Back 

NCSL in the News February 2012

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: February 2012

Feb. 29

Blue announces he won't run for NC governor
Blue, a 62-year-old Raleigh attorney who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002, is a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and is the immediate past president of the Duke University board of trustees. Raleigh News & Observer

State takes new approach to ban guns on campus
Last year, 18 states introduced laws to allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported. Laws passed in Mississippi and in Wisconsin. KTVL

Statewide property tax funding option for schools unpopular solution
Sixteen states, most recently Nevada since 2005, levy such a tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. LubbockOnline.com

NATION: Local governments watching Supreme Court tax case
"Within and outside the governmental context, creditors of all kinds forgive debt every day," wrote lawyers for the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Delmarva Daily Times

Top 10 hot topics for the upcoming NAIC conference in NOLA
Other states favor the Surplus Lines Insurance Multi-state Compliance Compact (SLIMPACT), which is supported by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and many industry groups. LifeHealthPro

Legislature, board look at Ore. campus gun ban
Last year, 18 states introduced laws to allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported. Laws passed in Mississippi and in Wisconsin. Statesman Journal

Feb. 28

Daily poll: Do you agree with mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients?
Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Wyoming lawmakers advanced such a proposal this week. The Jersey Journal

State bills seek parental access to children's text messages
No other state appears to have such a requirement for cellphone companies. Pam Greenberg, of the National Conference of State Legislators, said South Carolina has proposed similar legislation.  USA Today

Debate — and filibuster — begin on Voter ID bill
Thirty-one states require people to present some kind of identification in order to vote — and in 15 of those states it must be a photo ID. But Nebraska is one of 20 states with no voter ID law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Missouri News Horizon

Oregon State Board of Higher Education expected to ban guns on campus, again
Last year, 18 states introduced laws to allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. OregonLive.com

As economy improves, governors debate who deserves the credit
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, budgets enacted in states last year closed a cumulative shortfall of $91 billion, and through the fall, new gaps were “practically nonexistent.” Morris Daily Herald

Committee explores increasing revenue without raising taxes
Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk, who chaired a panel discussion in 2011 for the National Conference of State Legislatures on the issue of zappers, said it’s something that’s worth looking into both as a fraud protection method and consumer protection. CT Newsjunkie

W.Va. reins in public retiree health benefit costs
But officials from both parties in a number of states have been reconsidering employee- and retiree-related costs in recent years, according to Ronald Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. CBS News

Plans to drug test welfare recipients get momentum
Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Wyoming lawmakers advanced such a proposal this week. The Aurora Sentinel

Feb. 27

Many states take a wait-and-see approach on new insurance exchanges
In Washington, State Senator Karen L. Keiser, a Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate health care committee and a leader of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ health committee, said: “Since 2010, many states that were making solid progress, like Iowa and Maine, have gotten stymied.” The New York Times

W.Va. reins in public retiree health benefit costs
But officials from both parties in a number of states have been reconsidering employee- and retiree-related costs in recent years, according to Ronald Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Marietta Times

U.S. Supreme Court to hear case over Indianapolis sewer hookup fees this week
"Within and outside the governmental context, creditors of all kinds forgive debt every day," wrote lawyers for the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Counties, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "Virtually any simplification or modernization of an economic program creates winners and losers." Indianapolis Star

EDUCATION: Keeping kids from dropping out
Several states have enacted age-18 laws in the past few years, and the president’s remarks are igniting more dialogue on what already has been a major education topic in state capitals, said Sunny Deye, a senior education policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Press-Enterprise

Recent threats cause Missouri lawmakers to question Capitol security
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of state capitols across the country use metal detectors. Illinois installed metal detectors in 2004 after an unarmed security guard was shot in the Capitol. Iowa has had metal detectors and X-ray scanners in its Capitol since 2002. Kansas City Star

As economy improves, governors debate who deserves the credit
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, budgets enacted in states last year closed a cumulative shortfall of $91 billion, and through the fall, new gaps were "practically nonexistent." Sacramento Bee

Plans to drug test welfare recipients get momentum
Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Houston Chronicle

Kelly: Movies set the bar high for lawyers
She returned to the West Coast and eventually worked as deputy press secretary in the California State Assembly. She earned a law degree from the Pepperdine University Law School and then worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Omaha World-Herald

Plans to drug test welfare recipients get momentum
Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Wyoming lawmakers advanced such a proposal this week. Sacramento Bee

PERSPECTIVE: Lawmakers quietly move to raise their own pay
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Virginia is one of 14 states that has not raised legislative salaries in at least a decade. Back then, the state was in the top 20 in legislative salaries. Now, it’s in the lower 25. Culpeper Star Exponent

Legislators open minded about term limits
California, Colorado and Oklahoma in the early 1990s became the first states to adopt term limits for state legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Cincinnati.com

Talking with teens about tanning
Currently, 14- to 18-year-olds in New Jersey and Delaware are supposed to have parental permission for indoor tanning, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Philadelphia Inquirer

Hosemann seeks to reform absentee balloting
The state does not allow early voting, which is offered in 32 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Senate Republicans killed a voter ID bill in 2009 that included a provision for early voting. Hattiesburg American

Feb. 24

The latest legislative tool: Satire
The 7,382 state legislators introduce between 200,000 and 220,000 bills in a two-year term, Karl Kurtz, an analyst with NCSL points out. The recent spate of satirical legislation might be a fad, courtesy of fast-moving news and legislators borrowing each other's ideas, although there's plenty of just-for-fun legislation in the record books.  “There are always going to be some oddballs and jokes and attention-getters,” Kurtz said.  CNN

Revenue eases budget pain for U.S. states
Fiscal officers in 27 states and Puerto Rico think revenue is “stable” and should meet fiscal 2012 estimates, according to a survey in October and November by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

Absentee ballot reform sought
The state does not allow early voting, which is offered in 32 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Senate Republicans killed a voter ID bill in 2009 that included a provision for early voting.  Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Lawmakers advance term limits measure
Nebraska is one of 15 states that limit the terms of state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Lincoln Journal Star

Advancement Project files lawsuit,challenges Wisconsin voter ID law
Wisconsin voters must present an acceptable form of ID, which include a valid driver's license, a state-issued ID, a student ID that expires within two years or a military ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers it one of the most stringent measures. Lieberman called it the strictest in the country.  Green Bay Press Gazette/AP

Texas, 6 other states challenge birth control insurance rule
In Texas, current law requires that employers be offered the option to include contraceptive coverage in their health plans, but there is an exception for religious institutions, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Austin American-Statesman/AP

Inactive state committees costly
In 29 states, lawmakers do not earn extra pay for committee work. Ten states pay committee leaders extra, ranging from an $18 per diem in Kentucky to $34,000 for certain committee posts in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago News Cooperative

Wisconsin among the state in court over redistricting
What Wisconsin is experiencing this time – with interests slugging out their differences in court, is common, according to Morgan Cullen. He’s a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures and says many states end up going this route.  WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio

Free webinar addresses the effects of climate variability and change on Michigan’s water sources
A 2008 paper form the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that recent climate models predict warmer temperatures and lower water levels for much of the state.  Ionia Sentinel-Standard

State Rep. Dan Flynn discusses White House & OMB budget briefing
Chairman of the National Conference of State Legislators Budget Committee & Texas State Representative Dan Flynn after being invited to participate in a Conference Call with the White House Office of Management & Budgets to discuss the Administration’s recently released FY 2013 Budget.  Texas Insider

Online sales tax closer
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which supports the bill, states face a collective budget shortfall of $72 billion in fiscal year 2012.  Furniture Today

Feb. 23

Issue of employer credit checks sparks heated spat
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Aurora Sentinel

Hawaii lawmakers again aiming to tax e-commerce sales
The bill proposes simplifying state tax laws to help "level the playing field between local and out-of-state retailers" through the state's participation in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. The project came about through the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association, but is now a standalone nonprofit initiative. Honolulu Civil Beat

Photo-ID-to-vote bill advances in Colorado House
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado is one of 16 states that require identification but not a photo ID. Voters may use a utility bill, birth certificate, bank statement, government check or other government-issued documents. The Denver Post

Sen. Paul sticks to position on synthetic drugs
At least 39 states have tried crackdowns on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, banning one or both of the drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Louisville Courier-Journal

University addresses birth control controversy
It was not immediately clear whether Seton Hall employees' insurance plans currently cover preventative care, though a 2005 New Jersey law requires all health insurance and medical providers to cover prescription female con­traceptive drugs and devices in the same way that other prescription drugs are covered, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Setonian

Citizens see a compelling need to ‘trim’
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Maine is ranked 40 when it comes to total population but it has the 10th biggest legislature in country. Lewiston Sun Journal

U.S. states scramble to catch up with booming prison populations
Alison Lawrence, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures says that the changes include reduction or elimination of prison time for certain property crimes and drug crimes. There is also discussion of drug treatment instead of prison for drug addicts. Catholic Online

State to offer voter IDs at Town Hall
All told, says the report, 34 states have proposed photo ID laws. According to the latest data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight of those states have enacted photo ID laws limiting voter eligibility to those who have government-issued IDs. Jamestown Press

Do other states, federal government have legislative commissions to retire executive branch agencies?
"Sunset committees" were something of a trend in the 1960s and 1970s, when many state legislatures were struggling for equal footing with the other branches of government, says Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. PolitiFact

Conn. bill looks to add labels to engineered food
Connecticut is among 18 states that are considering labeling requirements for genetically modified foods, said Scott Hendrick, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Alva Review-Courier

The man behind Romney’s “self-deportation” plan
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those states with such laws are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. Salon

Lawmaker proposes throwing out term limits
Nebraska is one of 15 states that limit the terms of state lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lincoln Journal Star

Ban on public e-cigarettes passed; Bonds with Israel recognized
Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said he recently took part in a trade mission to Israel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. KSL-TV

Groups criticize Maine AG for opposing contraception access
The state law received significant bipartisan support. Maine is one of 28 states with such laws, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lewiston Sun Journal

Indiana senators to consider 'right-to-farm' bill
At least 16 other states have statutes addressing awards for attorney's fees in agricultural nuisance suits, said Scott Hendrick, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. CBS News

'Credit Creep' bill clears senate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 56 percent of students who start at four-year institutions earn a bachelor’s degree within six years and only 28 percent of those working toward an associate degree graduate within three years. Inside Indiana Business

Feb. 22

Gov. Christie leans on hopes of revved-up economy to fuel proposed income tax cut
Arturo Perez. a budget expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said on average states are projecting 1.9 percent revenue growth in the current budget cycle. He added that New Jersey’s projections seem out of step with current trends, but said there are lots of reasons for optimism, including seven straight quarters of revenue growth.  Star-Ledger

States boost same-sex marriage fight
Washington's law would go into effect in the summer unless challenged - which is likely, according to Jack Tweedie of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  CNN

Indiana senators to consider 'right-to-farm' bill
At least 16 other states have statutes addressing awards for attorney's fees in agricultural nuisance suits, said Scott Hendrick, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Indianapolis Star/AP

Issue of employer credit checks sparks heated spat
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Oshkosh Northwestern/AP

Claims bills seek money for victims – but often fail
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 33 states cap the amount of damages that can be recovered from judgments against the state.  Orlando Sentinel

Proposed ban of Colo. traffic cameras fails
A Senate committee voted down the bill Tuesday evening. The National Conference of State Legislatures says nine states have laws banning the use of photo traffic enforcement.  Aurora Sentinel/AP

Pa. Senate to drop high-end health coverage
Only 5 percent of active state employees were enrolled in indemnity plans as of 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Carlisle Sentinel

House panel kills unemployment discrimination bill
New Jersey instituted a similar law in 2011, and at least 11 other states and the District of Columbia are considering such bills in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Denver Business Journal

Utah lawmakers honor Utah-Israeli ties
Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said he recently took part in a trade mission to Israel with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  "Not only am I glad I did it, I'd love to do it again," Waddoups said.  Deseret News

University opposes concealed carry
Similar debates are raging throughout the country. Last year, legislation was introduced in 18 states that would allow concealed carry on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislature’s website.  University Daily Kansan

Lawmaker wants to give Oklahoma citizens recall power
Two states that border Oklahoma (Colorado, Kansas) and another in the region (Louisiana) are among the 19 states with recall provisions according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Watchdog

Concealed weapons in public places: Take our online poll
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states do not allow the possession of a concealed weapon on campus, while Georgia is one of at least 11 states with bills seeking to allow such.  Midtown Patch

Lawmakers quietly move to raise their own pay
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Virginia is one of 14 states that has not raised legislative salaries in at least a decade. Back then, the state was in the top 20 in legislative salaries. Now, it's in the lower 25.  Opinion in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

State implementation of health care exchanges
For state-by-state information on the status of the exchanges, both the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Kaiser Family Foundation have websites summarizing each state’s legislative and executive activity.  Association of Corporate Counsel

Elections in America: 'Inaccurate, costly, and inefficient'
So it's sad that Attorney General Holder thinks he must challenge photo ID requirements in Texas and South Carolina. Yet, Wendy Underhill of National Conference of State Legislatures reports: "A big majority of Americans favor voter ID requirements."  Opinion in American Thinker

Kansas teacher retirement pay
Currently, their retirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, is based on a salary of $83,216 (though they’re in session only 4.5 months a year).  Opinion in the Kansas City Star

Feb. 21

State bill limiting employee credit checks advances
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of 34 bills being considered, 32 deal with restrictions on the use of credit information for employment decisions.  Aurora Sentinel/AP

W.Va. governor signs bill tackling retiree costs
At least three-fourths of the states continue the pay-as-you-go approach toward these debts that preceded the 2004 accounting standard, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Herald Times Reporter/AP

Election-year politics intrudes at Oregon Legislature, stalls key bills
An elections analyst at NCSL ranks Oregon's 2012 legislative races among the most competitive in the nation. Tim Storey says he counts 13 or 14 chambers across the country that could switch party control. Oregon's House and Senate, he says, account for two on that list.  "It's been a competitive state, obviously," Storey said Monday, "and will certainly be this time around."  Oregonian

South Dakota Legislature a-Twitter with tweeters
South Dakota is no exception in seeing increasing use of social networks by its lawmakers. The National Conference of State Legislatures has identified more than 550 legislators nationwide on Twitter, many of them active users.  Rapid City Journal

Tennessee bill would aid military spouses
Alabama is among the states that do not have unemployment benefit protection for spouses of military personnel who are transferred, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Huntsville Times/AP

Alabama court's wrongful death ruling used to recommend abandoning Roe 'viability' argument
Citing the National Conference of State Legislatures, Parker wrote that 38 states have enacted fetal-homicide statutes, of which 28 protect life from conception, and noted a ruling from last year by his own court that concluded that Alabama's wrongful death law applies to an unborn child at any stage of gestation.  Fox News

Lawmakers weigh ban of Colo. traffic cameras
The National Conference of State Legislatures says nine states have laws banning the use of photo traffic enforcement.  9NEWS Denver/AP

At Minn. Capitol, ideas aplenty to help veterans
Some ideas, such as allowing private employers to give preference to veterans when hiring, have been a staple in legislatures for years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Post-Bulletin/AP

Voter ID law kicks in Tuesday
Acceptable ID to vote in Wisconsin includes a valid driver’s license, a state-issued ID, a student ID that expires within two years, or a military ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers it one of the most stringent.  Chippewa Herald

Language law stirs poll dispute
Although 23 states, including Arizona, have laws that declare English to be their official language, Arizona is the only one that requires office-holders to speak the language, said Jon Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Manila Bulletin

CONTACT We Care to launch “Save Our Youth” campaign against youth suicide
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide and 14.5 percent have made plans to kill themselves.  NJ TODAY

Employers must not limit health coverage
In 2000, Iowa passed a law requiring all employers to provide contraceptive drug coverage if the policy pays for any prescription drugs.  Twenty-eight other states do the same.  Opinion in The Gazette

Feb. 20

Questions of equity and flexibility meet Obama's teacher grant proposal
Michelle Exstrom of NCSL told Governing that state legislators have already been working toward many of these goals, so they will likely be encouraged by support from the White House. However, she added, as with Race To The Top, a competitive program inevitably means that some states and school districts -- particularly those who might most need such funding -- will miss out on it.  “States that are making some strides or are politically poised to move forward with these issues will probably be able to take advantage,” Exstrom said. “States that were challenged to do this in the first place probably will be left behind again.”  Governing

Montana corporate election spending ban halted by high court
At the time of the ruling, 24 states had laws either banning or restricting spending by corporations or unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Montana case is the first challenge to a state law restricting corporate spending to reach the Supreme Court since the Citizens United decision.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Public pension plans get much-needed overhaul
"A lot of constitutional, statutory and judicial decisions protect employees from any reduction in benefits, and that's made policymakers hesitant to shift benefit packages for current employees," says Ron Snell, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Tulsa World

Voter ID laws proliferate
Of the 31 laws, 27 are expected to be in effect for the general election this year, says Meagan Dorsch, spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan research group. USA Today

PAC challenges Illinois campaign contribution limits
Twelve states allow unlimited contributions to PACs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group.  Rock River Times

Madison matters: Wis. officials ready for election
Acceptable ID to vote in Wisconsin includes a valid driver's license, a state-issued ID, a student ID that expires within two years, or a military ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers it one of the most stringent.  Chicago Tribune/AP

Bill introduced in W.Va. would allow civil unions
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states allow civil unions. Another seven states and Washington, D.C, have approved gay marriage.  WSAZ-TV

Restore prenatal coverage
It's amply demonstrated by medical statistics that prenatal care reduces the chance of complications during pregnancy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, "studies demonstrate that every dollar spent on prenatal care yields between $1.70 and $3.38 in savings."  Editorial in the Lincoln Journal Star

Growing voter ID laws bring challenges
Of the 31 laws, 27 are expected to be in effect for the general election this year, says Meagan Dorsch, spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan research group.  Tucson Citizen

Lawmaker would require women to get an ultrasound 24 hours before having an abortion
As of May 2011, nine states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin — had enacted mandatory ultrasound laws, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Allentown Morning Call (blog)

Underwriting morality
Even before Obamacare goes into effect, the National Conference of State Legislatures counts more than 1900 coverage mandates enacted by the 50 states.  Opinion in Barron's

Feb. 17

Lawsuit against pension changes could benefit from court rulings in other states
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Maine was one of 18 states that made changes to public employee pensions in 2011. Several of those states are facing legal challenges to those reforms. Sun Journal

IVF and insurance: What's the upshot?
Of the 15 states with infertility treatment mandates, there are major variations in coverage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia all mandate some type of coverage. Fox Business News

No cussing in class for teachers, lawmaker says
A spokeswoman for the National Conference of State Legislatures said the organization is not aware of any other state with a law similar to the Arizona proposal. The AP in the Times Union

Proposal bans discrimination against jobless in want ads
Eleven other states and the District of Columbia are considering similar bills this year, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Business Journal

Sen. Paul objects to synthetic drug bills
At least 39 states have tried crackdowns on synthetic marijuana and bath salts, banning one or both of the drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Courier Press

Ill. campaign contribution limits challenged in court
Twelve states allow unlimited contributions to PACs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group. Illinois Statehouse News in the McDonough Voice

Alexander: “Worst words in Tennesseans’ vocabulary are ‘state income tax’”
That is why our legislation has the support of the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Counties, to name a few. The Chattanoogan

Payroll tax agreement also re-allocates D-block spectrum to public safety
King noted in his statement that D-Block reallocation to public safety is supported by President Obama, the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, both Republicans and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee, and virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country, including the NGA, the National Conference of State Legislatures, CSG, NACO, NLC, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association... Government Security News

Bill proposes massive overhaul to Georgia gun laws
Twenty-two states currently ban carrying a  concealed weapon on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At least 11 states, including Georgia, have bills that would in some way allow guns on campuses, the group says. Atlanta Journal Constitution

King statement on House-Senate payroll tax agreement provision to reallocate D block to public safety
Reallocation of the D Block for public safety is supported by President Obama, the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, both Republicans and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee, and virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country, including the NGA, the National Conference of State Legislatures, CSG, NACO, NLC, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association...Fire Engineering

Florida bill would ban buying sweets with food stamps
Last year, New York City applied for a waiver to restrict the sale of soda and sugary drinks, but that was also denied. Iowa, California and Texas have proposed similar bills in the past two years, but nothing has been passed into law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Weekly Challenger

Feb. 16

States weigh opt-out laws for immunizations
All but two states —West Virginia and Mississippi — as well the District of Columbia, allow parents to opt out of school-required vaccines based on religious beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Tucson Citizen

As contraceptive furor abates, Obama faces challenges implementing overhaul
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 22 states have legislation pending to establish a health insurance exchange. But some states are refusing to set them up, and others have joined the litigation to overturn the health care law. MSNBC

PAC challenges Illinois campaign contribution limits
Twelve states allow unlimited contributions to PACs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan research group. FOX Illinois

States rev up for real ID
The National Conference of State Legislatures says it’s not trying to get repeal legislation reintroduced and instead is focusing its efforts on changing the Homeland Security Department’s implementing regulations in order to allow states to save face by complying with the law without admitting they’re doing so. Family Security Matters

N.H. bill targets federal health insurance reform
At least four states — Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Georgia — have enacted similar measures into law according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seacoastonline.com

Democrats push to keep straight-party balloting
A fiscal impact report on the bill, prepared by the Legislative Finance Committee, cites National Conference of State Legislatures statistics that indicate only 16 states, including New Mexico, offer straight-ticket voting. The trend is for states to move away from straight-party voting, the report says. Santa Fe New Mexican

Scrap metal: One man’s treasure is city’s headache
In the past two years, 18 state legislatures have passed scrap metal bills, including changes such as new or increased penalties for violators, tighter dealer licensing and required record-keeping or databases for metal transactions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Mercury

Women in the Oregon legislature
Women hold 27.8 percent of the seats in the Oregon Legislature — slightly more than the national average of 23.6 percent of seats in all legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Statesman Journal (blog)

House gives preliminary OK to health care compact
At least four states -- Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Georgia -- have enacted similar measures into law according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. AP in Boston Globe

At Minn. capitol, ideas aplenty to help veterans
Some ideas, such as allowing private employers to give preference to veterans when hiring, have been a staple in legislatures for years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CBS Local

Mich., Pa. put limits on families seeking food aid
As the need for assistance grew, Rochelle Finzel of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said, asset tests were seen as a hindrance to getting families back on their feet. AP in Equal Voice Newspaper

Feb. 15

Credit checks could be limited for some Colo. jobs
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of 34 bills being considered, 32 deal with restrictions on the use of credit information for employment decisions. Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Whitney Houston's tragic death puts spotlight on drug and alcohol addiction and treatment
According to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states and the District of Columbia have laws that mandate mental health coverage in group plans, "but these laws vary considerably." NASDAQ

Ariz. candidate raises questions about Ariz. law
Although 23 states, including Arizona, have laws that declare English to be their official language, Arizona is the only one that requires office-holders to speak the language, said Jon Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C. AP on ABC News

Barred candidate questions language law
Although 23 states, including Arizona, have laws that declare English to be their official language, Arizona is the only one that requires office-holders to speak the language, said Jon Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, DC. Pretoria News

Scrap metal: One man's treasure is city's headache
In the past two years, 18 state legislatures have passed scrap metal bills, including changes such as new or increased penalties for violators, tighter dealer licensing and required record-keeping or databases for metal transactions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Broadcast Newsroom

Nursing home shortage crisis averted: States can’t afford them anyway
Thirty-six states participate in some form of “Certificate of Need” programs, which are “aimed at restraining health care facility costs and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the remaining 14 states “still retain some mechanisms intended to regulate costs and duplication of services.” Senior Housing News

Crumbling Minn. Capitol reaches 'tipping point'
Many states addressed expensive Capitol restorations during the 1980s and 1990s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota is one of a handful that has relied on piecemeal fixes. Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Feb. 14

Illegal immigrants involved in fatal crashes may face higher bail
The National Conference of State Legislatures reported earlier this year that such proposed state legislation reached record numbers across the nation in 2011. The Tennessean

Credit checks could be limited for some Colo. jobs
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation this year dealing with credit checks in employment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of 34 bills being considered, 32 deal with restrictions on the use of credit information for employment decisions. The Oshkosh Northwestern

Florida gets over $100 million in health care reform funds
Using federal data, the National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a report that shows Florida state agencies, universities, hospitals, public clinics — even faith-based private groups such as Tallahassee-based Live the Life Ministries — received funds from the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and 2011 for everything from clinic expansion to abstinence lectures. Examiner.com

Black ministers leading voter ID effort
In all, 15 states are expected to have photo ID laws in place by the November elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and NAACP chapters across the nation are involved in the get-out-the-vote effort. AP on RealClearPolitics

Lawmaker tries to strengthen Tennessee’s tattoo law
At least 39 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-one states have laws that prohibit both body piercing and tattooing on minors without parental permission. AP

Feb. 13

Foreclosure deal may prop up state budgets
Financial conditions may change, altering the plans of states. Arturo Perez, director of the fiscal affairs program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that in 1998 states were “flush” with money when they negotiated a settlement with cigarette companies that provided $206 billion over 25 years. Bloomberg

Proposal would have schools take on future pension costs, not debt
The National Conference of State Legislatures says all 50 states have a statewide pension system for teachers, with the districts picking up the employer costs in more than two-thirds of them. Chicago Daily Herald

Spending by states and cities declines
“The majority of states have a stable to positive outlook,” says budget expert Arturo Perez of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Making a difference: States budgeted for just a 1.9% bump in general fund revenue this year, much lower than forecasts — and spending commitments — made in earlier years. Tucson Citizen

Lawmaker takes a shot at tattoos
At least 39 states have laws prohibiting minors from getting tattoos, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thirty-one states have laws that prohibit both body piercing and tattooing on minors without parental permission. Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Political high rollers: Who spent the most cash last year?
Another area of concern for Marion and other good government groups is that in the Ocean State, there is no off-season when it comes to fundraising. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Rhode Island is one of 22 states that do not place any restrictions on giving and receiving campaign contributions during the legislative session. GoLocalProv

Crumbling Minnesota Capitol reaches ‘tipping point’
Many states addressed expensive Capitol restorations during the 1980s and 1990s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Minnesota is one of a handful that has relied on piecemeal fixes. Grand Forks Herald

W.Va. session fundraising targeted by pending bill
At least 31 states set some sort of limit on lawmakers raising funds during sessions, according to a review by The Associated Press aided by research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Graffiti

Weekly poll: Drug testing welfare recipients
Pennsylvania is the latest state to join at least 36 other states that want to drug test welfare recipients. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona, Missouri and Florida have passed bills for drug testing those who are on welfare, however Florida's bill has since been blocked by a federal judge because it is too broad. About - News & Issues

In-session fundraising targeted by pending bill
At least 31 states set some sort of limit on lawmakers raising funds during sessions, according to a review by The Associated Press aided by research from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Martinsburg Journal

ID law sparks clergy to lead voting drive in Chattanooga
In all, 15 states are expected to have photo ID laws in place by the November elections, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chattanooga Times Free Press

Editorial: Death should spur action on CO detectors
Even fewer states have addressed detectors for public facilities, and those approaches also vary, according to a review of the codes compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huntington Herald Dispatch

Florida gets $119 million in health care reform funds
Using federal data, the National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a report that shows Florida state agencies, universities, hospitals, public clinics — even faith-based private groups such as Tallahassee-based Live the Life Ministries — received funds from the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and 2011 for everything from clinic expansion to abstinence lectures. Tampabay.com

Douglas Bruce, anti-tax champion, to be sentenced on tax-evasion
Since 2006, at least nine other states have considered TABOR-like restrictions, though none has adopted them, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Denver Post

Online sales tax comes closer to reality
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that uncollected state sales taxes will cost states $23 billion this year. Green Bay Press Gazette

HOWELL, Mich. — The 2010 Buick Enc
As the need for assistance grew, Rochelle Finzel of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said, asset tests were seen as a hindrance to getting families back on their feet. Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Internet tax: Revenue for taking?
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

Senate benefit pension plan would commit state for years
Alaska is not alone. States across the nation are wrestling with prickly pension problems by slashing benefits, trying to create new pension hybrids or imposing layers of restrictions and restructuring, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. In 2010 alone, 21 states enacted such changes. Anchorage Daily News

Lawmaker pushes state income tax
The other states without an individual income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Amarillo.com

Tom Miller: It's time for Legislature to beef up mine safety
More than half the other 49 states already have such restrictions on giving and receiving campaign contributions during the legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Huntington Herald Dispatch

State, local educators leary of Legislature’s charter school bill
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are many pros and cons to charter schools. Andalusia Star-News

Alaska lawmakers plan to sell ANWR drilling during D.C. trip
Saddler was picked for the trip because he carried a resolution supporting drilling in ANWR before the National Conference of State Legislatures at its fall forum in Tampa, Fla., Chenault said. Lake Wylie Pilot

State budget writers get good news with $200M windfall
Washington is one of a handful of states, including California and New York, facing a budget shortfall, according to a December report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Seattle Times

Obama's rules on contraceptives adjusted after furor
In Texas, current law requires that employers be offered the option to include coverage of contraceptives within their health plans, but there is an exception in place for religious institutions, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Austin American-Statesman

Business-friendly legislation ahead
The National Conference of State Legislatures also ranks Alabama first among the 50 states in the percentage of state taxes reserved for specific uses. Wetumpka Herald

Do health insurance mandates equal higher premiums?
Citing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures lists 49 health insurance mandates in Minnesota: 28 benefits that must be covered, 13 types of health care professionals that need to be covered, and eight types of patients mandated for coverage. Finance and Commerce

Fairness act offers sales tax solutions
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates online sales will cost states $23 billion in tax revenue in 2012. Memphis Daily News

More states seek to collect online sales tax
Budget shortfalls. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that uncollected state sales taxes will cost states $23 billion this year. CIO Today

House OKs change in pension plan
No other state offers a similar pension system for its legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. KRQE

Mich., Pa. put limits on families seeking food aid
As the need for assistance grew, Rochelle Finzel of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said, asset tests were seen as a hindrance to getting families back on their feet. FederalNewsRadio.com

Feb. 10

No other state offers a similar pension system for its legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That's because New Mexico lawmakers don't receive an annual salary and instead get a daily payment intended to offset their expenses.  The Republic/AP

Virginia would allow deadly force in self defense
A number of states enacted what became known as "make my day" laws in the 1980s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Laws on self defense, property and premises vary, but most states have some form of legal protection, according to an NCSL research paper.  Chicago Tribune/Reuters

West Virginia House OKs governor's plan for retiree costs
Before it was issued, government employers had followed a pay-as-you-go approach. At least three-fourths of the states continue to do so, said Ronald Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Herald-Mail

Hawaii's contraception model has downsides, some say
Currently, 28 states have laws requiring contraceptive coverage as part of health plans. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 of those states offer some type of exemption, a list including Arizona, New York, Maryland, Missouri and California.  National Catholic Reporter

Health policy expert draws two crowds
Rep. Gary Daniels, a Republican from Milford, attended Herrera's presentation in order to learn more about health insurance exchanges. ALEC is "political networking," similar to other groups like the National Conference of State Legislatures, he said.  Concord Monitor

Florida bill would ban buying sweets with food stamps
The USDA requires a control group, meaning it must be started as a pilot program in a few counties, and be evaluated by an outside party, said Sheri Steisel, director of human services policy for NCSL.  South Florida Times/AP

Legislators plan D.C. trip to sell ANWR
Saddler was picked for the trip because he carried a resolution supporting drilling in ANWR before the National Conference of State Legislatures at its fall forum in Tampa, Fla., Chenault said. It passed overwhelmingly -- making drilling in ANWR the official policy of the conference. That will help in D.C., the speaker said.  The News Tribune

Feb. 9

Surplus surprises Michigan, but is it safe to spend again?
“Revenues are definitely improving, but it’s just unsure where it’s going to head from here,” said Todd Haggerty, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who noted that although revenues in many states have not returned to pre-recession levels, 17 states exceeded their expected personal income tax collections in the first quarter of the current budget year, and 18 states got more in sales tax than they had anticipated.  New York Times

Mich., Pa. put limits on families seeking food aid
As the need for assistance grew, Rochelle Finzel of the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures said, asset tests were seen as a hindrance to getting families back on their feet.  "There was an understanding families need assets" to have a financial cushion as they work their way out of poverty, said Finzel, a welfare policy analyst.  Atlanta Journal Constitution/AP

Momentum growing for sales taxes on online purchases
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that uncollected state sales taxes will cost states $23 billion this year. Residents of sales-tax states are supposed to pay taxes on online purchases, but because retailers don't collect them, they rarely do.  USA Today

State choices on essential benefits may become more complicated
Besides California, 21 other states approved laws in 2011 mandating various health services to be covered by health plans, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Kaiser Health News

Illinois bill tabled that would ban indoor tanning for minors
California already forbids tanning for minors, and at least 31 other states regulate minors' tanning in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Daily Northwestern

Catholics unite in opposition to contraception mandate
Colorado's House of Representatives adopted in mid-January a nonbinding resolution for the U.S. Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and sponsors of the resolution "expressed hope" this could be a legal tactic for other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  National Catholic Reporter

S.C. sues Holder over blocked ID law
Citing data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wilson says at least 31 states require voters to show some sort of ID at the polls, and 15 states have enacted photo ID requirements.  Washington Informer/AP

Are PA legislators trying to get on “The Daily Show”?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we are now the only state in the nation that mandates random drug testing of TANF recipients without any suspicion of drug use (two others, Arizona and Missouri, require testing in cases where abuse is suspected).  Opinion in Philadelphia Magazine

Feb. 8

South Carolina attorney general sues federal government for blocking voter ID law
Citing data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wilson says at least 31 states require voters to show some sort of ID at the polls, and 15 states have enacted photo ID requirements.  Washington Post/AP

Job-seekers, employers take sides on value of credit histories
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks the measures. "With the recession and higher levels of unemployment and additional loss of jobs, when someone does file a job application, there's likely a desire to ensure (that) job seekers are not losing opportunities," said Heather Morton, a legislative analyst at NCSL.  Denver Post

Bill would prohibit fundraising during legislative session
Twenty-nine other states already restrict giving and receiving campaign contributions during the legislative session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state policies.  Charleston Daily Mail

Map: Where is same-sex marriage legal?
But where else is gay marriage legal? Or domestic partnerships? And which states give unmarried couples spousal rights? Below is a map, based on data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, that outlines the policies of states that have moved to relax prohibitions on these issues.  National Journal

Panel sidelines 3 voter ID bills
Meanwhile, 31 states require voters to show identification before voting at the polls, though 16 of those states allow nonphoto forms of ID – such as a utility bill or a bank statement – to be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Albuquerque Journal

Inside the statehouse: What will the Legislature do for encore?
Alabama is only one of a handful of states that works with two budgets. Over 40 of the 50 states have one General Fund Budget. The National Conference of State Legislatures also ranks Alabama first among the 50 states in the percentage of state taxes reserved for specific uses.  Jacksonville News

Contraceptive coverage and Massachusetts law
According to a National Conference of State Legislatures report in August 2011, at least 26 states by law require insurers that cover prescription drugs to also provide coverage for any Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved contraceptive.  Boston Globe

Legislators urged to expand DNA collection
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states had expanded DNA collection to suspected felons as of August 2010. All states require convicted felons to submit DNA samples.  Cape Cod Times

‘Tax zapper’ programs up for legislative review
The tax-evading programs, which can be installed through flash drives, have been detected in other states and countries. Georgia has passed a law barring them, and the National Conference of State Legislatures says six states besides Maine are considering them.  Bangor Daily News/AP

Sens. ask: Mood right for pay hike?
Nebraska lawmaker pay, which includes expense reimbursements, ranks seventh-lowest in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Omaha World Herald

Iowa bill cracks down on undocumented workers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states now require employers to use the e-verify system, including neighboring Missouri and Nebraska.  Fox News Latino

Feb. 7

Obama rekindles state debates on dropout age
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver-based nonpartisan research and policy organization, issued a reportRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader in early 2011 with lengthy recommendations on how state lawmakers could most effectively address the dropout problem.  Education Week

Washington is likely the next state to allow gay marriage
Legislatures in New Jersey and Maryland are expected to debate same-sex marriage bills this year, said Jack Tweedie, who tracks same-sex marriage at the National Conference of State Legislatures. In California, the issue is in the courts.  USA Today

Waivers not enough, US states want new schools law
In a letter to members of both chambers, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the National Association of Counties ask for Congress's "leadership and urgency to fix and reform" national education policy.  Reuters

Ariz. Senate panel advances guns on campus bill
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 22 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on higher-education campuses and 25 leave the decision of whether to ban or allow carrying concealed weapons on campuses up to individual institutions.  Arizona Daily Sun

For some Fairfax public employees, retirement means collecting a nest egg — and returning to work
DROPs have also created controversies in places such as Philadelphia. Last year, three states enacted legislation restricting DROPs, according to a report last month from the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Washington Post

Bill sets up illegal immigrant hiring reporting
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states now require employers to use the e-verify system, including neighboring Missouri and Nebraska. Some states only require public employers and contractors to use the system.  Chicago Tribune/AP

Wanted: a strategy to maximize economic benefits from Ohio's burgeoning oil and gas industry
The situation “highlights the tradeoff that may come with the technique of using chemical-laced water to bring forth natural gas and oil,” according to Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  Crain's Cleveland Business

Republicans turn to voters to make Legislature part-time
The legislatures of Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania work about the same amount as California’s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “These legislatures are more similar to Congress than are the other state legislatures,” it says.  Central Valley Business Times

Arizona's 'Caylee's Law' would make it a felony to fail to report a missing child
The National Conference of State Legislatures said more than a dozen states, including Arizona, are considering similar versions of what has been called "Caylee's Law."  East Valley Tribune

Groups hope to stop Wisconsin's voter ID law
Wisconsin passed its law last spring. Acceptable ID includes a valid driver's license, a state-issued ID, a student ID that expires within two years or a military ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers it one of the most stringent.  Appleton Post Crescent/AP

Michigan House to consider further tanning spa restrictions
Over the last several years, 32 states have passed laws requiring parental permission for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California recently approved a similar bill that also bans people under age 18 from using tanning spas.  Crain's Detroit Business

Suicide prevention programs helping kids
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered committing suicide, while 14.5 percent of high school students have actually made plans to end their own lives.  360 Education Solutions

Feb. 7 open line
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least three dozen states proposed bills pertaining to drug tests for welfare and food stamp recipients. Is Illinois one of these states?  Jacksonville Journal Courier

Feb. 6

U.S. college ratings game set for shakeup
Indiana and Ohio have adopted this system. More than a dozen states plan to consider similar measures this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters

Texting-while-driving ban may gain traction
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35 states and Washington, D.C., ban texting while driving. Several more place restrictions only on certain ages and specific categories, such as school bus drivers.  Jackson Clarion Ledger

Gov. Quinn signs bill to allow speed cameras near schools, parks
Laws concerning red-light and speeding cameras range from outright bans to explicit permission for cities to zap violators with the snap of a photo.  “There are a lot of different laws,” said Anne Teigen, a specialist on traffic safety for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Sun-Times

Pennsylvania officials roll out drug tests for welfare recipients
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least three dozen states proposed bills pertaining to drug tests for welfare and food stamp recipients.  Arizona and Missouri have joined Florida in passing drug-test bills, though theirs were more narrowly tailored.  Fox News

Stop-gap hospital fee remains in state budget proposal
Nearly every state is now using some kind of Medicaid tax on hospitals. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a majority of them promise to reimburse the cost of the tax by increasing some Medicaid payment rates to hospitals.  Nashville Public Radio

Groups hope to stop state voter ID law
Wisconsin passed its law last spring. Acceptable ID includes a valid driver's license, a state-issued ID, a student ID that expires within two years, or a military ID. The National Conference of State Legislatures considers it one of the most stringent.  Oshkosh Northwestern/AP

25 states consider 'Penn State' bills
Measures have been put forward in 25 states already during the 2012 legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Politico

State investment panel squabbles intensify
Tension on the commission is to be expected, given the increased importance of state pension systems nationwide, according to Michael Bird, federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The State

Senators work to close pot loophole
As of October, at least 40 states had banned synthetic marijuana and eight more were working on outlawing it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Montgomery Advertiser/AP

Budget battle brewing
The National Conference of State Legislatures says Alabama expects to end FY 2012 with a zero balance. It also says Medicaid spending milks state’s revenues faster than the taxes can pay the bill.  Examiner.com

Calls to raise high school dropout age greeted with shrugs in CNY
For decades, most states maintained their dropout age at 16. But that has changed in recent years. Twenty-one states now set the age at 18 and 11 set it at 17, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Post-Standard

State senators consider movies, agricultural literacy
This proposed constitutional amendment would add the rights of hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife to the state’s constitution. Thirteen other states have a similar provision in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  North Platte Bulletin

Wyoming women's leadership program set
Workshops led by The White House Project, National Conference of State Legislatures and University of Wyoming professor Christine Noel Boggs will include "The State of Women in Wyoming Politics," "Building a Campaign Plan," and "Social Media in Politics and Advocacy," according to a media release.  Billings Gazette

Ohio taking a two-track approach to health reform
Fifteen states have passed legislation creating an exchange or signaling their intent to do so; 12 others have exchange bills in the works or are formally studying their options, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Mansfield News Journal

Synthetic bath salts battle continues
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, so far this year lawmakers in 26 states have introduced bills relating to synthetic bath salts, including bans, adding them to lists of controlled substances and creating penalties for possession and distribution.  NACS Online

Old, new issues face Alabama's Legislature
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures of all 50 states found that budget issues will dominate state legislative agendas this year as the effects of the recession continue.  Editorial in the Huntsville Times

Bills target copper thefts
Some of those laws carry fines for the recyclers of up to $25000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Huntington Herald Dispatch

Your guide to the smoking ban debate
The National Conference of State Legislatures says research shows "a positive effect or no decline in total restaurant or bar revenues" after a ban takes effect.  Indianapolis Star

Budget issues top priority for legislative session
A survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures said the top fiscal issues will be Medicaid costs that are growing faster than the state’s ability to pay, the cost of state employee and teacher pensions and increasing retirement and health insurance costs.  Gadsen Times

Douglas County’s collaborative pre-natal clinic reduces number of low birthrate babies
Nationally, preterm births cost society over $19 billion per year, although they only account for 8 percent of all infant admissions to a clinic or hospital. According to a study commissioned by the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2011, Medicaid programs paid for 40 percent of preterm births.  The Lund Report

Contrarian thinking about ‘legislative reform’
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a dozen states have “citizen” legislatures, but New Mexico is the only state paying only a per diem expense allowance.  Opinion in the El Defensor Chieftain

Feb. 3

Many states aren’t ready for looming health law changes
Most state legislatures are scheduled to adjourn for the year by March or April, before the Supreme Court rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reconvening after the ruling would be difficult in an election year. Boston Herald

Controversial voter ID laws proposed across the U.S.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says voter ID bills are pending in at least 26 states, and this comes after the Justice Department blocked South Carolina's new ID law from taking effect, arguing that it would hurt minorities, who are less likely to have the required identification. NPR

RI faces fight over immigrant tuition
Twelve states have similar rules giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Boston Globe

Hackney won't seek re-election; clears path for Insko
Hackney has served 16 terms, 32 years, in the General Assembly representing the 54th district, which includes Orange, Chatham and Moore counties. He was elected Speaker of the House in 2007 following Jim Black’s removal. He severed as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Independent Weekly

Oregon bill would require coaches to report abuse
At least 12 states are considering mandatory reporting legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more are expected to craft bills as their sessions get into full swing. KVAL

What does the FLSA say about nursing mothers?
Many states and localities also have laws relating to nursing mothers. If your business has employees in a jurisdiction that provides more generous rights for nursing mothers than required by federal law, you must comply with those laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a summary of state laws relating to breastfeeding and expressing milk on its website. Lexology

America: A gold star on your driver’s license is not an upgrade
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 16 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, and Washington, with laws forbidding them to comply with Real ID. Eight states, including Illinois (2007 HJR 278), Colorado and Hawaii have enacted resolutions boycotting REAL ID laws. Examiner.com

MuniNet Medley: 2/1/12 - Unemployment trends, tracking health care reform, best cities for hospitals, hard-hit cities
Healthcare policy remains on the radar in 2012, but who can keep track of the various states’ health care reform legislation? You can, thanks to a National Conference of State Legislatures database, which monitors state legislative actions related to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. MuniNet Guide

Child deaths undercounted nationally, panel told
Deaths of children from neglect or abuse probably are vastly undercounted in many states, including Kentucky, a representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures told a legislative panel Thursday. Louisville Courier-Journal

Ex-speaker Hackney won't run for NC House in 2012
Hackney, a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, served previously in the House as majority leader and speaker pro tempore. Myrtle Beach Online

House Minority Leader Hackney to retire
The Chapel Hill attorney is one of the state's longest-serving lawmakers. During his 16 terms in the House, he served as speaker pro tem, majority leader, and was House speaker for two terms before becoming minority leader after the GOP takeover in 2010. He was also president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2008. WRAL

State seeks bill to require reporting of abuse
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states require anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to report it to authorities. TheNewsTribune.com

Indiana passes 'right-to-work' legislation
Indiana joins 22 other states with right-to-work laws, most of them in the South and West, and its action could encourage other states to pass similar laws. Similar bills have been introduced this year in Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. International Business Times

Feb. 2

States under pressure as health law deadlines approach
Most state legislatures are scheduled to adjourn for the year by March or April, before the Supreme Court rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reconvening after the ruling would be difficult in an election year. Kaiser Health News

Indiana becomes 23rd "right-to-work" state
Similar bills have been introduced this year in Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Baltimore Sun

U.S. consensus on traffic cameras? There isn't one
“There are a lot of different laws,” said Anne Teigen, a senior policy specialist on traffic safety for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “That’s the beauty of state government — that they can decide what works for their community.” Des Moines Register

Sour economy has Nevada looking for new jackpot
Three other states — Montana, North Dakota and Texas — meet biennially, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some say meeting every other year guards against superfluous legislation. WBUR

Ohio tries to avoid being dumping ground for fracking fluid
Ohio’s situation highlights the tradeoff that may come with the technique of using chemical-laced water to bring forth natural gas and oil, said Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Delaware News Journal

State: Lawmakers eye ban on public union bargaining
Arizona is among at least a dozen states with pending 2012 legislation to ban or restrict collective bargaining by public employees, according to a legislative database of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Prescott Daily Courier

Voter ID bill moving through the General Assembly
It may seem like a no brainer to have an ID to vote, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state governments, only 15 states in the country require a photo ID to vote. WSLS

Business ethics and same-sex marriage
Shouldn't marriage be all-inclusive and embrace men and women everywhere? As of July 2011—according to the National Conference of State Legislatures ( NCSL ) —Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Washington, D.C., issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Windy City Times

Time for an early western primary
The mountain states, National Conference of State Legislatures data shows, receive an economic boost from oil production and refining, helping them run budget surpluses unlike many other states which are still mired in deficits. StandardNet

No Doritos on the public’s dime
In the last year, legislation seeking to restrict SNAP purchases was introduced in Illinois, Oregon, California, Vermont and Texas, though none was successful, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Men's News Daily

Why doesn’t W.Va. require CO alarms in hotels?
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 25 states have laws that mandate carbon monoxide detectors in residential buildings. Charleston Gazette

Feb. 1

Governors seeking jobs offer tax breaks as budget woes ease
With more cash flowing in, only California, Missouri (STOMO1), New York (STONY1) and Washington have reported budget gaps since the fiscal year began, a decline from 15 states a year ago, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. Bloomberg

Bills would require more people to report suspected child abuse
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states require anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to report it to authorities. The Seattle Times

Push for bus seat belts seen unlikely
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas required seat belts on school buses as of 2010. Federal law does, however, require small school buses to be equipped with safety belts. Des Moines Register

Editorial: Ex-felons' voting rights
In a list found on the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures, state after state after state is on the books as restoring the voting rights of felons upon the completion of their sentence, probation and/or parole. Kentucky is not — but it is time for the Bluegrass State to join the ranks of the fair and enlightened. Louisville Courier-Journal

Editorial: A first for the Legislature, after 40 years of talk, annual sessions begin
With Oregon’s Legislature now meeting every year, only Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas are left holding biennial sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Register-Guard

Ohio tries to escape fate as a dumping ground for fracking fluid
Ohio’s situation highlights the tradeoff that may come with the technique of using chemical-laced water to bring forth natural gas and oil, said Glen Andersen, energy program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. Bloomberg

Maine lawmakers hope to zap tax evading software
Some of that alarm has been sounded by Boston University Professor Richard Ainsworth and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. Lewiston Sun Journal

New version of Arizona campus guns bill proposed
The National Conference of State Legislatures says most states do not allow students to carry concealed weapons on higher-education campuses, with 22 banning carrying a concealed weapon on campuses and 25 leaving the decision of whether to ban or allow carrying concealed weapons on campuses up to individual institutions. AP on KTAR

Lawmakers advance hunting and fishing measure
Thirteen states guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with Vermont's language dating back to 1777, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lincoln Journal Star

How much is a life worth? It depends where you live
To find out how your state values your life, see State Sovereign Immunity and Tort Liability compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. InjuryBoard.com

 

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