Back 

NCSL in the News: December 2011

NCSL in the News: 2011

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: December 2011

Dec. 30

Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees
The move by DHS comes just before the beginning of the new year, when new immigration laws in Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia will require businesses to enroll in the federal E-Verify program to ensure employees are eligible to work in the United States, according National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

State cuts to child care force some parents, especially single moms, to consider quitting work
In the last fiscal year, combined state and federal funding for child care assistance fell by 2 percent to $12 billion, according to a 46-state analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal stimulus money gave a temporary boost to the subsidies, but nearly all that money stopped in 2011. Chicago Tribune

No more happy hour in Utah? New state laws set to ring in 2012
According to The National Conference of State Legislatures, which earlier this week issued its annual list of new laws, the legislation will cover education, drug and alcohol policy, criminal justice and human trafficking, among other areas. Fox News

Illinois may alter child support formula
Data collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver-based nonpartisan think tank, showed that 30 states and the District of Columbia have shared-parenting thresholds, but just three states plus the district had a requirement as high as 40 percent, while only North Dakota had a higher threshold. Belleville News Democrat

New laws target abortion, immigration, alcohol and animals
In all, nearly 40,000 laws were enacted in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some take effect New Year's Day. CNN

Arizona legislators renew push for guns on campus
In 2011, 18 states, including Arizona, introduced bills to allow concealed-carry weapons on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which monitors legislative trends. Two of those bills became law — one in Wisconsin and one in Mississippi. Tucson Citizen

New York leads states seeking internet lottery jackpots after U.S. ruling
Online tickets may bring much-needed revenue to states facing a collective $31.9 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bloomberg

State government regulation on rise for 2012 across US
A compilation prepared by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) highlights laws taking effect on New Year's Day in at least 21 states. Alaska Dispatch

New laws to take effect in United States
Nearly 40,000 laws were enacted in 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures said, many of which take effect New Year's Day. UPI

New laws in 2012: Immigration, abortion, alcohol
"Each state politically is different. If you look in 2011, there were more Republican legislatures than there have been in recent history," said Jon Kuhl, a spokesman for NCSL, ABC News reported. Tucson Sentinel

Breastfeeding moms stage "nurse-in" protests at Target stores
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 45 states and Washington D.C. currently have laws that allow women to breastfeed anywhere in public. CBS News

Doctors: Ban tanning beds for teenagers
Efforts to limit access to tanning beds for those under 18 have been spreading in recent years. Last year, 15 states, including Maryland, attempted to curb access, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Annapolis Capital

2012 - New year, new state laws
In 2011, about 40,000 new laws were signed that will affect how Americans vote, what students will learn in public schools and immigration policy, among other areas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. International Business Times

NATION: Several new state laws set for 2012
Some 40,000 laws were passed by legislatures meeting in all 50 states during 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many have a start date of Jan. 1, 2012. Delmarva Daily Times

Dec. 29

Several new state laws set for 2012
Some 40,000 laws were passed by legislatures meeting in all 50 states during 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and many have a start date of Jan. 1, 2012. USA Today

Arizona legislators renew push for guns on campus
In 2011, 18 states, including Arizona, introduced bills to allow concealed-carry weapons on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which monitors legislative trends. Two of those bills became law -- one in Wisconsin and one in Mississippi. Arizona Republic

For local projects, who should pay?
Ohio’s budget process is not unlike those of other states, said Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures based in Denver. Cincinnati Enquirer

New laws target abortion, immigration, alcohol and animals
In all, nearly 40,000 laws were enacted in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some take effect New Year's Day. CNN

Mothers gather in La Verne as part of national 'Nurse-In' to defend breast-feeding in public
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 45 states, including California, have laws that have specific wording to allow women to breast-feed in private or public areas. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Opinion: Capitol costs
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kansas is one of nine states with copper domes atop their capitol buildings. What have other states done to preserve their domes? Lawrence Journal World

Adventures in the Statehouse: Kansas veteran initiatives in 2011
This past summer, Kansas hosted the Task Force on Military and Veteran Affairs from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Leavenworth Times

Women stage breast-feeding protest at Target store in Ventura
In California and 44 other states including Texas, breast-feeding in any public location is legal, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ventura County Star

Feds nix S.C. voter ID law
“Voter ID has been the hottest topic of legislation in the field of elections this year,” according to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Columbia Free Times

Dec. 28

From tanning beds to immigration policies, states set to enact controversial laws
In 2010, a wave of elections swept conservatives to power across the country, and a majority of legislatures this year were Republican, says Jon Kuhl, a spokesman for NCSL. ABC News

Nanny state California: No caffeine in beer, shark fins in soup
The National Conference of State Legislatures issued Monday its annual list of laws set to take effect in 2012, and there was nothing but bad news for connoisseurs of shark-fin soup. Fox News

W.Va.'s new congressional map still under scrutiny
The Jefferson County Commission countered with figures from the redistricting that followed the 2000 Census, compiled by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Charleston Daily Mail

Legislature quality can be hard to quantify
“The work of a legislature can be affected by many factors — such as the economy, whether it is a redistricting year, if there are any major federal or state court cases, or any disasters in the state,” says Brenda Erickson, senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. MetroWest Daily News

Lawmakers want to outlaw 'have a great day' mandate
Meagan Dorsch, public affairs director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she couldn’t find any other states with similar issues, although the organization tracks laws rather than executive orders such as this. Greenville News

Several food and beer laws take effect New Year's Day, 2012
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, is out with its annual list of "New Laws to Ring in the New Year," and below are some we found that relate to our focus of news coverage. Eat Drink Explore

Dec. 27

New laws in 2012: More voter ID
Beginning on Jan. 1, new laws will take effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas requiring residents present a certified government-issued ID if they want to vote, according to a list of new 2012 laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Politico

Amazon office in Mass. could mean tax on sales
“This is major revenue for states,’’ said Neal Osten, director of the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Without a government plan to tax those sales, he said, “that loss will continue to grow, and as more people feel comfortable not paying sales taxes online, they also see it as a right not to pay online sales tax.’’ Boston Globe

New laws: No caffeine in beer, shark fins in soup
The National Conference of State Legislatures issued Monday its annual list of laws set to take effect in 2012, and there was nothing but bad news for connoisseurs of shark-fin soup. Oregon and California passed laws prohibiting the sale, trade, or distribution of the fins, which are considered a delicacy in China. Washington Times

Marion: No official transparency would mean no Nesi’s Notes
Rhode Island is the only state that does not offer archives of audio or video of floor debates on its legislative website, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. WPRI Providence

Columnist Gail Collins says Ron Paul doesn't believe in marriage licenses
We spotted this definition in an April 2011 web post by the National Conference of State Legislatures that also says nine states (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas) recognize all common-law marriages and five states (Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) recognize common-law marriages that were established before a certain date. Politifact

Investigation shows state lagging in online presence
But Massachusetts remains behind the times when compared to other states, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that all states except for Rhode Island offer live webcasts of legislative sessions, with 33 states archiving them and 35 posting live webcasts of committee hearings. MetroWest Daily News

Cheery S.C. greeting rubs pair of Democrats the wrong way
Meagan Dorsch, public affairs director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, says she couldn't find any other states with similar issues, although the organization doesn't track executive orders. Green Bay Press Gazette

Morris appointed to national energy task force
Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon) has been appointed to co-chair a national energy task force as well as re-appointed as environmental chair of a national group of lawmakers. SanJuanIslander.com

Tax-free transactions give online stores an edge, short-change local governments
"There are hundreds of millions of cuts coming to states," said Max Behlke of the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. "Congress can sign on to this ... and help states with their budgets." Santa Fe New Mexican

State senator aims to double lobby fee in California -- to 14 cents a day
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states from Alabama to Alaska charge $100 a year, compared with California's $25. Despite the influence peddling long endemic in Illinois, lobbyists there pay $300 a year and as much as $1,000 annually in Massachusetts. San Jose Mercury News

Walker's travel called into question
Groups like the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures do not track rules regarding governor's travel. Herald Times Reporter

Rising revenues for local governments
Only four states — California, New York, Missouri and Washington — are reporting such shortfalls, compared with 15 a year ago, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Peoria Journal Star (blog)

Gifts to South Carolina public officials questioned
The gifts are legal as long as there is no intent behind them to influence official action and are disclosed, according to state law. Some states are tougher in their gift restrictions, according to a review of state ethics laws by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Greenville News

Justice Dept. blocks S.C. law
South Carolina is one of eight states that have strict photo voter ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Herald

Acid drainage not just a mine issue anymore -- communities, recreation areas face emerging challenges
According to a 2008 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado has seen rising temperatures, increased rain and altered surface water flows over the last 50 years because of climate change. Environment & Energy Publishing

Dec. 23

Congress deadlock threatens jobless aid, may add state costs
The program cost the federal government about $9.5 billion this year, up from $7.8 billion last year and $4.9 billion in 2009, said Michael Reed, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislators in Washington. Bloomberg

N.C. lawmakers to discuss illegal immigration
"There's enormous frustration that Congress isn't doing their job," said Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said states probably would stay away from passing legislation like Arizona did until final courts rule on its legality. Resolution may not occur until 2013. Morganton News

Experts: States will continue to put brakes on cell phone bans
This political reality stands out: Since states began legislating distracted driving or cell phone use in 2000, none has gone so far as to impose a complete ban on mobile devices behind the wheel, and only one state -- Alaska -- has considered such a blanket prohibition, just this year, said Anne Teigen, senior policy specialist with National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Dec. 22

Hispanic community’s opinions strong on Supreme Court immigration case
By the first week of December, 42 states and Puerto Rico approved some kind of law touching on states’ rights regarding immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Opinion in the Gant Daily

NAACP mobilizes against voter ID bill
Legislation is pending in more than 30 states to require voters to show ID. Seven states, including Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Mississippi, already have laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Chicago and Illinois fake pot laws take effect
llinois joins at least 40 other states that have passed laws or written departmental rules to ban synthetic cannabinoids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. American City and County

Immigration hard-liners are eyeing a new tactic
The National Conference of State Legislators reports that state lawmakers introduced more than 1,600 bills and resolutions relating to immigration and immigrants in 2011, up from about 1,400 in 2010. Mother Jones

LeBeau hopes to renew debate on smaller legislature
But in terms of annual base salary, the $28,000 Connecticut legislators earned ranks 20th-highest according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut Mirror

Checking Up on health insurance exchanges
Last week, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released an update on how much progress states have made in setting up their exchanges. Some have thrown up their hands and said that they choose to let the federal government run their exchange. Governing

McDonnell proposes K-12 & medicaid cuts in new Va. budget; battles loom
He cited a study reported at the National Conference of State Legislators in Tampa that found Fairfax County to be underfunded in its pension programs by $30,000 per household. Falls Church News Press

How are states addressing Autism? With money, training, and more
The National Conference of State Legislatures earlier this year looked at insurance coverage for autism by state. Blog in Education Week

Class Struggle
State funding for higher education decreased by 1.5 percent in the 2009 fiscal year; without stimulus funding, that figure would have been 3.4 percent, a report from the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) estimates. Prospect

Dec. 21

Alabama Governor Bentley wants no earmarks for tax collections to boost General Fund
Surveys for eight fiscal years, spread out from 1954 to 2005, each showed Alabama earmarking at least 84 percent of its tax collections, according to a report released in 2008 by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Birmingham News

Unsolved '72 murder inspires rep to seek law
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states, including Michigan, mandate that biological evidence be retained in murders when there has been a conviction for as long as the defendant is alive or incarcerated.  Detroit Free Press

Looking past Joe Arpaio
In the absence of meaningful federal action, states have tried to fill in the gaps. In the first three months of 2011, state lawmakers floated a record 1,538 immigration-related bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  High Country News

Undocumented immigrants under siege in U.S.
In 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state lawmakers presented a total of 1,607 bills and resolutions related to immigration. As of Dec. 7, 42 states and Puerto Rico had adopted 197 laws and 109 resolutions on the topic.  Latin American Herald Tribune

Dec. 20

U.S. state, local tax revenue climbed 4.1% in third quarter
With more money flowing in, fewer states are facing budget deficits this year. Only four -- California, New York, Missouri and Washington -- are reporting such shortfalls, compared with 15 a year ago, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

NCSL report: State tax growth looking up
Fiscal 2012 marks the second consecutive year states are forecasting growth in tax revenue, according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Honolulu Civil Beat

Voting laws battle urged
Seven other states - Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin - also require government-issued photo IDs to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Jackson Clarion Ledger

Supreme Court to decide immunity for municipal contract attorneys
Geoffrey Eaton, Jacob Loshin, and John Stith of Winston & Strawn wrote the brief, which, in addition to NLC, was signed by the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National School Boards Association.  National League of Cities

Dec. 19

Georgia takes wait-and-see position on immigration
State legislators across the country introduced 1,607 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees in 2011, according to the latest report of the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC WRCB

Medicaid still poses a big challenge
Nationally, long-term care for the severely disabled and elderly consumes 67 cents of every dollar spent on Medicaid, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Delaware News Journal

Outstanding public servants earn recognition
Among the cited accomplishments: appointed to six state commissions by governors in both parties; the first Virginian selected as staff chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures; and helping lead the $104.5 million restoration of the State Capitol. Richmond Times Dispatch

Is punishment for sex crime too lenient?
According to the U.S. National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 25 states in the U.S. have enacted mandatory 25-year minimum sentences for first-time child sex crime offenders and at least 39 have enacted GPS or electronic monitoring provisions specific to sex offenders. Korea Herald

Gifts for teachers preferred if wrapped in discernment
Some states set $50 limits for gifts to public officials and employees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Connecticut's limit is $100 annually. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Civil rights groups fighting voter ID law
Seven other states -- Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin -- also require government-issued photo IDs to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hattiesburg American

Shortages of essential drugs leave hospitals scrambling
Almost all states require pharmaceutical wholesalers to be licensed but only Maine, Kentucky and Texas have price-gouging laws that specifically address pharmaceuticals, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Eagle Tribune

Recalls becoming more common in U.S.
“The use has really shot up in the last few decades but definitely this year in particular,” said Jennie Bowser, senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Topeka Capital Journal

Utah lawmaker resigning due to fundraising ban
Political donations during sessions are banned in part in at least 28 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KTAR.com

Businesses take note as cellphone ban for drivers proposed
Wisconsin would become the 10th state to prohibit all drivers from using handheld devices in the car, according to data provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of the states are along the West Coast and the Northeast. WISC Madison

States unlikely to heed NTSB call for cell ban
Alaska is considering such a move, said Anne Teigen, senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Police News

Scrap pound foolish phys-ed repeal bill
About one-third of Florida's youngsters are obese, according to a 2007 National Conference of State Legislatures statistic, and that's up a percentage point from 2005. Sun-Sentinel

Perry gets Texas state pension on top of governor's salary
Arkansas banned the practice this year and at least 10 states changed laws in 2010 dealing with government retirees who go back to work on public payrolls while collecting pension checks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. San Francisco Chronicle

Breastfeeding mom accused of indecent exposure, files charges
Additionally, according to National Conference of State Legislatures, the District of Columbia is one of many states and districts which have a law that "specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location." DigitalJournal.com

Cutting lawmakers' time and pay a mistake
A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures concluded, “[b]eing a legislator doesn't just mean attending legislative sessions and voting on proposed laws. NBC Los Angeles

New parts of Ga. immigration law to take effect
Nationwide, 17 states have or are phasing in E-Verify requirements for some combination of private and public employers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP on CanadianBusiness.com

Dec. 16

Whitney's armageddon belied by best returns of 2011: muni credit
In the last four fiscal years, states closed more than $325 billion of deficits, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. All but Vermont are required to have balanced budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg in San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: The governor's idea of shifting tax dollars to meet state government needs is worth discussing, but isn't the answer to what ails state budgets
A recent report by the National Conference of State Legislatures on high-quality state revenue systems noted that such a system "minimizes the use of tax earmarking," allowing lawmakers flexibility in setting spending priorities to meet the greatest needs. Birmingham News

California legislature may expand lending limit
The District of Columbia and 12 states ban payday loans, according to a tally in February by the National Conference of State Legislatures. SF Public Press

How does Michigan stack up on checklist for education reform?
So how to up those numbers? The College Board reports offer a "10-point action plan" developed in concert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kalamazoo Gazette

Dec. 15

Call for car-phone ban likely to meet busy signal in states
Since states began legislating distracted driving or cell phone use in 2000, none has gone so far as to impose a complete ban on mobile devices behind the wheel, and only one state -- Alaska -- has considered such a blanket prohibition, just this year, said Anne Teigen, senior policy specialist with National Conference of State Legislatures. CNN

Lawmakers push welfare aid tied to drug testing
The National Conference of State Legislatures has identified at least 27 states that are considering or have passed laws that tie drug testing to public assistance programs. Pharos-Tribune

State revenue rose as 2010 income-tax yield fell
Budget deficits of more than $500 billion have been closed by states in the past four years, the National Conference of State Legislatures said Dec. 1 in a report. Bloomberg

Study: 1 in 9 12th-graders used fake pot
At least 40 states have passed laws or implemented rules banning some chemicals related to synthetic marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The U.S. House passed a ban last week. Minneapolis Star Tribune

Synthetic pot used by 1 in 9 teens: Use not nearly as high locally, principal says
The Minnesota Legislature banned synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs this year, and at least 39 other states have passed laws or written departmental rules to ban synthetic marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Winona Daily News

Corbett gets Megan's Law fixes
That money pays for, among other things, drug treatment and task force programs and anti-gang measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek (blog)

In Wisconsin, money really is speech
Aside from Wisconsin, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that only Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Virginia do not have laws limiting contributions to political action committees and political parties. Seven other states reportedly either limit or prohibit contributions by corporations or unions to candidates, while contributions from all other sources are unlimited. International Business Times

Would a national ban on cellphones while driving make us safer? Probably not.
Nine states ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and 35 states outlaw texting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post

Dec. 14

States introduce more immigration laws, enact fewer
State lawmakers this year introduced more immigration-related bills than in 2010, but enacted fewer laws as state officials waited on the sidelines to see how court challenges to Arizona's get-tough legislation played out, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. Reuters

National lawmaker group endorses drilling in ANWR
Legislators from around the country earlier this month voted to make oil and gas development on the coastal plain of the refuge a policy directive for the group. Juneau News Tribune

Voting-Rights laws must be enforced in U.S., Holder says
Eight states enacted new voter identification requirements or tightened existing ones this year, according to Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Fewer immigrant laws passed as state enforcement challenged in high court
State lawmakers introduced more immigrant-related measures this year than ever before but succeeded in passing far fewer into law, according to a report released today by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

How Alabama banned holiday gifts for teachers
But Alabama is the only state to block gifts to teachers, according to Peggy Kerns, who directs the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures. NPR

Chicago’s ban on ’synthetic marijuana’ to begin
At least 40 states have passed laws or written departmental rules to ban synthetic marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pekin Daily Times

Opinion: Punish those overspending European leaders
Europe should be looking to Alabama for inspiration. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "The (Alabama) state constitution allows claims against appropriations to become void at the end of the fiscal year if the treasury lacks money to pay them. A treasurer who violates this provision is subject to a $5,000 fine, two years' imprisonment in the state penitentiary or both, as well as impeachment." Chicago Tribune

State legislators will square off in on-campus voter ID debate
All told, legislatures in 20 states introduced bills that would institute the ID requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota Daily

Supreme Court may put an end to anti-immigrant laws
As the National Conference of State Legislatures announced on Tuesday, this year, state lawmakers presented a total of 1,607 bills and resolutions related to immigration. Latin American Herald Tribune

Voter ID bill moves forward
Voter identification has been a hot topic in legislatures around the country this year, with bills introduced in more than 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. phillyBurbs.com

ACLU sues to block Wisconsin voter ID law
Thirty-one states now require voters to show some form of ID before voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures website. In 15 of those, including Wisconsin, the ID must include a photo of the voter. Reuters

2011: Banner year for immigration legislation in Alabama; other states
The National Conference of State Legislatures, in an immigration policy report, found that state lawmakers introduced 1,607 bills and resolutions related to immigrants and refugees in all 50 states and Puerto Rico as of Dec. 7 of this year. That's a considerable uptick from 2010, when roughly 1,400 bills and resolutions surfaced in 46 statehouses, according to NCSL. Education Week

ACLU challenges Wisconsin voter ID law
There are a more than dozen states that require voters to show some sort of identification at the polls. Eight states have "strict" photo ID laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. International Business Times

Dec. 13

States enacting immigration-related laws
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported Monday that a record number of immigration-related measures were introduced in the nation's statehouses in 2011, and a majority of states adopted new laws. Five states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — passed especially tough statutes patterned on Arizona's. All five are now being challenged in lower federal courts. USA Today

Enzi did right thing regarding sales tax
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates next year as much as $20 billion nationwide and $60 million in Wyoming will be avoided in sales tax by Internet and catalog companies. Cody Enterprise

Senator Mike Rush home from Iraq deployment
It is not uncommon for legislators serving in the military to be called to active duty. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as many as 31 members of various state legislatures have been deployed to another country during the past two years. Patch.com

First Reading: In new ad, Perry says lawmakers becoming lobbyists is ‘legal corruption’
A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Austin American-Statesman

Legislative committee backs ban on texting while driving
But while other states have been squeamish about all-out bans of hand-held cellphones, they have gotten behind the texting bans. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states have banned the practice. Orlando Sentinel

Eric Holder wades into debate over voting rights as presidential election nears
A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Washington Post

Supreme Court will rule on Arizona immigration law
Program guest: Ann Morse is program director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Public Radio: The Takeaway

Some clarity would be good
In the first six months of this year, state legislatures introduced 1,592 bills or resolutions on immigration or refugees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona Republic

Primary elections 2012: Dwindling state finances leading to date consolidation
"There has been a ton of movement of primary dates," said Jennie Bowser, a senior fellow with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who has been studying the issue. "It is unusual to see this much." Huffington Post

Pa. voter ID bill gets committee OK, with Senate changes to lengthen list of acceptable IDs
Voter identification has been a hot topic in legislatures around the country this year, with bills introduced in more than 30 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana Republic

Justices accept Arizona's appeal over controversial immigration law
In the first half of 2011, state legislatures in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have introduced a record number of bills or resolutions relating to immigrants or refugees, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Through June, states had introduced 1,592 such bills or resolutions, compared to 300 in 2005. KCEN: Temple, TX NBC

Dec. 12

Internet tax: A matter of fairness
The National Conference of State Legislatures has estimated that Mississippi and its local governments will lose more than $300 million in 2012 because such retailers do not collect the state's 7 percent sales tax. But it could be more than that, as the figure was a projection. Jackson Clarion Ledger

Civil rights groups, Democrats fight early-voting limits
Five other states — Ohio, Georgia, Maine, Tennessee and West Virginia— this year approved laws shortening early voting, according to the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures. USA Today

Gerrymandering and the high court
Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that Republicans could unilaterally draw the lines for 190 congressional districts whereas Democrats could at best do so for 70. Delaware News Journal

Women in state legislatures declining
However, the National Conference of State Legislatures recently reported that women serving in state legislatures has dropped to 23.6 percent, down almost a full percentage point from last year, and that number will drop a little further next year due to the elections last month. Delaware News Journal

Health care needs aren't easily measured
The basic assumption underlying certificate-of-need regulation is that excess capacity, namely overbuilding, results in health care price inflation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of all 50 states. Janesville Gazette

NC House committee to discuss passing illegal immigration restrictions like other states
"There's enormous frustration that Congress isn't doing their job," said Ann Morse, director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said states probably would stay away from passing legislation like Arizona did until final courts rule on its legality. Resolution may not occur until 2013. Indiana Republic

Editorial: Ohio needs to repeal term limits
In 2007, the National Conference of State Legislatures took an in-depth look at Ohio’s term limits law. Cincinnati Enquirer

Few Oklahoma legislators opt out of health-care insurance
Oklahoma has the 16th highest paid legislature in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tulsa World

Peter Blake: A better way to draw political maps
Iowa, says Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures, has had a system like no other state since 1981. Summit Daily News

Jail and impeach overspending European leaders
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “The [Alabama] state constitution allows claims against appropriations to become void at the end of the fiscal year if the treasury lacks money to pay them.  A treasurer who violates this provision is subject to a $5,000 fine, two years’ imprisonment in the state penitentiary, or both, as well as impeachment.” Human Events

Proposed constitutional amendment would shift Calif. Legislature to part-time
Only 10 states pay lawmakers as if they work 80 percent or more of a full-time job, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of those states are among the nation's most populous, including New York and Florida. Sacramento Bee

States help aging Americans stay in their homes
The National Conference of State Legislatures and the AARP Public Policy Institute has released “Aging in Place,” a report that examines how land use, transportation and housing initiatives at the state level affect quality of life for seniors and help them stay in their homes longer. It points out that seniors resorting to institutional care can lead to increased costs for states. American City & County

What Christmas gifts can Alabama teachers receive?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states have laws restricting gifts to public officials, particularly from lobbyists, but none are as broad as Alabama's. Sand Mountain Reporter

Dec. 9

States expand lucrative pensions to more jobs
The deficits led 36 states in the past two years to take cost-control steps such as requiring workers to pay more toward their pension or delaying when they can retire, said Ron Snell, a pension expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "This is unprecedented," he said.  USA Today

States' revenues at pre-recession levels: study
Because all states except Vermont have constitutional mandates to balance their budgets, they responded to falling revenues by hiking taxes and slashing spending, often in emergency sessions. After closing more than $500 billion budget gaps over four years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, they have few lifelines left.  Reuters

Despite new laws (and common sense) texting while driving is on the rise
Texas is not among those 35 states, thanks to Gov. Rick Perry. Last June, he vetoed a bill that would have banned the practice -- the first U.S. governor to do so, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Dallas Morning News

Cuomo tax increase on wealthy New Yorkers approved by lawmakers
New York is one of four states, along with California, Missouri and Washington, to report midyear budget deficits, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Give a ham, send a teacher to jail
The National Conference of State Legislatures, when asked about the state Ethics Commission’s new gift guidelines for teachers, hasn’t gone ballistic with criticism. But more than a few teachers have done just that.  Opinion in the Anniston Star

You can't drive drunk if your car won't start
Special plates aren't a widely used tactic. Here's a roundup of state special license laws, from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fox Business

The supercommittee's 'do nothing' path to success
Years ago, I worked closely with the National Conference of State Legislatures and spent time in the state capitals where the NCSL leaders were located. One of those cities was Austin, Texas, where I had the chance to enjoy the culture, the night life, the food and a wonderful publication, Texas Monthly.  Opinion in Federal Computer Week

Dec. 8

Alabama law limits students' gifts to teachers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, many states have laws restricting gifts to public officials, particularly from lobbyists, but none are as broad as Alabama's.  "I have not heard of public school teachers being specifically targeted for a prohibition of gifts and allowing ones of de minimus value," said Peggy Kerns, director of NCSL's Center for Ethics in Government.  Seattle Post Intelligencer (AP)

Federal appeals court to revisit funeral protests
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states have enacted distance requirements of at least 500 feet for funeral protesters. Of those, five have a 1,000-foot requirement. Montana's is 1,500 feet.  Lincoln Journal Star

Cuomo tax rise gets N.Y. cheapest bonds since 2009: Muni credit
New York faces a $350 million deficit in the fiscal year that began April 1, one of four states projecting mid-year gaps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  San Francisco Chronicle

Some towns will end up merely funneling money to retired workers
At the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year, states faced a collective budget deficit of $91-billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is down from a peak of $174-billion in 2010.  Opinion in the Laconia Daily Sun

Cuomo’s tax increase on wealthy New Yorkers wins approval from lawmakers
New York is one of four states, along with California, Missouri and Washington, to report midyear budget deficits, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

Senator Patrick Gallivan named to new leadership post
New York State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, who represents Erie, Ontario and Wyoming counties, has been named vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Human Services and Welfare Committee for 2011-12. Gallivan was appointed by NCSL President and President of the Kansas State Senate, Stephen Morris.  MetroWNY

Dec. 7

Cuomo would halve New York’s deficit with tax boost for wealthy
New York has projected a $3.5 billion deficit in fiscal 2013, which begins April 1, and a $350 million gap this year. It’s one of four states, along with California, Missouri and Washington, to report midyear budget deficits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Coming up empty on latest gun bill
Utah is the only state that currently permits the carrying of firearms on public college or university campuses, according to research conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Opinion in the Nashua Telegraph

The right to recall
According to the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the law in 29 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia permits recall of local officials. Maryland is not among them.  Opinion in the Frederick News Post

Montana budget looking at $426 million surplus
Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, noted the state will have $200 million more in its surplus than the 5 percent recommended by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek (AP)

The downside of ecommerce
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Internet sales tax exemption could cost states more than $23 billion in lost revenues for 2012 alone.  Opinion in The Hill

In Wisconsin, public workers head for the exits
And in the past two years, 41 states have made significant changes to at least one of their retirement plans, the National Conference of State Legislatures found.  Pioneer Press

W.Va. AFL-CIO discusses unemployment benefits
The National Conference of State Legislatures shows West Virginia's overall unemployment rate as 8.2 percent.  The Register-Herald

Dec. 6

Many workers in public sector retiring sooner
Already, the trend is apparent in places where lawmakers have made the clearest calls for decreasing workers’ benefits or increasing their contributions for health care insurance and pension plans. And in the last two years, 41 states have made significant changes to at least one of their retirement plans, the National Conference of State Legislatures found.  New York Times

Barbour backs plan to tax online, catalog sales
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that Mississippi and its local governments will lose more than $300 million in 2012 because such retailers do not collect the state's 7 percent sales tax. Consumers are supposed to pay use taxes on their state income tax returns -- but few do.  Bloomberg Businessweek (AP)

Branstad fights social promotion
Utah, Arizona and Indiana passed similar legislation in 2010 ending third-grade social promotion. Oklahoma and Tennessee followed suit in 2011, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan group that provides research and technical assistance for legislators and staffs in all 50 states.  Omaha World-Herald (AP)

Illinois eyes less money from feds in future
“For states, the name of the game is uncertainty,” said Jeff Hurley, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to all of the states’ Legislatures.  Illinois Statehouse News

Cuomo joins Brown seizing chance to tap tax-the-rich sentiment
U.S. states slashed payrolls to close $91 billion in cumulative gaps in fiscal 2012 budgets, after tax revenue was slammed by the longest recession since the Great Depression, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  San Francisco Chronicle

Bills before state house would close PA Megan's Law loopholes
States that fail to pass compliance language face getting docked 10 percent of the biggest chunk of federal criminal justice grant money that goes to state governments. That money pays for, among other things, drug treatment and task force programs and anti-gang measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Morning Call

HPD officers would patrol Capitol under plan considered by state
Fourteen states have Capitol police in charge of general security for their statehouses, while 14 states put their state police in charge, Fox said, citing information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Capitol security is in charge of security in only four states, while three states put sergeants-at-arms in charge.  Helena Independent Record

Montana budget surplus expected to be $426.7M by mid-2013
Johnson said the National Conference of State Legislatures has said an acceptable range for adequate ending fund balances is 5 percent of the total appropriations. That would be about $180 million for this biennium, he said later.  The Missoulian

Trying to tax online sales
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-profit advocacy group that represents state legislatures and their staff, projects that states will lose about $23.3 billion in sales tax revenue in 2012 as a result of the Quill Corp. ruling.  Opinion in El Paso Inc.

State Tax Notes announces its first annual awards edition
The "Organization of the Year" is the Tax Foundation. Others top organizations include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, National Conference of State Legislatures, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, and Direct Marketing Association.  MarketWatch

Dec. 5

Federal cuts will squeeze states
"These are going to be lasting budget cuts," said Jeff Hurley, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "States are going to have to think about how they're going to make adjustments, not just next year, but in five years as well. That's a unique experience for states, having to prepare that far out."  Minneapolis Star Tribune

SD official says state budget outlook improving
But South Dakota's improving state financial situation appears to be following a national trend. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in the past week that revenue in many states is growing and few states have budget gaps so far in the current financial year.  CBS News (AP)

National unemployment rate lowest in over 2.5 years
The number of unemployed persons, at 13.3 million, was down by 594,000 in November.  The National Conference of State Legislatures charts unemployment rates by month on the organization's website.  Loganville-Grayson Patch

Rogue sites legislation desperately needed
Forty-three state attorneys general, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Fraternal Order of Police have joined a coalition of over 350 companies, trade associations and professional organizations that all agree that Congress must act.  Opinion in the Daily Caller

Redistricting can determine the outcome of elections years before they're run
“Anybody that is actively engaged in our political process is going to want to pay attention to redistricting because it’s going to decide the congressional and state legislative map for the next 10 years,” said Morgan Cullen, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Patriot-News

Lottery sales rise to records as states wager for more revenue
At least 28 states have considered lottery or gaming-related bills since 2010 to close budget gaps, according to data from the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bangor Daily News

Aberdeen: Legislator named fellow
State Rep. Elaine Elliott, D-Aberdeen, has been named a fellow to a yearlong Early Learning Fellows program sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Aberdeen News

Some say the American Legislative Exchange Council influences legislation too much in Texas and U.S.
He said he approves expenses involving government organizations but not political ones. He said that ALEC and the National Conference of State Legislatures were on a list of approved organizations when he took the position and that the list hasn't changed.  Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

NH GOP leader pushing school tax credit option
Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island already have tax credit programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some allow individuals to receive a credit against state taxes. New Hampshire has no personal income tax, making that less viable.  San Antonio Express (AP)

NCSL past president Art Hamilton speaks to NBC-LEO
A groundbreaker and a leader, he was the first African American and only Arizonan to be elected President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL represents all 50 state legislatures, 4,400 state legislators and 30,000 legislative staff members in their dealings with the federal government.  Nation's Cities Weekly

Lexington resident Mike Barrett announces run for state Senate
Intensely involved in employment issues, Barrett chaired the Education and Job Training Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and served as founding member of the state’s Older Workers Task Force.  Waltham News Tribune

Hoosier Republicans have 'significant involvement' in conservative policy group
It's a contrast with another nationwide group for state lawmakers — the National Conference of State Legislatures. All 150 members of the Indiana General Assembly are members of that group, since their dues are included in the state's budget, Banks said.  Evansville Courier & Press

Dec. 2

Fewer gaps in state budgets so far: legislatures
Only four states have reported budget gaps so far in fiscal 2012, compared to the 15 that had deficits in the same period in fiscal 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures said. Reuters

Public pension Reform: State lawmakers urged to look at hybrid plans
At the annual fall forum of the National Conference of State Legislatures, pension reform advocates briefed the nation's state legislators on hybrid pension plans on Thursday, saying there is "nothing more dangerous" to state fiscal health on legislative agendas today. Huffington Post

Months after shutdown fight, Minnesota projects an $876 million surplus
“We’ve seen a lot of states that are meeting their forecast targets or hitting above them,” said Todd Haggarty, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Minnesota definitely does not stand out in that regard.” Washington Post

Web retailers must collect sales taxes
On the former, the National Conference of State Legislatures projects that states will see a combined $23 billion more in revenue next year if the act passes. Editorial in the Salinas Californian

Is Minnesota surplus a harbinger for other states' finances?
Two big reports, just within the past week, find state budget pressures to have lessened in the past year. In a report today, the National Conference of State Legislatures finds that state revenues are ‘stabilized or are growing’ across the country, with an average 1.9 percent increase in state revenue expected in 2012.” MinnPost.com

GOP proposal would limit reasons for recall elections
Nineteen states permit the recalls of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Specific grounds for recall -- such as the commission of a felony, ethics violations or incompetence -- are required in eight of those states. Battle Creek Enquirer

CA lawmakers give up state-paid cars
The National Conference of State Legislatures says California is the only state that provided vehicles to its rank-and-file lawmakers for unlimited use. AP on ABC

Minnesota shows surprise surplus
Minnesota is one sign of a strengthening economy. The National Conference of State Legislatures has published a report showing state revenues are gradually improving, with a projected 1.9-percent increase in revenue for 2012. Only four states facing mid-year budget shortfalls, compared with 15 at this time last year, the report finds. The Right Perspective

W.Va. tax revenues fall $42M short in November, but tax collections still up for budget year
November's collection figures coincide with a Thursday report from the National Conference of State Legislatures that finds state government finances slowly improving around the nation. The Republic

Plastic bag bans spreading across the United States
In 2009, Seattle residents voted down a proposed plastic bag fee and Philadelphia voters rejected a ban. But since 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports, 12 states have proposed bans on plastic bags while three have proposed taxes. Huffington Post

Horses may soon be slaughtered in U.S. for human consumption
Before the closing of horse processing facilities in the United States, the country slaughtered more than 100,000 horses a year, states the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Website. Indian Country Today Media Network

The sewers of Jefferson County
At the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year, states faced a collective budget deficit of $91 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is down from a peak of $174 billion in 2010. Economist

Dec. 1

Budget gaps open in fewer states as tax collections rebound, report shows
Fewer U.S. states have reported new budget gaps since the start of fiscal 2012 compared with a year earlier, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which cited rising tax revenue. Bloomberg

Editorial, 11/1: Time for online tax collection
Nebraska this year will lose about $118 million in sales tax revenue, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Across the country, the tax for lost revenue is an estimated $23.3 billion. Lincoln Journal Star

Students hit by voter ID restrictions
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states now require a photo ID at the polls — and several others are considering similar moves. Politico

Germantown businessman seals the deal with governments across the nation
Over the years, Huff has attended conferences of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Surprise candidate surfaces in local Democratic primary for state senate
Intensely involved in employment issues, Barrett chaired the Education and Job Training Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and served as founding member of the state’s Older Workers Task Force. Patch.com

Texas comptroller favors federal standards for sales tax collections on e-commerce
In 2012 states will forgo an estimated $23 billion in uncollected taxes from out-of-state catalog and online sales, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Combs said Texas loses "about $700-800 million a year" in sales tax revenue from online purchases. Fort Worth Star Telegram

Coalition formed to fight same-sex marriage in Maryland
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia have all legalized same-sex marriage. California is in the midst of a legal battle over same-sex marriage. Southern Maryland Online

Teaching workforce could take hit from sequestration cuts
Dan Thatcher, a policy specialist on education finance for the National Conference of State Legislatures, acknowledges that there are few places left to cut for state and local education agencies except for personnel. Governing

Amazon pushes lawmakers to close online retailers' sales tax loophole
Closing the online retailer loophole would provide states with about $18 billion in uncollected revenues, reoccurring annually, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. International Business Times

Fewer children receiving vaccines in U.S.
The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a website listing the exemptions from school immunization requirements by state. Associated Content from Yahoo!

Health care exchanges: State legislators briefed on new rules, consider path forward
Legislators are meeting in Tampa this week for the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual Fall Forum, which includes discussions among the NCSL's health care reform task force. Huffington Post

Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson announces campaign for senate district four
He is also active in a variety of organizations, including the NAACP, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Examiner

Lottery sales rise to record as cash-hungry states search for more revenue
At least 28 states have considered lottery or gaming-related bills since 2010 to close budget gaps, according to data from the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg 

 

NAVIGATE

Share this: 
NCSL Summit Resources
We are the nation's most respected bipartisan organization providing states support, ideas, connections and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.

NCSL Member Toolbox

Denver

7700 East First Place
Denver, CO 80230
Tel: 303-364-7700 | Fax: 303-364-7800

Washington

444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-624-5400 | Fax: 202-737-1069

Copyright 2014 by National Conference of State Legislatures