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NCSL in the News August 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: August 2012

Aug. 31

California to target Web retailers for sales taxes
Tax law enforcement can be daunting. California and smaller states lack the auditing heft to fully enforce Internet sales tax laws, said Max Behlke, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Bottom line is there's so much commerce going on, it's hard to pinpoint who's paying and who isn't paying," he said. "It would be nearly impossible to collect all the money that's owed." The Los Angeles Times

Federal court blocks controversial Texas voter ID law
According to Jennie Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are a total of 33 states with some kind of voter ID law. “Most of them,” Bowser said, “are not as controversial as the kind of voter ID laws we are talking about in Texas and South Carolina because either they allow a wider range of IDS that in many cases don’t have to bear a photo, or because they are not as strict. There is a mechanism for voters without ID to cast a ballot that will be counted.” ABC News

More states creating tougher certification standards for teachers
Education standards are currently being evaluated across the U.S.; teacher preparation and effectiveness was one of the “Top 12” for the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2012. Bezinga/PRWeb

Aug. 30

Smoothing the path from foreign lips to American ears
In some cases, university action has been prodded by politicians. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Washington have laws requiring that instructors be intelligible, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and similar bills have been introduced in many other states in the last decade. The New York Times

States test ways to keep employee health costs down
The average cost of insurance per employee for state governments was $496.25 in 2012 -- up from $467.25 the year before, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governing

Three big education numbers to watch
According to recent meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)  there are three (3) important education numbers state policymakers are concerned about. Texas Insider

Opinion: Voter photo identification laws and ALEC
We were already familiar with the National Conference of State Legislatures that has been a positive source of information and ALEC seemed to be one and the same. I eventually found out that ALEC is like the house guest that never leaves. The Huffington Post

Everything you've ever wanted to know about voter ID laws (updated)
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful breakdown of states' voter ID laws and how they vary. Jackson Free Press

Delegate Scott's Richmond report
Immediately after visiting Chicago as one of Virginia's delegates to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some of us begin to plan for a trip to Southwest Virginia—and my hometown, several miles south of I-81 in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Falls Church News-Press

Aug. 29

New Mexico alters child vaccination waiver form
As recently as February, the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures, which gathers regulatory data from across the nation, listed New Mexico as a state that allowed philosophical exemptions, sort of. AP/San Francisco Chronicle

Norelli, Brighton running unopposed in Portsmouth District 26 primaries
Norelli, 60, is a former high school math teacher, and is currently serving a one-year term as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Foster's Daily Democrat

Most Montgomery County legislators spend maximum on lodging during session
Pennsylvania lawmakers, who work year-round, are paid $82,026 per year, plus a per diem of $159, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most state per-diem rates are tied to federal rates and fluctuate from year to year - sometimes within a year - said Morgan Cullen, policy analyst for NCSL. “The compensation for what [lawmakers are] doing is pretty low,” Cullen said. “[This] helps them cover expenses when they’re on the job.” Lawmakers’ salaries tend to lag behind the private sector, according to Cullen. Maryland Gazette

State alters vaccination waiver form, asking parents to cite religion
Parents aren’t the only ones who thought New Mexico allowed philosophical objections to immunization rules. As recently as February, the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures (www.ncsl.org) — which gathers regulatory data from across the nation — listed New Mexico as a state that allowed philosophical exemptions, sort of. The New Mexican

Aug. 28

Map of state data breach notification laws
Imation used publicly available sites (including information obtained via the National Conference of State Legislatures) to analyze state compliance laws in the 46 U.S. states that have such laws, as well as in Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Help Net Security

Voter ID laws: Critics say they are designed to disenfranchise voters
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful breakdown of states' voter ID laws and how they vary. Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Pennsylvania have the toughest versions. These states won't allow voters to cast a regular ballot without first showing valid photo ID. Other states with photo ID laws offer some more flexibility by providing voters with several alternatives. ProPublica/Gambit

Political Notebook: Going over the top, and under the water
Missouri and Oklahoma are among those that have taken up nullification proposals, for example. Twenty state legislatures have enacted laws and measures related to challenging or opting out of broad health reform including the Affordable Care Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Portland Press Herald

Opinion: MSNBC again misleads on voter ID laws by insisting it's anti-Obama phenomenon
But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures [NCSL], "Voter ID has been a hot topic in state legislatures over the past decade. Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills have been introduced in a total of 46 states." NewsBusters

PA government affairs and business development firm launches Harrisburg, Pa. office
Paul is a member of the Executive Committee for both the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Eastern Regional Conference of Council of State Governments (ERCCSG). PRWeb.com

Survey: Is It Bad That So Few Kansas Legislators Are Young?
Most state senators and representatives in the nation are in their mid 50s. That’s also true for Kansas where 56 percent of legislators are between the ages of 50 and 65, according to theNational Conference of State Legislatures. Political Fiber

Katie’s Hero Award goes to Sen. Adams
Jayann Sepich, co-founder and president of DNA Saves, introduced the award and 2012 recipients at a Forensic DNA Luncheon event held concurrently during the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators, this year in Chicago. Standard-Examiner

Aug. 27

Teachers must make the grade under new guidelines
Michelle Exstrom, education program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said in most states, teachers weren't evaluated annually and, when they were reviewed, almost all received satisfactory ratings. "These evaluation systems are meant to be much more authentic in assessing how students are doing," she said. "And make no mistake: Teachers, parents and students all want this. It doesn't do a teacher any good to get a positive evaluation that's not accurate." AP/Fox News

Court to hear challenge to South Carolina voter ID law
If the law takes effect, South Carolina would be among 11 states that require official photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Election 2012: Understanding your voting rights
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states have considered new laws involving photo identification for voting. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Weekly Wrap: Voters and the economy
Ohio's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in July-but that's still lower than the national rate, hovering between 8 and 8.3 percent in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Marietta Times

Son, mother aim to make Arizona history
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in 2011 there were 23 family duos holding legislative seats. The pairings include brothers, fathers and sons and even married couples. Only two are mother and son. AP/Mohave Daily News

Maine making history on marriage
Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, points to a poll released in April by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that shows 47 percent of Americans indicating support for same-sex marriage, with 43 percent opposed. "The significant thing this year is the change in attitude as indicated by polls," she said. Kennebec Journal

Maine speakers urge commission to make voting easier
Across the country, voter ID bills were the "hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections in 2011," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That year, voter ID bills were introduced in 34 states, including Maine, with 14 of those bills focusing specifically on photo identification. Kennebec Journal

Aug. 25

One of five Americans struggling to afford food, survey finds
“One of our concerns will be that the drought will cause food prices to go up,” Kansas Representative Barbara Ballard, who co-chairs the National Conference of State Legislature’s Human Services & Welfare Committee, said in a previous interview. “I believe they know the cuts are too high.” Stateline

New voter ID laws come at a price
The National Conference of State Legislatures added it up. Blog in Times Union

When training goes away, when fiscal fixes backfire, and a novel traffic solution
Rutgers University's Alan Rosenthal knows as much or more about state legislatures than anyone else we can think of. So his comments at the recent National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting were of particular interest. One factoid really struck us. Governing

Hawaii Legislative Website Tops
It earned the Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which was presented on August 8 during the National Conference of State Legislatures' 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago. Hawaii Reporter

Mass. college offers illegal immigrant scholarship
Only California, New Mexico and Texas allow illegal immigrants to receive state financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Bradenton Herald, Huffington Post, CBS News, Boston Globe

Judge considers use of mortgage settlement money
A National Conference of State Legislatures summary said Colorado's money is going for housing-related programs and services, Georgia is using its share for regional and rural economic
development, and Nebraska's is being deposited in the state's rainy day fund. CBS News

Aug. 24

Hampshire College launches financial aid fund for undocumented immigrants
Since 2001, 13 states have extended in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who meet certain requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California, Texas and New Mexico allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid. The Boston Globe

N.Y.C. study finds vouchers boost blacks' college-going rates
There is no longer such a voucher program in New York City, but five states offer low-income students vouchers to help defray tuition costs at private schools and several others offer similar programs for special-needs students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Focus on customers, not dollars, says ex-DOT chief
Delays in fixing deteriorating bridges will add $130 billion annually to eventual repairs, said a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. NorthJersey.com

Hampshire College offers undocumented immigrant student scholarship
Only California, New Mexico and Texas allow undocumented immigrants to receive state financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois has a privately-funded scholarship endowment for these students, according to the group. AP/The Huffington Post

Father of Tyler Clementi to speak at Contact We Care gala
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and 14.5 percent have made plans to kill themselves. NJ Today

The taxman cometh online
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states lost $18 billion in uncollected taxes in 2008, of which $7.7 billion were the result of online transactions. They estimate that lost tax revenues will jump to $23 billion in 2012, with roughly $12.5 billion coming from e-commerce. Seeking Alpha

Opinion: Think college is expensive now? Wait until ObamaCare
As the National Conference of State Legislatures explained, under ObamaCare "many states will find the cost of their Medicaid programs will be higher." Investor's Business Daily

No time for killer commutes for many Maryland lawmakers
Most state per diem rates are tied to federal rates and fluctuate from year to year - sometimes within a year - said Morgan Cullen, policy analyst for NCSL. Maryland Gazette

Maine speakers urge commission to make voting easier
Across the country, voter ID bills were the "hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections in 2011," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That year, voter ID bills were introduced in 34 states, including Maine, with 14 of those bills focusing specifically on photo identification. Kennebec Journal

Aug. 23

Election 2012: State Legislature Predictions
How big were those gains from 2010? Very big. The GOP now controls 59 legislative chambers, the Democrats control 37 and two are tied. Nebraska has a unicameral, nonpartisan legislature. (A full breakdown of current margins in each of the state legislatures is provided courtesy of the National
Conference of State Legislatures.) Governing

Judge considers use of mortgage settlement money
A National Conference of State Legislatures summary said Colorado's money is going for housing-related programs and services, Georgia is using its share for regional and rural economic development, and Nebraska's is being deposited in the state's rainy day fund. Bloomberg Business Week

Dems try to give young illegals licenses
When it comes to driver's licenses, for example, each state sets its own eligibility rules, said Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Governors in Texas, Arizona and Nebraska, for example, already have promised to block any efforts to provide driver's licenses or any other state services to young people under the deferred action program."The question is how the states want to treat this new class" of applicants, she said. "And one of the questions that's still unanswered is what documents the federal government will provide under the new program." San Francisco Chronicle

Governor, Attorney General spring sudden “ethics reform” package
In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, South Carolina is one of only four states that do not require private sources of income to be reported. Free Times

Georgia not as fiscally restrained as many states
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that Georgia finished the 2011 budget year with a cash balance that is 2.1 percent of total general fund spending. My Fox Atlanta

Most Southern states have adopted early voting procedures
According to a July 2011 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states allow in-person early voting, and of those 32 states, 27 allow both in-person early and no-excuse absentee mail voting. Desoto Times Tribune

Aug. 22

National web-only retailer sales tax likely
A University of Tennessee study estimates that revenue lost to state and local municipalities for 2012 is $11.4 billion, and the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates $23 billion is lost in new revenue each year. Independent Retailer

School vouchers make a comeback, stir concerns about quality
In 2011, more than 30 states introduced school voucher bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That was an increase of more than 300 percent from the previous year, when nine voucher bills were introduced. Huffington Post and NBC

Driver's license rules fuel new immigration debate
"We're still trying to sort out what this new limbo category means for states," said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Voter ID laws spark debate on whether to fight fraud
Nevertheless, concerns of voter fraud continue to inspire new legislation across the country. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 34 states considered photo voter ID legislation in 2011. Eight states enacted the new laws that year. Central Michigan Life

Jerry Peterson, CU-Boulder professor, says he'll cancel class if a student brings a gun
Last year Brenda Bautsch, an education-policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures told USA Today they'd been seeing more bills seeking to address campus gun policies. "And there are far more bills to allow guns than to prohibit them," Bautsch said. Huffington Post

Early voting vs. voter ID
According to a July 2011 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states allow in-person early voting, and of those 32 states, 27 allow both in-person early and no-excuse absentee mail voting. Blog in Gulf Live

Aug. 21

Justice dept. clears Virginia voter ID law
The new law -- labeled a "strict non-photo identification law" by the National Conference of State Legislatures -- expands the range of acceptable forms of identification, including some non-photo forms of ID. Politico and TPM

Ohio 'middle-of-road' state on early voting rights
Eighteen states, including the neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kentucky, ban in-person early voting unless voters declare a hardship, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dayton Daily News

Facts contradict voting charge
According to a July 2011 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 32 states allow in-person early voting, and of those 32 states, 27 allow both in-person early and no-excuse absentee mail voting. Opinion in the Cincinnati Inquirer

'Dreamers' cautious about deferral plan
Arizona is one of at least four states that have passed laws barring undocumented immigrants from being offered in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Instead, undocumented immigrants here must pay more expensive out-of-state tuition if they want to attend any of the state's community colleges or universities. The Arizona Republic in USA Today

Legislature web team wins award
It earned the Online Democracy Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures, which was presented on Aug. 8 during the National Conference of State Legislatures' 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago. KITV-NBC - Hawaii

Aug. 20

Illinois legislators fail to agree on pension package
Between 2009 and 2011, 43 states enacted some form of major alterations to their retirement plans for public employees and teachers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Such laws were a rarity before 2005. New York Times

'Dreamers' cautious about Obama's deferred-action program
Arizona is one of at least four states that have passed laws barring undocumented immigrants from being offered in-state tuition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Instead, undocumented immigrants in Arizona must pay more expensive out-of-state tuition if they want to attend any of the state's community colleges or universities. Arizona Republic

The state of state legislatures — in 1 map
So with 80 percent — 6,004 seats to be exact — of all state legislative seats up for a vote this fall, we should be paying closer attention. And, that’s where the map below — from the good people at the National Conference of State Legislatures — comes in.  It details which party controls each state legislature and those that carry split control. Blog in the Washington Post

Young pols set sights on State House
Forty-two percent of state legislators in Massachusetts are between 50 and 64 years old, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while just 4 percent are younger than 34. Milford Daily News

Budgets tight, states ask voters to raise taxes
Politicians know "specific and worthy" is the threshold just about everywhere, says Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst who follows state tax issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Savvy politicos then shape their requests to voters accordingly. "When voters are asked to consider a tax increase, the likelihood that there is an earmark or dedicated expenditure of the revenues for a specific program is very high," Perez says. Minnesota Public Radio

Critics: License order violates state law
The question to be resolved is whether legal presence or legal status is established by deferred action, said Ann Morse, program director of the Immigration Policy Project at the National
Conference of State Legislatures. UPI

Battle far from over for immigrants who get deferrals
Under federal law, states are only obliged to provide basic services such as emergency health and K-12 education, said Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "If we are not going to support them after K through 12 what do we do with them?" she asked. "This decision by the administration really brings that to the fore." Reuters

Budget tight, states ask voters to raise taxes
Politicians know "specific and worthy" is the threshold just about everywhere, says Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst who follows state tax issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Savvy politicos then shape their requests to voters accordingly. NPR

State estimates revenue lost to Internet, catalog sales
The department said it released the estimate after the Omaha World-Herald, citing a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, reported Nebraska’s estimated revenue loss due to uncollected sales and use tax on catalog and Internet purchases at $118 million annually. Linocln Journal Star

Richland's Haler selected to attend national legislature symposium
Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, has been selected to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures Symposium for Emerging Leaders. The conference is in September in North Carolina. News Tribune

Aug. 17


NY allows online voter registration through DMV
Arizona reports more than 70 percent of voter registrations are done online since the state made the move in 2003, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP/Utica Observer Dispatch

States aren't submitting records to gun database
Federal law bars access to guns only if a court determines someone is seriously mentally ill or if they've been involuntarily committed. There are state laws too, but they vary widely. NPR cites NCSL data

Texas GOP vows to defend Voter ID; Latino vote in Southwest could decline
Of the eight states with the largest Latino populations, four — Texas, Florida, Arizona and Colorado ¬– have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Texas photo ID law is awaiting a U.S. District Court decision. MSNBC

Aug. 16


Virginia surplus will fund bonuses for state workers
Virginia’s results put it ahead of many states. Revenue grew 5.4 percent in fiscal 2012 without the benefit of any tax increase, compared with an average of 2.9 percent nationally, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. The Washington Post

For young immigrants who win deportation deferrals, what next?
Many states are expected to review their immigration policies to ensure compliance with the executive order, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ann Morse, the program director of the conference's Immigrant Policy Project, said some states might want to update their laws to coincide with federal policies, but she didn't expect the executive order to have a dramatic impact on current policies. Charlotte Observer/McClatchy

N.J. politician pushes for law requiring pets buckle up on car rides
No states have laws requiring animals be restrained inside a car, although a bill was introduced in Tennessee last year requiring it for animals in the front seat, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NJ Star-Ledger

Alaska Rep. Chenault chosen for position in national group
Alaska House Speaker Mike Chenault has been elected to a leadership position within the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC Anchorage

Former Governor Engler says Michigan term limits have failed
Speaking in Chicago at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Engler said term limits get rid of lawmakers who have the experience to know how to handle complex issues like welfare, school aid and Medicaid. WHTC Michigan

Still no early voting provisions in Alabama
A Democratic lawmaker from Birmingham had a bill in 2009 to allow anyone to vote absentee for any reason, a practice allowed in 27 states plus the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bill passed a committee but died in the Alabama House. All told, about two-thirds of the states allow either in-person early voting or no-excuse absentee voting, or both, according to the NCSL. The Birmingham News

Jack Abramoff's metamorphosis begs the question: Who can really know someone else anyway?
But Abramoff was disarmingly soft-spoken, giving self-deprecating and thoughtful answers about ethics reform and campaign finance law when I talked to him last week for MIRS at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) annual summit. (He also endearingly took breaks to Skype with his daughter about a new dog she refused to clean up after). MLive.com

Opinion: Why Obama’s campaign is likely to overcome voting laws
First of all, most of the nine states with the strictest voting provisions, those that do not allow a person’s vote to be counted unless he or she has a valid picture ID, are unlikely to be heavily contested this November.  (Here’s the list, from the National Conference of State Legislatures) TheGRIO.com

Poll: Easton reacts to Pa. voter ID law ruling
Thirty states have some sort of Voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 19 do not require a photo, six require a photo and five, including Pennsylvania, have strict photo requirements. Easton Patch

Poll: Nazareth reacts to Pa. voter ID ruling
Thirty states have some sort of Voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, of those, 19 do not require a photo, six require a photo and five, including Pennsylvania, have strict photo requirements. Nazareth Patch

Poll: Voter ID Ruling Upheld, What do you Think?
Thirty states have some sort of Voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, 19 do not require a photo, six require a photo and five, including Pennsylvania, have strict photo requirements. Upper Saucon Patch

Aug. 15

Amid high unemployment, federal benefits should stay, state lawmakers say
The National Conference of State Legislatures approved a resolution in favor of continuing two federal unemployment insurance programs set to expire at the end of the year. "As a means of stabilizing the economy, NCSL supports extensions of the federal-state Extended Benefits program when unemployment rates are high," said the resolution, which also covered policy issues relating to wages, pensions, and other safety net programs. The Huffington Post

Many states' voter-ID laws, including Pennsylvania's, appear to have tie to same U.S. group
"I very rarely see a single issue taken up by as many states in such a short period of time as with voter ID," said Jennie Bowser, senior election-policy analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that tracks state laws. "It's been a pretty remarkable spread." Philadelphia Inquirer

West Virginia keeps balance of new, experienced legislative staff
The National Conference of State Legislatures is predicting two-thirds of all non-partisan staff members and three-fourths of partisan staff will leave their jobs at their respective state legislatures by 2021. The State Journal

Tax vote ad plays it close to the vest; no foul from Truth Squad
The National Conference of State Legislatures, in a report last updated in 2008, found “little empirical evidence identifying the effects of supermajority vote requirements on the budget process. The Center for Michigan

Audit: Poor staffing, potential conflicts of interest mar W.Va. Medicaid contract bid handling
If the Legislature decides not to repeal the 2009 exemption, it should consider adding safeguards or adopting a model contract law for the Medicaid bureau and other exempted agencies to follow. Neighboring Kentucky has such a model law, and the National Conference of State Legislatures can help with that as well, Landrum said. Daily Journal

Aug. 14

Ky. legislator takes aim at foreign laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 25 states in 2012 introduced similar legislation, including Kentucky where King introduced the same bill in the previous session. King’s bill didn’t get a hearing. Cincinnati Inquirer

Medicaid waiver allows NY to implement cost-cutting health care strategies
He sat on a panel discussing New York's Medicaid redesign efforts in Chicago at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting last week. Gottfried is very supportive of the Medicaid waiver application. Legislative Gazette

Brookings Institution : Is the Budget Coast Clear for State and Local Governments?
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that no states are projecting deficits at the end of fiscal 2013 and many expect modest surpluses. Brookings Institution

Murphy to stay through this year
Last week, he attended portions of the National Conference of State Legislatures summit in Chicago. Lowell Sun

Questions about 'partial' Medicaid expansion remain unanswered, Medicaid directors leader says
Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program Services at CMS, told attendees of last week's National Conference of State Legislatures that regulators will give states flexibility with the expansion and promised that more guidance would follow in coming months. McKnight's

New voting rules make getting Latinos to polls harder than ever
Of the eight states with the largest Latino populations, four — Texas, Florida, Arizona and Colorado ¬– have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Texas photo ID law is awaiting a U.S. District Court decision. Tucson Sentinel

Charley Murphy decides to finish state rep term
Last week, he attended portions of the National Conference of State Legislatures summit in Chicago. Abington Mariner
 

Aug. 13


Sheldon Silver Open To NYC Casino At Coney Island Or Willet's Point
Before final decisions are made, Silver - who last week received a prestigious Excellence in State Leadership Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures - will hold talks with his Democratic conference, particularly members whose districts could host potential locations. New York Daily News

Health law readiness follows state, party lines
So far, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 12 states have passed legislation to authorize exchanges. Four states provided the authority through an executive order and four states have legislation pending. The Washington Times

Voter ID laws: necessity Or burden?
At the moment, 11 states require some form of photo ID, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NPR News

A likely reprieve for food stamp program
Either version would eliminate benefits for millions of people, and the prospect has prompted wide-ranging complaints. AARP has railed against the cuts; the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has looked to blunt their impact. The Pittsburg Post-Gazette

Alabama Medicaid program's "tipping point"
A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that most states are seeing at least a modest rebound in state revenues, with 29 states reporting fiscal year-end balances of 5 percent or more of General Fund spending. Fox Birmingham

Scott Walker pushed to call for online sales tax law
Now, uneven sales-tax enforcement laws nationally have “government picking winners and losers,” Stenger added. He said a National Conference of State Legislatures estimate in 2010 put the annual loss of sales taxes to Wisconsin even higher, at about $174 million. The Janesville Gazette

Bryant relates to Ingalls grads, politicos help welcome Olympic champion Brittney (Political Skinny)
Among the Mississippi legislators to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago last week was Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula. The conference brought together a small group of legislators, law enforcement, and nationally known victims rights advocates including kidnapping and rape survivor Elizabeth Smart. The Mississippi Press

Arizona has bounced back to middle of states for fiscal health, report finds
The report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona's economic outlook is "stable," with the state having $850 million in the bank from rainy day funds and money left over from fiscal 2012. It joined 32 other states with a "stable" ranking. The Daily Courier

Democrats criticize Florida's new voter-registration laws
The new laws were passed after Republicans in 2010 gained majorities in 11 state legislatures, including Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Arlington Heights Daily Herald

Opinion: A test for Virginia's new DUI law
All states use ignition interlocks in some capacity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Roanoke Times

Enterprise zone has been crucial for area
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states, including Illinois, have enterprise zone programs under a variety of different program names. Robinson Daily News

Study shows Indian gaming pumps $7.5 billion into state economy
A more recent (2009) study by the National Conference of State Legislatures was also cited: "In addition to relieving the state of its obligation to provide services to a particular group of state citizens that frequently may be 'hard-to-serve' because they reside on reservations in a remote, rural area, tribally administered programs also can benefit both (tribal and non-tribal) governments by meeting the specific needs of tribal citizens and using their particular cultural philosophies in the design of their programs." The Record Searchlight/Scripps

Aug. 10

Report: Progress on Juvenile Justice, Problems Remain
For a variety of reasons, including cutting costs, state legislatures are moving away from the punishment-focused policies for young offenders passed in the 1980s and 1990s, when juvenile crime was rising, and moving towards rehabilitation, according to a report released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Manufacturing hurt by shortage of quality applicants, CEO says
"We are customers to that education system that we see failing in this country and other competitors around the world are exceeding in their education system," said Oberhelman, whose company last year had revenue of $60 billion. The job-creation round table was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Tribune

Jack Abramoff urges ethics reform in NCSL speech
Abramoff, who served four years in federal prison for crimes related to the Indian gaming lobby, told the National Conference of State Legislatures that public officials need to be mindful of what lobbyists do, and take money and gifts out of politics.  Huffington Post

Public pension assets, obligations rose in 2011
"States have been digging themselves into this pension hole for some time," Kil Huh, Pew's research director, said in a presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures on Wednesday.  Chicago Tribune/Reuters

NCSL to Congress: Online gambling is a state issue
The National Conference of State Legislatures has passed a resolution “urging the federal government to respect state sovereignty” when it comes to Web gaming legislation.  The NCSL points out that it would be “pre-emptive” to reverse a December DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act that gave states the authority set up online gaming systems.  Politico (blog)

Expert: Teachers unions can help 'build a better car' to improve schools, increase salaries
He shared a panel with National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Wednesday at the National Conference of State Legislatures, discussing how unions can take a less defensive role in school reforms.  MLive

Reports underscore shale’s growth dynamic
In a new overview from the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Dakota officials report a swiftly expanding economy, spurred by oil production that is boosting jobs, population, and opportunities for housing and business development.  Energy Collective

Patsy Spaw selected for national post
Patsy Spaw, the well-known secretary of the Texas Senate perhaps best known as the one who calls the roll for votes during legislative sessions, has been named staff chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures for its 2012 Legislative Summit.  Austin American Statesman

Federal cuts, transportation woes threaten Maryland budget, reports say
Maryland is one of 25 states projected to end fiscal 2013 with a fund balance greater than 5 percent of its general fund spending, according to a nationwide survey of legislative fiscal officers conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Maryland Community News Online

Same-sex marriage: Polls, votes and courts
Nonetheless, Jennie Bowser of the National Conference of State Legislatures observes that the “yes” vote for banning same-sex marriage peaked in 2005 and has declined in every subsequent ballot test. Even the recent North Carolina vote was the lowest percentage for banning same-sex marriage recorded in the South, the region most opposed to such marriages.  Real Clear Politics

La. solar tax credit price tag far above estimates
Twenty-two states offer tax credits for solar energy systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Louisiana's is among the most generous.  San Francisco Chronicle/AP

Arizona’s budget cuts produce surplus
The report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona’s economic outlook is “stable,” with the state having $850 million in the bank from rainy day funds and money left over from fiscal 2012. It joined 32 other states with a “stable” ranking.  Your West Valley News

Alabama fails to meet cancer prevention policy goals again
The report, How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, was presented at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago on August 6 to 9, 2012.  Examiner.com

Michigan could scale back Medicaid expansion if costs become too burdensome
States could expand their program and later decide to cut back if the cost becomes too much, Cindy Mann, an official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said this week at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  MLive

State legislators: Let us partially expand Medicaid
The National Conference of State Legislatures, voting yesterday during the final day of its legislative summit, supported a policy directive urging Congress to provide maximum flexibility on the Medicaid expansion and let states do a partial expansion without being penalized.  Politico (blog)

Indiana still vulnerable of a second "dip" in the economy
Some say “The Great Recession” has become “The Great Uncertainty” for most states across America.  That's according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The group is holding its 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago this week.  WBIW

Voter ID law challenge outcome hard to predict
As a result, 33 states have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The U.S. Department of Justice is fighting those laws in court in Texas and South Carolina, saying they violate the federal Voting Rights Act.  Charleston Gazette/AP

Jewish Federation hosts Jewish state legislators from across the country
On August 8th, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago hosted a breakfast meeting of the National Association of Jewish Legislators (NAJL) at the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual convention held this year in Chicago.  Jewish United Fund

Quiet year, so far, for US state taxation
In its latest State Tax Update, the National Conference of State Legislatures has depicted the first half of 2012 as a ‘notably quiet year’ for US state taxes, with only five states reporting sizable net tax changes, and with the smallest aggregate tax cut in the 32-year history of the report.  Global Tax News

Texas members of Congress dip once, twice, three times at the public trough
“The situation isn't any different, technically, from a teacher receiving pension payments from Texas and doing some part-time or full-time teaching in another state,” said Ron Snell, who studies state pensions for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Texas Watchdog

Roundtable members criticize lawmakers for lack of TSPLOST support
Maxwell, who was in Chicago at the National Conference of State Legislatures convention, said in an email he supported the TSPLOST initiative publicly before such groups as the Paulding County Builders Association in early May.  Paulding Neighbor

Aug. 9

Illinois pension hole deepening, Quinn says
Like other states, Illinois was hit hard by the recession and has not had the money to beef up pension contributions, said Ron Snell, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group that held panel discussions on pension systems Wednesday at its annual conference at McCormick Place.  "Of the larger states, Illinois has the weakest-funded statewide pension systems," Snell said.  Chicago Tribune

Georgia not as fiscally restrained as many states
The National Conference of State Legislatures found that Georgia finished the 2011 budget year with a cash balance that is 2.1 percent of total general fund spending. For 2012, the estimate is 2 percent.  Sacramento Bee/AP

Report shows majority of states not measuring up on laws and policies to fight cancer
The report, How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, was released at the NCSL annual meeting in Chicago. The annual report found that 32 states have reached benchmarks in only two or fewer of the seven legislative priority areas measured by ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.  U.S. Politics Today

Hawaii Legislature’s website wins national acclaim
The website for the Hawaii state legislature, which was redesigned and upgraded less than a year ago, earned the Online Democracy Award as the nation’s top legislative website this week during the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago.  Honolulu Civil Beat

Report: Arizona has fiscally bounced back
The report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona's economic outlook is ”stable,” with the state having $850 million in the bank from rainy day funds and money left over from fiscal 2012. It joined 32 other states with a ”stable” ranking.  Yuma Sun

Overall state revenues are up
General revenue among the 50 states increased about 2.9 percent in FY 2012, according to a new budget report highlighted August 7 by officials with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Idaho Business Review

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: School districts often 'hiring the wrong people,' teachers need better training
Van Roekel spoke about the importance of working with lawmakers in Michigan and beyond, the challenges of drafting helpful evaluations and what is needed to prepare teachers in an interview Wednesday before a session at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  MLive

Economist says Indiana is facing a deficit
The National Conference of State Legislatures says in its latest report that Indiana is one of the more fiscally-healthy states in the country, because it ended its last fiscal year with a nearly $500 million surplus.  WIBC

Report: Idaho performs poorly in cancer-fighting legislation
The report, "How Do you Measure Up?" published by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, was unveiled today at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago, Ill.  Idaho failed to meet benchmarks in the seven issues covered, according to the report.  Boise Weekly

Keegan: State lawmakers finally hear the ‘U’ word on pensions
“Unsustainable” is the word state officials heard from experts for the first time at their annual National Conference of State Legislatures gathering here, where one of four sessions on the pension crisis drew a standing-room only crowd of more than 300.  Opinion in Kansas Watchdog

Ethics reform efforts face uphill fight in South Carolina
Most states are working to become more transparent, said Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  "Nationally and internationally, we're seeing changes that increase transparency, which means more disclosure" from legislators and lobbyists, Kerns said.  McClatchy Washington

AFT President Weingarten: Union-backed Protect Our Jobs ballot proposal is an attempt to 'get back a voice of dignity and respect'
Weingarten, who represents teachers in Detroit and university workers across the state, spoke about unions collaborating with lawmakers to solve education problems as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures gathering in Chicago.  MLive

Economic study shows tribal gaming contributes $7.9 billion annually in California
A more recent study by NCSL was also cited: “In addition to relieving the state of its obligation to provide services to a particular group of state citizens that frequently may be ‘hard-to-serve’ because they reside on reservations in a remote, rural area, tribally administered programs also can benefit both governments by meeting the specific needs of tribal citizens and using their particular cultural philosophies in the design of their programs.”  Anderson Valley Post

Steve Morris, Kansas Senate President, blames moderates' defeat on conservative attack ads
Morris, the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures which is holding its annual summit meeting in Chicago this week, said conservative groups including Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas Right to Life spent between $3 and 8 million.  Huffington Post

Calling 911 should not get you arrested
Supporters of Good Samaritan laws—including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislatures—claim, rightfully, that they represent a common-sense approach to a serious public health issue.  Philadelphia Magazine (blog)

AM Alert: Jerry Brown goes south; Chris Christie comes north
Arnie Sowell, policy director for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, is one of 20 state legislative staffers nationwide honored recently by the National Conference of State Legislatures with an achievement award. Sowell was chosen by the conference's Leadership Staff Section for recognition.  Sacramento Bee (blog)

Senate committee releases bills to streamline process for voters statewide
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states currently offer online paperless voter registration – Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  Politicker NJ

Anti-immigration law prepped for next stage
State lawmakers enacted 114 immigration-related bills in the first half of 2012, down significantly from the 257 passed in the first half of 2011, according to a study released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigrant Policy Project.  Courthouse News Service

Gun control: Aftermath of Colorado shootings, Sikh Temple killing in Wisconsin & Jared Loughner, discerning the debate
Heather Morton of the National Conference of State Legislatures tells the NY Times that Colorado has relatively lax gun-control rules, "if a person complies with all of the requirements, then the state must issue a concealed weapons permit."  Lawyer Herald

Commentary: The problem is there is no such thing as “states’ rights”
When U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois tried to fire up a ballroom full of state legislators here Tuesday morning, he used the phrase “states’ rights.”  It popped up a few other times as the National Conference of State Legislatures met for its annual “Build Strong States” summit.  Opinion in Montana Watchdog

Sen. Collins elected to national post
State Sen. Nancy Adams-Collins, R-Tupelo, is scheduled to be elected today to the executive board of the Women’s Legislative Network of the National Conference of state Legislatures.  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Delegate Scott's Richmond report
And every four years, NCSL invites two national pollsters with differing perspectives to review the political landscape and offer their own analysis of the Presidential race. Neil Newhouse, Republican, and Peter Hart, Democrat. Needless to say, there was no consensus on the status of the race.  Falls Church News-Press

Aug. 8

Most US states leaving tax codes untouched, Calif measures loom
After years of shaking up their tax systems to address swift revenue drops, U.S. states have made only a few tax changes so far this year, creating a tiny impact and following last year's trend of avoiding increases, according to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures on Wednesday.   Reuters

New report claims a decade of changes to the nation's juvenile justice system
The report, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, states that a decrease in juvenile crime rates has shifted states towards a greater emphasis on rehabilitative services, with more states reexamining stringent juvenile justice policies established in the 1990s.  Youth Today

CMS: States can opt out of Medicaid expansion after opting in
Ms. Mann spoke at the National Conference of State Legislatures' 2012 Summit in Chicago. The Supreme Court ruled the Medicaid expansion, which is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is optional for states. Ms. Mann further explained that states could accept the Medicaid expansion initially but could later opt out because they have that option within a voluntary program.  Becker's Hospital Review

State budgets slowly bounce back, tax picture remains flat
The State Budget Update released yesterday shows that states are cautiously optimistic at the start of a new fiscal year as the steep drop off in revenues evens out and fewer budget gaps are springing up.  NCSL’s State Tax Update also shows that the first half of 2012 has seen relatively little in the way of significant tax changes.  CivSource

Medicaid costs top worries of W.Va., 21 other states
West Virginia is one of 22 states citing increasing costs of Medicaid as the top budget challenge facing it in the 2012-13 budget year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' new update on state budgets.  Charleston Gazette

Report: Arizona has bounced back to middle of states for fiscal health
The report by the National Conference of State Legislatures said Arizona’s economic outlook is “stable,” with the state having $850 million in the bank from rainy day funds and money left over from fiscal 2012. It joined 32 other states with a “stable” ranking.  Arizona Capitol Times

Report: States deal with more female offenders
Violent juvenile crime has fallen over the last decade — good news — but the numbers of American girls getting into trouble have continued to increase, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NJ Today

State’s budgets won’t have surplus
According to a report released by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama will end the fiscal year on Sept. 30 without a balance to carry into 2012-13. In the next fiscal year, the General Fund is again expected to end with a zero balance.  Tuscaloosa News

Blacks lead both parts of Colorado Legislature
Groff and Carroll, longtime friends who live 10 blocks from each other, said they initially didn't realize they would be making national history, but the National Conference of State Legislatures has confirmed that they are.  NBC News

States pass fewer immigration laws in 2012, study says
The National Conference of State Legislatures study found a 40 percent drop in the number of proposed laws compared with the same six-month time period in 2011. State lawmakers in 46 states and the District of Columbia introduced 948 bills and resolutions related to immigrants and refugees, down from a peak of 1,592 bills in the first half of 2011.  Center for Investigative Reporting

Alabama's General Fund hasn't stabilized; storm clouds ahead
Alabama’s General Fund budget hasn’t rebounded as other state budgets have since the end of the 2009 recession, and it may take another three years before it stabilizes and begins to grow.  And now there’s the worry of federal deficits.  That’s according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in its annual summer state budget report released Tuesday.  Gadsen Times

Voter ID laws: Republican attorney compares 'myths' to Salem witch trials
J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department civil rights attorney speaking on behalf of the Republican National Lawyers Association, said during a voter ID forum at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago that he believes there are too many "myths" surrounding voter ID laws.  Adams characterized the opponents as hysterical.  Huffington Post

Commentary: Tax exempt status for municipal bonds on endangered list?
National Conference of State Legislatures members meeting here ended their first day with even more bad news about municipal bonds, debt interest that takes more than 20 cents of every dollar they spend each year and that pays for essential public works, among other things.  Montana Watchdog

Oregon clerk of House wins national award
Ramona Kenady Line, chief clerk of the Oregon House since 1985, has received the highest honor that the National Conference of State Legislatures can award a staff member.  Line was among 20 staffers from 13 states, and just one of two clerks, to receive legislative staff achievement awards.  Statesman Journal

Despite recent growth, the economies of Texas and other states remain vulnerable
The survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, released to reporters on Monday with the condition that its contents wouldn’t published before Tuesday, shows that – as in Texas’ case – Medicaid costs continue to climb and could derail the recovery.  Lubbock Avalanche Journal

Report finds states pulling back from tough laws of ’80s, ’90s
The National Conference of State Legislatures study reported, “minority youth come into contact with the juvenile justice system at every stage at a higher rate than their white counterparts.”  In response to this imbalance, 10 states – including Illinois – enacted disproportionate minority contact legislation between 2001 and 2011, the years covered in the report.  Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Teachers union leaders to lawmakers: Education reform should happen with us, not to us
The two labor chiefs appeared at the National Conference of State Legislatures on a panel with Eric Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Hanushek said the greater cooperation will be essential for the unions if they want to continue to exist.  MLive

Proposed law would be ‘burden on elderly’
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 30 states have laws in place that will require all voters to show ID at the polls this November. That number could rise; a total of 33 states have passed voter ID laws. Mississippi, New Hampshire and Wisconsin presently have no voter ID requirement in place, even though laws have been enacted in all three states.  Wetumpka Herald

Online voter registration launches in Maryland
Maryland is one of 13 states with online voter registration either implemented or approved by state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Colesville Patch

Two Idahoans among 20 receiving staff awards from National Conference of State Legislatures
Terri Franks-Smith, chief fiscal officer of the Idaho House, and Kristin Ford, the Legislature's librarian, are being honored this week at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Chicago.  Idaho Statesman

State budgets: FY 2012 and projected FY 2013 year-end balances
A report published by the National Conference of State Legislatures finds a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia recording estimated fiscal year 2012 year-end balances exceeding 5 percent of general fund spending, the amount most rating agencies recommended.  Governing

Flex built into ACA Medicaid coverage, U.S. says
States do not face any deadline for deciding whether to expand their Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act and will be able to expand coverage and then later choose to reduce it.  Cindy Mann, deputy director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, made the comments at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago on Monday.  Nevada Appeal

State budgets appear stable, but concerns about 'uncertainty' remain
"State budgets remain susceptible to any economic shocks. The uncertainty at the federal budget level and Medicaid spending are a concern," said William Pound, executive director of NCSL, in a statement accompanying the report's release. "The bottom line: State budgets still face considerable challenges."  Education Week

What will the internet sales tax mean to you?
Supporters of the Act include (not surprisingly) a number of retail trade organizations, as well as The National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the United States Conference of Mayors.  Business Finance Magazine

CMS director says states could adopt then drop Medicaid expansion
"We made it clear that the program, the expansion for low-income adults, is voluntary for states," Mann said. She made the statement at the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago.  Central Penn Business Journal

Congress must act to modernize sales tax policy
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states will lose $23 billion in uncollected taxes from online sales this year due to the Internet sales tax loophole.  Opinion in U.S. News and World Report

Silver selected for excellence in state leadership award by national peers
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today received the prestigious William M. Bulger Excellence in State Leadership Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures at their 38th annual Legislative Summit in Chicago, IL.  Saugerties Post Star

Ruling bolster backers on 'parent-trigger' use
If the plans for Desert Trails Elementary School take hold, it would be the first time in the nation’s history that a parent-trigger law has been used successfully to bring about changes to the structure and operations of a school, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Education Week

Voter laws pose risk to Obama in Republican-led states
The new laws were passed after Republicans in 2010 gained majorities in 11 state legislatures, including Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Kansas legislative primaries: Conservatives beat moderates in GOP Senate primary
Morris was in Chicago fulfilling his role as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures during the annual NCSL summit meeting.  Huffington Post

A likely reprieve for food stamp program
Either version would eliminate benefits for millions of people, and the prospect has prompted wide-ranging complaints. AARP has railed against the cuts; the National Conference of State Legislatures has looked to blunt their impact.  Joblin Globe

Pennsylvania voter ID law hits Philadelphia blacks, latinos harder
Pennsylvania's law is one of the five strictest in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, because it only accepts a limited number of official IDs, and doesn't include IDs that have been expired for more than a year.  Huffington Post

Minnesota campaign aims to raise marriage equality awareness
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the current U.S. states that issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia.  Windy City Times

Election 2012: Social media provides access to candidates
For this year’s presidential election, many more candidates at the federal, state and local levels are embracing the online tool. They tweet activities, post campaign messages and campaign videos, and solicit campaign contributions.  In fact, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that the use of the Internet and social media to generate contributions is exceeding traditional methods and media.  Land Line Magazine

Federal agency says states can expand, later reduce Medicaid under ACA
Cindy Mann, deputy director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, made the comments at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago.  Carson Now

Immigration update: Obama’s permit plan draws fire
Individual states — many of which were taking immigration law into their own hands after saying the federal government had dropped the ball — are backing off on immigration policy in light of the U.S. Supreme Court taking up Arizona’s immigration law, according to a new a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Council on Foreign Relations

New report cites fiscal outlook for states
They say "The Great Recession" has become "The Great Uncertainty" for states across America.  That's according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The group is holding its 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago this week. NCSL Spokesman Todd Haggerty says their state budget update shows that many states are improving their fiscal status by clamping down on spending.  WIBC

Aug. 7

Revenues grow, but state budgets "remain vulnerable"
"While there are signs of improvement, the turnaround has been slow and uneven across the nation," the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a budget update. "Moreover, the newfound flexibility that lawmakers expect from improving revenues may be hobbled by mounting budget pressures."  Reuters

States cool on immigration measures
State lawmakers enacted 20 percent fewer immigration laws during the first six months of this year compared with the first six months of 2011, in part because lawmakers awaited the Arizona immigration law ruling, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Politico

Report on adolescent brains hits nerve in criminal justice debate
The report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a group of lawmakers from around the country meeting in Chicago this week, cites the brain-development studies as having "contributed to recent legislative trends to distinguish juvenile from adult offenders, restore the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and adopt scientific screening and assessment tools to structure decision-making and identify needs of juvenile offenders."  Austin American-Statesman

State finances recovering, but new fiscal year brings big tests
According to a survey of state fiscal officials released Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures, state revenue has begun to return to pre-recession levels. Thirty states ended their fiscal year with combined balances and rainy day funds of 5 percent or more of their general fund spending.  NBC News

States looking for fuel tax leverage
The transportation infrastructure funding crisis facing governments at all levels is providing a "silver lining" in finance innovation as state governments are turning increasingly to such new tactics as variable-rate fuel taxes and mileage-based user fees, according to a report released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bond Buyer

State budgets report finds 'slow and steady' revenue growth
"State fiscal conditions continue to improve," NCSL fiscal director Arturo Perez said. "This is a continuation from the last series of releases. There has been a slow and steady progress in improvement."  Huffington Post

Indiana, other states in better position, but finances still at risk
States including Indiana are in better financial position now than they've been in the past few years, but many of their budgets "remain vulnerable to economic shocks," according to a report released today by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Indianapolis Star

Medicaid costs top worries of W.Va., 21 other states
West Virginia is one of 22 states citing increasing costs of Medicaid as the top budget challenge facing it in the 2012-13 budget year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' new update on state budgets.  Charleston Gazette

Report: States passing fewer immigration laws
State legislatures passed 20 percent fewer immigration laws in the first half of this year than at the same time last year, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CBS Money Watch/AP

Survey: State budgets stabilize, but remain vulnerable
The NCSL report notes the national economy drives much of these figures, with low balances corresponding to poor economic periods. Total year-end balances are expected to continue to climb as the economy recovers. However, budgets still remain vulnerable to job losses, developments in Europe and other economic shocks.  Governing

Governor Quinn signs pro-jobs law to extend Illinois enterprise zone program
Businesses located in enterprise zones have created 354,762 jobs and retained 536,562 jobs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states, including Illinois, have enterprise zone programs under a variety of different program names.  ENews Park Forest

Revenue rebound seen buoying even the worst states
Improving revenue has allowed some states to rebuild reserves tapped in the wake of the 18-month recession that ended more than three years ago as they face looming federal budget cuts and lingering unemployment, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a report today.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Report: DCPS to announce school closings by December
The D.C. Council's budget office told the National Conference of State Legislatures that because more families were choosing charter schools over DCPS, and that the traditional school system needed more revenue, DCPS was looking to close campuses this winter.  Washington Examiner

North Dakota likely to debate medical marijuana proposal
Seventeen states, including Montana, have laws that allow for medical uses of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver organization that collects data on the subject.  Bismark Tribune/AP

US ‘state budgets face challenges’
The NCSL also warns that the states could be hit badly by a downturn in the US or global economy. “State budgets remain vulnerable to economic shocks, domestically or from international developments such as the European debt crisis,” the report notes.  Financial Times

Metropolitan State University Of Denver: We're 'willing and able' to defend new tuition rate for undocumented students
By basing the undocumented immigrant students' lower tuition rate on high school attendance and graduation, and not on their state residency, states have been able to claim that they do not violate the law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Huffington Post

Medicaid official outlines state flexibility in health law's Medicaid expansion
Mann made the remarks at the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago on Monday and outlined the new policy in a PowerPoint presentation obtained by Politico.  Kaiser Health News

States passing fewer immigration laws in 2012: study
The National Conference of State Legislatures found 41 states enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees in the first six months of this year, a decline of 20 percent compared to the same period in 2011.  Chicago Tribune

State lawmakers get warning about muni bond bind
National Conference of State Legislatures members meeting here ended their first day with even more bad news about municipal bonds, debt interest that takes more than 20 cents of every dollar they spend each year and that pays for essential public works, among other things.  Kansas Watchdog

Looming federal cuts haunt budget officials
Local officials voiced their top financial concerns in a survey of legislative budget offices released Tuesday by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures that shows the fiscal picture improving in most states even while serious concerns linger.  Washington Examiner

Health bill signed amid hopes for $200b in savings
Moore, the Senate’s lead health care negotiator, could not attend because of a previously scheduled commitment with the National Conference of State Legislatures, Falcone said.  Boston Globe

Internet sales tax a matter of fairness
The Streamlined Sales Tax effort, launched by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, signed up about 1,400 companies.  Opinion in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Revenues grow, but state budgets "remain vulnerable"
While fiscal 2012 general fund revenue increased by 2.9 percent and spending rose by 3.1 percent over fiscal 2011 levels, "the robust return of state revenue collections that typified previous recoveries remains elusive," according to the NCSL.  Baltimore Sun

Immigration laws passed less frequently in 2012
After a recent climb, the number of immigration bills and resolutions passed by state legislatures fell significantly in the first half of this year, with 20 percent fewer pieces of legislation passed and 40 percent fewer introduced, according to a report released Monday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Huffington Post

Does Georgia have a pothole in transportation spending?
The National Conference of State Legislatures ranked Georgia second to last in per capita revenue on highways in a report it released in 2006. The report examined highway spending from 1999 to 2004.  PolitiFact Georgia

Online sales taxes: Who is fighting for New Hampshire?
With that in mind, both Ayotte and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen have come out against the bill. They have a strong opponent in the National Conference of State Legislatures. That organization of state lawmakers supports the bill in the hope that states can use it to collect more tax revenues.  Opinion in the Union Leader

Diplomatic agenda
The Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group meets in Chicago, Illinois for the National Conference of State Legislatures legislative summit. From Aug. 6 until Aug. 9.  Embassy Magazine

Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary Of State, criticized for PAC donations
Vratil, in Chicago for the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting, said he was concerned with how the elections are being run, noting that Senate Majority Whip Jean Schodorf (R-Wichita) was given the ballot for the wrong district in early voting.  Huffington Post

Aug. 6

Immigration laws decline across state legislatures in 2012: Study
The National Conference of State Legislatures found 41 states enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees in the first six months of this year, a decline of 20 percent compared to the same period in 2011.  "Legislators found that state budget gaps and redistricting maps took priority, consuming much of the legislative schedule," according to a report by the group's Immigration Policy Project.  Huffington Post/Reuters

U.S. public pensions earn 1.15% for worst showing since 2009
To help close the gap, 29 states made changes to their pensions in the calendar year 2011, such as increasing employee contributions, raising the retirement age and revising automatic cost-of-living adjustments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Ethics reform effort faces uphill fight in S.C.
Most states are working to become more transparent, said Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  “Nationally and internationally, we’re seeing changes that increase transparency, which means more disclosure” from legislators and lobbyists, Kerns said.  The State

Outcome of ID-law challenge hard to predict
As a result, 33 states have some form of voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Philadelphia Inquirer

North Carolina voters approve same-sex marriage ban
Twenty-eight states have voter-approved constitutional bans on same-sex marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NBC News

Private-sector pension proposal sets off lobbying war in California
"It's supported in part by public-sector unions because I think they see this as a way of assuaging some of the sense of deprivation that private-sector workers have related to public-sector pension plans," Ron Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Governing magazine.  Modesto Bee

Fight brews over voter ID
Thirty states have adopted voter ID laws, some of which date back more than a decade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Montgomery Advertiser

States advance on Amazon tax and online gambling
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that California could generate $4.16 billion from the Amazon tax, Texas 1.78 and New York $1.77 billion. While the numbers would be smaller in some states, the impact could be greater. The NCSL estimates if an online sales tax had been operative in previous years, some statea could have plugged millions of dollars worth of budget holes.  Oregon Business Report

Maryland lawmakers waiting to see gambling bill
Among those is Melony G. Griffith, who chairs her county’s legislative delegation. She is among 17 legislators signed up to attend this year’s National Conference of State Legislatures conference in Chicago and would have to hurry back.  Washington Post

Governor Deval Patrick signs health cost-control bill
Moore, the Senate’s lead health care negotiator, could not attend because of a previously scheduled commitment with the National Conference of State Legislatures, Falcone said.  Boston Globe

Far too many questions remain on Idaho health exchange
Then a few days ago, a health care reform expert from the National Conference of State Legislatures said that’s not the case at all; if a federal exchange is put in place, the minimum benefits will be based on whatever is offered by the largest small group insurance provider in Idaho.  Idaho Press-Tribune

Vote creates new pressure for Ga. lobbying cap
Limits on lobbyist spending vary widely by state, but the majority impose some restrictions on gifts, whether an outright ban in New York or a $10 annual cap in Arizona, according to a survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Macon Telegraph

Internet sales tax proposals gaining 'likes' among lawmakers
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently joined a growing number of Republican governors who support efforts to collect taxes on Internet purchases. A nationwide organization of state lawmakers, the National Conference of State Legislatures, came out in favor of the idea last week.  Omaha World-Herald

Fact Check: Despite email warning, straight-ticket voting isn't even allowed everywhere
Some Democrats in Georgia advocate reinstating it because, since it was abolished, several studies have shown losses for Democrats, particularly among African-American voters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Florida Times-Union

A likely reprieve for the federal food stamp program
Either version would eliminate benefits for millions of people, and the prospect has prompted wide-ranging complaints. AARP has railed against the cuts; the National Conference of State Legislatures has looked to blunt their impact.  The Statehouse File

Few Maine lawmakers attending national meeting
There are scores of policy sessions on a wide range of issues that all states are facing throughout the week. Rep. Andre Cushing, the House Assistant Majority Leader, says those meetings have helped him in the past understand how other states have tackled issues, and he expects this week’s sessions will also be helpful.  WGAN News

Group facilitates effective government
In addition to ALEC, the Iowa Legislature is also a member of the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Opinion in the Gazette

Aug. 3

Ruling due on Pennsylvania voter-ID law
Thirty states have laws in place that will require voters to show an ID before voting in November, up from 24 states four years ago, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wall Street Journal

Checking in on the Amazon tax battle
A prominent University of Tennessee study figures that the e-commerce loss to state and local coffers is, at a minimum, $11.4 billion for 2012. The National Conference of State Legislatures recently pegged the cost at $23 billion in new revenue each year.  Governing

Golden rush could be tax free
The National Conference of State Legislatures said most states follow the feds’ lead in calculating taxable income, and a tax expert for the organization said she could find no indication any state has an Olympic exemption.  Boston Herald

No one will say the 'T' word, but Internet sales tax is all but inevitable
The National Conference of State Legislatures says states stand to gain $23 billion in new revenue when online sales tax collection kicks in. That's $23 billion the states weren't collecting before, and $23 billion you weren't paying before. Texas and New York residents will pay about $1.8 billion more; Californians, $4.2 billion.  NBC News (blog)

Detroit schools fight sexting with plan to search student cell phones
Furthermore, at least 21 states introduced bills or resolutions aimed at curbing sexting last year, including legislation that passed in states such as New York and Texas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Yahoo! News

Is it time for a part-time Legislature?
Their Aug. 7 GOP primary challengers, meanwhile, said the state still needs a "part-time" Legislature — a term defined differently across the country, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.  Opinion in the Livingston Daily

Utah begins to drug test welfare applicants
At least 28 states considered laws to drug test welfare applicants this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2011, at least three dozen considered such laws, according to the NCSL.  Cache Valley Daily/AP

Internet sales tax is a matter of fairness
The Streamlined Sales Tax effort, launched by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, signed up about 1,400 companies. But the voluntary effort has collected a small fraction of what is owed to the states.  Opinion in the Zanesville Times Recorder·

E-reader generation gets a kick out of hunt for rare, unusual volumes
For decades, Lanny Proffer of Denver has collected WPA Guides to the states, created by the government's Federal Writers' Project to support writers during the Great Depression. This was triggered by his career in state governments, including the Council of State Governments and National Conference of State Legislatures.  Denver Post

A likely reprieve for food stamp program
Either version would eliminate benefits for millions of people, and the prospect has prompted wide-ranging complaints. AARP has railed against the cuts; the National Conference of State Legislatures has looked to blunt their impact.  Coeur d'Alene Press

Everything you've ever wanted to know about voter ID laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful breakdown of states' voter ID laws and how they vary.  Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Pennsylvania have the toughest versions. These states won't allow voters to cast a regular ballot without first showing valid photo ID. Other states with photo ID laws offer some more flexibility by providing voters with several alternatives.  East BayExpress

How bloated public pensions sank California’s bankrupt cities
The average retirement benefit for all public employees nationally is US$22,600, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Financial Post

Unfair tax advantage for online retailers in jeopardy
The online sales tax loophole is costing states around the nation $23 billion in tax revenue this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Opinion in the Oakland Press

Aug. 2

State legislatures anticipate high turnover of staffs
The NCSL's Brian Weberg says a "modernization movement" in the 1980s and 1990s built more professional, independent legislative staffs "so they didn't have to rely on lobbyists and the executive branch." Retirements and criticism about public service could diminish expertise and institutional memory in statehouses, he says.  "We should all be concerned about attracting talent to our public institutions," Weberg says. "When we make government into something we discuss in negative terms all the time, that can't help. We should want the best and brightest to help with our governance."  USA Today

Amazon splits with peers in pushing online sales taxes
Enzi submitted letters of support from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Utah begins to drug test welfare applicants
At least 28 states considered laws to drug test welfare applicants this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2011, at least three dozen considered such laws, according to the NCSL.  Daily Herald/AP

Online tax, Peregrine, Whitman founder trial: compliance
The National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors support the bill.  Bloomberg Businessweek

West Virginia retailer urges Congress to level the playing field
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, West Virginia will lose an estimated $103 million in revenue 2012 from being prohibited from collecting sales tax from online and catalog purchases.  National Retail Federation

Missouri Supreme Court strikes down malpractice cap
Before yesterday's ruling, Missouri was one of roughly 2 dozen states with laws that cap noneconomic damages in malpractice suits at various levels, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Medscape Today

Does my participation in NCSL help those I serve?
Each time I attend an NCSL meeting, and often when I review newsletters and issue briefings or participate in webinars, I gain information from other states that helps me to be a better legislator as well as ideas about legislation that I might sponsor here in Massachusetts. I try to put those lessons learned to use in drafting or improving the bills that I sponsor.  Opinion in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

No taxation without representation, except on the internet
The National Conference of State Legislatures itself has pointed out in a letter to Senators, “in 2012, states will collectively lose an estimated $23.3 billion in uncollected sales taxes from out-of-state sales.”  Opinion in National Review Online

Sheila Raye to to sing fathers famous refrain at National Legislative Summit- Chicago
International acoustic jazz artist, and recently ordained Evangelist, Sheila Raye Charles daughter of legendary Ray Charles, is the guest of honor at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago, Illinois beginning August 6, 2012.  PR Log

Aug. 1

Most Calif. for-profit colleges lose state grants
Brenda Bautsch, who tracks higher education policy at NCSL, said states are becoming more aware of where their limited financial aid dollars are going, particularly money that can be funneled to for-profit schools.  “States are now looking and saying, ‘We don’t want our students using their financial aid at institutions where they’re going to end up not getting a quality degree and ending up in huge loan debt,”’ Bautsch said.  Bloomberg Businessweek/AP

Haslam administration collecting input on state's needs for health care
The selected benchmark EHB plan would serve as a reference plan, reflecting both the scope of services and any limits offered by a "typical employer plan" in Tennessee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Kingsport Times News

Is there racial bias in “stand your ground” laws?
At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.”  PBS Frontline

For-profit colleges called into question by Senate report
According to AASCU, which compiled information from the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 37 bills in 17 states were introduced during the 2011-2012 legislative session to strengthen state regulations of for-profit colleges.  Governing

Police chief’s $204,000 pension shows how cities crashed
Among California’s municipal police and fire workers, the average retirement age is 54 after 25 years of service with a monthly pension of $7,059 a month, or $84,708 a year, Norris said. The average retirement benefit for all public employees nationally is $22,600, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

Consumers seek access to full range of health professionals
So far this year, state legislators have considered more than 800 bills that would affect healthcare professionals’ scope of practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  PRLog

An ulterior agenda
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have now passed photo ID laws, and bills are pending in 11 more.  Opinion in Hutchinson News

Transparency missing in Arizona's legislature
Other states have versions of strike-everything amendments, said Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, but many require the new language to be germane to the original bill and may not allow a title change.  iWatch News
 

 

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