts are more likely to try it.  Athens Oracle

May 24

Immigration bills have flooded state capitols
State legislatures faced an unprecedented number of immigration bills introduced during the first quarter of the year, with most focusing on areas of law enforcement and employment, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures report released Monday.  The Salt Lake Tribune

Colorado tax-and-spending limits come under fire
As of last year, 30 states had some type of tax or spending limitations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but analysts say Colorado has the most stringent tax-and-spend requirements.  AP in the Miami Herald and the Aspen Times

Tort reform bill takes fire from right
NCSL says restrictions on malpractice suits should be left to the states. The House bill would set a limit of $250,000 on noneconomic damages and preempt state laws that have established higher caps. Some state constitutions also block the type of changes the bill would make. They would also be overridden.  “State court is an area for state law, not federal law,” Frederick said.  The Hill

Frankel wants new motorcycle helmet law
"The U.S. saved $2.9 billion in 2008 as a result of some states requiring all riders to wear helmets," Mr. Frankel said, citing statistics released by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Panel created to improve state government transparency
Mizeur said she also wants the new committee to hear testimony from experts with national and regional organizations interested in transparency and open government, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments.  Daily Record

States, counties spar over Medicaid 'flexibility'
The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has endorsed a proposal by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) that would remove those MOE restrictions.  Governing

States go wild with immigration laws
In the first quarter of 2011, the 50 states and Puerto Rico saw 1,537 bills and resolutions introduced about immigrants and refugees compared to 1,180 introduced in the first quarter of 2010.  Source: National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Nonprofit Quarterly

House passes 'sexting' penalty fix
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 21 states and Guam are now considering bills or resolutions aimed at striking a balance between education and punishment for teens who exchange explicit photos of each other.  Allentown Morning Call

GOP pushes to let states reduce Medicaid rolls
The National Conference of State Legislatures said, "During these tough economic times, states cannot afford to have their hands tied by the federal government."  Kaiser Health News

Immigrant day
A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures says lawmakers nationally introduced a record number of immigration-related measures in the first quarter this year. They tackle topics ranging from language assistance to policing the legal status of students in public schools.  Sacramento Bee

Compliance scorecard: Municipal compliance
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have taken action to ban chemical substances related to synthetic cannabinoids, and nine states have banned chemical substances related to substituted cathinones.  Security Info Watch

May 23

State senator proposes freezing gas prices
Hawaii is the only other state that has attempted to cap gas prices this year, according to Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Greenville News

Redistricting for the masses: Cloud software lets voters participate
LA County is among the first government entities to consider providing Web-based tools that allow for direct public participation. "This notion of public access has changed quite dramatically," says Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Throwing that wide open is a big step."  Computer World

Voter ID laws take hold in other states
And at least two states have sought to shorten early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Georgia just cut its time from 45 to 21 days. Florida could trim its by six days.  Charlotte Observer

Tenn. Senate OK’s bill on gay lessons
Passage would make Tennessee the first state to enact such legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2003, Washington defeated a proposal similar to Tennessee’s, as did California in 2005 and 2006.  AP in the Boston Globe and USA Today

Editorial: N.J. residency requirements for public workers makes sense for taxpayers
The idea makes sense and the bill signed by Gov. Christie makes New Jersey the first in the country to take public employee residency requirements to this level, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Times of Trenton

Ohio House's added school aid not enough, local officials say
As states plan for fiscal year 2012, many, including Michigan, have either enacted or proposed significant cuts to K-12 education, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Toledo Blade

Gas prices: States across country eye gas tax hikes
This year Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Nebraska introduced legislation hiking their gas taxes, and Arkansas might boost its diesel fuel tax, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Tax Foundation. Conversely, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming already have shot down proposed increases this year, NCSL records show.  Scripps in  The Republic and ReporterNews.com

Kalispell legislator dismayed by veto of bill
Thirty-eight states currently have fetal homicide laws in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Daily Inter Lake

Blind Rep. sits in speaker's chair for state House debate
House staff members checked with the National Conference of State Legislatures, where there was no evidence any blind person has acted as speaker.  Pierce County Herald

Nurse-in reminder to battle breastfeeding ban
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public.  About.com

ACLU says RI would be lone Northeastern state to adopt voter photo ID requirement
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly half of the states only require voters to provide a signature at the polls.  But that’s been changing rapidly.  In 2000, just 15 states asked for ID, such as a birth certificate, Social Security card, photo ID or voter registration card. But today, the number has grown to 28.  PolitiFact

American Association for Justice: Widespread opposition to H.R. 5 grows
In addition to Barnett, the American Bar Association, constitutional scholar Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute, and the National Conference of State Legislatures have all cited states' rights and federalism concerns for opposing H.R. 5.  Sacramento Bee

New regulations will limit insurance rate increases
Only states can reject rate increases. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about two dozen states have laws that allow regulators to approve or disapprove of some types of insurance premium changes, although how the authority is used varies widely.  The News Tribune

Reforms to target illegals in S.C.
S.C. is one of about 30 states that has debated passing laws to target illegal immigrants, a trend that has continued for several years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of March 31, 14 of the 52 bills introduced throughout the country has failed; 36 were pending.  Myrtle Beach Sun News

Medical liability reform closer to House passage
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.) said the bill would unfairly cap damage awards for people with disfiguring injuries or lifelong pain from medical injuries. Also, it would trump state medical liability reform laws, which is why the National Conference of State Legislatures opposes the bill.  American Medical News

Photo identification may be required in Wisconsin to vote
Based on a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, ten states are now requiring photo identification in order to vote. Just this year, Kansas also added photo identification as a voting requirement.  Your Daily News Fix

May 20

More states consider 4-Day weeks
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization that helps inform state lawmakers about legislation around the country, more than 120 districts in 20 states currently operate schools four days a week. U.S. News

Gov. Christie signs bill requiring all new public employees to move to N.J. within year of hire
New Jersey is the first state in the nation to enact a law mandating a residency requirement for its public employees, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. Pennsylvania law requires only its civil service employees to live within the state, according to the New Jersey Senate Majority officials. New Jersey Star-Ledger

R.I. House approves civil unions
Three states — Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey — allow civil unions between same-sex couples, affording them the same rights that state law grants to married couples, according to Marriage Equality USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. A fourth state, Delaware, just adopted a civil-union law that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. The Providence Journal

Voter ID approved by Senate
According to Jennie Bowser at the National Conference of State Legislatures, only Indiana, Georgia and most recently Kansas and South Carolina have similarly restrictive legislation. The Badger Herald

Sponsor of new open government committee proposes improvements
Mizeur said she also wants the new committee to hear testimony from experts with national and regional organizations interested in transparency and open government, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. CityBiz List Baltimore

Wife of former Plaquemine resident notches national legislative award
Sherri Breaux, who is the wife of former Plaquemine resident Keith J. Breaux, received an honor recently from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Post South: Plaquemine, LA

State Senate passes Voter ID bill
The new law would make Wisconsin the 29th state to require some form of ID at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Sheboygan Press

Reality Check: How does capitol security compare to other states?
According to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, exactly half of state Capitols across the country use metal detectors -- 26 if Wisconsin is included. WISC: Madison, WI

Health insurance rate hikes face tougher scrutiny
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about two dozen states have laws allowing regulators to approve or disapprove of some types of insurance premium changes, although how the authority is used varies widely. Kaiser Health News

Bill that would have required licensed athletic trainers at prep games was sidetracked in state House
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that having athletic trainers on the field to provide advice can significantly help prevent traumatic brain injury. Thirty-three other states have introduced bills aimed at sports-related concussions. The Times-Picayune

Wisconsin set to require photo identification to vote
Thirty-three states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

States encountering obstacles in setting up insurance exchanges
Fewer than 50% of states will have legislation in place at the end of this year's legislative sessions, according Joy Johnson Wilson, health policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. California Healthline

May 19

Vance: medical malpractice is issue for the states
The National Conference of State Legislatures has expressed strong bipartisan opposition to H.R. 5 because it inappropriately seeks to pre-empt and supersede these state laws. Roll Call

Report: In-state tuition for illegal immigrants can be a plus for both states and students
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that since 2001, 12 states, starting with Texas and California, have approved laws that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges if they meet specific requirements—generally, that they live in the state and have attended high school for a specified period before graduating or receiving their high-school-equivalency degree. The Chronicle of Higher Education

South Carolina governor signs voter photo ID bill
Thirty-three states have considered adding or strengthening voter identification requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Editorial: Photo ID scheme an insult to voters
If approved, New Hampshire would become the 29th state to require some form of identification to vote – photo or otherwise – according to a report compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Nashua Telegraph

Early-voting period reduction moves to NC Senate
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting, most of them starting 10 to 14 days before an election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Blue Ridge Times-News

Lawmakers have cost concerns on school sports bill
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that having athletic trainers on the field to provide advice can significantly help prevent traumatic brain injury. The Stamford Advocate

State Sen. Terry Moulton says Wisconsin is one of the few states that does not require photo ID to vote
The definitive source for up-to-date information on state-by-state requirements for voter identification is the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures’ online guide, "Voter Identification Requirements." The Journal Sentinel

New project to create thousands of new jobs
He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Shoreline Plus News

May 18

Senate passes Main Street Fairness Act
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that Rhode Island will lose an estimated $70.4 million in Fiscal Year 2012 because of the inability to require remote sellers to collect state sales and use taxes. WPRI Providence

States aren't as broke as they thought
Twenty three states are on track to bring in more income-tax revenues than predicted, according to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. NPR

Historic moment as Westrom takes speaker’s chair
House staff members checked with the National Conference of State Legislatures, where there was no evidence any blind person has acted as speaker. Morris Sun Tribune

Indiana, Kentucky join surplus lines compact
Two more states joined a surplus lines compact advanced by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, putting the initiative within reach of going into effect. Insurance News

Blind state rep uses humor to put others at ease
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Westrom may be the first blind person in such a leadership role. San Antonio Express News

Senate vote on photo ID bill delayed until Thursday
Eight states ask voters for photo ID, and Kansas has a new photo ID law that will go into effect in January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dome: State needs more college grads, leaders agree
Leaders of public and private higher education gathered at the state Department of Public Instruction for a discussion sponsored by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Raleigh News & Observer

Pennsylvania would fund colleges by sniffing out medicaid fraud
No other state is considering budget proposals counting on Medicaid savings from waste and fraud in the next fiscal year, according to Jon Shure, director of state fiscal strategies for the budget and policy center, and data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. California in fiscal 2011 incorporated a $26 million savings from antifraud efforts in its Medicaid program, according to the data. Bloomberg

State House releases redistricting plan
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 13 states that will use commissions to conduct their redistricting process, in part to reduce the influence of partisan political considerations. WGMD Delmarya

Maine insurance law could conflict with new federal rules
Sharon Treat, a state legislator in Maine and a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures executive council, said the state’s law presents several conflicts with new federal standards. The Hill

Rhode Island, Minnesota legislatures voting on gay marriage, civil unions tonight, next week
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports there are 10 states that currently have no laws prohibiting same-sex marriage and 30 states that contain defining language on marriage in their state constitutions. Deseret News

If public pension checks bounce, blame union leaders and politicians, not taxpayers
Spiotto recently told members of the National Conference of State Legislators they may have to say “or else” when dealing with pension benefits already earned by public employees.Hawaii Reporter 

May 17

Debate on bid to cut NC early-voting delayed
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting, most of them starting 10 to 14 days before an election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in the Charlotte Observer

'America's Most Wanted' host calls for new state laws during Westfield speech
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states – Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota and Wyoming – along with Guam and three Native American tribes are in compliance with the federal law as of May 12. The Springfield Patch

Recalls could be used for voter ID training
Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said 33 state legislatures have considered either creating new voter ID standards or strengthening existing ones. The Leader Telegram

Texas House passes final version of voter ID bill
At least eight states have strict photo ID requirements, according to a late 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Connecticut Post

Premium coverage, little cost
In 2009, the average annual cost for an individual health plan for a public employee was $6,029 with the state paying an average of 89 percent of the premiums, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The San Antonio Express

Effort to recall state Sen. Julie Lassa falls short
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 20 state officials nationwide have ever been forced into a recall election and only seven of those officials won their election. WISN, ABC Milwaukee

Voter ID bill raises ire on both sides
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that nine states already mandate a photo ID at the polls and 19 others require some other form of identification. The Superior Telegram 

May 16

Redistricting delays 2012 House races
"Almost every state will be done by early spring of next year," said Tim Storey, a redistricting expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Georgia governor signs controversial anti-illegal immigration law
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that, in 2010 alone, more than 1,400 bills were introduced aiming to give individual states more of a role in immigration enforcement. CNN

Teens who drop out of school could lose driver's license
Legislators in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia are working to pass bills or update laws that would snatch driver's licenses out of the hands of dropouts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).The Greenville News

Hundreds of officials have expensive indemnity plans
As of 2009, only 5 percent of active state employees were enrolled in traditional indemnity plans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Courier Times

Is it an exercise in futility to try to outlaw 'bath salts'?
The drugs typically contain chemicals related to substituted cathinones, such as mephedrone or MDPV, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Belleville News Democrat

Texas could lead way in gas drilling disclosure
Jacquelyn Pless, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that helps coordinate policymaking between states, said fracking is an issue in many states - with the focus being regulation of the fluids. Lake Wylie Pilot

How Iowa, other states handle labor disputes
Lawmakers in 43 states — beginning with Wisconsin and Ohio — introduced bills to alter how collective bargaining for public employees works, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Omaha World Herald

Gingrich says U.S. needs to look after own interests first
Medicaid and other health-care programs in 20 states were over budget during fiscal 2011, according to an April report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The St. Louis Beacon

Texas House calls for immigration law enforcement
Immigration curbs have caught fire nationwide. In 2010, a record number of laws and resolutions were passed by state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which calculated that 46 states and the District of Columbia had passed 346 measures, with an additional 10 having fallen from gubernatorial vetoes. Lake Wylie Pilot

Casso will propose legislation allowing commission to handle redistricting
States handle the process of redrawing political boundaries in various ways, with many having commissions that handle legislative reapportioment, congressional redistricting, or both, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Denver Post Blog

If public pension checks bounce, blame union leaders and politicians, not taxpayers
Spiotto recently told members of the National Conference of State Legislators they may have to say “or else” when dealing with pension benefits already earned by public employees.­ Accept benefits less than they earned, or else face a future with no pension benefits at all. Watchdog.org

May 13

Texas House bans malt liquor containing stimulates
The sale of one, Four Loko, has been banned by at least 13 states through their alcohol control boards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Business Week, The Republic

Texas could lead way in gas drilling disclosure
Jacquelyn Pless, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that helps coordinate policymaking between states, said fracking is an issue in many states -- with the focus being regulation of the fluids. At least six states have considered or are reviewing legislation that would require full disclosure. San Jose Mercury News, Bloomberg Business Week, Daily News Online

Analysis: Gov. Christie's political theater masks strategy
Pennsylvania employees who retire with at least 25 years of service also receive payouts. Other states -- including Hawaii, Illinois and Rhode Island -- want to cap sick-time payouts for retired public employees, according to 2010 reform measures tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Courier Post

Immigration reform: restoring sizzle to a priority
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that 46 states and the District of Colombia passed 346 such measures in 2010. Idaho Mountain Express

DUI bill on way to governor
It would join 11 other states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington — in requiring ignition interlock for all DUIs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Wichita Eagle

RI Senate passes voter identification bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have laws requiring voter identification at the polls, with two more states set to join the list soon. Nine states require photo identification. The AP in the Boston Globe

Will 'groupon fatigue' doom the daily-deals business?
In some states, gift-certificate laws keep daily-deal offers from expiring (but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, not mine).
PC World

Lawmakers would link school, driving
Legislators in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia are working to pass bills or update laws that would snatch driver's licenses out of the hands of dropouts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). USA Today

House Budget leader gives house a reality check & nightly roundup
The sale of one, Four Loko, has been banned by at least 13 states through their alcohol control boards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KERA

Washington state suspends 2012 presidential primary
Kansas also is considering similar legislation, approved by its legislature's Senate but stalled in its House, said Jennie Drage Bowser, a National Conference of State Legislatures senior fellow in Denver. Reuters in WTAQ

Bill to reduce North Carolina's early-voting period 1 week given tentative OK by divided House
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting, most of them starting 10 to 14 days before an election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The AP in The Republic, AP in the Times-News

May 12

Both sides of debate unite against civil unions
Three states — Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey — allow civil unions between same-sex couples, affording them the same rights that state law grants to married couples, according to Marriage Equality USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Providence Journal

Early-voting time reduced in N.C. House proposal
Thirty-two states have some kind of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The AP in the Virginia Pilot, Rocky Mount Telegram, Blue Ridge Now

Bill would bar mailing speeding tickets in SC
Nationwide, more than 400 communities use cameras at stop lights and more than 40 use cameras to enforce speed laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least nine states have passed laws barring use of photo enforcement. Various lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the tickets have been unsuccessful, according to the conference. The AP in the News Times and the Republic

Minnesota's Pawlenty Legacy? Not so nice
But Minnesota also relied heavily on one-time budget cuts rather than year-to-year spending cuts. The National Conference of State Legislatures found in 2009 that Minnesota was second only to Alaska in its reliance on one-time budget patches. WNYC.org

Breastfeeding bias
At the state level, the National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a list of state-specific breastfeeding laws. Human Resources Executive Online

Agreement on DUI corrections funds reached
Every state except Alabama has some sort of ignition interlock law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington — require interlock devices for all DUI offenders. Wichita Eagle

Obesity is killing our children softly in Beverly Hills
Childhood obesity in California is at 30.5% according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Benzing.com

May 11

States eye drug tests for welfare recipients
But lawmakers say they're willing to take the risk, as cash-strapped states struggle to close budget gaps, potentially paving the way for major legal battles. The National Conference of State Legislatures said at least 30 states have proposed to drug test recipients of government aid during the current legislative session.  AP in the Seattle Post Intelligencer and Westport News

Gov. Martin O’Malley signs immigrant tuition bill into law in Maryland
Maryland joins at least 10 other states, including California and New York, that allow illegal-immigrant students to pay in-state tuition rates. But the national trend is toward eliminating such breaks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Washington Post

Letter from California: Exchange board has daunting task
Several states besides California have taken steps to set up exchanges this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, North Dakota and Vermont.  Kaiser Health News

Assembly salaries too low?
Had their salary kept pace with inflation, lawmakers would be paid about $30,000, according to an estimate by the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 10 years ago, Virginia was in the top 20 in legislative salaries. Now, it's in the lower 25.  Richmond Times-Dispatch

Texas House approves measure calling for tougher illegal immigration enforcement by police
Immigration curbs have caught fire nationwide. In 2010, a record number of laws and resolutions were passed by state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which calculated that 46 states and the District of Columbia had passed 346 measures, with an additional 10 having fallen from gubernatorial vetoes.  AP in the Washington Post

Ramblin' Bramble
By now you probably know about Sen. Curt Bramble’s cross-country dash from National Conference of State Legislatures meetings in Boston to very, very nearly cast the decisive vote in the Senate’s override of Gov. Gary Herbert’s veto of the bill directing state offices to be open on Friday.  The Salt Lake Tribune

May 10

Texas House passes 'sanctuary cities' bill
Immigration curbs have caught fire nationwide. In 2010, a record number of laws and resolutions were passed by state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which calculated that 46 states and the District of Columbia had passed 346 measures, with an additional 10 having fallen from gubernatorial vetoes.  AP in the Boston Globe

Conference committee comes to agreement on DUI bill
Every state except Alabama has some sort of ignition interlock law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eleven states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington — require interlock devices for all DUI offenders.  The Wichita Eagle

Analysis: Americans try to outrun state, local tax hikes
Since the beginning of 2009, some 31 states have hiked taxes on everything from income, estates, and investment gains to cigarettes and plastic bags, with annual net increases pushing $50 billion, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Texas Senate approves voter ID bill
At least eight states have strict photo ID requirements, according to a late 2010 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Texas bill is modeled after similar laws in Georgia and Indiana.  AP in the Fort Worth Star Telegram

Texas Senate approves bill to allow guns on college campuses
Texas was one of 22 states that banned carrying concealed weapons on college campuses as of late March, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

May 9

Amending the constitution: Easier in Minnesota?
Nationwide, the passage rate for constitutional amendments initiated through legislatures has been about 75 percent in the last decade, said Brenda Erickson, a researcher for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Public Radio

Hospitality, transportation among gifts for lawmakers
According to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania has one of the weakest standards for gift reporting. Eleven states have banned legislators from accepting any gifts, while other states set a monetary threshold over which gifts must be reported. The Delaware County Daily Times

On FoxNews debate, Tim Pawlenty scores some points among GOP's 'B' squad
Wallace: "The National Conference of State Legislatures said that you used a lot of one-time fixes — such as taking $2 billion from the Obama stimulus plan — and borrowing billions from local school districts. The bottom line is that you left your state, after your term as governor, with a projected deficit of $6 billion, sir." The Minnesota Post

Wyoming to study Medicaid cost savings
Laura Tobler, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said most other states also are grappling with restructuring or modifying their Medicaid programs to save money. The Wyoming Tribune

Drawing party lines
But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, independent commissions are used to varying degrees in 21 states. Myrtle Beach Sun Times

Pa.'s slipshod policy on legislative gifts invites corruption
According to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Pennsylvania has one of the weakest standards for gift reporting. The Pocono Record

Another View: Legislature does not have to be made smaller to work better
Cost-wise it is the fifth most efficient in the nation, according to National Conference of State Legislatures statistics. The Portland Press

Montgomery Co. bag tax -- coming soon statewide?
Bag taxes at the local level are spreading across the country, though the National Conference of State Legislatures noted in February that no state had instituted a statewide tax. The Baltimore Sun

Can Bad Credit Ruin Your Job Search?
Hawaii, Oregon and Washington already have laws limiting this practice. And 25 states have bills pending in the 2011 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. FOX Business

State IT budgets likely to face continued austerity
With Republicans having won more seats in state legislatures in the last election than they've held in decades, the emphasis is on smaller government, noted Bill Pound, executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures. FierceCIO

Education reform: Shorter week, more learning
The four-day school week has been around for decades, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it's quietly spreading as a money-saving tactic, especially after several states — including Montana, Georgia, Missouri and Washington — passed legislation allowing school districts to make the switch as long as they lengthened each school day so that there was no reduction in instructional hours. The Los Angeles Times

May 7

Dems' new congessional map would split Eagle County
The last time states redrew their congressional districts, following the 2000 census, 40 states went in court, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About a dozen states are already in court this year.  Vail Daily

Unions shift funds to battle state legislation
GOP lawmakers now control both chambers of state legislatures in 26 states, up from 14 before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Republicans also hold 29 governors' seats.  AP in Fire Fighting News

Borders war
"This is the best position the GOP has been in in the modern era of redistricting," said Tim Storey, an expert on redistricting at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans hold 26 state legislatures, the most since 1952, when they also held 26.  World Magazine

May 5

Unions refocus political activity
GOP lawmakers now control both chambers of state legislatures in 26 states, up from 14 before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republicans also hold 29 governors' seats.  USA Today and the Tucson Citizen

In Arizona, Tea Party license plate draws opposition from its honorees
There has been a movement in state capitals across the country to commemorate the Tea Party on the backs of cars, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The group has tallied at least 10 other states considering such plates this year, three of which — Virginia, Texas and Mississippi — have joined Arizona in endorsing them.  The New York Times

Colorado's redistricting deadlock not unusual
The preening doesn't surprise Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, who follows redistricting fights. Storey said that congressional and legislative redistricting nearly always ends up in court, though politicians say they're trying to avoid lawsuits.  AP in the Danbury News Times

For-profit colleges face more state scrutiny
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, lawmakers in at least 17 states have introduced bills on for-profit colleges this year, many of them designed to tighten regulation of the schools.  Stateline in the Bellingham Herald

Texas advancing payday lender regulation
Thirty-one state legislatures have considered payday lender bills this year, according to data provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Governing

More states trying to get around implementation of health law
Challenges to or measures opposing the health care law are pending in more than 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-six states have signed on to the Florida lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the law. About 12 states have introduced legislation to enter into interstate compacts as a way to circumvent it.  National Journal

State Rep. Mike Shirkey backing bill to create part-time Legislature
Shirkey points to a 2009 study by the National Conference of State Legislatures that rates Michigan as one of just four "red legislatures," meaning they have large staffs and lawmakers work "full-time."  Jackson Citizen Patriot

Iowa GOP leaders nervous about two-year budget
In 1940, 44 states practiced biennial budgeting. This year there are 20, according to information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Des Moines Register

Motorists could pay a price for 'distracted driving'
The issue is a hot topic across the nation. A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures testified that 143 bills dealing with distracted driving are now before 33 state legislatures.  Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch

May 4

Protesters against TN guns-on-campus bill get a win
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, of the 48 states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons, 22 — including Tennessee — ban guns on campus. An additional25 allow universities to set their weapons policies.  The Tennessean

Pay cuts for elected officials now look unlikely this year
Rep. Sam Hunt, an Olympia Democrat, said legislators have found some other ways to cut back as well by reducing the number of staff members that they employ, for instance. According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the total staff that the Washington Legislature has during session has gone down over time, from 1,049 people in 1988 to 846 in 2009.  The News Tribune and the Bellingham Herald

GOP, tea parties unite to put health care issue on Nov. 8 ballot
Ohio is not alone in challenging all or part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Laws, constitutional amendments and other measures opposing the act have been proposed in more than 40 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Dayton Daily News

Our Opinion: Reasonable punishment
Since 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 10 states have approved legislation targeting the growing phenomenon of teen sexting. This year, 21 states are considering legislation primarily aimed at getting a minor's attention for a first offense, but making consequences more painful for repeated violations.  Tallahassee Democrat

GOP advances photo ID bill, as Dems blast provisions for students
Eight states ask voters for photo ID, and Kansas has a new photo ID law that will go into effect in January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 18 require voters to show an ID, but not necessarily one with a photo. That number will rise to 19 in July, when Oklahoma’s law takes effect.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

$83 million April gain tops revenue forecast
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states' finances are showing encouraging signs of “revenue stability” nearly two years into the economic recovery after the end of what some have called the Great Recession.  Arkansas Online

May 3

Minnesota lawmaker says 2-year budget works
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states currently prepare two-year budgets. Radio Iowa

Maryland's General Assembly site has lots of information, but it's hard to find
Pam Greenberg, an Internet fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that each state has one, and their looks and functions have evolved with the rest of the Internet. Citybizlist (press release)

More states tackling public-employee unions
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that a total of 744 bills targeting public-employee unions have been introduced in virtually every state across the nation. The New American

Merits of two-year budgeting debated
There are a variety of approaches to two-year budgets, added Todd Haggerty, fiscal policy analyst with the National Conference of
State Legislatures. Eastern Iowa Government

Thomas Hargrove: Tax burdens, benefits among the states
“During times of recession, the demand for government services goes up while revenues go down,” said Mandy Rafool, a senior
analyst for the National Conference of State Legislators. Providence Journal

May 2

Flawed Wisconsin revenue projections are factor in deficit
"Revenue forecasting in the recession is often difficult," said Todd Haggerty, a fiscal policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Green Bay Press Gazette

Democrats, Republicans escalate attack on public employees
Nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some 744 bills have been introduced to attack public employee wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights. WSWS.org

Kentucky part of push to grab online sales tax
Kentucky entered into the initiative through the National Conference of State Legislatures that lobbies Congress for the national venue of requiring companies to collect state taxes where they do business. TMCnet.com

Drivers could pay the price for ‘distracted driving’
A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures testified that 143 bills dealing with distracted driving are now before 33 state legislatures. Upper Saucon Patch

Republican governors push for biennial budgets
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have been moving toward annual budgets for the past 70 years. The Bellingham Herald

Flagship universities take hit on state aid
But as states have dealt with falling tax revenues and competing needs, higher education has become a tempting target for budget cuts, said Julie Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chicago Sun-Times

Independent Idaho in for poll surprise
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, legislation was introduced in 13 states this year to close their primary elections and exclude nonparty members; only six states saw bills introduced to open them up. The Spokesman Review

Opinion: International labor prganization should condemn U.S. anti-union movement
In the wake of new laws in Wisconsin and Ohio stripping half a million public employees of their collective bargaining rights, the National Conference of State Legislatures has identified 744 bills in virtually every state that mostly target public sector bargaining. The Mercury News

Arizona governor vetoes health insurance proposal
Wyoming in 2010 became the first state with a cross-border health insurance law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg Businessweek

Onondaga County DA's office gets a call a week about sexting, or sending explicit images via cell phone text messages
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 26 states have tried to pass some sort of sexting legislation since 2009. The Post Standard

RGJ special report: Offenders skirt DUI law for years
Forty-seven states have an ignition-interlock law, and nine have mandatory requirements for all drunken-driving offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reno Gazette-Journal

Impact and cost of a photo ID law for voters unclear
Based on analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures of voter ID laws in place in states that request or require photo ID in order to vote, South Carolina’s legislation would be the most stringent in the country along with Indiana’s law. GoUpstate.com

Not lawful, and most certainly not right
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states have proposed asking employees to contribute more to their pensions than in the past year. The Current

In interview, Cornyn revisits fact-checked statements
According to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the group "has traditionally reported that 49 states must balance their budgets, with Vermont being the exception." Austin American-Statesman

Editor's Notebook: State coalition lauches bike campaign against obesity
Becoming more active is a big deal in a state with an obesity rate of 28 percent and estimated obesity-related medical costs of $783 million annually, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Muscatine Journal

Arizona allows Tea Party license plate
Arizona joins Texas and Virginia as the only states to have Tea Party license plates, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chicago Tribune

National experts on redistricting and state politics to converge on Boise tomorrow
At this Saturday's session, speakers will include Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Spokesman Review

Around the Rotunda: Senator learned from food stamp experiment
Prior to a meeting with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other Washington officials a couple of weeks ago, he and other state legislators attending were given the civility pin by Massachusetts state Sen. Dick Moore, president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Journal Star

Voter ID bill passes Senate
Nine other states require voters to show photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Austin Daily Herald

The rights and rules of recalls
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, recall is a procedure that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office. Recalls are used most frequently at the local level, but is available as a state-level option in 19 states. WISN ABC

Ohio among most aggressive on early voting time frame
We checked with NCSL and there are 16 states actively considering adding or changing their in-person early voting periods, according to a legislation tracker on the NCSL website. The Plain Dealer

Fiesta Bowl trips spur push to revamp state rules
Often, it's a scandal that finally convinces legislators that something needs to done, said Natalie O'Donnell Wood, program principal at the Ethics Center at the National Council of State Legislatures. The Arizona Republic
 

April 29

Strict licensing rolls on
Other states were behind in the adoption of Real ID-mandated technologies, according to Melissa Savage of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Bill requiring voters to show photo ID passes Minnesota Senate
Nine other states require voters to show photo IDs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pioneer Press

Arizona governor vetoes proposal that would open the door for out-of-state health insurers
Wyoming in 2010 became the first state with a cross-border health insurance law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Greenfield Daily Reporter

Former New York Deputy Attorney General Daniel Feldman to speak at SUNY
He is regionally and nationally for his expert knowledge of the field through his work in the Assembly and in the National Conference of State Legislatures. Saugerties Post Star

Plea deal talks under way in case of Ohio man charged with gunpoint threat at abortion clinic
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws increasing penalties for crimes against pregnant women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republic

Republican governors push for biennial budgets
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have been moving toward annual budgets for the past 70 years, driven in part by a switch to annual legislative sessions. Governing Magazine

State universities’ funding woes will only become more difficult
But as states have dealt with falling tax revenues and competing needs, higher education has become a tempting target for budget cuts, said Julie Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The trend is “serious, and it’s long term,” she said. San Francisco Examiner

Arizona governor vetoes proposal that would open the door for out-of-state health insurers
Wyoming in 2010 became the first state with a cross-border health insurance law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Daily Reporter

Committee votes down measure to shrink Missouri House
Missouri is hardly alone in looking at reducing its legislature to save money, according to Brenda Erickson, legislative management program principal with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). St. Louis Post-Dispatch

April 28

Durbin calls for national standard for online sales tax collection
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the lost revenue to states will total $37 billion in 2012. The State Journal Register

Indiana on verge of creating most expansive voucher program in U.S.
That’s true nationally as well. Josh Cunningham, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said the group has seen a substantial jump in the number of voucher bills introduced, from nine in 2010 to at least 18 this year, as Republicans take charge of more statehouses. The Courier Journal

Vote on photo ID measure expected in May
Eight states ask voters for photo ID, and Kansas has a new photo ID law that will take effect in January, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Gay marriage off the table in R.I.
At present, three states — Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey — allow civil unions between same-sex couples, affording them the same rights that state law grants to married couples, according to Marriage Equality USA and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Providence Journal

Former New York Deputy Attorney General Daniel Feldman to Speak at SUNY Ulster Institute for Constitutional Studies Lecture Series
In the New York Assembly, Feldman earned an outstanding reputation regionally and nationally for his expert knowledge of the field through his work in the Assembly and in the National Conference of State Legislatures. Post Star News

Plea deal talks under way in case of Ohio man charged with gunpoint threat at abortion clinic
At least 38 states have fetal homicide laws increasing penalties for crimes against pregnant women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republic

Flagship universities learning to adapt to less state aid
But, as states have dealt with falling tax revenues and competing needs, higher education has become a tempting target for budget cuts, said Julie Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Republic

Mike Haridopolos says many states, but not Florida, are deficit spending
Not really, said two experts we asked -- Jon Shure of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Ron Snell with the National Conference of State Legislatures. St. Petersburg Times

April 27

Paper or plastic? Evanston mulls ban on both
No state has yet enacted a statewide ban, fee or tax on bags, but at least 11 states this year have proposed legislation on the topic, said Douglas Shinkle of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills governing bags have been shot down in various states in recent years, he said. The Chicago Tribune

Tough recovery seen for pension funds
Eighteen states are proposing to ask employees to contribute more, according to a recent analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Market Watch (WSJ)

Republican state lawmakers push to put gay marriage ban before Minnesota voters in 2012
Thirty states have constitutional prohibitions against same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Daily Journal

Gift card regulation: a legislative update
Additional information about existing state statutes or regarding the status of pending stage legislation is available on the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lexology

Map: Where the states stand on same-sex marriage
This map shows where each state currently stands, according to data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Public Radio

What will be the lessons of Fukushima?
By contrast, currently 10,000 people die from coal mining and related activities each year. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 1,087 serious gas pipeline accidents occurred in the U.S. over the past 20 years.4 And in 2010 alone, more than 14 major oil spills and refinery explosions were reported worldwide, taking the lives of workers and adversely impacting the environment. Lexology

Ballot Law Update: Court decisions shape initiative and referendum
Since the beginning of the year, 201 laws have been proposed in 35 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ballot News

AP survey: Only oil shock can stop economy now
David A. Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, speaks during the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual meeting, in Salt Lake City. KTAR

Resolution to reduce size of Legislature passes committee
Currently, Maine has 186 members of the Legislature. It is the sixth largest legislature in the country, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Republican Journal

Advocates seek medical marijuana laws in Arkansas
Sixteen states and Washington DC have passed various laws allowing marijuana for medical use since 1996, when California set the standard, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Red Orbit

April 26

3 bills propose smaller Maine Legislature
Maine's Senate is the 16th largest, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Globe

Cigarette tax increase proposed by Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd
Alabama's state tax on cigarettes now is 42.5 cents per pack, which on July 1 was the fifth-lowest among the 50 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Birmingham News 

State's money picture improves
That's according to a state budget report released last week by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which described the revenue rebound as one way of viewing the overall "health" of state finances. The Albuquerque Journal

Number of specialty license plates continues to climb
Some states have hundreds of specialty license plates. Maryland has more than 700, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Herald Review

States hoping tougher bail laws prevent violence
Last year, 26 states passed tougher bail industry regulation laws and seven placed additional restrictions on the release of people charged with violent crimes and sex offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Casa Grande Dispatch

Arkansas medical marijuana advocates begin petition
California was the first state to allow marijuana for medical use in 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since then, 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. WXEL

State Rep Roy named to national environmental committee
The NCSL Environment Committee is one of 12 standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures responsible for state and federal natural resources legislation, regulations and policies. Its goal is to educate Congress and federal agencies as to state concerns regarding these issues and serve as a forum for legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information about options being considered in other states. ConnecticutPlus.com

What Will the public pension, health gap be now? $3 trillion? $5 trillion?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, known as NCSL, more than 20 states — an “unprecedented” number — made such changes in 2010. Many local governments have made similar fixes to their plans, and other state and local governments are expected to consider similar modifications in 2011. West Virginia Watchdog.org 

April 25

Incumbents skeptical of term-limits proposal
Fifteen states have some form of term limit on state legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The News Journal

State of concussion care in high school sports: A work in progress
And, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 36 states currently have bills or ones in the works concerning concussions in youth sports. CBSsports.com

Assembly needn’t look far to save
Together with nonpartisan staff and service agencies, the Pennsylvania legislative branch employs roughly 2,960 people. That’s slightly more than the Pennsylvania figures produced by the National Conference of State Legislatures for 2003 (2,947) or 2009 (2,918). The Times Leader

REAL ID not a real threat for Idaho … at least for now
Twenty-four states are refusing to comply with the REAL ID regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Idaho Reporter

Bill aims to collect sales tax from online retailers
"Our concern is that when this bill goes before state legislatures, legislators have a misunderstanding that this deals with the problem," said Neal Osten, director of the conference's Washington office. "It's only a small amount of the revenue -- it's only online sales that have affiliates in the state." The American Chronicle

States hope tougher bail laws prevent violence
Last year, 26 states passed tougher bail industry regulation laws and seven placed additional restrictions on the release of people charged with violent crimes and sex offenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Record Journal (AP)

Breaking the bank
It's going on all over the country, said Arturo Perez, a state revenue policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "They become tempting targets when states start look for pennies under the sofa cushion," he said. The Star Advertiser

Distracted driving bill stops short of saving lives in Pa.
The issue is a hot topic across the nation. A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures testified that 143 bills dealing with distracted driving are now before 33 state legislatures. The Mercury

Symbolic, but still satisfying
All we can say to that is it's about time. The National Conference of State Legislatures said that California is the only state in the country to provide all lawmakers who request it with automobiles for their unlimited use. The Times Herald

GOP uses majorities for social legislation
Legislators have proposed 374 antiabortion bills this year, up from 174 last year. They have introduced more than 750 bills on collective bargaining this year, with more than 500 aimed at public sector unions, a significant increase over past years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Globe

Ryan Appointed to National Council of State Legislature’s Labor and Economic Development Committee
State Representative Kevin Ryan (D-Montville) has been appointed by Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) to serve on the National Council of State Legislature’s Labor and Economic Development Committee, according to a press release. The Montville Patch

Blood ties unite Wisconsin Republican brothers Scott Fitzgerald and Jeff Fitzgerald in union bill fight
There are no other known cases, either now or in the past, where brothers held the two highest positions at the same time in a state legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Appleton Post-Crescent

GOP eyes drug abuse, welfare link
Nationally, 30 states are considering bills to require drug testing to access public assistance, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Herald

Distracted drivers could pay the price
A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures testified that 143 bills dealing with distracted driving are now before 33 state legislatures. The Altoona Mirror

Best Weapons Against Anti-Immigration Bills: Inter-Ethnic Coalitions, Economy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of March 31, state lawmakers had introduced 52 immigration-related omnibus bills in 30 states, bills that address everything from the enforcement of immigration laws to employment verification, and the denial of public benefits to the undocumented. Many of them contain provisions similar those contained in Arizona’s law. New America Media

It’s early, but House struggle begins to take shape
Redistricting expert Tim Storey at the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said that well over half of the new House re-mapping plans will be done by September and almost all plans will be published by April of 2012. MSNBC.com

States’ new GOP majorities, governors make mark on lots of issues
Legislators have proposed 374 antiabortion bills this year, up from 174 last year. Lawmakers have introduced more than 750 bills on collective bargaining this year, with more than 500 aimed at public sector unions, a significant increase over past years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Madison.com 

April 22

In Oregon, a house perfectly divided, sharing power
“It’s happened literally every election for more than two decades,” said Brenda Erickson, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It does need, in some cases, a certain type of personality to make it work better. It’s not going to necessarily work great. Our political system is not meant to work in a tied system. Majority rule is the basis for the American system.”  The New York Times

Louisiana legislature considers 'birther' bill
Fourteen other states are considering similar legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

States’ new GOP majorities, governors have made mark on a wide range of issues
Legislators have proposed 374 antiabortion bills this year, up from 174 last year. Lawmakers have introduced more than 750 bills on collective bargaining this year, with more than 500 aimed at public sector unions, a significant increase over past years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Post

State tax policies on small business spark debate
"The impact of the severe economic recession that began in 2007 continued to create substantial revenue shortfalls during 2010 legislative sessions," the National Conference of State Legislatures reported. "As a result, state legislatures were prompted to increase taxes and fees for the ninth consecutive year as they worked to shore up state budgets."  Business News Daily

What will the public pension, health gap be now? $3 trillion? $5 trillion?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, known as NCSL, more than 20 states — an "unprecedented" number — made such changes in 2010. Many local governments have made similar fixes to their plans, and other state and local governments are expected to consider similar modifications in 2011. WatchDog.org

Illinois proposals would create more specialty license plates
Some states have hundreds of specialty license plates. Maryland has more than 700, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Quad City Times

The cautionary instruction: crime prediction comes to Pennsylvania
The National Conference of State Legislators reported that at least five states since 2009 have adopted some form of risk assessment procedure with respect to sentencing. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 21

Forget Washington. Real change is coursing through the nation’s statehouses
Thirty states have considered omnibus bills cracking down on illegal immigration, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.  TIME Magazine

Alaska’s budget surplus bucks trend
Fiscal conditions generally are still “weak”, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report this week, despite revenue growth for states over the past year. Financial Times

US unions labour in vain
In the wake of new laws in Wisconsin and Ohio stripping half a million public employees of their collective bargaining rights, the National Conference of State Legislatures has identified (pdf) 744 bills in virtually every state in the country that mostly target public sector bargaining. The Guardian

States in budget paradox: more money, more gaps
"States experienced some significant drops in their revenue base," said Arturo Perez, director of the NCSL fiscal affairs division, adding revenues fell so far in the 2007-2009 recession that it may take years for them to return to pre-recession levels. "They still have a lot of room to grow," he said. Reuters

Federal appellate court upholds qualified immunity for police officers who searched members of high school soccer team with coach’s consent
In general, limited use of restraints is allowed when done to protect students and those around them, said Josh Cunningham, research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some related federal lawsuits have given more leeway to sue individuals who use restraints if they go beyond what a state policy allows and harm a child, he said. The school also can be held liable, Cunningham said. National School Boards Association

Beebe signs Ark. redistricting plan into law
The Democratic governor didn't fully endorse the new map, calling it "status quo," but his signature allowed Arkansas to finish its congressional redistricting work before any other state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Washington Examiner

Study: Motorists ignore bans on cell phone use while driving
Corroborating that notion was Anne Teigan of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who cited a 2010 study by the Insurance Institute showing that bans on texting and hand-held cell phones do not reduce crash risk. CBS Philly.com

How to make Florida's legislature more representative: Step one – pay them more!
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida has one of the 10 busiest legislatures in the country. It also has by far the lowest salaries of those 10 states, less than half of the average for the group. The Bradenton Times

Proposal targets distracted drivers
The issue is a hot topic across the nation. A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures testified that 143 bills dealing with distracted driving are now before 33 state legislatures. The Pocono Record

In with the natural, out with the orange
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 32 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors. Some counties even go so far as to regulate the specific use of tanning devices for all minors under the age of eighteen. Smith College Sophian

Nesbitt appointed to nuclear energy workgroup
State Representative Aric Nesbitt has been appointed to the Nuclear Legislative Workgroup of the National Conference of State Legislatures. WSJM

Tenn. sponsor moves ahead with anti-terrorism bill
At least 13 states have bills pending that would bar judges from considering Shariah in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but none of those proposals is as strict as the original Tennessee bill. Memphis Daily News

New terror alert system aims for wide exposure via Web
But representatives for the National Governors' Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures told Nextgov their organizations hadn't been deeply involved in the development except for a conference call with DHS several weeks ago. NextGOV.com

Delaware approves civil unions
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states have passed civil union legislation - Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont. Colorado is currently considering a civil union law. Seven other states allow domestic partnerships. Pride Source

U.S. state bans saggy pants for school children
Josh Cunningham, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that he was unaware of any other state with a ban of baggy pants in schools, although some cities have been successful in enacting such laws. Canada.com

A recap of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Spring Forum: Telehealth on the rise
Bringing legislators, policy experts, and lobbyists together, the National Conference of State Legislatures' Spring Forum convened last week in Washington D.C. One panel focused on transforming rural health through technology and aptly illustrated the role technology will play in policy formation and improved health care in the not-so-distant future. GovLoop.com

National Conference of State Legislatures – Scope of Practice Legislation Tracking Database
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has compiled a new, comprehensive Scope of Practice Legislation Tracking Database that tracks current legislation in all 50 states dealing with commissions and reports, licensure and credentialing, Medicaid/health insurance plan reimbursement, practice autonomy, prescriptive authority, truth in medical education, and truth in advertising for 22 health care professions. California Health Workforce Alliance

April 20

Absentee ballot rules may be eased
Thirty states, including Illinois and Ohio, offer "no-excuse" absentee voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight states, including California and Arizona, and the District of Columbia, have permanent absentee voting. The Detroit News

Handcuffs allegedly used at JPS school
In general, limited use of restraints is allowed when done to protect students and those around them, said Josh Cunningham, research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some related federal lawsuits have given more leeway to sue individuals who use restraints if they go beyond what a state policy allows and harm a child, he said. The school also can be held liable, Cunningham said. The Clarion-Ledger

Haslam accepts Bredesen’s logic on Amazon deal
In a recent interview, Neal Osten, the director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Washington, D.C. office, voiced hopes that some type of legislation will pass given states’ revenue problems. “We’re still fighting to some extent that this a new tax. But everyone knows deep down it’s not a new tax,” Osten said. Giving states the authority to compel Internet retailers to collect sales taxes is in effect “fiscal relief that doesn’t cost the federal treasury a penny,” Osten argued. Chattanooga Times Free Press

In S.C., technology winning race against officials
“I do not believe the issue has gained enough attention, and we hope to begin a broader prevention message during the summer,” said David Laird, policy director of the state’s designated 501(c)3 organization for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Nearly two-dozen states have pending legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bluffton Today

Few states still feel Arizona immigration law's allure
He notes research by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which reported the number of immigration bills at state legislatures jumping from about 300 in 2005 to more than 1,400 last year.  East Valley Tribune

NCSL message to HHS: Allow state flexibility
Representative Herb Conaway, a physician from New Jersey, is co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Task Force on Health Care Implementation. He said he would like to cut the agents out of the health insurance delivery system, but acknowledged they are a powerful force and will not be easily eliminated. National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

Sponsor of Tenn. anti-terrorism bill to move forward despite opposition from many Muslims
At least 13 states have bills pending that would bar judges from considering Shariah in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but none of those proposals is as strict as the original Tennessee bill. AP in the Daily Journal

Legislators get to share the economic pain
The National Conference of State Legislatures said that California is the only state in the country to provide all lawmakers who request it with automobiles for their unlimited use. Oakland Tribune

Bachmann joins GOPers distancing themselves from birther issue
Fourteen other states are considering similar legislation this year, according to Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Measures have failed in three states -- Connecticut, Maine and Montana.  CNN 

April 19

Public-worker retirements surge as states cut benefits to shrink deficits
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma also offered early- retirement enticements in 2010, according to a Nov. 23 report of the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

'Birther bill' vetoed by Arizona governor
Fourteen other states are considering similar legislation this year, according to Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures have failed in three states -- Connecticut, Maine and Montana.  CNN

Kansas governor signs bill requiring photo ID at polls
Eight other states have photo ID laws, and a statute in Oklahoma takes effect July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though proposals have gained traction among legislators in nearly a dozen other states.  AP in Albany Times-Union

UNC-system schools could be helped by surplus in tax revenue
Every item funded by state appropriations must be streamlined and held accountable — including higher education, Folwell said.  He said the National Conference of State Legislatures ranks the state’s budget crisis as one of the five worst in the country.  The Daily Tar Heel

Rep. Villano named to National Human Services Committee
The NCSL Human Services and Welfare Committee is one of 12 standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures, responsible for developing policies that stress opposition to unfunded federal mandates, prevention of unnecessary preemption of state laws and protection of state revenue sources. The NCSL uses these polices as guides to advocate at the national level.  Post-Chronicle

Berger to Obama: Decision on land leases critical to Wyoming coal
With the NCSL, Berger serves as the Chair of the Deficit Commission Task Force, working on the Budget for states and for the organization. Even on that executive committee, she didn't know until the last minute about the opportunity to meet with the President. Sheridan Media

April 18

Nordquist, Obama talk health care
Nordquist spent about a half hour with the president and vice president as part of a delegation from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The bipartisan organization is aimed at improving state legislatures, promoting innovative ideas and advocating for the interests of state governments.  Omaha World-Herald

Arizona lawmakers pass presidential 'birther' bill
Fourteen other states are considering similar legislation this year, according to Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures have failed in three states -- Connecticut, Maine and Montana.  CNN

States seek to link public assistance, drug testing
South Carolina is among 27 states, including Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona, to consider legislation this year that would require recipients of various kinds of public assistance to pass drug tests, according to Meagan Dorsch of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today

States, cities brace for budget deal cuts
States had been expecting a 5 percent reduction in the federal funds they receive, but the cut will likely be less, closer to 3.8 percent, according to Michael Bird, legislative counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Georgia lawmakers target illegal immigration
Georgia is one of 30 states considering immigration proposals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others include Oklahoma, Indiana and South Carolina.  The Wall Street Journal

Medicaid change: States in 'straitjacket'
The block-grant proposal, included in the U.S. House Republicans' 2012 budget blueprint approved Friday by a 235-193 vote, would probably not provide enough money to cover Medicaid program costs, so states would either have to "deny people of services they're used to" or pick up the financial shortfall, which would end up "shifting the federal deficit to the states," National Conference of State Legislatures President Richard Moore told United Press International Friday night.  United Press International

Indiana needs to address the issue of tax fairness
While estimates vary, the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that by 2012 Indiana will lose an estimated $400 million in sales tax revenue each year.  Terre Haute Tribune Star

Blood ties unite Wis. brothers in union bill fight
There are no known cases, either now or in the past, where brothers held the two highest positions at the same time in a state Legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Kansas City Star

States and local governments get ready for budget deal cuts
The near $600 million cuts may stall economic recovery in most places as it may cause the stop of hiring. Federal state funds may be reduced by 3.8-5%, said Michael Bird, the National Conference of State Legislatures’ legal counsel.  Financial Feed

Legislators' KPERS calculation a 'perk'
The National Conference of State Legislatures released its 2011 legislator compensation comparison earlier this month, and in nine states, the base salary for a legislator is $50,000 a year and upwards. At the top is California, where the base salary for a legislator is $95,290 a year.  The Hutchinson News

Labor's last stand? Unions appear to be on life support as memberships dwindle
Already, Ohio lawmakers have passed a law that goes farther than Wisconsin's. And the National Conference of State Legislatures says more than 700 bills affecting labor unions and collective bargaining have been introduced in nearly every state, most relating to public sector unions.  Wisconsin State Journal

States target those collecting pensions plus paychecks
“Most of the impetus behind the issue of return to covered service by state employees is due to the unfavorable publicity,” said Ronald Snell, the Washington-based director of state services at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “The impression in the public’s mind is that this is the way public employees cheat the system.”  Worcester Telegram

Some money myths can derail recent college grads and others starting a career
In New York, for example, unmarried children can stay on a parent's insurance until age 30 if they live in state. A state-by-state list of provisions is available from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Washington Observer Reporter

State House redistricting process remains a battlefield
Tucker said Holtzman Vogel "does have some Republican contacts, but we met them through the National Conference of State Legislatures and not through any kind of political venue."  The Times-Picayune

For-profit colleges face state crackdowns as US rules delayed
At least 16 states have proposed or enacted laws affecting for-profit colleges this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  Worcester Telegram

Two Fairbanks men sentenced for laundering drug money
To curtail abuse by Medicaid patients, several states, including Alaska, Florida, Maine, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia, require state approval before OxyContin prescriptions are filled, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Pacheco to serve on energy task force
State Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, was recently selected by the National Conference of State Legislatures to serve on its Task Force on Energy Supply.  The Task Force’s mission is to explore the issues and opportunities that policymakers face across the country as they shape energy policies.  Taunton Daily Gazette

April 15

Maryland moves closer to extending tuition breaks to illegal immigrants
In this legislative session alone, at least eight states took up bills to extend in-state tuition to illegal immigrants and as many considered bills to deny it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maryland is the only state this year to pass a bill extending benefits.  The Washington Post

State-debt hearing focuses on Wisconsin union fight
Proposals to significantly change the pension system have surfaced this year in 31 states, 18 of which would ask employees to contribute more to their pension plans, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Wall Street Journal

DROP pensions: A sound investment or a waste of taxpayer money?
“There is an impression that a DROP is a big giveaway and a way that public employees manipulate the taxpayer,” says Ron Snell, a pension expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. But if properly designed, Snell believes, a DROP doesn’t have to cost the state or city money. “The basic idea is a sound one,” he says.  Stateline

State, local government groups forge transportation funding 'principles'
The major organizations representing state and local governments in the U.S. – the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and the National League of Cities – have jointly agreed on a set of “principles” they say should guide transportation funding efforts for the future.  Fleet Owner

State legislators seek Obama flexibility
Ten leaders of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators planned to discuss this need with President Barack Obama in a meeting with him at the White House Friday, the NCSL told United Press International.  UPI.com

Governor Nixon signs extension of jobless benefits
As of late March, 32 states had borrowed a total of more than $46 billion from the federal government to pay jobless benefits because their state funds had run out of money, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Daily Dunklin Democrat

California lawmakers stripped of state cars
The base salary for California's legislators is the highest in the nation. Pennsylvania and New York are next, paying around $79,500, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Los Angeles Times

Budget fix: Minnesota lags behind other states
I'd heard this theme repeated often enough to make me want to check the record. So I contacted the National Conference of State Legislatures in Colorado, which tracks state budget action. The record is not complete for this year because many states, like Minnesota, still are wrestling their budgets to the bottom line.  MinnPost.com

Top Nebraska lawmaker examining conflict questions
According to the NCSL Website as of November, 2009 39 states banned some lawmakers from voting on issues where they have a personal or financial conflict of interest. Nebraska is not one of those 39.  Watchdog

Obama's day: Return from the Windy City
The president returns to the White House this afternoon, when he has a meeting with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today 

April 14

Georgia Legislature has 1 day left to pass immigration bill after months of wrangling
As of last month, legislators in 30 states had introduced 52 bills that include more than one immigration provision, many with language similar to Arizona’s law, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 14 have failed and 36 are pending.  AP in the Washington Post

States weigh public-private road deals
Sixteen states are considering 23 bills involving public-private partnerships, said Jim Reed, a transportation specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Last year, 21 states and the District of Columbia reviewed 52 measures, the organization said.  Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Newly empowered GOP pushes voter ID
Eight states now have photo ID laws in place. More than 30 others, many of them with new GOP majorities, are considering legislation this year to create or expand photo ID requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Stateline

Q&A: State immigration legislation and human rights
It is an explosive trend; the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that in 2010, 208 immigration bills were enacted at the state level and over 1,400 were introduced.  Human Rights Watch

Mo. Gov. Nixon signs extension of federal jobless benefits, cut to state-funded benefits
As of late March, 32 states had borrowed a total of more than $46 billion from the federal government to pay jobless benefits because their state funds had run out of money, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Canadian Business

Court ruling against Arizona immigration law is a warning to Illinois and other states
In 2010, 46 state legislatures and the District of Columbia enacted 208 immigration-related laws and adopted 138 resolutions for a total of 346, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Now 

April 13

Branstad stands fast, vetoes budget
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Branstad's insistence on two-year budgets would place Iowa among a minority of states that don't approve budgets annually.  Des Moines Register

Gov. Haley signs bill requiring recorded votes in South Carolina statehouse
South Carolina is one of 14 states that allowed its assembly to skip tracking all its votes, according to the the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fox News

E-Verify bill moves forward in House
According to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, states passed 346 immigration-related laws and resolutions last year — a record number. Six states introduced bills similar to Arizona's, but none of them were enacted.  Daily News Journal

How rare is raising taxes among the states?
But plenty of states have already raised taxes to cope with the Great Recession, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Since fiscal 2008, 43 states have raised one or more general-fund taxes.  Minneapolis Star Tribune

Make online retailers pay tax, too
A more timid but potentially useful approach has been taken by 24 states that are members of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, which is voluntary for online retailers to collect state sales taxes.  The National Conference of State Legislatures, which supports the effort, has estimated that Hawaii, by joining the project, could receive as much as $122 million next year from tax revenue it has not been collected from out of state.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Kansas governor celebrates signing of abortion laws
Twenty-four states have parental consent laws, but only two, Mississippi and North Dakota, require consent from both parents, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Courts have blocked three additional states from enforcing their consent laws.  AP in Westport News

Coatesville schools consider budget stopgaps
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states, including California, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Colorado and Georgia, have some school districts with schools operating on a four-day week. And Arkansas, Delaware, New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia and Washington all have laws allowing for such a school week, though no schools there currently schedule this way.  Daily Local News

Vermont weighs changes to top education job
At least nine other states, including Maine and New Hampshire, have similar setups, with the governors appointing a state board and the education chief, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin supports the bill.  AP in the Washington Examiner 

April 12

 Court freezes immigration law
Taking a cue from Arizona, at least 25 states were weighing proposals related to immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Such bills have strong support in states such as Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, where they have advanced through the legislature more quickly than elsewhere.  The Wall street Journal

37,000 in NC face sudden loss of jobless benefits
The only way to avoid a benefits cutoff this month would be for the General Assembly to pass legislation changing the calculation, which the federal government permits. At least eight states have already done so to keep the money flowing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Newark Advocate

Lawmakers using state-by-state strategy to fight illegal immigration
"These bills are testing how much farther states are going to go and where state policy stops and federal policy begins. It's an extension of a long-standing debate over the relationship between states and the federal government," said Ann Morse, program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures' immigrant policy project.  Annapolis Capitol

Luna recall supporters face steep mountain
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states permit the recall of state officials.  Michigan and Oregon, in 1908, were the first states to adopt recall procedures for state officials.  KBOI-TV

Maryland DREAM Act passes state House, one hurdle remains
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states—Arizona, Georgia and Colorado—have passed laws banning undocumented students from accessing in-state tuition.  Color Lines

Arizona may not enforce key parts of immigration law, court rules
Bills reflecting Arizona’s get-tough attitude were introduced in six states in 2010: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. None passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Christian Science Monitor

Bills to make voting easier have merit
Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, Utah, Washington and the District of Columbia allow permanent no-excuse absentee voting, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports.  Port Huron Times Herald

Senate alters, OKs immigration crackdown
Georgia, meanwhile, is among 30 states that have considered omnibus legislation targeting illegal immigration this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In all, 52 such bills have been introduced nationwide. About three-quarters of them resemble Arizona's SB 1070.  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Muslim leader denounces Oklahoma bill on foreign law
Similar measures restricting the use of foreign laws are pending in 20 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Beaumont Enterprise

We're No. 2! (A really, really bad thing …)
Pennsylvania's legislature ranks second in the nation for size — California's is No. 1, based on a 2009 National Conference of State Legislatures study.  That same report puts only Alaska's legislature ahead of the commonwealth's in per capita spending. 1 in every 11 state legislative employees in the nation is a Pennsylvanian, according to the NCSL.  Central Penn  Business Journal

April 11

Arizona legislature OKs guns on campus
Other than Utah, the states are about evenly split between those that leave the decision up to each campus and those that specifically prohibit guns on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Christian Science Monitor

In tough budget times, lawmakers weigh shrinking House, Senate
Neighboring New Hampshire, for instance, has the nation’s largest legislature at 424 members, including 400 in the House alone. But Live Free or Die state legislators earn just $200 for a 2-year term, according to figures supplied by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bangor Daily News

SC panel nixes wire fee from immigration bill
In 2009, Oklahoma became the first state to levy such a fee on out-of-country wire transfers. This year, proposals to do so have already failed in Mississippi and Utah. Other states with similar measures pending include Arizona and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in Bloomberg BusinessWeek

DAs: More time for repeat crimes; courts clogged
Eight other states have varying statutes that raise penalties for habitual or repeat misdemeanor offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They include Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.  AP in San Antonio Express

Tax bill targets online stores
The National Conference of State Legislatures, which prefers the Streamlined Sales Tax Proj­ect approach in the Senate, has estimated that uncollected use tax revenue in Hawaii next year could be as high as $122 million.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

State car folly
California  is the only state that buys vehicles for legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of the nation's 50 states, 38 do not provide legislators with vehicles. In another 10, states offer legislators access to motor-pool, state-owned or rental cars.  Press-Enterprise

Longtime imbalance at core of fiscal mess
The Post-Crescent consulted state budget experts and reports by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Budget Project, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Appleton Post Crescent

N.D. Legislature looks at tighter concussion rules
North Dakota is one of at least 30 states that has considered legislation addressing head injuries this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A dozen states already have concussion laws, though most only apply to school-sponsored sports, according to NCSL data.  AP in the Bismark Tribune

Quinn’s income tax, Walker union curbs lead Governors to drops in polls
The strain is forcing them to anger tax-averse voters and slash deeper into budgets that, by the end of the current year, will have already been cut by $42 billion, or 6 percent, from 2008, according to the National Governors Association. States also have raised taxes by $33 billion over the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

David Pepper says budget woes in states without public employee collective bargaining top Ohio's
Data from the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures showed the same was true in fiscal 2011 when those same three states had deficits that were a larger percentage of the overall budget than was the case in Ohio.  PolitiFact

Consumer Use Tax enforced in Nebraska
Lawmakers say this shopping hurts merchants and the state.  The National Conference of State Legislatures says 118 million dollars was lost last year in uncollected tax revenue from online sales.  KHAS-TV 

April 8

Limits sought to employers' use of credit reports
In 25 states, 49 proposed bills are being debated. The majority of the bills are aimed at restricting when credit histories can be used in the hiring process, says Heather Morton, analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Citizenship proof to vote advances in Colorado House
Republican lawmakers in at least half the states, including Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio and Texas have proposed bills that require voters to show photo IDs at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. One of the Colorado Republican bills that failed in the Senate would have required a government-issued photo ID to vote.  AP in the Albany Times Union

Local business advocates urge online sales tax
But according to an estimate from the National Conference of State Legislatures that was submitted to state lawmakers on Thursday, online giants such as Amazon and Overstock could cost Massachusetts as much as $335 million next year in unrecovered sales taxes.  The Patriot Ledger

Smyth autism group strives to raise awareness
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and the District of Columbia have laws concerning autism and insurance coverage. Virginia would join the 23 states that specifically require insurers to provide coverage for autism treatment.  Southwest Virginia Today

There is no upside to Korea trade pact
Multinational corporations have repeatedly exercised these rights under NAFTA. This is one reason why groups ranging from the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures to Korean Americans for Fair Trade have been critical of this style of trade deal.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Quinn’s income tax, Walker union curbs lead Governors to drops in polls
States also have raised taxes by $33 billion over the past two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

Chances for liability caps fade
Members of the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote a letter to members of the House this week saying Congress is taking a one-size-fits-all approach to tort reform, The Hill reported.  McKnight's Long Term Care News

States advance eligibility laws
According to the database of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the bill was defeated at the committee stage, and it's unknown if there are plans to resurrect it by attaching it to another bill, a routine procedure in some states.  WorldNetDaily

Transparency lacking amid rush to pass bills
Policies range from a constitutional requirement in Florida to provide at least 72 hours to various states that require at least 24 hours for review.  In all, 25 states have such policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Arizona Republic

SC panel nixes wire fee from immigration bill
In 2009, Oklahoma became the first state to levy such a fee on out-of-country wire transfers. This year, proposals to do so have already failed in Mississippi and Utah. Other states with similar measures pending include Arizona and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Forbes

Rep. Sandy Nafis named to national leadership post
State Representative Sandy Nafis (D-Newington) has been named by House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) to serve on the Redistricting and Elections Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Hartford Courant

April 7

For-profit colleges face state crackdowns as U.S. rules delayed
At least 16 states have proposed or enacted laws affecting for-profit colleges this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Year of the union
“There are a number of states with bills similar to Wisconsin, and others that seek to curb collective bargaining rights in other ways, such as limiting the collection of dues or banning political contributions by unions,” says Jeanne Mejeur, NCSL’s program director for legislative information services.  Milwaukee News Buzz

8 political takeaways from the census
"Republicans are in the best position for redistricting since the 1960s," says Tim Storey, senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  San Francisco Sentinel

State lawmakers urge against federal tort reform
The National Conference of State Legislatures is urging House Republicans to abandon efforts to dramatically reshape federal medical liability laws. The bipartisan group of state lawmakers say those decisions should be left up to the individual states.  The Hill

Alaska law would allow military to drink at age 18
Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin have all considered similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but nothing has ever come into law.  AP in the Seattle Post Intelligencer

Dems launch plan for voters to recall Gov. Kasich
Ohio permits voters to recall local, but not state, elected officials before their terms are up. Nineteen states permit the recall of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Dayton Daily News

Ethics commission staff wrong place for cuts
Importantly, Colorado's ethics commission staff is already very small for a state of this size. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states have some form of ethics commission.  The Huffington Post

Despite no evidence of fraud, GOP leaders push photo ID at the polls
Party leaders advanced several ID proposals in March with successful votes in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio and Texas.  About half of states are considering measures to create or strengthen ID requirements this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the South Florida Times

Governor sees mixed results in veto session
At least five states — Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee — have enacted legislation to restrict coverage for abortion in their insurance exchanges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Richmond Times Dispatch

Federal med-mal bill undermines states
The comments by officials of the National Conference of State Legislatures in a letter to the Health Subcommittee of the Energy & Conference Committee also says such legislation “inappropriately seeks to preempt various areas of state law.”  The letter notes that the NCSL had studied the issue at length in 2005, and “the resounding bipartisan conclusion was that federal medical malpractice legislation is unnecessary.”  Property Casualty 360

High school students called in over "sexting" incident
The sending of sexually explicit photos between teens via cell phone or computer has been outlawed in several states and bills that aim to educate children of its risks have been proposed in at least 16, according to police and the National Conference of State Legislatures website.  Seacoast Online

Republicans push through committee bill requiring NC photo ID to cast ballots in person
Eight states require or request voter identification before voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina Republicans put the voter ID legislation on their things-to-do list as part of their fall campaign platform.  AP in The Republic

'Fetal pain' abortion laws spur fierce debate
Republicans gained nearly 700 state legislative seats, with control of 25 state legislatures and 29 governorships, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  MSNBC

Synthetic drugs send thousands to ER
At least 20 states have banned chemicals found in fake marijuana, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures compiled for the AP. Most others have legislation pending.  At least nine states have banned substances found in bath salts, and 25 have laws in the works. AP in USA Today

Business people
State Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk, a deputy majority leader in the Connecticut General Assembly, was appointed as vice chairman of the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CT Post 

April 6

37,000 in NC face sudden loss of jobless benefits
The only way to avoid a benefits cutoff this month would be for the General Assembly to pass legislation changing the calculation, which the federal government permits. At least eight states have already done so to keep the money flowing, according to NCSL, and about six others have pending legislation that would keep the program operating.  Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Prison reform advocates press states to shift money out of corrections system
More than $50 billion is spent annually on state corrections programs, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States.  “Everyone is looking for ways to cut,” said Alison Lawrence, who studies corrections policies for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Washington Post

Synthetic drugs send thousands to ER
At least 20 states have banned chemicals found in fake marijuana, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures compiled for the AP. Most others have legislation pending.  At least nine states have banned substances found in bath salts, and 25 have laws in the works.  AP in the Kansas City Star

Decision shields some lobbyist expenses from public
Peggy Kerns, director of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Center for Ethics in Government, said she is not aware of another state that requires reporting of money spent on officials but not on employees.  Atlanta Journal Constitution

California Assembly's security group authorized to carry weapons
Morgan Cullen, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said shootings and incidents in other states - including the January attack on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - have prompted many state houses to step up security.  "That didn't happen in a Capitol building, but I'd say in a lot of different areas it has caused people to reflect and think about how they were to respond if an incident like that occurred," he said.  The Bellingham Herald

State lawmakers: Congress shouldn't do tort reform
The states — and not the federal government — should decide on medical malpractice standards, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) wrote to House members this week.  The Hill

Retailers push for e-commerce sales tax
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states missed out on an estimated $8.6 billion in 2010 from failing to collect sales tax for online and catalog purchases. In the Commonwealth, the sales tax loss is projected at $335 million for 2012.  Boston Globe

Bill to let voters recall leaders gains momentum
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia permit the recall of state officials, including neighboring state Georgia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Louisiana is the only other state in the South with such a measure.  Free Times

SC may yank driving privileges of teens who drop out of school or miss too many days
Nearly two dozen states tie teen driving to school attendance, including neighboring Georgia and North Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in The Republic

US Democrats seek to delay primary
State Senator Richard T. Moore, who is president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, pushed the idea of a delay in a closed Senate caucus last week, according to a senior legislative source.  Boston Globe

State budgets explained: Why deficit figures don't always add up
What's the standard method?  That's called "baseline budgeting." When you see 50-state budget gap figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures or the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this is the method they are using.  The Bellingham Herald

Dem legislators to introduce recall legislation for lawmakers, statewide officials
Nineteen states permit the recall of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ohio law permits recall elections for local officials.  Dayton Daily News

Priest admits he had affair
Marriage between first cousins is legal in California, while 25 states prohibit them, according to a website for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Six states permit first-cousin marriage under certain circumstances, according to the website.  San Bernadino Sun

50 state laws about voter IDs
As of Nov. 22, 2010, the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that 23 of the 50 states (including North Carolina) do not require the voter to show any type of document each time they vote.  Outer Banks Sentinel

April 5

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. remembered with Duluth rallies
The governors of Wisconsin and Ohio have signed bills limiting those rights. The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking 744 bills that largely target public-sector unions, introduced in virtually every state.  AP in the Duluth News Tribune

Texas legislators try to make more lenient law for sexting
Texas joins 16 other states in introducing bills or resolutions that address sexting by minors this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Baylor Lariat

Streamlined sales-tax director on efforts to simplify
We had our first meeting in March 2000 at the direction of the National Governors Association at the National Conference of State Legislatures. We were told to create a sales tax system that will be radically simpler and more uniform than it was at that time.  Practical Ecommerce

Holistic moms' group supports women's choices
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states have laws on the books allowing a mother to breast-feed her child in any public or private location; 24 have laws concerning breast-feeding in the workplace, and five use legislation to encourage breast-feeding awareness and education. California is part of all of the above.  Monterey County Herald

April 4

More states poised to pursue anti-union legislation
The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking an explosion of 744 bills that largely target public-sector unions, introduced in virtually every state.  Los Angeles Times

Facing budget deficit, Arizona shifts costs to cities
This fiscal year, at least 14 states have slashed funding to local government or shifted costs. That's according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Now, deep into this lengthy funding crisis, the group's Todd Haggerty says lawmakers have their hands tied.  "This has put any and every option on the table. A lot of the easy decisions were already made."  NPR

Bill would remove legislature from toll road equation
About 30 other states do not require lawmakers' approval for a public-private road project, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some of those states, however, do require approval from a transportation board or commission.  Indianapolis Star

Campus gun debate is personal at University of Texas
Texas is one of 22 states that ban carrying concealed weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It's one of nine states considering loosening restrictions on weapons on campus. Two states, Maryland and Washington, are considering bans.  KFOR

Public pension crisis has some bracing for worst
Some states, including Arizona, Illinois and Kansas, have floated legislation this year to put forward some of these changes, while governors in Alabama, California and other states have said recently that they will tackle pension reform, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Investment News

McDonnell amends autism bill to mixed reaction
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and the District of Columbia have laws concerning autism and insurance coverage. Virginia would join the 23 states that specifically require insurers to provide coverage for autism treatment.  Rose Hill Patch

Car perk will get scrutiny
Only California offers to buy a vehicle for each legislator to use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York and New Jersey provide vehicles for legislative leaders, while Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania allow lawmakers to use pool cars for official business.  Sacramento Bee

Proposal would expand incentives for filming in Alabama
Currently, film productions in Michigan can obtain a refundable tax credit of up to 42 percent of the amount of a production company's expenditures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  AP in the Montgomery Advertiser

Is Oregon unique with its state employee benefits?
Once we had that confirmed, we stopped by the National Conference of State Legislatures website. The group keeps an eye on state-related issues and trends, and public employee health care plans are among them. According to a report on their site, as of 2009, "(s)even states paid for 100 percent of the "defined standard" monthly premium costs for at least some families of state employees."  Statesman Journal

Rhode Island lawmakers to consider sexting ban
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have enacted restrictions on sexting since 2009.  Boston Globe

Level field on sales tax
Collectively, states are losing an astonishing $10 billion a year in uncollected e-commerce sales taxes, according to a University of Tennessee study. Indiana’s share, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates, is $400 million.  Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

GRAMA’s intent: Clarity or clutter?
There's also no shortage of background information from which to derive intent, said Bruce Feustel, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He also pointed to the records Jones mentioned as indicative of what a legislature wanted a bill to accomplish.  Daily Herald

State union lobbyist says Rhode Island pension benefits are average or below
Other states have dialed back their retirement packages as well. For  example, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2010, seven other states scaled back their cost of living increases.  PolitiFact

Putting government on starvation diet
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states, none of which are in New England, require a supermajority vote to increase some or all taxes. Seven require a two-thirds vote, six a three-fifths vote and two, Arkansas and Michigan, a three-fourths vote, though Michigan's requirement only applies to the state property tax.  Concord Monitor

Bill proposing medical "tort reform" meeting wide opposition
The National Conference of State Legislatures opposes the bill because of its preemption of state law. It concluded in its own letter to Congressman Smith that federal malpractice reform is unnecessary because states have their own laws governing medical malpractice, many of which already have laws similar to those proposed in the federal bill.  PR-USA

April 1

U.S. states target 'double dipping'
"Most of the impetus behind the issue of return to covered service by state employees is due to the unfavourable publicity," said Ronald Snell, the Washington-based director of state services at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Ottawa Citizen

After Duley: Lawmakers waver on changing Daniel's Law
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have safe haven laws. Two states allow for safe abandonment of babies up to a year, but most states cap infants' ages at between 72 hours and a month, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Times and Democrat

Alaskan lawmaker proposes lowering drinking age for US troops
Some statehouses have considered bills lowering the limit since 1988 and a few - Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin - have targeted members of the military, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But none of them have succeeded.  Herald Sun

More states consider taxing pension benefits
Already, 36 of the 41 states with a personal income tax have some sort of tax on pensions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures – though many of them offer exclusions for state and federal pensions, or specific exclusion amounts.  SmartMoney

Dems vow to fight against Medicaid cuts
America's Health Insurance Plans is hosting a panel on how to build state-run health insurance exchanges under the healthcare reform law. Scheduled to attend: the National Association of Health Underwriters, the American Osteopathic Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Hill

No more saggy pants for Arkansas school children
Josh Cunningham, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that he was unaware of any other state with a ban of baggy pants in schools, although some cities have been successful in enacting such laws.  Reuters

Federal lawsuit urges action to ensure Maine redistricting is completed before 2012 election
Maine and Montana are the only states that allow redistricting to wait until after the 2012 congressional elections, said Tim Storey, a redistricting expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four states are scrambling to use census data to redistrict for legislative races later this year.  AP in the Greenfield Daily Reporter

Texas budget debate has already played out around U.S.
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that in 2008-09, 42 states and Puerto Rico had combined budget shortfalls of more than $174 billion.  The Texas Tribune

Maine lawmaker seeks process to recall Governor and other officials
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have a recall process that allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office.  MPBN News

Mabini writes state lawmakers to call attention to Fena dispute
Senator Sam Mabini says she has sent letters to five representatives of the National Conference of State Legislatures to bring attention to discussions surrounding Fena.  In a release she says she "hopes that sharing this information with key stateside legislators will elevate the importance and relevance of Guam to the nation."  Pacific News Center

 

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