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NCSL in the News February 2013

NCSL in the News Archives

NCSL in the News: February 2013


Feb. 28

States Can Survive a (Short) Sequester
Michael Bird, legal counsel for the NCSL in Washington, points out that states with heavy concentrations of military bases and a large number of civilian employees of the Defense Department will be most severely impacted. RealClear Politics

Lawmakers see a small jackpot in unclaimed lottery prizes
“It’s something we’ve seen an increased interest in this year,” said Jon Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington. AP/Washington Post

States play catch-up amid boom in drilling
Last year, more than 150 bills were introduced in 25 states to regulate energy drilling, said Jacquelyn Pless, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Globe

Price transparency could lower costs in the ED
The issue of cost transparency is becoming a "hot topic" as the U.S. struggles with controlling healthcare costs, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports. FierceHealthcare

Southland aerospace firms brace for defense cuts
Sequestration's biggest effect would be to California with an estimated $3.2-billion cut in military spending on procurement, wages and grants, according to data compiled by Federal Funds Information for States, a service created by the National Governors Assn. and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Los Angeles Times

Gun debate endures in Senate, on campus
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states ban concealing a firearm on college campuses, while 23 — including Minnesota — leave the decision up to the school. U-Wire.com

(Opinion) ‘Simple and convenient’ voting
But, as the National Conference of State Legislatures notes in a roundup of states’ election policies, officials from same-day registration states report their procedures have not resulted in increased fraud. The biggest disadvantage, according to NCSL, is the cost of implementing same-day registration. Southern Maryland News

St. Luke's Episcopal School welcomes Mike Box as drama teacher
Box is also involved in civic activities. He is president of the Mobile Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, is a past-president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, is a member of the Saraland-Satsuma Community Education Advisory Council and has served as president of that group as well, the news release said. Birmingham News

(Opinion) Vote for all three amendments
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states already have this guarantee written into their constitutions. And Idaho, Kentucky and Nebraska hope to follow suit this year. Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

Feb. 27


Sequester could force states to cut budgets, hike taxes
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. Reuters/Chicago Tribune

As drilling boom approaches cities, a backlash grows in Colorado, other states
Last year, more than 150 bills were introduced in 25 states to regulate energy drilling, said Jacquelyn Pless, an analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 14 became law, many to define whether state or local governments could regulate the procedure. AP/Washington Post

New Jersey gets online gambling as governor signs revised bill
New Jersey, the 11th most populous state, will become the largest so far and the third in the United States to allow online gambling after Delaware and Nevada, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

NCSL: States Hurt by Sequester, Uncertainty in Washington
States will suffer if across-the-board sequestration cuts take place on Friday and they are not given flexibility to deal with those cuts, the National Conference of State Legislatures warned Tuesday. The Bond Buyer

Oklahoma balanced budget bill likely dead for session
The number of states calling for a convention is in dispute. Michael Bird, a National Conference of State Legislatures policy analyst, said 29 states currently have that call on the books. KRMG

Temporary ban on Florida welfare drug testing upheld
Since federal welfare reform in 1996, many states have looked into drug testing of applicants and recipients of public welfare benefits, and federal rules allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. AP/St. Augustine Record

Feb. 26


Sequester could force states to cut budgets, hike taxes
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes
to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
drug to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. Reuters in the Sun Sentinel
to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf

U.S. states could have to cut their spending or raise taxes to make up for the loss of $5.8 billion of federal funds this fiscal year under the sequester set to begin in three days, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscal-statesbre91p132-20130226,0,1320839.story#sthash.KisApmMf.dpuf
Appeals court blocks Florida's drug testing law
Only Florida and Georgia have laws that allow drug testing of all welfare applicants. Arizona, Missouri, Utah and Oklahoma have laws that permit drug testing when there is suspicion of drug use by applicants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.The Wall Street Journal

Arkansas Senate passes bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses
Arkansas would join 23 states that allow individual colleges or universities to decide whether to ban or allow concealed carry of weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in the Huffington Post

Legislature: the great drug debate
Asked which states Nevada should look at for “best practices” in regulating the dispensing of medical marijuana, the committee was told by Karmen Hanson of the National Conference of State Legislatures that Colorado is probably the model. She said the “product” is highly controlled there to keep things up and up. Lahontan Valley News

“They have to account for literally every ounce of product,” she said.Idaho braces for battle over legalizing medical marijuana
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf
 legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf
Reuters in kwch.com

Texas lawmakers to consider statewide distracted driving ban
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 39 states have already banned texting behind the wheel. The Associated Press in KSAT.com

Regents oppose allowing guns at Montana colleges
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states currently have an outright ban on carrying concealed weapons on college and university campuses. The Missoulian

Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - See more at: http://www.kwch.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-marijuana-idahobre91p03p-20130225,0,1856819.story#sthash.UV6odakT.dpuf

Indiana House backs drug tests of welfare recipients
Seven states have laws, passed in 2011 and 2012, requiring drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. USA Today/The Indianapolis Star

Backlash for red-light camera hasn't slowed spread
This year, lawmakers in 22 states have filed more than 100 bills dealing with traffic cameras, says Anne Teigen, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Stateline

Kentucky Senate passes nullification bill on guns
In 2009, Montana and Tennessee enacted legislation that said guns sold within state borders are not subject to federal regulations or taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. kentucky.com

Legislators concerned over governor's low-income, private school voucher proposal
There are 12 states plus the District of Columbia with school voucher programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, four states plus D.C. offer them to low-income students or students from failing schools. The Morning Sentinel

Taxing Internet sales?
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that $800 million in Louisiana sales tax revenues go uncollected by Internet vendors each year. bestofneworleans.com

The White House's top five California sequestration cuts
However, at a more alarming level, $1 million will be elimated from federal funding for state vaccination programs, which the White House says could deny protection to 15,810 children in the state. That number is so high because the federal government covers 95 percent of the cost of keeping children vaccinated up to age 18, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Southern California Public Radio DeBord Report


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/02/25/2531800/ky-senate-passes-nullification.html#storylink=cpy


Feb. 25

Voting Rights Act: A political twist for the South
In 1965, the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, stretching from Virginia to Texas, had a total of three black state legislators. By 2009, the number had grown to 321, or 18% of the total, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  USA Today
 
Fear of U.S. Cuts Grows in States Where Aid Flows
States will see a reduction of $5.8 billion this year in the federal grant programs subject to the automatic cuts, according to an analysis by Federal Funds Information for States, a group created by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures that tracks the impact of federal actions on states.  New York Times
 
State lawmaker wants to regulate use of drones by police
More than 20 states are pursuing similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Tribune
 
Spending Cuts Threaten State Recoveries, Governors Say
Federal money for state-administered programs will be reduced by $5.8 billion this year, according to estimates by Federal Funds Information for States, a Washington-based group created by the governors association and National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg
 
Immigration Shift by Republicans Silences Crackdown Governors
The 2010 Arizona law, designed to push out undocumented immigrants, was replicated in five other states a year later, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg
 
Tanning restrictions for minors vary by state
Tanning restrictions for minors vary by state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The organization breaks down the laws in a U.S. map, which was published on July 2012.  Statesman Journal
 
Walker budget charges smoking state workers $50 insurance fee
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states make public employees pay more for health insurance if they smoke.  Superior Telegram
 
Lawmaker wants AZ to nullify ‘unconstitutional’ federal actions
While Crandell’s resolution is more far-reaching, concerns about the potential for new federal controls on gun ownership have Arizona and 15 other states considering bills that would nullify federal gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Tucson Sentinel
 
Top 5 Retirement Issues
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 10 other states have proposed the idea of a state-run retirement plan for employees of private companies.  AdvisorOne
 
Early voting remains source of controversy in Legislature
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 states and the District of Columbia have no-excuse early voting, which allows voters to cast ballots without providing an excuse during a designated period before Election Day.  The Post and Courier
 
Ky., other states try to protect sex-trade victims
New Jersey's 2011 law creates a presumption that a prostitution defendant younger than 18 is a "severely trafficked person," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Finger Lakes Times
 
Straight-Ticket Voting Would Be Eliminated
West Virginia is one of 15 states to offer straight-ticket voting - the process of electing a party's entire slate of candidates with just one marking, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Intelligencer
 
Too much of a good thing
Then, too, there is the fact that the Texas legislature meets for 140 days every other year. In the 1960s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states had biennial sessions, but now only four do.  The Economist
 
Online sales tax collection still a political enigma
Estimates of foregone sales tax revenue from these transactions total some $23 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Jackson Clarion Ledger
 
New Mexico Senate resolution would take redistricting out of lawmakers' hands
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 12 states that give first and final authority to a body other than the legislature for legislative redistricting.  Farmington Daily Times
 
Your Pennsylvania tax dollars at work ... against women
Just as a reality check, here are the top 10 issues states are facing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
Virginia approves transportation funding overhaul
The main source of highway funds in about half the states comes from a motor vehicle fuel tax, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters/Yahoo
 
Can Vote-By-Mail Fix Those Long Lines At The Polls?
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Boise Weekly
 
Wyoming Human Trafficking Ban To Become Law Next Week
In December, Sorvino singled out the state during a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures on the trafficking.  The Huffington Post
 
New Law Makes Arkansas Gun-Permit Records Private
Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina and Kentucky also have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Newsmax
 
Liquor by the drink vote: Property-voter laws explained
While it’s typical to only allow a voter to cast ballots in the area where they live, a 2008 article published by the National Conference of State Legislatures indicates Tennessee was one of at least 10 states where nonresident property owners could vote.  The Mountain Press
 
Drug debate Lawmakers told medical marijuana law should mandate a way to get it
Asked which states Nevada should look at for “best practices” in regulating the dispensing of medical marijuana, the committee was told by Karmen Hanson of the National Conference of State Legislatures that Colorado is probably the model.  Lahontan Valley News
 
Jindal Leading Republican Governors' Shift on Immigration
The 2010 Arizona law, designed to push out undocumented immigrants, was replicated in five other states a year later, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Newsmax
 
A guide to time, privacy requirements for nursing mothers
A good summary of state laws addressing lactation and breastfeeding and be found on the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fire Chief
 
Legislator tapped for two committees
A state lawmaker who represents part of Forsyth County has been appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Environment Committee.  Forsyth County News

Feb. 22

No unemployed need apply: Some complain they need a job to find a job; states take action
Oregon and the District of Columbia followed suit last year, while 15 other states considered similar proposals, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Washington Post
 
Battle builds over constitutional amendment to allow public dollars for private schools
Since 2011, 37 states have considered legislation that would help parents pay for private schools through state-paid vouchers, scholarships or in states with an income tax, credits or deductions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Anchorage Daily News
 
Tax credits seen as boost to N.H. film industry
New Hampshire is one of five states in the country that don't offer any sort of incentive for movie producers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  New Hampshire Business Review
 
'Nurse-in' at library promotes awareness of breast-feeding issues
Georgia Code "states that the breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be," according to information posted online by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
 
Federal solution preferred
Besides Moak, lawmakers in California, Hawaii, Illinois and Iowa have introduced online gaming bills this year. And Jonathan Griffin, policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, expects more to be introduced.  Las Vegas Review-Journal
 
Senator lays out plan to authorize medical marijuana dispensaries
In Colorado, cities and counties can choose whether or not to have “grow houses” -- places where marijuana is cultivated -- and dispensaries within their jurisdictions, said Karmen Hansen with the National Conference of State Legislatures, which is based in Denver.  Las Vegas Review-Journal
 
County registrars seek earlier deadline for voters to register; Jefferson County excluded from bill
According to a listing of state deadlines as of November 2011 by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee all had 30-day windows.  AL.com
 
My Turn: Drawing the people's map
For example, according to information provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures, of the 13 independent commissions in 2000 that were responsible for drawing the initial map for their states, nine, or 69 percent, were challenged in court.  The Recorder
 
Revival of Wisconsin Special Education Voucher Plan Draws Jeers, Cheers
Eight states have vouchers for students with disabilities. Details of each state's program have been compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Education Week
 
Rep. Lynn Smith appointed to two state committees
State Representative Lynn Smith, R-Newnan, was recently appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Environment Committee and the NCSL Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee.  Newnam Times-Herald

Feb. 21

Latest Front in the Gun Debate Is Mandatory Insurance
States have been considering mandatory gun insurance bills for years, but no state has passed one yet, said Jon Griffin, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  New York Times

State of the State tweets: No big deal this time
What’s allowed “kind of depends on the tradition within the state,” said Pam Greenberg, who monitors technology issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Columbus Dispatch

Federal funding cuts to hits state hard
The biggest hit to California will be an estimated $3.2 billion cut in military spending on procurement, wages and grants, according to numbers compiled by Federal Funds Information for States, a service created by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures.  San Francisco Chronicle

Too much of a good thing
Then, too, there is the fact that the Texas legislature meets for 140 days every other year. In the 1960s, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states had biennial sessions, but now only four do.  The Economist

Maine board backs ban on BPA in baby-food packaging
If the bans are adopted, Maine will join Connecticut and Vermont in banning BPA in those products, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Press Herald

Online sale tax collection remains political enigma
Estimates of foregone sales tax revenue from these transactions total some $23 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL identifies an annual $303.4 million in uncollected Mississippi sales tax revenues.  Hattiesburg American

Va. photo ID voting mandate passes
Four other states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee — have strict photo ID requirements in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  TriCities

Lawmaker wants state to nullify ‘unconstitutional’ federal actions
While Crandell’s resolution is more far-reaching, concerns about the potential for new federal controls on gun ownership have Arizona and 15 other states considering bills that would nullify federal gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Cronkite News

What’s Behind the Plastic Bag Ban Effort?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no state currently has a state-wide ban, although Hawaii has a de facto ban, because all four counties in the state have enacted a ban.  San Clemente Times

Calm down on voter ID debate
The movement to tighten the restrictions is part of a larger movement in states across the country. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states have passed some sort of law requiring voters to show identification.  Russellville Courier

Election officials say registration procedure fine
A total of 33 states have passed voter ID laws. Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin presently have no voter ID requirement in place, even though laws have been enacted in those states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Minimum Wage and Unemployment
Minimum wage (in dollars per hour) by state as of Jan 1, 2013. Data source: National Conference of State Legislatures.  EconoMonitor

Legislature voting on bill to allow concealed guns on campus
Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin and Mississippi mandate campuses to allow concealed weapons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Montana Kaimin

Photo ID voting mandate passes, heads to governor
Four other states — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee — have strict photo ID requirements in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  NorthJersey.com

Rep. Hill appointed to serve on two national committees
State Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) was appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Environment Committee, as well as the NCSL Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee, according to a Tuesday release.  Cherokee Tribune

Feb. 20

Doctor: North Carolina should bar youths from tanning beds
Only California and Vermont have banned the use of tanning equipment by anyone under 18, while similar legislation has been introduced in eight other states this year, according to legislative researchers citing the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Rocky Mount Telegram

Bill would slow lawmakers' transition to lobbyists post-term
Maine is one of 15 states that have no revolving-door law for legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most of the other states have one- or two-year periods during which former lawmakers are barred from lobbying.  Morning Sentinel

Gas-Price Rise Fueled By Taxes
Fourteen states have not hiked their gas taxes in 20 years, while eight states and the District of Columbia have done so since 2008, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fox Business

Memo to feds: It could be worse
In recent years, for example, dozens of states have furloughed employees, resorted to outright layoffs and/or required workers to pitch in more for benefits, according to a rundown by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Federal Times

Signs and Wonders: Voting, cops in schools, megachurches, and Denzel’s cry to God
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  World Magazine

Arkansas House approves bill making gun list secret
Four additional states — Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon and South Carolina — recently enacted legislation keeping concealed weapons permits secret, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Baxter Bulletin

Haynes: With school vouchers, beware the devil in the details
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “School vouchers, also referred to as opportunity scholarships, are state-funded scholarships that pay for students to attend private school rather than public school.”  Chippewa Herald

GOP bills would let firms cut worker hours with no union talks
But nationally, in all but one of the 24 states with work-sharing laws, union representatives must agree to the reduction in hours for their members, said Jeanne Mejeur, an analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chippewa Herald

Minimum wage inflation indexing blocked in panel
Ten states, including neighboring Arizona and Colorado, increase their minimum wages annually for inflation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Alamogordo Daily News

Minnesota gay marriage opponents weighing counter strategy
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states, including Wisconsin, give non-married couples the right of reciprocal benefits, to varying degrees.  The most expansive benefits are offered in California and Hawaii.  Mankato Free Press

Ga. Rep. Powell appointed to National Conference of State Legislatures
The state House of Representative Speaker David Ralston said Powell was recently appointed to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Committee.  Anderson Independent Mail

Midstate reps join national policy organization
State. Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella, and state Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, will take seats on committees at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a national bipartisan group that conducts research and training on state government issues and develops policy recommendations.  Macon Telegraph

Feb. 19

Ohio Plans Drones to Hunt Lost Kids as They Bring Jobs
Bills have been introduced in at least 18 states to limit or regulate drones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg

House approves stricter voter ID legislation
Six states require a photo ID, and four states have strict photo ID laws in place that prevents ballots from being counted if a voter cannot present an accepted form of photo ID within a short period of time after the election, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Maneater

Maryland bill encourages healthiness, at a cost
At least 20 states have wellness programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many of those programs begin with a health screening or assessment, which focuses on things such as body mass index, cholesterol, whether an employee smokes and the employee's level of physical activity.  Washington Examiner

Nevada Booze Bonds Seen Overcoming Worst Housing Slump
Nevada is one of 11 states without a prediction for when tax collections will return to peak levels, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It wouldn’t be the first to turn to alcohol sales to bolster its finances.  Bloomberg

EDITORIAL: Sales taxes should apply to online retailers
Across America, states collectively lost an estimated $23.3 billion in uncollected sales tax from out-of-state sales in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Powell Tribune

Georgia considers guns in churches and on college campuses
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states (including Georgia) now ban carrying concealed weapons on college campuses, 23 states leave the decision up to individual colleges, and 5 states allow them, mainly due to recent court rulings.  WXIA

Networking Helps Students Land Legislative Jobs
Bowman expects the report will be of interest to a subset of legislative committees; Texas think tanks; and potentially, the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Texas A&M Times

‘Straight ticket’ not the problem
Four other states have similar proposals being considered. And just 15 states still allow the practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Gazette

Conservative group warns of online sales tax ‘unintended consequences’
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates this tax discrepancy will cost states $23 billion in avoided taxes in 2012,” NCPA writes.  Daily Caller

Doc: NC youths should be barred from tanning beds
Only California and Vermont have banned the use of tanning equipment by anyone under 18, while similar legislation has been introduced in eight other states this year, according to legislative researchers citing the National Conference of State Legislatures.  WRAL

Cantor says states are spending more on Medicaid than on public schools
Arturo Perez, a fiscal analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said his organization tracks states’ general fund spending and considers K-12 education to be the greatest recipient of state money.  PolitiFact

The Best of Food Safety in Government
Doug Farquhar directs the Environmental Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures.  He directs the program that performs legislative analysis and outreach on state and federal environmental, health and trade laws; focusing on the delegation and authorization of federal and state laws.  Food Safety News

Feb. 18

A look back at immigration bills enacted in Oregon
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks immigration-related legislation introduced in every state since 2008, compiling the information in a database.  Statesman Journal

Arkansas House approves bill to allow guns on college campuses
Arkansas would join 23 states that allow individual colleges or universities to decide whether to ban or allow concealed carry of weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Capitol Hill Blue

School choice reaches out to Main Street
Seven states have enacted a version of parent trigger: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. More than 20 states have considered such measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Casa Grande Dispatch

Local lawmakers push for immigrant tuition bill
At least a dozen states have laws in place that allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public post-secondary institutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Iowa City Press Citizen

Taxes on online purchases? It could happen
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates $800 million of sales tax money is lost via Internet sales.  Houma Courier

Online security tips and reputation management for job-hunters
While the National Conference of State Legislatures says eight states currently restrict use of employer credit checks in the hiring process, and many more have legislation pending, you may still be asked to submit to a credit check.  Huron Daily Tribune

Idaho Senate to Consider Higher Initiative Bar
Neighboring Montana, for instance, requires 5 percent of registered voters in each of its 34 legislative districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Twin Falls Times-News

Lawmakers question Malloy's spending cap proposal
As of 2010, there were 23 states that had spending limits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Day

Bill permitting guns on campus in Arkansas closer to passage
Arkansas would join 23 states that allow individual colleges or universities to decide whether to ban or allow concealed carry of weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Columbus Dispatch

The Pitfalls of Internet Sales Tax Collection
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates this tax discrepancy will cost states $23 billion in avoided taxes in 2012.  National Center for Policy Analysis

Eighteen states join battle over domestic drone flights
Eighteen states have considered bills that would limit the use of drones in the United States, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more are likely to follow suit.  Press TV

Minimum wage hike a hot button
The lowest is Georgia at $5.15. Five states have no laws on the books.  Source: National Conference of State Legislatures.  Riverside Press-Enterprise

Could Funding Be Performance Based?
Eighteen states are having formal discussions on the topic, and 11 states have performance-based funding in place, according to research published last month by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Hispanic Business

Bill in Oregon Legislature would invalidate federal gun restrictions, prevent enforcement
The theory of nullification -- the idea that a state can void federal law -- has "never been legally upheld by the United States Supreme Court," warns a memo from the Colorado-based National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan professional group that aids lawmakers.  The Oregonian

Nebraska Sec. Gale testifies in support of reducing in-person early voting days
If approved, the change would only apply to early in-person voting, but would not change early voting by mail. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the national average time for in-person early voting is 22 days.  Nebraska City News Press

A moderate voice emerging in Senate
He recently left the ALEC board and has been increasing his focus on the mainstream National Conference of State Legislatures, which is much more bipartisan in nature.  Salt Lake Tribune

Jerry Davich: Gender-neutral language - another he-said, she-said debate
At least 30 states have explored or addressed this issue to be more inclusive in state legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Post-Tribune

Feb. 15

Governments look for new ways to pay for roads and bridges
“It is a bold proposal that has drawn high-profile attention to transportation funding issues — not just in Virginia, but across the country,” said Jaime Rall, transportation senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “In that sense it has already been successful.” The New York Times

President's new voting commission greeted with skepticism
The National Conference of State Legislatures says voter ID bills are pending in 24 states. NPR

Mary Landrieu part of bipartisan group seeking to make online sales subject to sales taxes
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates $23 billion of sales tax revenue nationwide is not collected annually. Times-Picayune

Nebraska Secretary Gale testifies in support of reducing in-person early voting days
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the national average time for in-person early voting is 22 days. NCNewsPress.com

Idaho Senate to consider higher initiative bar
Neighboring Montana, for instance, requires 5 percent of registered voters in each of its 34 legislative districts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NECN

Bill would make seat belts a priority
Nebraska is one of 18 states that do not classify seat belt violations as a primary offense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and New Hampshire is the only state that doesn't require drivers to wear seat belts. Columbus Telegram

Carbon monoxide detectors not required in schools
Scott Hendrick is program manager for the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to him, 21 schools have now been evacuated because of a carbon monoxide leak since 2007. KCTV5 Kansas City

Feb. 14

Illinois Senate passes same-sex marriage measure
Twenty-nine states have constitutional provisions banning same-sex marriage, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. CNN

NJ voters to decide $1 minimum wage hike in November
Most states set a minimum wage. Washington has the highest at $9.19 per hour; Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest, $5.15 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Daily Record

Supporters of amendment say Legislature should be sole authority on school funding
Dan Thatcher, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said since the 1970s, 45 states have gone through school finance litigation. "Kansas is definitely not alone in this situation," he said. Kansas City Kansan

Missouri House passes voter-ID measures
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 11 states have some form of photo-ID requirement currently in effect. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Teen drivers could face cellphone restrictions November
The District of Columbia and 10 states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia — have banned handheld phone use by all drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Mohave Daily News

New Marketplace Fairness Act would promote e-fairness for retailers who compete with online sellers
The gap between what consumers paid in-store and online amounted to more than $23.3 billion--including an estimated $628.6 million that could have gone to the State of Ohio and local governments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Plain Dealer

Bill aimed at protecting employees' online privace
Similar legislation has been introduced or is pending in at least 27 other states, and at least six states enacted legislation in 2012 protecting employees, applicants or students asked to disclose usernames or passwords for a personal social media account, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press in the Mohave Daily News

NH House kills right-to-work legislation on 212-141 vote
Right-to-work laws are in place in 24 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Concord Monitor

Kentucky Senate OKs bill to review nursing home suits
The overall cost of medical malpractice ranges from $55 billion to $200 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several states have passed measures to contain costs, such as limiting malpractice suit awards. And some of those states had the lowest levels of malpractice claims, according to the NCSL. Associated Press in the Kentucky New Era

Goolsby co-sponsors proposal to offer straight-party voting 
North Carolina is one of 15 states offering straight-party voting in some form, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, noting the state allows it for all races except presidential electors. PortCityDaily.com

Bill proposes ignition devices for all DWIs 
Fourteen states, including Virginia, require ignition locks after all DWIs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Winston-Salem Journal

Business group backs higher gas tax to fix highway system
Fourteen states also haven't raised their gas tax in 20 years, although eight states have since 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters in yahoo.com

Work here, live here: State law affects new teachers
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey is the first state in the nation to enact a law mandating a residency requirement for its public employees. New Jersey Herald

Explaining Florida's private school tax credit scholarship
Florida’s tax credit is more generous than many states, offering a dollar-for-dollar credit for donations. Other state credits range between 50 percent and 100 percent of the donation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. npr.org

Mystery nursing center
According to the National conference of state legislatures, 24 states have laws relating to breast-feeding in the work place. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Racquet

Businesses may pay price for unemployment fund shortfall
Trust fund accounts in 18 other states and the U.S. Virgin Islands owe the federal government for benefits, led by California, which owed $10.3 billion at the beginning of this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. CourierPostOnline.com

Lawmakers consider law to ignore feds
The National Conference of State Legislatures says members of at least 47 state legislatures proposed legislation to limit or oppose selected state or federal actions after the passage of the 2010 federal health care law. Associated Press in Casa Grande Dispatch

Online security tips and reputation management for job hunters
While the National Conference of State Legislatures says eight states currently restrict use of employer credit checks in the hiring process, and many more have legislation pending, you may still be asked to submit to a credit check. Huron Daily Tribune

Feb. 13

Oregon among 26 state legislatures to prohibit employers from seeking social media account passwords
Oregon is among 26 states where lawmakers have introduced bills this year to prevent employers from requesting passwords to personal Internet accounts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. statesmanjournal.com

Wyoming lawmakers consider adding lottery
Wyoming and Mississippi are the only states without lotteries where lawmakers are considering legislation this year that would change that, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/Rapid City Journal/Star-Telegram

In State of the Union speech, Obama targets jobs, energy
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently require wages higher than the federal minimum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with half of those including periodic cost-of-living adjustments. The Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline

State bill would add potential drug test for welfare recipients 
Washington is among nearly two dozen states that have introduced bills this year to require some form of drug testing for public assistance recipients, according to Rochelle Finzel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/Oregonian/The Spokesman-Review/King5.com/MyNorthwest.com

Representative Miller opposes voting reforms
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia permit any qualified voter to cast absentee ballot without an excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Detroit News

N.H. House panel recommends killing bill that would bring back straight-ticket voting
Fifteen states allow voters the option of making a single mark to cast a straight-party ballot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Concord Monitor

Arizona lawmakers consider new film tax breaks 
In 2011, 45 states and Puerto Rico offered motion picture incentives, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press/mysanantonio/ABQ Journal.com

Price for a hip replacement stumps many hospitals
Iowa is not among the states that have adopted laws to regulate price transparency, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but the Iowa Hospital Association maintains a website that provides information on charges for inpatient procedures. Star Press/press-citizen.com

Guns: 'Packing heat in church' increasingly allowed in U.S. 
Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming also have laws allowing concealed guns specifically in churches, with varied stipulations, including the possession of a proper permit, training, church approval and congregational awareness, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. BRnow.org

Flurry of state prison closures suggests hope for incarceration reform
In the past two years, 35 prisons have closed in 15 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. thinkprogress.org


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/02/12/4617071/wyoming-lawmakers-consider-adding.html#strylink

Feb. 12

Law allowing guns in churches signed by Arkansas governor
Arkansas joins a handful of other states, including South Carolina, Wyoming and Louisiana, that allow guns in churches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Reuters

Illinois Senate to vote on same-sex marriage bill on Valentine's Day
Five states, including Illinois, have civil union laws, according to Lambda Legal and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are Hawaii, Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island. CNN

With fewer to lock up, prisons shut doors
Comprehensive numbers on prison closures are hard to come by. But the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that 35 adult correctional facilities in 15 states have closed in the past two years, and governors in states including Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois are pushing for more closures this year. Wall Street Journal

Rally supports bill to allow medical use of marijuana in NC
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California was the first state to allow the medical use of marijuana, in 1996. Since then, 17 more states have enacted similar laws, as has the District of Columbia. NBC News

N.H. bills would safeguard workers' social media data from employers
Maryland, California, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, and Illinois have similar laws barring employers, academic institutions, or both; and two dozen states besides New Hampshire are considering legislation, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Boston Globe/AP/South Florida Times

Despite governor's push, voting rights for felons fails in Virginia
In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most felons automatically gain the right to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though re-registering can still prove difficult and confusing. In Maine and Vermont, they never lose it — even while in prison. The Pew Charitable Trusts Stateline

Democrats agree with Christie's changes in Internet wagering in NJ
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California, Hawaii and Mississippi also have legislation pending to authorize online gambling. NJSpotlight

Language in Oklahoma Constitution has helped impede end runs
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 10 states have school finance challenges under way; four others have recently concluded legal challenges. NewsOK

Indiana Senate approves right to hunt and farm proposal
Seventeen states now have guaranteed the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, with all those measures except for Vermont being approved since 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Chesterton Tribune

Bridging the funding gap
The National Conference of State Legislatures found in a 2012 survey that states anticipate having to carry more of the infrastructure burden than they have in the past. Truckinginfo

University of Toledo student government shuts down concealed carryresolution 
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, five states allow concealed carry on campus in some measure while 23 others allow each college or university to make that decision for their respective campuses. Breibart

Feb. 11

State lacks doctors to meet demand of national healthcare law
Such "scope-of-practice" fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems. About 350 laws altering what health professionals may do have been enacted nationwide in the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since Jan. 1, more than 50 additional proposals have been launched in 24 states. Los Angeles Times

New Mexico inches toward stricter gun controls
This is a place where you can bring your gun almost anywhere. You can even carry your weapon openly in the Capitol, if you wish — one of only a few states that allows open or concealed carry in their statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The New York Times

NH bills: Bosses can't seek social media passwords
Maryland, California, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey and Illinois have similar laws and two dozen besides New Hampshire are considering legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Associated Press via yahoo.com

Assisted suicide on agenda in several states
Bills legalizing assisted suicide are being considered in Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Kansas and Hawaii — and in Massachusetts, where proponents decided to resume their efforts after the public vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislative trends. Associated Press via AARP

Lawmakers peddling traffic-safety measures
Nebraska is one of 18 states that do not treat seat belt violations as a primary offense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  KearneyHub.com

Fla. House speaker says state's campaign contribution limit is nation's second-lowest
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford does not have kind words for the state’s $500 limit on individual campaign contributions. Weatherford spokesman Ryan Duffy directed us to a breakdown of campaign limits across states by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Duffy said Florida is actually tied for the second-lowest limit, with Maine being the state with the lowest limit ($350). The Miami Herald

Lawmakers free to carry weapons in state Capitol 
The National Conference of State Legislatures studied which state capitols had firearm restrictions. Of the 42 states that responded to the survey, only Washington, Texas and Kentucky indicated they had no restrictions on carrying weapons at their capitols. Eight states allowed people with concealed-weapons permits on campus, and the rest restricted firearms to law-enforcement and security staff. The Seattle Times

State language shifts into gender-neutral
Brenda Erickson, senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that at least 30 states have addressed the gender-neutral issue, with the goal of being more inclusive in state legislation and on official documents. "They have either placed it in chamber rule, drafting manual rule, in statues, and some cases as constitutional amendments," Erickson said. "It's not a new trend. This has been going on since probably in the 1980s or maybe even before. It's something that states gradually look at." Houston Chronicle

Greg Smith, Kansas Senator, proposes job protections for legislators
Seven states have laws protecting the private jobs of state legislators during legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Texas protects the jobs of police officers and firefighters who serve in the legislature. Huffington Post

Feb. 8

States Will be Pushed to Take Control of Health Exchanges
"We don't quite know what the federal exchange will look like, and we don't know how it will play out in each state," says Martha Salazar, who tracks exchange planning for NCSL. "It could work really well, or it can take a little more time than was originally expected, and that could affect decisions that states make. I think it really will be a wait-and-see game."  Governing

Utah joins crowd in bid to nullify U.S. gun laws
Jon Griffin, policy associate with the NCSL, said the movement toward pushing these states-rights gun laws appeared to be organic initially.  "They’re starting to get a little more uniform now," Griffin said. "At first, they were all over the board."  The Salt Lake Tribune

Democrats Cite Long Lines in Bid to Shift Debate on Voting
New voter-ID laws have been introduced in 22 states, though some would relax requirements enacted earlier, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek

Washington state Senate passes gender-neutral language measure
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about half of all U.S. states have moved toward such gender-neutral language at varying levels, from drafting bills to changing state constitutions.  The Oregonian

Assisted suicide on legal agenda in several states
Bills legalizing assisted suicide are being considered in Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Kansas and Hawaii — and in Massachusetts, where proponents decided to resume their efforts after the public vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislative trends.  NBC News

Gun rights rally is today at the Capitol
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon is among at least eight states that allow firearms within their capitols if holders have concealed-handgun licenses; three other have no restrictions.  The Statesman Journal

Bill Would Protect Employees' Social Networking Passwords
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, last year, six states passed legislation that would forbid employers from forcing workers to give up their passwords.  KSTP

Christie would allow N.J. online gambling with trial period
Only Nevada and Delaware allow Internet betting. California, Hawaii and Mississippi lawmakers also are seeking to authorize online gambling, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Allentown Morning Call

Cuomo targets driver's licenses to get overdue taxes
A few states have similar laws, including Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Journal News

Woman says she was not allowed to breast feed in public
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, forty-five states, including Louisiana have laws specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location.  KATC

Feb. 7

Gun Liability Insurance Could Be Mandatory For Firearms Owners Under New State Proposals
Since 2003, almost two dozen such bills have been rejected nationwide, 15 of them in New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Huffington Post
 
Christie Seeks Changes to New Jersey Online Gambling Bill
Only Nevada and Delaware allow Internet betting. California, Hawaii and Mississippi lawmakers also are seeking to authorize online gambling, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek
 
Property Tax Revenue Limits Squeeze School Budgets
The property tax cap isn’t exclusive to Wisconsin. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost every state -- 47 -- places some kind of limit on how property tax revenue localities can raise.  Governing
 
Occupations in the Oregon Legislature
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks the number of full and part-time legislatures, splitting states into three categories.  Salem Statesman Journal
 
Arkansas Senate passes bill to make gun-permit records private
In January, New York included a similar provision when it passed a sweeping gun control and mental health law in response to the Newtown massacre. Kansas, Oregon, South Carolina and Kentucky have similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters
 
Lawmakers, officials close to Macomb reflect on State of the State address
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, in Illinois, legislators who have a personal or financial interest in a given measure may recuse themselves from voting, but are not required to under state law.  McDonough Voice
 
Insurance as Punishment
The idea isn't brand new: "Bills have been offered unsuccessfully in Massachusetts and New York since at least 2003," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wall Street Journal
 
Corbett turns down Medicaid expansion
Some states that indicated they will enroll require legislative approval, said Melissa Hansen, an analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
 
Senate committee kills effort to ban texting while driving
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures' website, 39 states and the District of Columbia prohibit all drivers from texting while driving. New Mexico is one of only six states that have no restrictions on texting while driving.  Alamogordo Daily News
 
Louisiana lawmaker concerned about lack of female participation in state politics
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Louisiana now ranks last in female participation in state government, trailing South Carolina at 12.9 percent.  Times-Picayune
 
Moak's online gaming bill dies second year in a row
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the DOJ decision opened the door to any form of online gaming over the provided it isn’t the so-called “sports book.”  Hattiesburg American
 
Bill seeks drug testing for public assistance
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have implemented some type of drug testing or screening for public assistance over the last two years.  Elko Daily Free Press
 
Christie Thwarted as Democrats Likely to Hold Legislature
Republican gains in New Jersey this year would reverse a tide that saw Democrats across the U.S. gain about 150 seats last year and recapture eight chambers they lost in 2010, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg
 
Online security tips and reputation management for job-hunters
While the National Conference of State Legislatures says eight states currently restrict use of employer credit checks in the hiring process, and many more have legislation pending, you may still be asked to submit to a credit check.  Fenton Tri County Times
 
States Mull Expanding Role of Midlevel Health Professionals
More than 1,795 state-level scope-of-practice bills have been proposed in the last two years, 349 of which were enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  California Healthline
 
LePage looking to require schools to pay for students' remedial college courses
The governor has talked about the idea before, and officials in other states have as well, according to Brenda Bautsch, a policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C.  Morning Sentinel
 
Georgia’s tuition-tax credit law weakest in nation
Eleven states have adopted tax-credit programs that encourage donations to private-school scholarship programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Feb. 6

States Look to Pay Repair Tab
Fourteen states haven't raised their gas tax in two decades, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and only eight states and Washington, D.C., have raised gas taxes since 2008.  Wall Street Journal

Measure would force state's gun owners to buy insurance
No state has enacted the requirement despite repeated previous attempts, said Jon Griffin, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Vallejo Times-Herald

The Costs of Budget Uncertainty
A 2010 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures identified 19 states that had failed to enact budgets on time at least once since 2002.  Governing

Democrats in Iowa Senate push for in-state tuition for DREAMers
Brenda Bautsch, a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said 12 states have passed similar laws to the one Iowa is considering. Indiana is one of six states that passed a law barring such students from receiving in-state tuition.  The Daily Iowan

Down the Manhole: State Officials Grapple with Gender-Neutral Language
About half of the states have moved toward using gender-neutral language in their official documents, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Time Magazine

Online gaming bill returns
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the DOJ decision opened the door to any form of online gaming over the provided it isn’t the so-called “sports book.”  Picayune Item

Wisconsin legislator says he and colleagues worked 7 days in 2012, got paid for 365
An independent research group, the National Conference of State Legislatures, also regards the Wisconsin Legislature as essentially a full-time body.  PolitiFact Wisconsin

House panel recommends killing bill that would end recognition of common-law marriages
Nine states and the District of Columbia fully recognize common-law marriages, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Concord Monitor

Democratic lawmakers seek to decriminalize and tax pot
Eighteen states, including California, Oregon and Washington DC, allow marijuana sales for medical use to help patients cope with pain and other chronic conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.  Reuters

Illinois Pension Underfunding: Gov. Quinn To Bear Grim News In State Of State
"In the case of Illinois, the process is much different than any other state in terms of the degree and amount and how it is used as part of the budget-balancing process," said Arturo Perez, a National Conference of State Legislatures analyst.  The Huffintgon Post

Obamacare co-ops being created behind closed doors
Health co-ops do not have an encouraging record. Efforts in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida swiftly faltered, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Washington Examiner

UNLV police chief ready to fight to keep guns off campus
Nevada was one of 18 states in 2011 that introduced legislation to allow concealed-carry weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Las Vegas Sun

Top paid state legislator got nearly $21,000 in 2012
New Mexico stands out as the only state that doesn’t provide a yearly salary to its legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Santa Fe New Mexican

Gun rights advocates could bring protest -- and loaded weapons -- inside Oregon Capitol
Oregon has some of the nation's least restrictive laws about carrying guns. It is one of fewer than 10 states that allow someone with a concealed handgun license to bring a weapon -- hidden or exposed, loaded or unloaded -- into the Capitol, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Oregonian

Packing Heat at the Roundhouse
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures – which would not identify them – only three states other than New Mexico allow open carry.  ABQ Journal

Teen Critical After Smoking Synthetic Marijuana
“These drug manufacturers slightly change the chemical compound, and it becomes a different substance that’s not covered by the law,” said NCSL policy specialist Alison Lawrence. “That’s why in 2011 and 2012, we saw the states enacting these broader language bans.”  KTLA

Malloy announces deal for Amazon to collect sales tax
Nationally about $11.3 billion in use tax revenues are lost from electronic business-to-business and business-to-customer transactions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Connecticut about $63 million is lost.  The Day

Arkansas Guns In Church Bill Passes In House Of Representatives
Arkansas joins a handful of other states, including South Carolina, Wyoming and Louisiana, that allow guns in churches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Huffington Post

Feb. 5

Many Oregon lawmakers juggle reality of two jobs
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks the number of full and part-time legislatures, splitting states into three categories.  Statesman Journal

Gym shoe tax could fund aid for dropouts
That definition may be problematic because it is so broad, said Mandy Rafool, a tax policy expert with the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Chicago Tribune

Pennsylvania’s Corbett Pushes Pension Overhaul to Close Gap
Ten states last year enacted significant pension changes, according to Luke Martel, senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.  “The severity of investment losses in the past two recessions, slow growth in the economy and the slow recovery of state revenues mean that average plan funding levels continue to disappoint,” he said in an e-mail.  Bloomberg

Indiana right to hunt, farm proposal advances
Seventeen states now have guaranteed the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four states added the language last year: Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wyoming.  The Exponent

Atypical jobs in the Oregon State Legislature
Want to read more about lawmakers and unusual occupations? Morgan Cullen, a policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote a story about the topic last year.  Oregon Politics Watch

Without mandate, few local schools have carbon monoxide detectors
Two others, Texas and Rhode Island, mandate them in child day care facilities, according to data provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Channel 3000

College presidents oppose more guns on campus
In 2011, 18 states introduced bills to allow concealed carry weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but Wisconsin and Mississippi were the only two states to enact such laws.  The Washington Times

Feb. 4

Battles Erupt Over Filling Doctors' Shoes
In the past two years, more than 1,795 scope-of-practice bills were proposed, but only 349 were enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Wall Street Journal
 
Low payout limits can hinder wrongfully convicted
While $25,000 might not sound like much, 23 states don't even offer that. They have no statutes regarding compensating the wrongly convicted, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  KHOU
 
State legislatures looked at fewer immigration bills in 2012
The number of immigration bills in state legislatures last year is down, but still remains at an historical high according to a new report from the National Conference on State Legislatures.  CivSol
 
Don’t dismiss NH gas-tax bill out of hand, by The Telegraph of Nashua
While at least 18 states have studied this idea, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no state has implemented it, in part because of privacy concerns raised by government-imposed GPS-tracking devices.  New Hampshire Sentinel Source
 
Women rule in the Utah Legislature’s Democratic caucus
Of the 1,783 women state legislators across the nation, 63.6 percent are Democrats, 35.6 percent are Republicans (there are a handful of third-party and nonpartisan members), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Salt Lake Tribune
 
State laws’ last gender-specific terms targeted
About half of all U.S. states have moved toward such gender-neutral language at varying levels, from drafting bills to changing state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Spokesman-Review
 
Land Battles Rise as U.S. Eyes 450,000 Miles of New Pipe
Since 2011, at least 13 states have drafted some form of legislation dealing with the subject, often taking different approaches, according to research from the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg BusinessWeek
 
Medical marijuana, and its synthetic counterparts, on legislative agenda
There are currently 18 states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow some form of medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Cecil Daily
 
NRA likens checks to gun registry
About half of U.S. states have moved toward such gender-neutral language at varying levels, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Vindy.com
 
Quotes of the Day
Arkansas joins a handful of other states, including South Carolina, Wyoming and Louisiana, that allow guns in churches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Hot Air
 
Bill to abolish straight-ticket voting advances in Iowa House
Iowa is one of 15 states that permit straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Mexico offered it for years, but last fall, its top elections official, a Republican, stopped the practice for the 2012 election. Now, Democratic legislators are trying to reinstate it.  Sioux City Journal
 
Washington state considers final gender-neutral language bill
About half of all U.S. states have moved toward such gender-neutral language at varying levels, from drafting bills to changing state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Fox News
 
Small business uneasy about tax-collection bills
There’s already some precedent — and a process —for making sales-tax collection less burdensome. In 1999, the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures created the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement to make taxes easier to collect.  Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
Ladies at the Legislature brown bag lunch to resume this session
In Oregon, 27.8 percent of lawmakers are women. That’s higher than the national average and relatively high compared to other states, according to the Women’s Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Oregon Politics Watch
 
Pennsylvania GOP Leader Proposes Changing State's Electoral College Votes
Pennsylvania and Virginia have both introduced legislation to change their Electoral College votes in every session since 2000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Huffington Post
 
New UMaine funding formula rewards Farmington, Augusta campuses for performance
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states use some form of performance-based funding, five other than Maine are making the transition to such a system and 18 have formally explored options.  Kennebec Journal
 
Bill Nemitz: Connecting to State House with bunny slippers on
Casavant is hardly the first person to see enhanced democracy in cyberspace. Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, has been exploring the possibilities since as far back as 1999.  Press Herald
 
State to explore voter registration
A study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that elections in states with same-day registration averaged voter participation 10 to 17 percent higher than other states.  New Castle News
 
Lawmaker wants to do away with most straight-ticket voting
Iowa is one of 15 states that permit straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Mason City Globe Gazette
 
Sen. Richard Moore Gets Promoted
Moore is a past president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the national association of all state legislators and legislative staff and a current member of the executive committee of the Council of State Governments.  Northbridge Daily Voice
 
Can Nixon - or the voters - curb Missouri's campaign spending?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Missouri is one of just four states with no limits on contributions.  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Feb. 1

California Turns Corner With Upgrade as Pensions Choke Illinois
While both California and Illinois have reported increases in tax collections as they recover from the longest recession since World War II, the Prairie State has had to pay Medicaid providers and other vendors to which it owes money, said Arturo Perez, fiscal affairs director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Bloomberg Businessweek
 
Bill: Mandate Utah insurance coverage for autism treatment
If passed, Utah would join 31 other states that require insurance coverage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures data.  Salt Lake Tribune
 
For Colo. lawmaker, death penalty debate personal as colleagues weigh repeal
The nation also has struggled with the issue. Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey have repealed the death penalty in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The Republic
 
More Child Gun Injuries in States With Self-Defense Laws
States with self-defense laws with language on people's right to "stand their ground" are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  US News and World Report
 
Wyoming House passes bill meant to invalidate proposed gun laws
Wyoming is one of several states where legislators have proposed laws seeking to nullify new federal gun restrictions, said Jon Griffin, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Reuters
 
Senate panel rejects bill to bring more accountability to lawmakers’ taxpayer-financed travel
Hanger’s five trips were the most of any lawmaker, and his $2,907 visit to Chicago for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit was the most expensive. Several other lawmakers attended that meeting but spent a little less.  The Washington Post
 
Scott named secretary of Native American caucus
State Rep. Seneca Scott was recently elected as secretary for the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, a working group of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).  Shawnee News Star
 
Massachusetts, Connecticut Bills Would Require Gun Liability Insurance
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the bills are the first to propose imposing a mandatory liability insurance requirement on gun owners since a similar measure failed in Illinois in 2009.  Outdoor Life
 
Few lawmakers opt out of PERS despite conflict of interest
They can take the pension in a lump sum or in equal installments spread over a time period, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Oregon Catalyst
 
New school snack rules nearly ready after year-long delay
Many states and schools have plowed ahead with their own standards rather than wait for USDA. About half of all U.S. states have already passed laws addressing snack items, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Shelby Township Source

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