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NCSL in the News December 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: December 2012

Dec. 21

Brown: Medi-Cal extension could hit California
A report released this week by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that rising health care costs are boosting state Medicaid costs, and that spending on public health programs is over budget in 10 states, compared with six at this time last year. NBC News

More than 1,200 public workers double dipping
As private-sector retirees took hits, many Mainers worked for the state or schools while also getting state pensions in 2011. "It looks bad to taxpayers," said Ron Snell, a public pension expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It looks bad to people on Social Security." The Press Herald

Factbox: Patchwork of U.S. regulations governs firearms
Seven states have imposed bans on assault weapons and the high-capacity magazines that increase their killing potential --- California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts, plus the District of Columbia. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Reuters in Yahoo! News

Lawmaker takes part in national conference
State Sen. Jack Murphy recently attended the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C. The bipartisan conference, held earlier this month, welcomed legislators and staff members from the nation’s 50 states, as well as its commonwealths and territories. The Forsyth News

California Legislature is biggest generator of new laws
If you sense that California's Legislature is the nation's most active -- or most intrusive -- generator of new laws, a nationwide compilation of 2012 state legislation by the National Conference of State Legislatures seems to prove the case. The Sacramento Bee

Dec. 20

Senators seek delay of Real ID Act deadline
However, implementation of the act, originally scheduled for 2009, has already been extended three times by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Albuquerque Journal

State tax reform legislation likely in 15 states in 2013: Report
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states are losing $23 billion collectively in revenue from online sales taxes. The Huffington Post

Is 2013 the year of new transportation funding?
"If we hope that Congress will solve the transportation funding questions in our nation, they won't," said Oregon state Sen. Bruce Starr at the National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) meeting in Washington this month. Starr has been one of the leading advocates for a pilot program in his state that analyzes the feasibility of establishing a vehicle-miles traveled fee, or VMT, which is seen as a more financially sustainable alternative to the gas tax. Governing

Michigan Governor puts slam on gun bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states ban carrying concealed weapons on a college campus and 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow concealed weapons on campuses to individual institutions. Examiner

Florida Sen. Nelson: GOP disenfranchised voters
The high court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo identification. Seventeen states have passed photo ID laws, although not all were in effect for the 2012 elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats argue that photo ID laws will keep some poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. The Times and Democrat

Poker News: Zynga shifts focus to real money, eyes Nevada license and more
The opposition of the directors, with the near-unanimous support of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, joins similar anti-Reid/Kyl positions taken by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, all of which have protested the possible impact of Reid-Kyl on states’ rights regarding gambling matters. Poker Player News

Dec. 19

Michigan governor vetoes bill allowing concealed weapons in public places
At present, 21 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; 23 states leave the decision to ban or allow concealed weapons on campuses to individual colleges and universities. CNN

Debate stirred on arming teachers, school staff
In the area of weapons permits, Connecticut is a “may issue” or “discretionary” state, in which the state may grant a person a permit to carry a concealed firearm, but is not required to do so, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. However, in 38 other states, either applicants are not required to demonstrate a need for the permit, or authorities must grant such a permit if the applicant meets all the relevant criteria. Education Week

States scramble to cover Medicaid costs, some face overruns
Rising healthcare costs are pushing up the amounts states must spend on the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, sending some scrambling to find funds, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Senators taking look at November voting problems
The high court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo identification. Seventeen states have passed photo ID laws, although not all were in effect for the 2012 elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in The Palm Beach Post

Elected council of state, while unwieldy, is unlikely to change
In 2018, South Carolina will become the 27th state to have a joint or single-ticket election for governor and lieutenant governor. Palmetto State voters in 2012 approved an amendment setting up a joint ticket, said Brenda Erickson, a senior policy analyst for National Conference of State Legislatures. “There’s a lot of variance among the states in how state administrative officials apart from the governor and lieutenant governor are selected, with some positions mainly elected by the public and others mostly appointed by the governor, the legislature, or other administrative body,” Erickson said. Carolina Journal Online

Teachers should carry guns in school, Texas and Okla. lawmakers say
In the parlance of gun laws, Texas and Oklahoma, along with 36 others, are "shall issue" states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Education Week

Dec. 18

Early voting change would help blind voters
Among states that offer early voting, the average number of days is 22, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Omaha World-Herald

Should teachers be armed?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states in 2011 introduced legislation allowing concealed weapons on school campuses and two states -- Mississippi and Wisconsin -- passed such bills. ABC Rochester

Lou Cannon: Unlike Washington, states soft-pedal partisanship
Unified government sometimes leads to excessive partisanship, but Tim Storey, a political analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, expects that both sides will be restrained in 2013. He points out that all of the chambers Democrats won in 2012 were chambers they had lost in 2010. “They’re keenly aware of getting wiped out in 2010,” Storey said. “The last thing they’re going to do is be aggressive.” Storey thinks that Republican-controlled legislatures will also be more restrained than in the past two years. “Many of the states Republicans won in 2010 had been in Democratic hands for a long time, so there was a pent-up demand for action,” he said. “Republicans have accomplished much of their agenda.” Noozhawk

Bar codes on Missouri IDs used at polls
Seventeen states now require voters to show a photo ID at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And at least 18 states besides Missouri made some use of electronic poll books during the 2012 elections, according to a survey by the National Association of Secretaries of State. AP in The Columbia Daily Tribune

Online sales tax 'break' to end
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has been working with the states for a number of years to develop a streamlined state sales tax that would provide uniformity in sales taxation. This would make it easier to collect these taxes. Twenty-four states have signed on to the streamlining effort. Quad Cities Online

Dec. 17

For lottery games, some New York stores are winners and others are losers
New York's lottery has been growing -- both in sales and prizes. States across the nation, including New York, have looked to increase its lottery to offset growing government costs and declining tax revenue. "They are just looking for more revenue," said Jonathan Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC Buffalo

Minnesota needs an ongoing broadband entity to meet state goals
The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a list of statewide broadband committees and entities. They describe the list. Twin Cities Daily Planet

(Opinion) Medicaid issues grow larger
Tension between the groups may peak this year. Nationally, Medicaid is the biggest budget worry for states in the coming year, according to a survey released last week by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Lincoln Journal Star

Are voter ID laws here to stay?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 30 statesintroduced some form of voter ID legislation in both 2011 and 2012. UK Progressive

Medicaid swamps state budgets
Nowhere is the problem larger than in Texas, which faces a $4.3 billion Medicaid deficit. Nine other states likewise are reporting spending overruns for Medicaid and other health care programs for the current 2013 fiscal year, compared with six at this time last year, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine, for example, is seeing Medicaid caseloads go down, but costs rising. Reason.com

Dec. 14

Medicaid trumps fiscal cliff as top state budget concern
Nowhere is the problem larger than in Texas, which faces a $4.3 billion Medicaid deficit. Nine other states likewise are reporting spending overruns for Medicaid and other health care programs for the current 2013 fiscal year, compared with six at this time last year, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Maine, for example, is seeing Medicaid caseloads go down, but costs rising. Stateline

Reports: State budgets looking grim, Medicaid particularly problematic
Nine other states likewise are reporting spending overruns for Medicaid and other health care programs for the current 2013 fiscal year, compared with six at this time last year, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Kaiser Health News

One-party dominance grows in states
"The unified government result is a significant surprise, having so many states with either a unified Republican or unified Democratic control is at an unusually high level, and not necessarily something that we saw coming," said Karl Kurtz, a NCSL political scientist. USA TODAY

Study: ‘Fiscal cliff’ may cost Kansas 40,000 jobs, $2.75 billion GDP
The Federal Funds Information for States, a joint service of the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, has estimated the potential impact of an across-the-board defense sequester in Kansas at $210.1 million, including $182.4 million in procurement contracts. AP in Lawrence Journal-World

Backers of gun rights hit some big targets
Ten states employ a “may issue” or discretionary system in which the permit applicant must demonstrate a need for the gun or the issuer decides who can have a permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The conference says 39 states have a “shall-issue” system, by which the applicant does not have to demonstrate a need or the issuer has to provide a permit if the requesting person meets certain criteria. The Washington Times

Dec. 13

NH officials watching fiscal cliff struggles
House Speaker Terie Norelli led a delegation representing eight states to Washington last week to meet with White House officials and urge them to consider states’ needs when making spending decisions. Norelli is the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. She said Wednesday that New Hampshire could lose valuable federal aid. AP in The Boston Globe

N.H. officials eye fiscal cliff struggles
"Obviously, whatever they do about the fiscal cliff will have some kind of impact on every state because it will affect our federal financial aid. That's the biggest thing — the money," said Democratic House Speaker Terie Norelli, who also is president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Seacoast Online

Our opinion: A needed source of revenue
The National Conference of State Legislatures believes that states missed out on an estimated $8.6 billion in revenue in 2010 by failing to collect sales taxes for online and catalog purchases, according to The Globe. The Berkshire Eagle

Dec. 12

Amazon to collect sales tax from Massachusetts residents
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates Massachusetts will lose about $268 million in tax revenue in 2012 in uncollected sales taxes for online and catalog purchases. AP in Time

FAQ: Michigan Right to Work frequently asked questions and answers
Florida was the first state to pass right-to-work legislation, in 1943, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arizona and South Dakota followed in 1946. Then Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia did so in the right-to-work boom year of 1947. According to the NCSL, the laws were a response to the growing influence of the labor movement during an era when union membership was rapidly growing -- more than doubling in percentage terms between 1935 and 1945, according to the Congressional Research Service. CNN in ABC Detroit

House panel hears of fiscal cliff threats to Texas
"That's a hit to your state economy," said Howard, who testified via Skype. She said she believed Texas is third hardest-hit in defense, after Virginia and California. Her group is a joint project of the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures. The Houston Chronicle

Traxinger to be director of legislative efforts for S.D. Farmers Union
Most recently, Traxinger was selected to be a member of Class VIII of the South Dakota Agricultural Rural Leadership program. He previously has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, National Conference of State Legislatures and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as a congressional staffer. Tri-State Neighbor

Nething to get honorary UND degree
In 1982, the National Republican Legislators Association honored him as its “Legislator of the Year” and in 1989 recognized him with the William E. Brock Award. He has also been honored by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Jamestown Sun

(Opinion) The implications of the Court's upcoming decision
In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states specifically ban gay marriage and limit marriage as a union between one man and one woman, while only eight states, including Iowa, and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage outright. The Daily Iowan

NTSB: Extend ignition lock use
In Michigan, interlocks are required for first-time DUI offenders with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 or higher — or more than twice the legal limit — says the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Detroit News

Officials say Latinos advancing to college degrees critical to California, US economies
thers at the forum included Michelle Camacho Liu, education policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures, who spoke about the importance of applying the abundant data to change the current system. The Ventura County Star

Turnout should be key factor in any expansion of early voting, Md. elections director says
State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone told a seminar of state legislators and staff Thursday that any decisions to expand early voting in Maryland should be based largely on voter turnout. Lamone moderated a session on early voting at the National Conference of State Legislatures Fall Forum at the Washington Hilton Nov. 6. Southern Maryland Online

More states may adopt 'right-to-work' laws
What is clear is that more states are weighing right-to-work laws. Research by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that several states in New England and in the northern Midwest are now considering right-to-work proposals. CNBC in Yahoo! Finance

Dec. 11

Experts: Recession worst ‘fiscal cliff’ outcome
Should the cuts go into effect, Illinois would lose $305 million in federal grants for education, public housing and nutrition programs for low-income women and children next year, according to Michael Bird, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bird said the state would lose $740 million in defense money, although specifics aren’t known. AP in The Northwest Herald

How lawmakers' day jobs affect policy decisions in Idaho
The National Conference of State Legislatures has been tracking lawmaker occupations since the 1970s. Their latest data shows most state legislatures are made up of full-time politicians. That’s not the case in Idaho. Idaho’s Legislature isn’t full-time work. Lawmakers meet in Boise for about three months each year. Most are paid $16,116 plus housing and travel expenses. NPR

Legal pot complicates drug-free work policies
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half the states have laws that protect workers who smoke cigarettes off the clock. Colorado’s law extends to all legal activities, though Washington state doesn’t have a similar statute. AP in The Salt Lake Tribune

Illinois could lose $1 billion in fall off 'fiscal cliff'
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates Illinois could get about $1 billion less in programs for education, housing, defense and more. AP in KSDK

Dec. 10

Steve Morris praised for bipartisan career by state legislators
Kansas Senate President Steve Morris (R-Hugoton) was given a minute-long standing ovation by members of the National Conference of State Legislatures for his leadership of the group. The Huffington Post

Legal pot complicates employers’ policies
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half the states have laws that protect workers who smoke cigarettes off the clock. Colorado’s law extends to all legal activities, though Washington state doesn’t have a similar statute. AP in Omaha.com

Quinn, state workers union firmly at odds in contract dispute
The cheapest plan is in line with other states, with the national average for an individual state worker policy coming to about $563, according to a study released this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Chicago Tribune

Pennsylvania among few states where DUIs never rise to felony charges
In most states, after a third or fourth DUI conviction, an individual faces felony charges, though time limits can be set for the subsequent offense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NBC News

A peek over the 'cliff's' edge
Federal budget cuts would also affect the states, which receive federal money. The effects would likely be more pronounced in states with dire budget problems such as Illinois, but the National Conference of State Legislatures has aired concerns that the fiscal cliff comes at a time when many states are projected in 2013 to return to their pre-Great Recession revenue levels. Northwest Herald

Whether to limit Alabama lawmakers' terms a topic of Goat Hill debate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, women make up about 14 percent of the Alabama Legislature — a lopsided number, but par for the course in state assemblies. The Anniston Star

Steve Morris, outgoing Kansas Senate President, says Republicans need to embrace moderates
Morris, in town for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that in addition to embracing moderates, the GOP needs to start addressing issues of importance to women and Hispanics, including immigration and abortion rights. The Huffington Post

Sales tax threat: A real one from Washington
Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen oppose the bill. Where do newly elected Reps. Anne Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter stand? New Hampshire retailers need to make sure those two and our governor-elect oppose it as well. (New House Speaker Terie Norelli says she opposes it, though the National Conference of State Legislatures, of which she is president, supports it.) Union Leader

Election 2012: Understanding your voting rights
In a number of states across the country, state legislatures are changing election laws in regard to who can vote in their state, and the requirements to register to vote. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states have considered new laws involving photo identification for voting. Elk Grove Citizen

Legal marijuana complicates drug-free workplace policies
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half the states have laws that protect workers who smoke cigarettes off the clock. Colorado's law extends to all legal activities, though Washington state doesn't have a similar statute. AP in Bennington Banner

Employers want clarity in new pot laws
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half the states have laws that protect workers who smoke cigarettes off the clock. Colorado's law extends to all legal activities, though Washington state doesn't have a similar statute. AP in Portland Press Herald

State lawmaker pledges to renew fight for ban on texting while driving
Although he has focused more intently on distracted drivers, Farley told the panel at the National Conference of State Legislatures' fall forum that the battle against drunken drivers isn't done, in Arizona or elsewhere. Cronkite in KTAR

Munoz drafting bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in schools
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only two states, Connecticut and Maryland, require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in schools. NJ.com

Dec. 3

Womack joins online sales-tax call
A Wednesday event is planned in Washington to rally support for the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, which is backed by the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Arkansas Online

Legislators debate early voting
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, in 32 states and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter may cast a ballot in person during a designated period before Election Day. No excuse or justification is required. Martinsville Bulletin

Public-private road projects run into bumps
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 29 states have programs under which the private sector can construct and operate public roads. They are often paid off over decades with tolls that potentially mean big profits for investors, typically financial firms, retirement funds and foreign corporations. The Daily Progress

At $67,836, legislators in Illinois among best-paid in U.S.
In 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures divided up state legislatures into those that are considered full time, part time and somewhere in between. AP in The Rockford Register Star

Convenience stores, lotteries face off over Reid’s online poker bill
The lotteries have their own allies in the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, which both argue that Reid’s bill would infringe on states’ rights. The Hill

Women gain at State House, but remain scarce in N.H. municipal governments
But women made big gains in the Nov. 6 election at the state level, as well as in the federal delegation. Based on a preliminary count, 35.4 percent of the seats in the Legislature will be held by women when the new session begins, with 141 women in the House and nine in the Senate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Women’s Legislative Network. The Concord Monitor

Change: The focus of our voter initiatitives needs to be on policies, issues
Initiatives should be more about big-picture policy. Across the nation, such issue- and policy-driven voter initiatives are standard and common. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were more than 170 ballot measures considered by voters in 38 states this past election season. Guampdn.com

Government waste taking us off fiscal cliff
A ‘complete streets’ bill being passed down to state legislatures through the National Conference of State Legislatures would mandate twenty-percent of all highway funds be dedicated to bike paths, curbs, and sidewalks. The Examiner

Idaho lawmakers to receive formal ethics training
The training will include a session next week for new lawmakers – there are a record-tying 44 of those this year – led by Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Spokesman-Review

Lawmaker wants Alabama to vote on a lottery, Republicans say don't bet on it
Alabama is one of only seven states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Al.com

Transportation must top legislature’s priorities
In a recent survey of state legislators nationwide, infrastructure was tabbed as the third-leading priority behind education and economic development. Within the infrastructure category, respondents said building and maintaining roads and bridges was the highest transportation priority, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures survey. Southern Maryland Newspapers

States choose own paths with one-party governments
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans will have more than 60 percent of the members of both legislative houses in 17 states (Nebraska has a single nonpartisan legislature). And in nine more states, they'll have 60 percent of the members of one house plus a majority in the other and the governorship. Paragould Daily Press




 

 

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