NCSL in the News | December 2017

12/1/2017

Dec 28

Correction: Medical Marijuana-Texas story
ABC News
In a story Dec. 15 about Texas' medical marijuana program, The Associated Press misidentified a National Conference of State Legislatures program director. Her name is Karmen Hanson, not Kristen Hanson.
Karmen Hanson, a program director for NCSL, said Texas is unusual for requiring that a doctor "prescribe" the cannabis oil instead of using the word "referral" like most states

The chess match for control of state legislature
PBS NewsHour
The party that doesn’t control the White House has won an average of 300 to 400 state seats in midterms over the past century, according to Tim Storey, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mississippi lawmakers could debate creation of a lottery
The News Tribune
Mississippi is one of six states without a lottery, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

States and Localities Take Two Paths on Immigration
Immigration Reform
The year got off to a rapid start in the states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Veterans and access to cannabis: 2017 in review
The Cannabist
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) passed a resolution at its annual meeting asking the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

Muslim Judge Ruling Muslim Man Can Marry 9-Year-Old Girl In Montana Is Fake News
Business 2 Community
Most states set the minimum age at 18 with exceptions for those between the ages of 16 and 18, according to a recent survey from the National Conference of State Legislatures comparing the marriage laws in all 50 states.

Dec 27

Here's how a coin flip, a pilgrim hat and a poker game have all been used to settle tied elections
Los Angeles Times
Determining a tied election by drawing lots might seem archaic, but in least 23 states, it’s allowed at some level for general elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Sen. Holly J. Mitchell Wants her Constituents to Thrive
LA Sentinel 
The National Conference of State Legislatures last summer elected her to its national Executive Committee.

Maine Voices: Clogged legislative process needs reform in Maine
Portland Press Herald
The National Conference on State Legislatures considers Illinois to be a “full-time Green Lite state.”

Legislative salaries pay for more than part-time work
Tahlequah Daily Press
Oklahoma law prohibits legislators from collecting two government incomes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Limited Texas medical marijuana law rolling out amid more questions than answers 
Longview News-Journal
Kristen Hanson, a program director for NCSL, said Texas is unusual for requiring that a doctor "prescribe" the cannabis oil instead of using the word "referral" like most states.
Seventeen others, including Texas, allow only low-THC medical cannabis, according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Alabama shows voter identification laws work
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama is one of 34 states with voter identification laws. 

Distracted dogging: Legal in most states, controversial in all 
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
In the past five years, nearly a dozen states have considered such bills, but none has become law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The unexpected jobs your state lawmakers have outside the office
Center for Public Integrity 
Lawmakers there make a salary of $20,000, not counting per diem allowances, making it one of the legislatures with the lowest pay, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Dec 15

Correction: Conflicted Interests-ABRIDGED story
Washington Post
Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full-time.

A Breastfeeding Mom Says She Was Kicked Out Of A Mall For "Indecent Exposure" & Now She's Fighting Back
Romper
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands currently have laws in place to specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

EPA Delays Lead and Copper Rule Again, Promises 'War on Lead'
Circle of Blue WaterNews
The lead and copper rule delay appears to be a result of administrative preference. The agency will meet on January 8 with more than a dozen national trade groups to discuss the rule. Those groups include water industry mainstays such as the American Water Works Association and the Association of State Drinking Water Agencies, as well as local government groups like the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The association that represents school officials is invited, too.

Dec 14

Thousands Of Felons Registered To Vote Before Doug Jones Won Alabama Senate Race, Activist Says
Newsweek
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine and Vermont allow felons to vote even when incarcerated, 14 states and the District of Columbia automatically restore the right to felons upon release, 22 states restore the right after parole or probation with possible fees, and 12 states prohibit felons from voting indefinitely.

States, Gaming Industry Planning for Regulated Sports Betting
Bloomberg BNA
There should be a decision in the case before June, Lauren M. Blas of Gibson, a Los Angeles-based associate attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, said Dec. 11 during NCSL’s Capitol Forum in Coronado, Calif.

Saine tabbed to chair American Legislative Exchange Council 
Lincoln Times-News
“The organization functions much like the National Council of State Legislators, which I am also a part of. You see a lot of the same faces at NCSL as you do at ALEC.

80 years after hemp was outlawed, major expansion eyed
Wichita Eagle
As of last month, 38 states and Puerto Rico had enacted legislation allowing for commercial, research or pilot programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States try to hide the barbarism of the death penalty
Bangor Daily News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states, the federal government and the US military currently allow for capital punishment.

Dec 13

Republicans fear deep losses in 2018 elections
The Hill
“I think President Trump’s favorability ratings, I’ve got to be honest about it, they’re certainly not helpful,” said Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. “If it were up to me, I would try to have him showcase more of the good things that he is doing as opposed to picking arguments with whoever it would be. I don’t think that’s helpful to me as an elected official.”

Since World War II, an incumbent president’s party has lost an average of 334 state legislative seats in midterm elections, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. A president’s party loses even more seats — an average of 357 — in the first midterm after the his election.

Part-time Legislature group seeks signatures by mail
Detroit Evening News
Michigan is one of 10 states with some form of a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Part-time legislature group continuing to seek signatures
Monroe Evening News
Michigan, where legislators can serve no more than 14 years, is among 10 states with a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Sixteen states have a part-time legislature, and 24 are “hybrids” — with lawmakers who typically say they spend more than two-thirds of a full-time job being lawmakers.

Hemp on hiatus as WSDA asks for money
Chinook Observer
Some 33 states have approved licensed hemp cultivation, but no state has gone as far as simply allowing it to be grown without any state supervision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Louisiana gets D grade for teaching personal finance to high school students
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
The state grades in the report are also based on a review of financial literacy legislation summaries maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures for the last eight years.

Top US cities and states that are embracing electric vehicle adoption
Teslarati
Michigan is one of 10 states with some form of a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Dec 12

Part-Time Legislature Group Seeks Signatures by Mail, Ads
U.S. News & World Report
Michigan, where legislators can serve no more than 14 years, is among 10 states with a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Elementary school guards on rise since '12 shooting
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
In Arkansas, a law passed in 2015 sets minimum training requirements on topics including active-shooter training and limitations on the authority of school security officers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Part-time Legislature group seeks signatures by mail, ads in Michigan
South Bend Tribune
Michigan, where legislators can serve no more than 14 years, is among 10 states with a full-time legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislature

Dec 11

Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Tax reform: Don't leave homeowners behind
State Sen. Deb Peters currently serves as chair of Government Operations and Audit Committee and president of National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ban Guns From Capitol
The Columbian 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states have open-carry laws and allow guns in their statehouse; 13 allow guns with a permit; and three allow only lawmakers to carry.

Women say sexism still exists in Michigan legislature
Holland Sentinel
Michigan is just below the national average with 23.6 percent of state lawmakers who are female, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State lawmakers' outside jobs present possible conflicts.
Peoria Journal Star
Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full time.

Sandy Hook's legacy: More security in elementary schools
The Ledger
In Arkansas, a law passed in 2015 sets minimum training requirements on topics including active-shooter training and limitations on the authority of school security officers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Jersey is Trying to Ban Drunk Drone Flying
Popular Mechanics
The National Conference on State Legislatures says at least 38 states are considering drone legislation this year, going beyond the Federal Aviation Administration's regulations

The GOP tax plan, state and local taxes deductions and you
Salon
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators issued a scathing statement on the proposed changes to the SALT deduction.

A Tale of Two Drug Wars
Pacific Standard
The National Council of State Legislatures boasts that 40 states and D.C. have adopted "Good Samaritan" measures that offer immunity from arrest "when a person who is either experiencing an opiate-related overdose or observing one calls 911 for assistance or seeks medical attention."

Dec 8

Al Franken Just Resigned Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations. Here's What Happens Now
TIME Magazine
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states have some flexibility in how the seats are filled. Around 14 states require a special election be called, while the other 36 elect replacements during the next scheduled general election.

NJ advances bill barring drunken drone flying
Washington Post
The National Conference on State Legislatures says at least 38 states are considering drone legislation this year, going beyond the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations.

Editorial: Give voters a chance to downsize state government
Reading Eagle
Pennsylvania, after all, had, as of a 2015 look by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the third-largest legislative staff in the nation at 2,358. And the Pennsylvania General Assembly staff - inflated by redundant positions such as its four broadcasting teams, one for each caucus in each chamber - has nearly doubled since 1979. If voters approve the amendment, lawmakers should take it as a signal that taxpayers want a less costly Legislature, and reduce staff accordingly.  

State lawmakers' outside jobs present possible conflicts
Las Vegas Sun
Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full-time.

We need more realistic sex ed
Los Angeles Loyolan
While nearly half of our nation’s teens are having sex, only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education in public schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The GOP tax plan, state and local taxes deductions – and you
WSTP 10 News
The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators issued a scathing statement on the proposed changes to the SALT deduction.

Dec. 7

What happens to Al Franken's Senate seat if he resigns?
Fox News
Minnesota is one of 36 states where a governor will make an appointment to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State lawmakers' outside jobs present possible conflicts
Washington Post
Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full-time.

Some local governments say current GOP tax reform legislation could cost them
Fox 8 News
The National Conference of State Legislatures said both the House and Senate versions of the proposed tax reform modify the State and Local Tax deduction also known as (SALT), by eliminating taxpayers’ ability to deduct their state and local income and sales taxes on their federal tax returns, and have also capped property tax deductions at $10,000.

New Jersey to vote on bill barring drunken drone flying
ABC News
The National Conference on State Legislatures says at least 38 states are considering drone legislation this year, going beyond the Federal Aviation Administration's regulations.

The Preventable Problem That Schools Ignore
The Atlantic
Dozens of states have enacted legislation that addresses teen dating violence, according to research compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Surgeons Try Prescribing Fewer Opioids To Lower Addiction Risk
WUNC
Meanwhile, 24 states have passed laws to limit how many pills a doctor prescribes at once, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Dec. 6

Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage cake case
CNN
Twenty other states and the District of Columbia likewise expressly prohibit places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Don't Rush New Sexual Harassment Policies, Some Women Lawmakers Warn
Governing 
“When you’re in crisis mode, you tend to move quickly. I don’t necessarily think crisis-legislating makes the best policy,” says Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who is also the incoming president for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State lawmakers blur line between public, personal interests
Washington Post
Forty states have governing bodies that the National Conference of State Legislatures considers less than full-time. Those lawmakers convene for only part of the year and rely on other work to make a living.

New Jersey considers barring operating a drone while drunk
Washington Post
The National Conference on State Legislatures says at least 38 states are considering drone legislation this year.

California seeks to erase stigma of marijuana offenses
ABA Journal
In the last three years, at least nine states have passed laws addressing expungement of certain marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

FDA showing support for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction
Beckley Register-Herald
The 2013 data is considered to be the most current information available, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Traumatic brain injuries: The impact of football-related concussions
KGW Portland
According to National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “a traumatic brain injury is a disruption of the brain due to a bump, blow, jolt or penetrating head injury.

Pennsylvania, birthplace of US democracy, needs to make voting easier
Lancaster Online
But what it means, since the only competitive legislative races tend to be in primaries, is that 14 percent of Pennsylvania’s registered voters have no voice. We’re a “closed primary state” – one of only nine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

California nixes rule to protect autonomous vehicle makers against dirty sensors
StateScoop
State lawmakers are growing increasingly interested in regulating autonomous vehicles, with 33 bills introduced this year, compared to 20 in 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Dec. 5

'Long Hours, Stressful Days' Taking Toll On Maine's School Principals 
Maine Public 
Training and encouraging local teachers or other staff to move into principal positions is important because “research has shown that principals are more likely to be accepted by the community when they’re a member of the community. They’re also more likely to stay in that position for a longer period of time,” said Kelly Latterman, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Court to hear New Jersey argument on legalizing sports gambling 
Los Angeles Loyolan 
Additionally, The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislators have filed briefs supporting New Jersey. 

Bill would terminate parental rights for convicted rapists 
Times Daily 
According to the NCSL, 30 states allow for the termination of parental rights of rapists who conceive a child as a result. 

Mass. considers raising the bar for felony theft 
The Patriot Ledger 
More than 30 states, including the rest of New England, set thresholds at $1,000 or higher, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Hemp on hiatus as WSDA asks for money 
Capital Press 
Some 33 states have approved licensed hemp cultivation, but no state has gone as far as simply allowing it to be grown without any state supervision, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Oregon Rep. Gene Whisnant says he won’t seek re-election 
OregonLive.Com 
Rep. Whisnant also served on the Oregon Commission on Children & Families, as an Education Commission of the States commissioner, on the NCSL Standing Education Committee… 

People line up to hear religious liberty case 
WTHITV 10 
Twenty other states and the District of Columbia likewise expressly prohibit places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Dec. 4

'It's not about cakes': Stakeholders line up on both sides of SCOTUS religious liberty case
CNN
Twenty other states and the District of Columbia likewise expressly prohibit places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Rehoboth Beach plan would let nonresident LLC owners vote
Seattle Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Delaware is one of three states that allows localities to give nonresident property owners the opportunity to vote in local races.

Bans on bump stocks, teen tanning among Missouri lawmakers' early proposals
Springfield News-Leader
At least 15 other states already ban minors from using tanning beds, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Felony or misdemeanor? State may change larceny laws
Bradenton Herald
More than 30 states, including the rest of New England, set thresholds at $1,000 or higher, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill would terminate parental rights for convicted rapists
The Decatur Daily
An April report from the National Conference of State Legislatures said 45 states have laws regarding the parental rights of perpetrators of sexual assault.

Cyntoia Brown Case Highlights How Youngster Intercourse Trafficking Victims Are Prosecuted
Kaplan Herald
Twenty states have recently granting trafficked kids immunity for other crimes, such as truancy and underage drinking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Sexual harassment troubles mount in statehouses around the country
El Paso Times
Women make up less than one-quarter of all state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

State considers autonomous vehicle use in Indiana
The Republic
That law passed in June 2011. Since then, 20 other states plus the District of Columbia have passed some sort of legislation pertaining to autonomous vehicles — most encouraging research and development according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Political Horizons: The secret to sexual harassment in state government is Louisiana has no uniform policy 
The Advocate
Until recently the Louisiana Legislature has been an “all boy’s club,” Barrow said. Today, 15.3 percent of the 144 legislators are women, a ratio that lags all but a half-dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

For a better Pennsylvania: Part 4 - voting reforms
Philly.Com
We’re a “closed primary state” – one of only nine, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Maryland, after delays, begins the sale of medical marijuana in Montgomery County
WJLA
More than half of all U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized a comprehensive medical marijuana program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cyntoia Brown case highlights how child sex trafficking victims are prosecuted
89.3 KPCC
Twenty states have recently passed laws granting trafficked kids immunity for other crimes, such as truancy and underage drinking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

How South Dakota Got Its First New SNF in 30 Years
Skilled Nursing News
CON programs are primarily intended to prevent facilities from building more capacity than necessary and originated to regulate the number of beds in nursing homes and hospitals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Dec. 1

Supreme Court could let states allow sports bets
Chicago Tribune
The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislators have filed briefs supporting New Jersey.

For safety and security, ban guns throughout state Capitol
Seattle Times
Washington is one of 23 states that allow guns in their statehouse buildings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What Will You Make Per Hour In 2018? These States Are Raising...
Newsweek
The U.S. Virgin Islands will increase their minimum wage on June 1, while Maryland, Oregon and Washington D.C. will follow with an increase at the start of a new fiscal year on July 1, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Fresno Bee endures outrage to tell important stories about sex education
Columbia Journalism Review
California is one of 24 states that require public schools to offer some sort of sex education, and one of 20 that require sex education to be “medically accurate,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Brattleboro enacts ban on plastic bags
Sentinel Source
“States continue to consider strategies to reduce the use of carryout plastic bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets,” according to a July report on the website for the National Conference of State Legislatures.