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NCSL in the News August 2014

NCSL in the News | August 2014

7/30/2014

Aug. 29

State's trafficking legislation lauded at national conference
Sea Coast Online
State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said he found it "very gratifying" when a panel on human trafficking at the National Conference of State Legislatures last week "gave a shout-out to our Legislature" for its work on that issue.
 
Chattanooga's high-speed broadband brings high-stakes battle over EPB expansion
Time Free Press
The National Conference of State Legislators, which represents the state legislatures of all 50 states, argues that petitions filed jointly by EPB and the city of Wilson, N.C. run afoul of the Supreme Court rulings which have held that in the absence of clear Congressional intent to preempt state law, "there is a presumption against preemption," and that the petition "threatens our federalist system of government.
 
Few laws govern children at shooting ranges
KLAS - Nevada
Waldron, the legislative director of the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association, and Workman, senior editor at thegunmag.com and a spokesman for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said they were unaware of any states restricting the ages of children at gun ranges. The National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation on myriad issues, said it did not immediately have any data on the topic.
 
New Security Measures At State Capitol Complex
CT News
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, there are metal detectors installed at 23 state Capitols, including those in New York and Massachusetts. Some state Capitols screen all visitors with the metal detectors, while some — like California — exempt state employees and legislators.

Aug. 28

State Democrats Play Defense Ahead Of Midterm Elections
NPR
"By all rights, the Democrats are on defense in a midterm election when their guy's in the White House," says Tim Storey, who tracks elections for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. "So we know going into this election cycle that the Democrats are fighting against the wind, and the Republicans have the tailwind," Storey says.
 
Gronstal to head national lawmakers' group in 2016
Des Moines Register
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, is in line to become president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2016.
 
“I like my girls chubby,” a male Senator told Kirsten Gillibrand. Yes, really.
Washington Post
Yes, there are more women in Congress than ever before, but there are still far fewer women than men serving. There are 20 women in the Senate, and 79 women in the House. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women make up only 24.2 percent of all state legislators. A 2013 article from the Texas Observer highlights how this is a problem for women legislators across the country. The reporter tells of the stories women politicians told her.
 
State Budgeting With an Eye on Results
Stateline
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), performance-based budgeting relies on accountability, “not merely compliance with the law and previous funding decisions.”  A performance-based budget, the NCSL says, sets real measures for determining success, and looks for similarities between agencies seeking similar outcomes. It also rewards achievement and can impose sanctions for poor performance.
 
Medical cannabis committee focuses proposal
The Telegraph
There are comprehensive models to study in 23 states plus the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ count. That is, states where some authorized people can grow cannabis, process it and provide it to patients.
 
State commission has a week to get amendments on ballot
The Anniston Star
Alabama's new Fair Ballot Commission has one week to render five state constitutional amendments —  thousands of words of legalese —  into unbiased language most Alabama voters can understand. "It takes at least a master's degree to read some of our amendments," said Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Bay Minette, citing a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. "There just aren't that many people in Alabama with master's degrees."
 
Wolf hunt vote by Legislature latest to avoid referendum by citizens
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
The states across the nation have a mishmash of laws regarding citizen initiatives, referendums and constitutional amendments. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states have initiative process and nine of those states, including Michigan, have provisions that the Legislature can act on initiatives turned in by citizens. The other states have those petitions go directly to the ballot.

Aug. 27

Fracking Taxes Help States Now, But What About The Future?
Forbes
As bad as the federal budget picture looked during the Great Recession, the fiscal climate in the states was worse. The federal government used stimulus spending to prevent many states from having to make sharp cuts in services because of steep declines in sales, income, and corporate tax revenues. However, the state fiscal picture is looking much better. For the third year in a row, state tax revenues increased, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. While things might be looking up for states, there are causes for concern because much of the increase in some states is driven by energy taxation, related to a boom in the fracking industry that won’t last forever.
 
Millennial PAC tries to inject youth, diversity into graying legislatures
MSNBC
Launch Progress will have an uphill climb. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 3.8% of the 7,382 legislative seats across the country are held by people between the ages of 20 and 34. If you’re looking at state lawmakers under the age of 30, the percentage drops to 1%. The average age of a state legislator nationwide is 56 years old.
 
Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek honored with Exemplary Service Award
Insight News
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids – a national nonpartisan anti-crime organization of 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors – honor Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek with Fight Crime's Exemplary Service Award last week during the Early Learning Fellows National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 2014 Annual Summit, in Minneapolis.
 
Fighting financial scams aimed at seniors
Valdosta Daily Times/Stateline
Heather Morton, a legislative analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said financial scams aimed at seniors are “a significant topic for (state) legislators who are looking for ways they can help their constituents.”
 
State Rep Angela Williams elected to NCSL slot
North Denver News
Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) has been elected to the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the only nationwide organization focused on supporting, connecting and strengthening state legislatures.
 
Louisville representative to file bill making venture crowdfunding possible in Kentucky
Kentucky Forward
With the goal of making it easier for Kentuckians to invest in new or growing businesses across the state, state Rep. Steve Riggs said he will file legislation that would bring crowdfunding to the commonwealth. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states have legalized equity crowdfunding since 2011, and legislatures in a more than a half-dozen others have considered similar bills.
 
Wolf hunt vote by Legislature latest to avoid referendum by citizens
Detroit Free Press
The states across the nation have a mishmash of laws regarding citizen initiatives, referendums and constitutional amendments. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states have initiative process and nine of those states, including Michigan, have provisions that the Legislature can act on initiatives turned in by citizens. The other states have those petitions go directly to the ballot.
 
Fiscal Recovery Buoys K-12 Budgets as School Year Opens
Education Weekly
By contrast, state education employment opportunities are faring better. An analysis from Dan Thatcher, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, in Denver, found that job growth for state education positions—roughly 2 percent during the first quarter of 2014— virtually matched the growth rate in private-sector education jobs during the same period.

Aug. 26

More Texas Schools Allow Armed Employee 
Wall Street Journal
Texas is among at least eight states that have passed laws since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., allowing school employees to carry guns on campus, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. At least 78 of Texas' 1,024 districts have reported adopting a "school guardian" plan in which designated staff are authorized to carry a gun, up from one district before Sandy Hook, according to the Texas Association of School Boards.
 
Why Is Florida Ending Remedial Education for College Students?
National Journal
A National Conference of State Legislatures analysis of student enrollment and graduation studies found that anywhere from 28 percent to 40 percent of first-time college students enroll in at least one remedial-education course. And remedial-education participation rates are disproportionately high among the fast-growing parts of the college-going population and future workforce—older students, low-income individuals, and black and Latino enrollees.
 
All Policy is Local: State superintendent races and education
Politico – NCSL Info Cited
And now, on to three key ballot initiatives. (Speaking of, here's a handy tool from the National Conference of State Legislatures to help you keep track of other election-related items up for a vote in November: http://bit.ly/1kD5nTz.)
 
Sen. Debbie Smith Named President of National Association of State Lawmakers
KTVN – Nevada
A high-ranking Democratic state senator from Sparks has been named president of a national association of state lawmakers. Officials with the National Conference of State Legislatures announced that Debbie Smith was elected to head the group, which represents more than 7,000 state lawmakers and 20,000 legislative staff members.
 
Not enough women are seeking political office
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Last week, Minnesota hosted the National Conference of State Legislatures summit, where men were the overwhelming majority in attendance. For the last 20 years, women’s representation in the state legislatures has hovered around 23 percent. We must try something different.
 
Utah State Legislative Website Wins Online Democracy Award
Market Watch
Today, Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser received the Online Democracy Award on behalf of the Utah Legislature. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recognized the Utah legislative website, le.utah.gov, as Best in the Nation. The Online Democracy award is given each year to a legislature, legislative chamber or caucus whose website helps promote democracy in an exceptional way with user-friendly websites.
 
With No Federal Fix, States Are Addressing Immigration on Their Own
Governing/Stateline
With Congress at a standstill on immigration issues, states have pursued their own solutions, with some offering in-state tuition and financial aid to unauthorized students and others approving more spending to enforce immigration laws. "While Congress cannot seem to take action on immigration issues, states remain engaged in debating and solving immigration challenges, whether we are discussing services or enforcement," state Sen. John Watkins, a Virginia Republican and co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures' immigration task force, said in releasing an immigration report during NCSL's annual meeting last week.
 
After Deadline: North Dakota dreaming
Post Bulletin – North Dakota
Last week, Rochester GOP Sen. Dave Senjem posted a photo of himself on Facebook posing with Target's mascot dog "Bullseye" at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aug. 25

Obama College Ratings Drive Wedge as State Schools Show Support
Bloomberg News
More than half of the 50 states have already adopted or are exploring tying higher-education funding to similar performance benchmarks, rather than distributing aid based on enrollment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas, 6 other states may lose ability to tax Internet access
Dallas Morning News
In 2012, the loophole cost states more than $23 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Nevada lawmaker to head national group
Nevada Review Journal
Nevada State Sen. Debbie Smith,D-Sparks has been named president of the National Conference of State Legislatures during the organization's annual legislative summit. Smith will serve as 42nd president of the NCSL, succeeding Oregon state Sen. Bruce Starr,R-Hillsboro, who held the position since August 2013. Smith became the first Nevada legislator to serve as an officer on NCSL's 60 member executive committee when she was elected vice president of the organization in 2012. In that same year she was elected to the Nevada State Senate.
 
Sen. Bramble becomes president-elect of national group
Salt Lake City Tribune
Utah Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, was elevated Friday to president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures, setting him up to become the president next year. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that acts as a policy clearinghouse and research center, sharing information with 7,383 state lawmakers nationwide and their 20,000 staff members.

Aug. 22

States Fill Federal Vacuum on Immigrants
Stateline
With Congress gridlocked on immigration issues, states have pursued their own solutions, with some offering in-state tuition and financial aid to unauthorized students and others approving more spending to enforce immigration laws. "While Congress cannot seem to take action on immigration issues, states remain engaged in debating and solving immigration challenges, whether we are discussing services or enforcement," state Sen. John Watkins, a Virginia Republican and co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures' immigration task force, said in releasing a new immigration report during NCSL's annual summit here this week.
 
Lawmakers from around the country to bicycle around Minneapolis Friday
Minneapolis Post
A 10-mile bipartisan bicycle ride is planned for early Friday morning in Minneapolis. Hitting the paths will be about 150 people attending the National Conference of State Legislatures' summit.
 
States Clear Way for Crowdfunding
Government Technology
The Indiana law is about "expanding investment choice" for people who ordinarily wouldn't be able to put money into a private offering, said Carol Mihalik, the state's securities commissioner, who joined Holdman to speak about crowdfunding at a panel this week at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in Minneapolis.
 
Utah Legislature Takes Home Top Website Award
Utah Policy
The Utah Legislature wins the 2014 Online Democracy Award at the National Conference of State Legislatures' 2014 Legislative Summit in Minneapolis. 
 
360 Advanced analysis shows firms to be punished for breaches under new laws being considered by states and Congress
Business Journal - Floriday
In its analysis of data assembled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (www.ncsl.org) and www.govtrack.us, 360 Advanced concluded that with ever-increasing numbers of data breaches, lawmakers are determined to hold accountable firms managing personal information.
 
NC judge: Private school vouchers unconstitutional
AP
At least a dozen states and the District of Columbia provide state-funded school vouchers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
N.C. school voucher ruling not expected to affect S.C.'s program
The Post and Courier - South Carolina
At least a dozen states and the District of Columbia provide state-funded school vouchers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina's program was funded with $10 million, and its State Educational Assistance Authority planned to distribute the first $728,000 in tuition money to schools for 363 students this week. None of that money was given out, said the agency's grants director Elizabeth McDuffie.
 
FCC and states, Democrats and Republicans, butt heads over municipal broadband regulations
Consumer Affairs 
Matthew Berry, chief of staff to FCC Republican Ajit Pai, gave an Aug. 20 speech before the National Conference of State Legislatures in which he said that states should have the right to ban public municipal broadband, and also warned the current Democratic-led Congress and FCC against imposing partisan policies likely to be overturned by future Republican-led ones (or, depending on how you'd interpret it, a warning for one party not to use power in ways it wouldn't like once the other party gets into power):
 
California Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Mug Shot Shakedowns
Employment Screening Resources - California
At least seven states in addition to California – Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming – have passed laws restricting the practice of charging a fee to remove a mug shot. More information is available on the Mug Shots and Booking Photo Websites Page on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website.

Aug. 21

Sex Trafficking Among Topics Discussed at Nat'l Legislative Summit in Minn.
WDIO - Minnesota
It’s the 40th Annual Legislative Summit held by the National Conference of State Legislatures. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was among the 2,000 lawmakers attending the summit. She spoke about the need to stop human trafficking in America, along with Cindy McCain.

States Clear Way for Crowdfunding 
Stateline
The Indiana law is about “expanding investment choice” for people who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to put money into a private offering, said Carol Mihalik, the state’s securities commissioner, who joined Holdman to speak about crowdfunding at a panel this week at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit in Minneapolis.

Klobuchar, Cindy McCain fight human trafficking
KARE 11 - Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS -- Some of the most in influential decision makers in America have converged on the Minneapolis Convention Center this week for the National Conference of State Legislatures annual convention.

Fracking fight advances in North Carolina
Washington Post (National Conference ON State Legislatures-link)
Natural gas has become a crucial revenue source in dozens of states nationwide, many that faced dried-up budgets in the aftermath of the recession. At least 32 states had plans to increase production in 2012, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Report Shows Majority Of States Falling Short On Policies To Fight And Prevent Cancer
The Street
How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, was released at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN. The annual report finds that 40 states have reached benchmarks in only four or fewer of the 12 legislative priority areas measured by ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Only nine states and the District of Columbia met between five and eight of the benchmarks. Just one state, Massachusetts, met the benchmarks in nine or more of the 12 policies measured by the report.

HRC Awards New Hampshire Legislator as a Legislative Leader for Statewide LGBT Equality
Human Rights Campaign
This morning, HRC had the honor of hosting a reception at the 2014 National Conference of State Legislators Summit to award Terie Norelli, Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the Rainbow Award for Legislative Leader for Statewide LGBT Equality.  

FCC Republican wants to let states block municipal broadband
ARS Technica - California
Matthew Berry, chief of staff to Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, argued today that the FCC has no authority to invalidate state laws governing local broadband networks. In a speech in front of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Berry endorsed states' rights when it comes to either banning municipal broadband networks or preventing their growth. He also argued that the current commission, with its Democratic majority, should not do something that future Republican-led commissions might disagree with.

Bill criminalizing "revenge porn" signed into law
Dover Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 other states have acted to criminalize revenge porn so far this year.

New VA policy on same-sex marriage benefits triggers lawsuit
Stars and Stripes - D.C.
In 19 states and the District of Columbia, same-sex marriage is legal. There are 31 states and two U.S. territories that ban with same-sex marriages, though in 13 states, there are active legal challenges, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.

Lawmakers Wade Into Fight Over FCC Chair’s Potential Plan To Overturn Bans On Municipal Broadband
Consumerist 
The FCC itself is also far from unified. Today, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the chief of staff to FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said today that any attempt by the FCC to intervene in states’ laws would be unconstitutional, and chided Wheeler for even daring to think of it. The NCSL has promised to take the FCC to court if the commission does try to preempt any state laws.

Federal law will help veterans earn education
Charleston Daily Mail - West Virginia
That’s a problem many veterans are facing. Because of military assignments, many don’t live in the same place long enough to meet the one-year residency requirements established by most colleges and universities. At least 32 states have passed laws offering veterans in-state tuition, according to The National Conference of State Legislatures. But those policies vary from state to state. Some require veterans to establish residency, some only cover honorably or medically discharged veterans and some require veterans to live within the state throughout their enrollment in college.

Aug. 20

Thousands of state legislators from around U.S. in Minneapolis
StarTribune - Minneapolis
The National Conference of State Legislatures kicked off its 40th annual "Legislative Summit" on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It's by far the largest nationwide organization representing state lawmakers from all 50 states. 
 
No love for No Child Left Behind
StarTribune - Minneapolis
If the keynote message chosen for the annual summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Minneapolis this week is the indicator I think it is, there's no love lost in the nation's state capitols for the 13-year-old federal school reform initiative called No Child Left Behind.
 
Policy Summit Draws Thousands To Twin Cities
Twin Cities Business - Minneapolis
Thousands of state legislators, government officials, business representatives and others from around the country entrenched in public policy are converging in the Twin Cities this week for the National Conference of State Legislatures' 40th annual summit.
 
Veterans to Get In-State Tuition in Any State
Governing (Stateline) - New York
Suzanne Hultin, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said at least 32 states already offer veterans resident tuition rates. Many states have adopted legislation in recent years.  In some states, such as Alaska and Georgia, public university systems have created such policies.
 
Loud Attacks Aside, Common Core Survives in Most States
NBC New York
Groups opposing the Common Core have sprung up across the country from Arkansas to Utah, and both of the country's national teachers unions have qualified their initial support. The unions object to how the standards are being put into practice and how teachers are being evaluated against a change in the classroom before they have had time to prepare. Seventy bills have been introduced that would slow or halt the standards' implementation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Victims advocate renews push for DNA law in Minn.
KARE 11 - Minneapolis
Sepich and Walker will be meeting with lawmakers from around the United States in the coming days, because DNA Saves has a booth at the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
 
County Fare: Adams school needs helpers for "Plunkett Mega Park"
The Berkshire Eagle - Maryland
"The National Conference of State Legislators was quick to see the value in linking the idea of public service to the iconic Norman Rockwell and picked up the story," Klefos said.
 
Bill criminalizing "revenge porn" signed into law
Dover Post
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 other states have acted to criminalize revenge porn so far this year.
 
Lou Cannon: Congress Fails Immigrants — and the States in Which They Live
Noozhawk - California
 "To have all these children who need help and do nothing is really beyond the pale," said Ann Morse, program director for the Immigration Project for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

KATRINA SHEALY: NOT BACKING DOWN
FITSNews 
Shealy is currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota attending the National Conference of State Legislatures' child welfare forum – trying to get as much information as possible to "bring back to the table" to address problems in South Carolina.

Aug. 19

Parties clash over changes to Connecticut’s election law
Washington Post
The issue of voter fraud has grabbed attention in state legislatures across the country. Lawmakers in at least 24 states have considered voter ID laws in 2014 alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nearly a dozen states now mandate a photo ID to vote and about 20 states, including Connecticut, ask for some form of identification.

Salute to a legislature builder
Star Tribune - Minneapolis
Bill Kelly, a former Minnesota House tax committee chair who also served a stint as an NCSL staffer, says Sabo is too modest. He says Sabo brought several crucial ideas to Minnesota from NCSL and one of its predecessor organizations, the National Conference of Legislatures, which Sabo also chaired. One was insisting that House Research be nonpartisan, and therefore credible regardless of which party was in control. Another: giving the House minority the chance to appoint their own members to standing committees, allowing them more opportunity to develop expertise and shape legislation.

Cindy McCain will meet with metro prosecutors on sex-trafficking efforts
MinnPost - Minneapolis
McCain is coming to the Twin Cities for a speech Wednesday to delegates attending the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States Fight Financial Scams Aimed at Seniors
Governing - New York
Heather Morton, a legislative analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said financial scams aimed at seniors are “a significant topic for (state) legislators who are looking for ways they can help their constituents.”

South Africa: Eastern Cape Legislature Attending U.S. Summit
All Africa - Pretoria
Pretoria — Four members of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature are attending a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) summit in the United States.

17 New Laws In 12 States Help Govern Educational Technology
Business Solutions 
Law makers are recognizing the need to create legislation to help navigate through the technological landscape. Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures reveals the new education technology policies that were passed into law in 2014.

COLUMN: What I learned about legal marijuana in Denver
Delaware County News Network - Pennsylvania (NCSLegislatOrs)
We packed as much information-gathering as we could into our three days. We toured two facilities where the marijuana is grown, one lab where it is processed, one where it is tested for potency and impurities and two dispensaries, which are essentially marijuana stores. We then visited the headquarters of the National Conference of State Legislators to discuss trends in legislation.

The Benefits of Aging in Place
Kiplinger - Washington, D.C.
This particular fantasy puts me in good company. Almost 90% of people over 65 want to live in their home and community as long as possible, according to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures. A whopping 80% believe they will stay in their home until they die. For some, friends and a familiar setting are the main draw, and for others, it's an emotional attachment to the house, says Jeffrey Lubell, of the Center for Housing Policy. "This is their home, and you're going to have to pry them out with a can opener."

Aug. 18

Minnesota lawmakers to talk policy, take in Twin Cities at national summit
Pioneer Press
"NCSL was very impressed with the city of Minneapolis, its robust airport and transportation infrastructure, the outstanding convention center and the fine hospitality," Mick Bullock, the organization's public-affairs director, said in an email. "Your state legislative leadership also did a great job in promoting the state as a premier location to host our 40th anniversary summit."

How Immigrants Without Legal Status Can Pay for College
U.S. News and World Report
Eighteen states, including Colorado, Maryland and Oregon, allow teens without legal status to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, provided they meet certain requirements. Students living in California, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota and Washington are also eligible for state-based financial aid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

High Ideals and Partisan Politics Mix In Amendment Issue
CT Now - Connecticut
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and the District of Columbia now allow early voting in some form, such as opening the polls on the Saturday before Election Day. Such early voting options offer people who find it tough to get away from their jobs on a Tuesday (primarily hourly wage earners, Paulson points out) a more convenient way to vote.

End of tax credit in North Carolina could send filmmakers packing
Reuters
As of March, 39 states had some sort of film tax incentive in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, creating fierce competition for the jobs and prestige that come with landing major films and TV series.

Questions abound on ballots for November
Daily Chronicle - Illinois
Ten states are set to surpass Illinois over the next several years, either by legislative action or through automatic inflationary increases, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data.

High Ideals and Partisan Politics Mix In Amendment Issue
The Courant - Connecticut 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states and the District of Columbia now allow early voting in some form, such as opening the polls on the Saturday before Election Day. Such early voting options offer people who find it tough to get away from their jobs on a Tuesday (primarily hourly wage earners, Paulson points out) a more convenient way to vote.

U.S. Coast Guard intercepts 900 lbs. of marijuana
Click Orlando - Florida
PHOTO CREDIT MENTION: Marijuana shops in Washington are opening their doors to all customers on Tuesday, making it the second state in the nation to legalize marijuana sales to recreational users. Take a look at which states allow recreational and medical marijuana use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aug. 15

Shrinking revenue spurs gas tax alternative
USA Today
Since the federal gas tax was last increased to 18.4 cents per gallon in 1993, inflation has eroded its value by 40 percent, according to Ben Husch of the National Conference of State Legislatures. States that tax by the gallon have fared no better, leading many to look at models like Oregon's.
 
Minnesota GOP Gov. Candidate Says Minimum Wage Earners Should Aspire To A Career
Huffington Post
In total, ten states and the District of Columbia have enacted minimum wage increases during the 2014 legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Jeb Bush Opposes Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative
Huffington Post
A total of 23 states and the District of Columbia have state-legalized medical marijuana and cannabis programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
So much at stake, so few Texans who vote
My San Antonio
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls.
 
Marijuana laws across the U.S.
Newsday - New York
Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin all have laws that allow limited access to marijuana products, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Are voter ID laws targeting youth?
United States Press International
Currently, 31 of the 50 states have laws requiring voters to show ID when they vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
West Virginia Among States Considering Digital Asset Laws
Government Technology - California
"This is one of those issues where the law has not kept up with these new technologies and accounts that have been created," Pam Greenberg, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Pew. "I'm sure we'll see additional legislation in this area."
 
Albemarle School Board mulling video on sexual abuse prevention
The Daily Progress - Virginia
Laws mandating sexual assault prevention education in schools and related teacher training have passed in more than a dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Eye on Augusta: New Drug-Testing Rule Change Escalates the Wars on Drugs and the Poor
The Free Press - Maine
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), in 2011 at least 36 states introduced bills that would require drug screening for applicants seeking public assistance, and 18 states introduced similar measures in 2014
 
Utah lobbyists told to wear tags
Arkansas Online
Fourteen other states require lobbyists to wear badges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. About half a dozen other states offer lobbyist badges but don't require them to be displayed.

Aug. 14

Even though members of both parties oppose this Oregon ballot measure, it's raised more than $1 million
Washington Post
California, Louisiana and Washington have open top-two primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Oklahoma Governor Shows Support for Testing a Form of Medical Marijuana
Wall Street Journal
Still, legalizing CBD trials is growing in popularity, allowing states to respond to demand from some constituents without passing comprehensive medical marijuana laws, said Karmen Hanson, medical marijuana policy expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Pottsville Area hikes breakfast, lunch prices
Republican Herald
While the law increased the school lunch and school breakfast per meal reimbursement, schools were required to meet the new nutrition standards in order to receive the meal increase. And schools were encouraged to gradually increase paid lunch charges so revenue generated from paid lunches was equal to the amount reimbursed by the federal government at the federal free reimbursement level, according to Curran and the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
W.Va. among states considering digital asset laws
Charleston Daily Mail - North Carolina
 "This is one of those issues where the law has not kept up with these new technologies and accounts that have been created," Pam Greenberg, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Pew. "I'm sure we'll see additional legislation in this area."
 
Mike Ross, Asa Hutchinson Spar Over Tuition for Veterans
Arkansas Business
Ross said veterans already enjoy protection under a recent act of Congress signed by President Barack Obama last week. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act opens in-state tuition to veterans and their dependents. Earlier tuition programs did not cover the difference in tuition costs between in-state and out-of-state students, Ross said, citing information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aug. 13

City, state and federal governments are fighting over Chattanooga's effort to bring broadband to rural consumers
Washington Post
A quiet battle between telecom giants and a small electric utility over broadband access is blossoming into a national fight over state and municipal rights as rural residents of southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia clamor for some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world. It's not just Republican groups that oppose the FCC's move: The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, wrote to Wheeler expressing their outrage.
 
Ross, Hutchinson spar over tuition for veterans
Courier News (Assoc. Press) - Arkansas
Ross said veterans already enjoy protection under a recent act of Congress signed by President Barack Obama last week. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act opens in-state tuition to veterans and their dependents. Earlier tuition programs did not cover the difference in tuition costs between in-state and out-of-state students, Ross said, citing information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Mead Park snack shack lamps ripped off
NCAdvertiser.com - Connecticut 
"Increased incidents of metal theft in recent years have provoked states, utilities, local police forces and industry to act by regulating metal sales, increasing requirements for licensed dealers and increasing penalties for illegal activity," reads the National Conference of State Legislators' 2013 legislative update on metal theft.
 
Lawmakers know best? Michigan Senate, not public, expected to vote on wolf hunt initiative
MLive.com - Michigan
Michigan is one of eight states with an indirect initiative process allowing citizens to send a bill to lawmakers for consideration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ross, Hutchinson spar over tuition for veterans
My San Antonio - Texas
Ross said veterans already enjoy protection under a recent act of Congress signed by President Barack Obama last week. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act opens in-state tuition to veterans and their dependents. Earlier tuition programs did not cover the difference in tuition costs between in-state and out-of-state students, Ross said, citing information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aug. 12

Low-Wage Jobs Gained During Recovery Strain Wage Gap
U.S. News - D.C.
As of Aug. 1, 23 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, account to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
State rep visits veterans' group
Elk Valley Times - Tennessee
Ragan, the current state representative to the General Assembly for District 33, serves as vice chairman of House Government Operations Committee, on the House Insurance and Banking Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Agriculture and Energy Committee, as vice chairman on NCSL Nuclear Energy Working Group, The Southern States Energy Board and as chairman on the House Energy Task Force.
 
Iowa Republicans seek Senate control
Clinton Herald (AP)- Iowa
 "You cannot separate the Iowa form of redistricting from Iowa's permanent status as a battleground for both legislative chambers. That's the nature of Iowa," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aug. 11

Midterms Give Parties Chance for Sweeping Control of States
The New York Times
 "Republicans are at historic highs," said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You have to go back to the 1950s to see this kind of Republican control in terms of seats. Their biggest challenge is their past success. These are tougher chambers for them to switch and pick up seats."
 
State of Retirement: Legislators Mull Retiree Funds
workforce.com 
According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states have considered legislation this year that would create state-run individual retirement accounts for private-sector workers. A handful of other states passed laws in previous years to create task forces and study how to best deliver a publicly run retirement plan to private workers at little to no cost to taxpayers or businesses.
 
Iowa Republicans seek to seize Senate control
Sioux City Journal - Iowa
"You cannot separate the Iowa form of redistricting from Iowa's permanent status as a battleground for both legislative chambers. That's the nature of Iowa," said Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Rassmussen: Enzi avoids limelight, gets work done
Casper Star Tribune - Wyoming
For his efforts, Senator Enzi has received many honors relating to his work on public lands issues, including: the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (only the second Wyomingite to ever receive this award) and the Restoring the Balance Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures for working to restore, protect, and advance the standing of the states in our federal system. Additionally, he has an "A" rating from the NRA, an "A" rating from Gun Owners of America, serves as the chair of the Second Amendment Caucus in the United States Senate

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