NCSL in the News | February 2016

2/1/2016

Feb. 29

Drone-Mounted Handgun, Flamethrower Reignite Lawmaker Debate
ABC News
Other states, such as Arkansas and Mississippi, have focused on preventing peeping toms from using the technology to spy on potential victims. New Hampshire prohibits drones from being used for hunting, fishing or trapping while Michigan passed laws barring people from using a drone to hunt game but also to harass hunters, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Battle lines form again over online sales tax rules
InternetRetailer.com
Of those, 24 states have instituted some form of simplified collection process for out-of-state online and catalog retailers and pay for software to automatically tally the tax for remote sellers who volunteer to collect it, according to Neal Osten, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which supports bills that have been submitted to Congress in recent years requiring retailers to collect and remit sales tax on online and catalog orders, regardless of where the retailer is based.
 
Contract with Apriss brings Pennsylvania closer to drug monitoring
Tribune Review
Karmen Hanson of the National Conference of State Legislatures said some states began setting up drug databases as early as the late 1990s. But typically it took one to three years for states to line up financing and get such programs online, she said.
  
How Lancaster County Prison is helping moms and dads in jail build bonds with kids
LancasterOnline
Research suggests similar intervention programs across the country are benefiting parents, children and society at large. Specifically, parents are less likely to reoffend and their children are more likely to thrive and avoid delinquency when positive family connections are maintained and children feel supported, according to a look at the issue by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Meridian case shows how a Facebook post can get you into trouble with law
Idaho Statesman
Officials at the National Conference of State Legislatures aren’t sure how common that is but they said most states, including Idaho, have enacted “cyberstalking” or “cyberharassment” statutes.
 
New Penn Design dean leaves Texas because of campus-carry law
The Daily Pennsylvanian
The law, signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 1 of last year, says that license holders may carry a concealed handgun throughout university campuses starting Aug. 1, 2016. This includes classrooms and some dormitories. Texas will be the eighth public post-secondary campus carry state. Utah, Mississippi, Oregon, Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas and Idaho already enforce the policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ralston Reports: Debbie Smith, tenacious problem-solver
Reno Gazette Journal
Shortly after that session, she ascended to the chairmanship of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a career capstone no one could have deserved more. I have no doubt she was one of the few members who actually sat through all the panel discussions and used the organization as a learning ground and not a resume line.
 
Pediatricians back new push to allow medical marijuana for some kids
The CT Mirror
Connecticut is one of 23 states – in addition to Washington, D.C., and Guam – that allow for "comprehensive" medical marijuana programs, but the only one of those that does not allow access for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
How much do Mississippi lawmakers make?
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures 2015
 
Senate OKs bill to bar Planned Parenthood in schools
Kenai Peninsula Online
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia require school districts to allow parental involvement in sex education. Three require parental consent before a child can get instruction and 36 allow parents to opt-out on behalf of their children, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Bill Mandating DNA Test After Arrest Heads To Mapp
VI Consortium
Mr. Francis met the Sepich family last year while attending the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “DNA evidence was critical in bringing the Sepich family closure,” he stated. “Virgin Islands victims and their families similarly deserve access to resources that can bring them closure and peace.”
 
Lincoln company designing training for traffic systems technicians
Lincoln Journal Star
Seven states and Washington, D.C., allow autonomous vehicle testing on their roads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In January, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the government wants to get autonomous cars on the road and will fast-track policies to do it.

Rising call to increase STEM, cut arts funding    
University World News
When it comes to dividing the pot of money devoted to higher education, at least 15 states offer some type of bonus or premium for certain high-demand degrees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Missing voices: Arizona, 41 states underrepresent blacks in statehouses
Cronkite News
A comparison of state demographics and 2015 legislative data from the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that blacks were underrepresented in 42 statehouses. The disparity between population and representation ranged from Delaware’s 15.7 percentage point gap to a negligible 0.1 shortfall in Wyoming.
 
A mom's wish for safe campuses
MyAJC
Georgia isn’t the only state to consider a campus carry law. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin) recently passed legislation to allow concealed weapons on public university and college campuses. 
 
Bill considered to give some prisoners, felons right to vote
West Hawaii Today
National data shows one in 40 adults weren’t able to vote in the 2008 elections because of a felony conviction, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Of those, 1.4 million were African American men.

Feb. 26

States Set Up Fight Over Web Sales Tax
Wall Street Journal
Utah’s Senate will soon consider a bill that would expand its definition of a retailer’s physical presence to include certain third-party delivery companies, said its sponsor, Republican Wayne Harper. Other bills have been introduced in at least 11 more states, including Nebraska, Mississippi and Louisiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii bill would give prisoners the right to vote
Washington Times
National data shows one in 40 adults weren’t able to vote in the 2008 elections because of a felony conviction, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Of those, 1.4 million were African American men.
 
Pediatricians back new push to allow medical marijuana for some kids
The CT Mirror
Connecticut is one of 23 states – in addition to Washington, D.C., and Guam – that allow for "comprehensive" medical marijuana programs, but the only one of those that does not allow access for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hawaii lawmakers want details on 1,500 untested rape kits
Associated Press
Nationwide, there are between 100,000 and 400,000 untested sexual assault kits, and at least 28 states have enacted laws to address the problem, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Michigan passed a law in 2014 setting time limits on how long a rape kit can go without testing before it's analyzed by a crime lab.
 
Colorado visitors end up in ERs more for pot use than residents
Business Insider
Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have all legalized the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
No Money, No Problem: New Bill Aims to End Cash Bail System
TakePart
As a result, roughly 60 percent of the population of local jails across the country comprises people waiting for their case to be heard, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That process can take years.
 
ICYMI: Support Live Video of State House Happenings
Afro American
“While the General Assembly provides audio from floor sessions on its website and archive recordings, Maryland is one of just seven states that don’t offer video streaming of legislative floor sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures
 
Bevin's flawed performance funding
Murray State News
The National Conference of State Legislatures recommends that when designing performance funding laws the legislature should “engage all stakeholders – policymakers, higher education leaders and faculty members – in the design of the funding system.” Doing this avoids costly mistakes in the design.
 
Don't Blame The 'Spoilers' — Fix Elections
IVN News
An alternative is a runoff, where if no candidate has a majority, voters return to the polls to select from only those two. This “two-round system” to achieve a majority winner is used by over 20 countries to elect their presidents. Majority runoffs are used in American state legislative elections by 11 states (ironically, largely in their primary races), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 25

Next on Hogan's agenda: livestreaming Maryland's legislative sessions
Washington Post
Hogan (R), who has been trading increasingly sharp barbs with Democratic lawmakers in recent weeks, said Maryland is one of only seven states that do not offer video streaming and recording of any floor proceedings. The other states are Delaware, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Vermont and Wyoming, according to a 2015 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Texas Campus Carry Law Putting Damper On Academic Debate
NBCNews.com
Texas only the eighth state to allow licensed citizens to carry concealed weapons on state college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The others are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin.

Larry Hogan, Maryland governor, backs plan to livestream video from state legislature
Washington Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are three states that broadcast video from just one chamber, but the remaining 41 states provide a video stream of both chambers.

Senate OKs “right to try” experimental medical treatments
Sioux City Journal
The Iowa Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that would make it easier for terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs. More than two dozen states have enacted similar laws in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

James Lankford : Local Legislators: Federal Unfunded Mandates Harm State and Local Governments
4 Traders
Utah State Senator and National Conference of State Legislatures President Curtis S. Bramble said, 'The experience of state and local governments, coupled with our view of what constitutes a mandate, supports the need for UMRA to be changed.'

Colorado visitors end up in ERs more for pot use than residents
Yahoo News
Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have all legalized the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hogan backs $1.2 million plan to livestream Maryland General Assembly
Baltimore Sun
Three states provide video from just one chamber, but the remaining 40 provide a video stream of both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

icitizen Poll Sponsored by NY Assemblyman Felix Ortiz Shows Voters Split on Regulating Daily Fantasy Sports
WAAY
Felix W. Ortiz is the Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly. He was born and raised in La Playa de Salinas, Puerto Rico. Ortiz serves as Vice-President of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA USA), Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
 
House passes judicial term limits in close vote
Florida Politics
No other state has imposed term limits on its appellate-level judges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In fact, Nevada voters in 1996 shot down a proposed constitutional amendment “to establish term limits for Nevada justices and judges,”
 
Hawaii bill would ease access to drugs that fight overdoses
Thegardenisland.com
Hawaii is one of six states without a law expanding access to opioid antagonists and providing immunity for those who prescribe and administer them, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. New Mexico became the first state pass a similar law in 2001, while most states passed laws within the last five years.

You Never Knew Your Insurance Covered These Things
Mirror Daily
It’s only natural that insurance companies would provide obesity treatments and diet counseling. Apart from the fact that they are obligated by the State Legislatures National Conference, they would want their clients to stay fit and out of harm’s way.
 
Court: DACA Aliens Can't Sue Georgia for In-State Tuition
Immigration Blog
By the most recent count of the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states have adopted that policy.
 
House passes judicial term limits in close vote
SaintpetersBlo
No other state has imposed term limits on its appellate-level judges, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In fact, Nevada voters in 1996 shot down a proposed constitutional amendment “to establish term limits for Nevada justices and judges,”

Feb. 24

The House isn't competitive in 2016. But gerrymandering is on trial.
Washington Post
While redistricting expert Tim Storey with the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures points out there likely won't be any historic shifts in the partisan makeup of congressional districts this election cycle, it's notable that of the top 10 districts most likely to flip parties (as ranked by Politico on Monday), at least three of them are districts that had to be redrawn thanks to the courts, depending on whom you ask.
 
Why 10 states want to ban drones from flying over prisons
Vox
Though most states haven’t detected a drone incident on their own soil, legislators in 10 states have proposed bills to ban the practice, according to Amanda Essex of the National Conference of State Legislatures. An 11th state, Tennessee, has already enacted a law that prohibits drones from being flown over the grounds of a prison facility.
 
States Seek New Ways to Tax Online Sales
Nasdaq
Utah's state Senate will soon consider a bill that would expand its definition of a retailer's physical presence to include certain third-party delivery companies, said its sponsor, Republican Wayne Harper. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 11 other states, including Nebraska, Mississippi and Louisiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
School voucher bill dies
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have some form of state-funded school vouchers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Hawaii State Senators Introduce Resolution Backing DC Statehood
DCist.com
He notes that Nishihara spoke to statehood activists at the National Conference of State Legislatures, where most recently a D.C. statehood resolution failed by two votes in December. "Regrettably, I did not get to travel to Hawaii to do outreach," jokes Strauss. 
 
Iowa teen dating violence focus of Senate action
DesMoinesRegister.com
At least 22 other states have enacted legislation aimed at curbing teen dating violence, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Lamar Alexander receives James Madison Award
Maryville Daily Times
In 2013, Alexander was awarded the “Restoring the Balance” award by the National Conference of State Legislatures for his commitment to defending the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which embodies the concept of federalism by recognizing states’ authority and power on all issues not specifically given to the federal government by the Constitution.
 
Wyoming Senate kills property offense bill
Wyoming Tribune
Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he supports sticking with the state’s current amount. He said that’s because data from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that most other states don’t have as high as a threshold as the bill proposes. “I think there was an impression or an idea that we were a little low,” he said. “But that isn’t necessarily what this NCSL study shows.
 
Privacy Fears Spur Smart-Meter Opt-Out - Water Online
SmartMeters
 “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 15 states allow customers to opt out …
 
States Seek New Ways to Tax Online Sales
4 Traders
Utah's state Senate will soon consider a bill that would expand its definition of a retailer's physical presence to include certain third-party delivery companies, said its sponsor, Republican Wayne Harper. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 11 other states, including Nebraska, Mississippi and Louisiana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Colorado rain-barrel bill passes House committee Monday
Brush News Tribune
Colorado is the only state that bans rain barrels and is one of just four states that restrict so-called rainwater harvesting, joined by Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 23

Georgia Senate passes religious freedom bill
CNN
There is some form of religious freedom acts in 21 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 15 states debated religious freedom bills during 2015 -- Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

California's four-year universities reach out to immigrant students with low-interest DREAM loans
Los Angeles Times
California is one of at least 18 states that permit students who are in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition rates, according to an October report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Colorado rain-barrel bill passes House committee Monday
The Denver Post
Colorado is the only state that bans rain barrels and is one of just four states that restrict so-called rainwater harvesting, joined by Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Advocacy group promotes the 'Steel Interstate'
Kingsport Times News
Still, public investment in rail in recent years has been inconsistent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). In January 2010, 31 states were awarded a portion of the $8 billion made available for high-speed rail through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the federal government stimulus), NCSL said. Congress approved $2.5 billion more for high-speed rail in fiscal year 2010 appropriations, but zeroed out the funding for 2011 and 2012. Then, in the months following the 2010 elections, NCSL said three states — Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin — voluntarily forfeited some or all federal high-speed rail funds they had previously been awarded. “In recent years, federal policy concerning passenger rail in particular has increasingly focused on state-federal partnerships — similar to those already in place for highways, transit and aviation — with an enhanced state role in rail planning and funding,” NCSL said in talking points about rail transportation.
 
Senate president Rosenberg open to requiring lawyer-lawmakers to disclose clients
The Patriot Ledger
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 of the 47 states that require lawmakers to file financial disclosure statements also require lawmakers to disclose the names of income-producing clients, legal or otherwise. 
 
Kansas House votes to criminalize revenge porn, not call for convention of states
Topeka Capital Journal
Rep. Janice Pauls, R-Hutchinson, spoke in favor, comparing a convention of the states to a National Conference of State Legislatures. Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, also voted in favor, arguing a convention would allow Kansans to regain their rights.
 
Bill would allow jailed felons in New Hampshire to vote
WLBZ2.com
If passed, the measure would put the state in the ranks of Vermont and Maine. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, those are the only two states where felons never lose their right to vote.
 
Ohio proposal expands religious expression in public schools
Education Week
Ohio is one of at least nine states considering legislation on student religious expression in schools this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others include Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
 
Bills on body cameras in Iowa showcase looming challenges
DesMoinesRegister.com
A handful of states had legislation before 2015 that addressed body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 30 states considered legislation last year. In Iowa, bills last session that proposed requiring authorities to use body cameras did not advance far.
 
Bill would reduce penalty for texting while driving
Kansas City Star
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 46 states ban texting while driving.
 
10 Benefits You Didn't Know Most Health Care Plans Cover
Go Banking Rates
Thirty-three states now require health plans to cover bariatric surgery and/or diet counseling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

Feb. 22

Nevada state Sen. Debbie Smith dies at 60
Washington Times
Smith was first elected to the state Assembly in 2000 and won a seat in the Senate in 2012. She won several lawmaker of the year awards and was the president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
A Rising Call to Promote STEM Education and Cut Liberal Arts Funding
New York Times
When it comes to dividing the pot of money devoted to higher education, at least 15 states offer some type of bonus or premium for certain high-demand degrees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Christie's budget continues depletion of lead abatement fund
The Trentonian
Doug Farquhar, who directs the environmental health program for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said most have states have successfully reduced the number of kids exposed to lead.
“But the children are still out there,” he said. “It’s going to be a long term effort to slowly get lead out of our system.”
 
Bills on body cameras in Iowa showcase looming challenges
Sioux City Journal
A handful of states had legislation before 2015 that addressed body cameras, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 30 states considered legislation last year. In Iowa, bills last session that proposed requiring authorities to use body cameras did not advance far.
 
Bill would allow jailed felons in New Hampshire to vote
WMUR Manchester
If passed, the measure would put the state in the ranks of Vermont and Maine - the only two states where felons never lose their right to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Gun policy differs from concealed carry universities
The Auburn Plainsman
Out of 50 states and 5,300 U.S. colleges, and universities, a statistic found in The Washington Post, Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Arkansas and Wisconsin allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Ex-lawmaker admits affair; frozen lizard saved; historic graffiti
Arizona Daily Star
Ohio is one of at least nine states considering legislation on student religious expression in schools this session, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Others include Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
 
Bills would ban minors from Miss. indoor tanning beds
The Commercial Dispatch
Nationwide, 13 states and the District of Columbia bar minors from using tanning devices and others have laws regulating the practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Proposals to ban minors from using tanning devices have been introduced in Mississippi and 16 other states this year. 

Too many Alaskans, other Americans cower at the risks of freedom
Alaska Dispatch News
The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that eight states -- Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin -- allow campus concealed carry. A ninth, Texas, last year approved concealed carry starting in August. Utah is the only state where public colleges and universities lack authority to ban concealed carry, the NCSL says.
 
Drones pose new contraband, smuggling challenge for prisons
KRQE News 
Tennessee is the only state with a law specifically relating to the use of drones over prisons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the proposed measure in Wisconsin, anyone who flies a drone over a state correctional institution would face a fine up to $5,000.
 
Bills Would Ban Minors from Mississippi Indoor Tanning Beds
Jackson Free Press
Nationwide, 13 states and the District of Columbia bar minors from using tanning devices and others have laws regulating the practice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Proposals to ban minors from using tanning devices have been introduced in Mississippi and 16 other states this year.

WV House approves voter ID bill
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Eleven states have strict voter ID laws, under which voters without acceptable IDs have to cast provisional ballots and take more steps after Election Day for their votes to count, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The conference says that 22 states have less strict voter ID laws, where at least some voters without acceptable IDs can cast ballots that count without additional action by the voter.
 
2K Amarillo Wal-Mart employees to see higher pay
Amarillo.com
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 19

North Carolina started drug testing its welfare recipients and learned something totally unexpected
AOL News
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 13 states drug test welfare recipients and another 19 states have proposed similar legislation.
 
Bill to ban Internet access taxes sets the stage for fight over e-commerce levy
fedscoop.com
Max Behlke, manager of state-federal relations for the National Conference of State Legislatures, is less certain about the Internet tax ban’s positive effects. “If localities can’t collect those dollars, then down the road, they’re either going to go to the state to ask for more money to backfill it or they’re going to be increasing property taxes to make up for the revenue loss,” Behlke said.

Driving dangerously: The 4 riskiest impairments on the Road
AutoInsurance Center
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 220 million people in the U.S. subscribe to wireless devices, and it is estimated that as many as 80% of those subscribers use their phones while driving.

Campus Carry Passes House Committee In Georgia Amid Democrat Protest
Breitbart News
And according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the 23 states where public colleges and universities can allow or bar campus carry on a per-campus basis are “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.”
 
University of Texas To Allow Students To Carry Handguns On Campus, & It Isn’t The First
Romper
Administrators were forced to amend the school's previous handgun policy when the Republican-run legislature passed a “campus carry law,” which allows students to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories, and other buildings at public universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

ATA Opens Driver Nomination Process for America's Road Team 
Transport Topics Online
In addition, the chosen captains make appearances at events ranging from the National Conference of State Legislators to major industry conferences to local driver safety meetings to emphasize the importance of safety and professionalism and the need to diligently portray the industry in a positive light, ATA said
 
American Trucking Associations Begins Search for Next America's Road Team
PR Newswire
In addition, America's Road Team Captains make appearances at events ranging from the National Conference of State Legislators to major industry conferences to local driver safety meetings to emphasize the importance of safety and professionalism and the need to diligently portray the industry in a positive light.
 
Opinion: California's Prop 50—Another step toward restoring public trust
California Forward Reporting
The National Conference of State Legislatures believes the power to discipline and expel members is inherent to a legislative body. That power has long been a staple of American democracy. It is a standard option available in most states.
 
State performance metrics show new focus in education
The Oracle
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida is one of 26 states total that currently imposes performance based funding metrics at four-year institutions.

Feb. 18

In the battle of Internet mobs vs. the law, the Internet mobs have won
Washington Post
And yet, the system has tried, repeatedly: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost every state has enacted explicit cyberstalking or cyberharassment laws over the past two decades. At the federal level, at least two criminal statutes promise to punish offenders who cause “significant emotional distress” online. But most of these laws cover only narrow, specific cases of abuse, and investigations are rarely so straightforward or clear-cut. That’s made both investigators and prosecutors hesitant to pursue them. 
 

South Dakota Could Be the First State to Ban Trans Students from Bathrooms of Their Choice
VICE News
The National Conference of State Legislatures said that while other states had seen proposals for similar laws, South Dakota is the first to have such legislation pass both houses of the state legislature. Joellen Kralik, a research analyst with the NCSL, said that there has been an increase in the number of states have seen similar bills proposed in recent years, including one state in 2013, seven in 2015, and 11 states that currently have legislation proposed.

New Hampshire bill targets donation, sale of fetal tissue
Washington Times
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost half of the states restrict the sale of fetuses or embryos, and many states restrict research on aborted fetuses or embryos.

University of Texas at Austin to Allow Concealed Guns in Classrooms
NBCNews.com
The law, known as SB 11, made Texas only the eighth state to allow licensed citizens to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Tighter fracking disposal regs heard; 18-year-old officeholders debate continues
NET Website
Larson’s proposal would not make Nebraska’s minimum age limit for legislature or governor lower than any other state’s. In fact, 16 states allow 18-year-olds to run for legislature, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And nine states allow 18-year-olds to be governor, according to the Council of State Governments. 

Anti-union group worked to influence elections in Montana, 4 other states
The Missoulian
Montana, Iowa and Kentucky had bans against direct contributions from corporations such as Right to Work to candidates in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana had a $2,000 corporate contribution limit to legislative candidates and Nevada's limit was $5,000.

State performance metrics show new focus in education
The Oracle
(NCSL Info. Cited)

'If Eron goes to jail, I will hunt Zoe Quinn down': In the battle of Internet mobs vs. law, the mobs have won
National Post
And yet, the system has tried, repeatedly: According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost every state has enacted explicit cyberstalking or cyberharassment laws over the past two decades.
 
Anti-union Group Worked to Influence Elections in 5 States
Flathead Beacon
Montana, Iowa and Kentucky had bans against direct contributions from corporations such as Right to Work to candidates in 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Indiana had a $2,000 corporate contribution limit to legislative candidates and Nevada’s limit was $5,000.
 
States Step Up As Washington Stalls On Immigration
KOSU
But lawmakers in virtually every state in the union aren't waiting for Washington. The number of states taking action by passing immigration-related laws is growing — by 26 percent last year, according to a new study released Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Cannabis plant no longer seen as weed
Irish Times
At least 27 states have passed laws related to industrial hemp, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Many ex-felons don’t know they can get their right to vote restored
Center for Public Integrity
Between 1996 and 2008, 28 states passed laws on felon voting rights. Many of them lifted restrictions, including seven that repealed lifetime disenfranchisement for some people with felony records, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utah senator wants to require anesthesia for a fetus before some abortions
Deseret News 
Bramble, who also serves as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he didn't know Tuesday if any other states were considering a similar law.

Feb. 17

States Step Up As Washington Stalls On Immigration
NPR
But lawmakers in virtually every state in the union aren't waiting for Washington. The number of states taking action by passing immigration-related laws is growing — by 26 percent last year, according to a new study released today by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Study: Immigration laws on the rise in states
The Hill
The National Conference of State Legislatures released a new study that found state immigration laws increased by 26 percent in 2015.
 
States to Congress: Preserve Our Authority Over Chemicals
Bloomberg BNA
Melanie Condon, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures, told Bloomberg BNA it was important to issue a joint statement as negotiations proceed on the two bills. “It was important for us to make our unified positions known. I think it says a lot that these four groups can come together on this issue of state preemption, and we hope it will be a powerful push to the lawmakers to put the best language in the final bill,” Condon said.

She was abused as a child. Now she pushes for sex-abuse prevention laws
Washington Post
Twenty-six states have passed laws to study or implement child sex-abuse identification and prevention curriculums for students in pre-K to 12th grade, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states, including Mississippi and Nevada, have formed task forces; others such as Pennsylvania allow school districts to design programs; and several others, including Rhode Island and South Carolina, have required a curriculum.
 
South Dakota lawmakers target transgender students, restrooms
ABC News
Several states, including Washington, have looked at addressing gender and public facilities in the past several years. But South Dakota would be the first state in the nation to put such a measure into law, said Joellen Kralik, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bill to require anesthesia for a fetus before some abortions
San Francisco Chronicle
A Utah senator is working on legislation that would require doctors to administer anesthesia to a fetus before an abortion based on the premise that the fetus can feel pain. Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, asked that legislative staff begin writing the bill Tuesday. The lawmaker did not have any draft language available and said that he's still determining at what point in the gestational process the rule would apply. Bramble, who also serves as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, said he didn't know Tuesday if any other states were considering a similar law.
 
California's First 'Drug Donation Pharmacy' Opens
NBC Southern California
Georgia was the first state to enact such a program in the United States, followed by more than a dozen others. Iowa's is considered one of the more successful, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
New Mexico Legislature drops ethics commission plan
Chron.com
New Mexico is one of eight states that do not have an independent ethics commission or committee, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state relies heavily on agencies overseen directly by elected officials or legislators themselves to oversee campaign finance and ethics transgressions.
 
Mom of triplets thanks Delta Air Lines: A victory for breastfeeding?
Christian Science Monitor
The shift can also be measured by state law, as 49 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing a mother to breastfeed anywhere she legally is, according to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Illinois law would ban drone use over prisons
Herald & Review
Tennessee is the only state with a law specifically relating to the use of drones over prisons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the proposed measure in Wisconsin, anyone who flies a drone over a state correctional institution would face a fine up to $5,000.
 
Biker helmet repeal bill is back for 21st year
Humphrey on the Hill
Tennessee is one of 19 states plus the District of Columbia requiring all riders to wear helmets. Twenty-eight states require only underage riders, under either 18 or 21, to wear helmets. And Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire have no laws at all requiring helmet use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Feb. 16

'Here And Now': Online Registration Bill Echoes Voter ID Debate
Wisconsin Public Radio News
Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia offer online registration, and Florida and Oklahoma have passed bills to do so (though haven’t implemented their systems yet), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Wisconsin's bill adds another element: eliminating registration via special volunteer deputies.

Senators vote to undo parts of ethics reform law
Richmond.com
The measure also changes the time frame in which lawmakers and lobbyists must file disclosure reports, and exempts from disclosure trips paid for by membership organizations such as the National Conference of State Legislatures or the American Legislative Exchange Council, or any nonprofit group designated by the General Assembly’s Joint Rules Committee.
 
Drones pose new contraband, smuggling challenge for prisons
Alton Telegraph
Tennessee is the only state with a law specifically relating to the use of drones over prisons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the proposed measure in Wisconsin, anyone who flies a drone over a state correctional institution would face a fine up to $5,000.
     
Katie's Law- Ten Years Later
Carlsbad Current-Argus
The Sepiches also sponsored a huge “Katie’s Heroes” awards luncheon in Seattle during the national conference of state legislators. Awards were given out to the nine different legislators who successfully passed arrestee DNA legislation in their states. Tillman was a speaker.
  
Idaho Increasingly Saying 'No' to Local Government Control
Twin Falls Times-News
Currently, Idaho is one of the 24 states totally controlled by Republicans in which they hold the governor’s seat and both chambers of the state legislature. It’s also one of the 30 Legislatures with Republican-dominated chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Motorcyclists try again on helmet choice bill
Memphis Commercial Appeal
And Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire have no laws at all requiring helmet use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  
Drones Used To Deliver Drugs To Prison Yards
CBS St. Louis
Tennessee is the only state with a law specifically relating to the use of drones over prisons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under the proposed measure in Wisconsin, anyone who flies a drone over a state correctional institution would face a fine up to $5,000.
  
Arizona Legislator Aims to Cut Overdose Deaths by Shielding 911 Callers from Arrest
Phoenix New Times
Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have such Good Samaritan laws in effect to protect those who call 911 when someone has overdosed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have passed laws with the aim of making naloxone more readily accessible.  

Feb. 15

Food Stamp Drug Testing Could Become A Thing
Huffington Post
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states now have testing requirements. 

Idaho increasingly saying 'no' to local government control
The Seattle Times
It’s also one of the 30 Legislatures with Republican-dominated chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 
 
Should public drunkenness be a crime?
DesMoinesRegister.com
Some states, such as Nebraska, require officers to take intoxicated people to their homes or a hospital or alcoholism center, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. In Montana, police are allowed to detain someone who is intoxicated for the person’s “own protection.”

Alabama Latest State With Online Voter Registration
WKRG
Alabama is the latest state to have its own online voter registration system.  29 other states along with the District of Columbia already started online voter registration according to a table found on the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Arizona was the first state to implement an online system in 2002. 
  
State lawmakers propose autism insurance reform bill
WCPO
As of December, 43 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that require insurers to provide coverage for the treatment of autism, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Some of the states listed include: Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
  
Indiana may become more gender neutral
NUVO Newsweekly
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have made moves to ensure all of their official language is gender neutral.  

Calif. Senator Mendoza Introduces Bill to Combat Government Corruption
California Newswire
For more information on what other states conflict of interest laws cover, please visit the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website: http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/conflict-of-interest-overview.aspx 

Kane taps campaign account to pay lawyers
New Castle News
Research by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that Pennsylvania is one of five states without explicit limits on the personal use of campaign donations. 
  
Does Iowa's "Hybrid" Legislative System Need a Change?
KCRG
Currently, Iowa is one of 24 states in the U-S that have what's called a "hybrid legislature," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Missississippi lawmakers cheer carbon plan ruling
Jackson Clarion Ledger
Mississippi was one of 29 states to challenge the emissions rule created under the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It was also among the 27 states where legislation was introduced to produce evidence the rule would be overly burdensome.
  
Put term limits on the November ballot
Akron Beacon Journal
Actually, legislative turnover in Ohio already was high before term limits passed. Research conducted by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows a 61 percent turnover for state senators and a 62 percent turnover for state representatives from 1987 to 1997.

Feb. 12

2016 could be a very difficult year for LGBT activists
Washington Post
Jon Griffin, a policy specialist with the non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures, says he's also watching a brewing battle among anti-discrimination bills -- whether LGBT Americans should have laws on the books protecting them from discrimination from housing or services in public accommodations.
  
Pennsylvania PUC approves plan to limit resales of customer-generated electricity
Tribune-Review
Forty-four states and Washington, D.C., allow people or businesses to sell energy they produce to utilities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington.
  
Should public drunkenness be a crime?
DesMoinesRegister.com
Public intoxication is addressed in a variety of ways by states across the country. Colorado, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming have no statutes addressing public intoxication, a review by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures shows. In contrast, 22 states including Iowa have public intoxication statutes, according to the review.  
 
State lawmakers propose autism insurance reform bill
WCPO
As of December, 43 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that require insurers to provide coverage for the treatment of autism, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Some of the states listed include: Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
 
Proposed bill will allow students to conceal and carry firearms on ...
Northwest Missourian
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states allow people to carry concealed weapons on campuses, 19 states have banned concealed weapons on college campuses as of October 2015 and 23 states leave the decision to the schools. 

N.C.'s Drug Testing Policy For Welfare Recipients May Be Costing The StateMoney
Opposing View
At least 13 U.S. states have passed legislation mandating drug tests for public assistance applicants or recipients as of July 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Arizona Bill Would Provide Tax Credit for CCW Classes
Shooting Illustrated 
If passed, Arizona would become the only state offering a tax credit to its concealed-carry permit holders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. During committee hearing Feb. 8, Rep. Montenegro said his measure was designed to encourage gun safety and education.
  
The Conservative Playbook for Keeping 'Dark Money' Dark
BillMoyers.com
This year, 38 states are considering bills relating to disclosure, according to a database compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some have already adopted rules. 
  
Relax, she's just breastfeeding
The University of Hawaii Kaleo
However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hawai‘i does not exempt breastfeeding mothers from indecency laws, nor has the state implemented or encouraged a breastfeeding awareness campaign.
 
Time for Dad
Human Resource Executive Online
Still, many employers resist, citing high costs. However, the three states offering paid parental leave -- California, New Jersey and Rhode Island -- fund it through employee-paid payroll taxes and administer it through their respective disability programs so there is no direct cost to employers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Revealed: Millionaires Are Qualifying for Medicaid Under Obamacare
The National Interest Online
“This was a move to standardize as much as possible, so you’re bringing in more people, but you’re not complicating the system to where you can’t figure it out,” Joy Wilson, director of health and human services policy at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Daily Signal.
  
Indiana May Become More Gender Neutral
Eagle 99.3 FM WSCH
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have made moves to ensure all of their official language is gender neutral.
  
Lobbying maps
Center for Public Integrity
Sources: Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from National Institute on Money in State Politics, National Conference of State Legislatures and state records.

Feb. 11

NY lawmakers propose help for the wrongfully convicted
Washington Times
Other states and the federal government have laws governing financial compensation for wrongful imprisonment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most list minimum, maximum or actual dollar amounts for years or days wrongly imprisoned.
  
Log InRegister
CBS Local
Seven states and Washington, D.C., allow autonomous vehicle testing on their roads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal government isn’t predicting when autonomous cars will be on public roads in big numbers, but some automakers have said they could be in use in limited areas by 2020 – and Google has been more bullish than that.
  
Iowa racial profiling bill unlikely to move forward
DesMoinesRegister.com
Iowa is among 19 states that don’t have a law addressing racial profiling, data from the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures show.
  
Senate approves online voter registration bill
Leader-Telegram
A total of 30 states plus the District of Columbia currently offer online registration, and two other states have passed legislation to create online registration systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Only men will debate the “tampon tax” in Utah
CBS News
Most states don't tax prescription drugs or food, according to theNational Conference of State Legislatures. Utah keeps with the trend when it comes to medication, but it still taxes most groceries.
  
Treasurer proposes state-run retirement savings plan
DesMoinesRegister.com
California became the first state to offer such a plan in 2012, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
U.S. Government Redefines 'Driver' To Include Computers
Huffington Post Canada
Seven states and Washington, D.C., allow autonomous vehicle testing on their roads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Senate approves online voter registration bill
Leader-Telegram
A total of 30 states plus the District of Columbia currently offer online registration, and two other states have passed legislation to create online registration systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Full-time lawmakers dominate legislature, with fewer attorneys and ranchers
Town Hall
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks the makeup of the 50 state assemblies because profession, ethnicity and gender often provide a window into what laws make it onto the books. 

It's not enough to pass a budget, Harrisburg's culture has to change
PennLive.com
Pennsylvania's budget runs past the July 1 deadline 37 percent of the time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That is unacceptable and it cannot be allowed to continue. 

Dayton proposes paid parental leave for all state employees
Crookston Daily Times
Dayton defended the incremental approach, noting that just three states currently offer paid family leave to public employees — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Senate bill would prevent conceal and carry
Washburn Review
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “In 2013, five states introduced legislation to prohibit concealed carry weapons on campus. None of these bills passed.”
 
Pay-per-signature petition ban could be struck down
Wyoming Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, courts have upheld such measures in North Dakota and Oregon. But similar bans in Idaho, Maine, Mississippi and Washington have been determined to be unconstitutional by federal judges.

Feb. 10

Minnesota Gov. Dayton proposes paid family leave for state workers
Reuters
If the legislature approves, Minnesota would join California, New Jersey and Rhode Island in having paid family leave, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lessons From Norway May Help Nudge American Dads Into Taking Paternity Leave
New York Magazine
According to National Conference of State Legislatures data used by NPR, only three states — California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — offer paid family leave, funded through payroll taxes. Unless you’re at a larger company or in one of these three states, dads have reason to be leery of taking time off to take care of a new baby.
  
Senate approves online voter registration bill
Minneapolis Star Tribune
A total of 30 states plus the District of Columbia currently offer online registration, and two other states have passed legislation to create online registration systems, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Female legislators seek to neutralize male references in state code
Terre Haute Tribune Star
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have made moves to ensure all of their official language is gender-neutral.
  
Dayton Proposes 6 Weeks Paid Parental Leave For State Workers
CBS Local
Dayton defended the incremental approach, noting that just three states currently offer paid family leave to public employees — California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Bill would allow online voter registration; critics say it would prevent voter registration drives
Madison
Most states already took that leap. As of Feb. 2, 30 states and the District of Columbia offered online registration,according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Debate on Tax on Tampons Arrives in Utah
ABC News
Most states don't tax prescription drugs or food, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utah keeps with the trend when it comes to medication, but it still taxes most groceries. 

Arizona panel OKs tax credit for concealed carry permit
Arizona Capitol Times
A House panel passed the tax credit in what could become the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Bill would give unused medication donations to those in need
LocalNews8.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures says many states have some form of drug recycling program.
  
Most Wanted: JHU student clamor to get into Dr. Kraft's 'Human Sexuality’ Class
Baltimore City Paper
Hopkins students are not alone in their hunger for more sexuality education. Less than half of U.S. states require high school sexual education to be factually accurate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures—meaning that many students enrolled in college have never had comprehensive, medically accurate sex ed. 
  
South Dakota Tries to Clean Up Corruption
Courthouse News Service
South Dakota is one of only eight states that do not have an ethics commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Michigan's proposed 75-80 mph speed limit would be highest in Midwest
MLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the trend is definitely upward. In 2015 four states increased the maximum speed to 80 miles per hour: Montana, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming. Washington State increased its speed to 75 miles per hour.
 
Georgia House panel OKs anti-discrimination bill
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Some states offer protection beyond federal law: Eighteen include marital status, 22 include sexual orientation, and 18 include gender identity as of March, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 9

Conservative groups, legislators square off over online sales tax
Salt Lake Tribune
Only two of the top leaders at a daily press availability volunteered that they do: Sens. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, and Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville — who both happen to be sponsoring bills on the issue. Others sat quietly. Even with that, senators appear more likely than most to pay that uncollected online sales tax. After all, Utah collects only about $200,000 a year from a few honest souls, out of an estimated $80 million to $350 million owed. So Bramble is leading a charge not only in Utah but also nationwide to make online companies automatically gather and remit sales tax on goods they sell to buyers' home states — which is opposed by a who's who of conservative groups. The Utah Legislature is considering three bills to help accomplish that.
  
House panel passes tax credit for concealed carry permit
Arizona Daily Star
Arizona residents are one step closer to getting a tax credit for attending a firearms safety class after Republican lawmakers passed a measure offering a dollar-for-dollar credit for concealed-carry permit holders Monday. A House panel passed the tax credit in what could become the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Trib Talk: Do you pay online sales tax?
The Salt Lake Tribune
“...Max Behlke from the National Conference of State Legislatures... and Evelyn Everton from Americans for Prosperity Utah join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss the debate over collecting online sales taxes.”
  
Michigan's proposed 75-80 mph speed limit would be highest in Midwest
MLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the trend is definitely upward. In 2015 four states increased the maximum speed to 80 miles per hour: Montana, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming. Washington State increased its speed to 75 miles per hour.
  
The only other state without a budget is Illinois' opposite: Pennsylvania
Chicago Daily Herald
Late state budgets are not rare. For this fiscal year, 12 state legislatures extended their sessions or called special sessions to pass a spending plan, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Six states, including Pennsylvania and Illinois, began the fiscal year without enacting a budget.
  
Kansas among several states looking to ban sanctuary cities
Hutchinson News
At least a dozen states now considering similar legislation include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, said Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures.  

Industrial hemp may soon be grown in South Dakota
Farms.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia allow for hemp to be grown for either commercial or research use.
  
Drivers may have to give bikes more room
The Courier-Journal
The National Conference of State Legislatures identifies more than 25 states with laws that call for at least three feet of passing room for bikes. Indiana is among those with no statewide three-foot passing law.
  
Competition-stifling facility regulations scrutinized nationwide
ModernMedicine
Ten years later, the federal government stepped in, requiring all 50 states to create an agency to review "capital projects such as building expansions or ordering new high-tech devices," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Arizona House Panel To Debate Tax Credit For Concealed Carry Permit
KJZZ
The National Conference of State Legislatures says this is the first they've heard of a state offering a tax credit for gun permits.
  
House, NHTSA mulling seat belts on buses
Beckley Register-Herald
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas are the only states that have some type of seat belt law for school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislators’ website. The NHTSA has done research about seat belts on school buses.
  
Legislative update
Hazard Herald
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow automatic restoration of felon voting rights, according to the National Conference of State 
Legislatures.

Feb. 8

Science plus state bill could settle debate over teaching cursive
The Seattle Times
Currently, 15 states require cursive to be taught in their schools through statutes, administrative codes or language-arts standards. Washington is not one of those states, according to research conducted by the Washington State library, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Education Commission of the States
  
House panel to debate tax credit for concealed carry permit
Washington Times
The National Conference of State Legislatures says this is the first they’ve heard of a state offering a tax credit for gun permits.
  
Texas towns repealing sex offender residency restrictions law
The Guardian
Last year, Montana lawmakers made it a felony for high-risk offenders to live or work in some areas, and Oklahoma added playgrounds and parks maintained by a homeowners association to the list of places prohibiting offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
How dark money stays dark: The Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson ...
Salon
This year, 38 states are considering bills relating to disclosure, according to a database compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some have already adopted rules. 
  
New Mexico Lawmakers Closer to Complying with REAL ID Act
Government Technology
The REAL ID Act doesn’t require states to collect people’s fingerprints, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation across the country.
  
Education series: School choice
Newfalconherald
Some states participate in a voucher program: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislature website.
  
House passes bill to let Kentuckians determine voting rights for most ...
The Lane Report
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow automatic restoration of felon voting rights, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Georgia Supreme Court Denies In-State Tuition To Undocumented ...
Opposing Views
Georgia is not alone in its denial of in-state tuition rates to unauthorized immigrants; Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, and South Carolina all have the same policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL).
  
Alaska Legislature's overall travel spending down 25 percent
Alaska Dispatch News
The Ireland trip was in his role as an executive member of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan group based in Colorado.
  
Legislative Briefs: Felon voting rights bill advances; Senate passes ...
KyForward.com
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow automatic restoration of felon voting rights, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
School voucher bill headed to state House vote
Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee would become the 14th state, plus the District of Columbia, with a traditional voucher program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NCSL includes Arkansas, which approved vouchers in 2015, but does not count Colorado, where a local voucher program was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court and is under appeal.
  
Undocumented Students and Allies Protest Segregation at UGA ...
GoodCall News
In addition to the Board of Regents policies, Georgia is one of three states with “legislation that specifically prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition rates. Alabama and South Carolina go one step further and prohibit undocumented students from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Senate president praises Koch group: “AFP is a partner of ours”
The Colorado Independent
But the state hasn’t had the revenue surplus required for a TABOR refund since 1999, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

More than 20 Texas town ease sex offender residency restrictions
OCRegister
Last year, Montana lawmakers made it a felony for high-risk offenders to live or work in some areas, and Oklahoma added playgrounds and parks maintained by a homeowners association to the list of places prohibiting offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
State lawmakers kill vaccine bill following heated arguments
Lawyer Herald
And that 20 states allow exemptions for personal or moral beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Law firms, others strengthen their lobbying corps
Crain's Detroit Business
At least 33 states have some version of a revolving door law. Some prevent lawmakers, other elected officials or state department heads from lobbying for a period of a year or two after leaving government, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Volusia County among top 10 Florida counties with concealed weapons licenses
Daytona Beach News-Journal
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the president's proposals to curb gun violence focus on new background check requirements and greater education and enforcement efforts of existing laws at the state level.
 
Texas towns ease restrictions on where sex offenders can live
Vindy.com
Last year, Montana lawmakers made it a felony for high-risk offenders to live or work in some areas, and Oklahoma added playgrounds and parks maintained by a homeowners associated to the list of places prohibiting offenders, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 5

Aviation Lawyers Doubt State Laws Restricting Drones
Bloomberg BNA
Amanda Essex, a transportation analyst for NCSL, said 2015 was an active year for state legislation regulating drones. In total, 45 states considered 168 bills related to drones. Twenty-two states enacted 26 statutes and another five states passed resolutions addressing the use of such aircraft.
  
Hawaii Lawmakers Kill Vaccine Bill After Heated Debate
ABC News
Almost all states grant religious exemptions for people who have religious beliefs against vaccinations, while 20 states allow exemptions for personal or moral beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Howard County Council members propose 'citizen funded campaign system'
The Baltimore Sun
The price tag of publicly funded campaigns is a source of concern, said Wendy Underhill, a program manager for elections policy with the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan non-governmental organization that works with state legislatures. "Proponents will suggest that having funds makes it more possible for competitive races to be run. It is tricky to keep up with the costs of campaigning," said Underhill. "The impact of [matching funds] is sometimes in the eye of the beholder."
  
Attorney for man shot by deputy confident award will be paid
Chicago Tribune
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida and at least 32 other states cap the amount of money that can be awarded without a government-approved waiver and at least 29 states prohibit the awarding of punitive damages.
  
White House aims to help young people land their first jobs
Politico Morning Education
Rhode Island and D.C. now require the vaccine for school admission for seventh graders. And at least seven states, including Hawaii and New York, have proposed HPV-related legislation for the 2015-16 sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Land Of The Free, Home Of Your Face: The Battle For The Ballot Selfie
MTV 
According to Ethan Wilson at the National Conference of State Legislatures, North Carolina does prohibit photographing completed ballots — although not ballot selfies specifically, so Andy’s time as a selfie activist might not be done.
 
Advocates backing revamped New Mexico REAL ID bill
SFGate
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, states are required to use a face biometric standard that allows for facial recognition and authentication under the federal REAL ID Act. However, fingerprints and retinal scans are not required. At least two states — Utah and Delaware — require fingerprints from immigrants in the country illegally who want driving privilege cards. The information is submitted to state and federal databases for criminal background checks.
  
With the 2016 election season underway, Arizona Republicans passed a measure Thursday that would block voter-outreach groups from collecting and dropping off early ballots
The Republic
At least 14 states restrict who can return a ballot and how ballots many they can collect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A person may collect as many as 10 ballots in states such as Colorado while Arizona and Texas have no limits on how many ballots a person can collect and return.
  
Proposed drone limits in Colorado falter one more time
castlerocknewspress.net
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 26 states have some limits on drones. Arkansas bans drone voyeurism. California has limits aimed at banning paparazzi from private land. New Hampshire bans drone use for hunting, fishing or trapping. 

Hawaii in hurry to set medical pot rules; legalization bills in mix too
The Cannabist
Twenty-three states, Guam and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Four states and the District of Columbia allow small amounts of recreational marijuana, while 20 states have decriminalized it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  
Lawmakers near compromise on license bill
Santa Fe New Mexican
The Real ID Act doesn’t require states to collect people’s fingerprints, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation across the country.
  
Our Take: Progress always wins
The All State
The first time same sex marriage became a public national discussion was 1993, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled “laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated state constitutional equal protection rights unless the state could show a ‘compelling reason’ for such discrimination.”
  
House committee OKs Steinborn webcasting bill
Las Cruces Sun-News
"More than half the states ... archive and make available on the web floor proceedings, and about half archive some or all committee proceedings (for varying lengths of time)," notes the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The Conservative Playbook for Keeping 'Dark Money' Dark
ProPublica
This year, 38 states are considering bills relating to disclosure, according to a database compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some have already adopted rules.
 
Representative continues to lead young elected officials
Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier
The average age of lawmakers in Maine is 57, with 14 percent of the Legislature made up of millennials, according to a new survey by Stateline and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Millennials are in an age bracket that recently became the largest living generation in the country. 

House to vote on right-to-work
The Daily Athenaeum
Deskins used the National Conference of State Legislature’s information, which claims Texas adopted its right-to-work law in 1993, while the EPI says the law was originally adopted in 1947 and was only updated in the 1990s.

Feb. 4

Certificate of Public Need pits hospitals against independent physician groups
The Virginian-Pilot
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New York was the first state to craft a COPN in 1964. That number grew to 36 states by 1978, fueled by a federal mandate for a systems to review major capital programs and expensive new technology. 

Compromise on license bill, but sticking point: Fingerprints
Las Cruces Sun-News
The Real ID Act doesn't require states to collect people's fingerprints, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation across the country.
  
Editorial: Move toward cutting size of Legislature a welcome one
Reading Eagle
At 253 members, Pennsylvania's Legislature is the nation's second-largest and among the most expensive, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. It's one of just a few full-time legislatures in the nation.
  
The budget crisis: A knack for numbers
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
She immediately became active in the National Conference of State Legislators, serving on the group’s state and local tax task force, and quickly rose through the ranks. Today, she serves on the NCSL’s executive committee, which is the governing body of the conference.

Measures to ban 'sanctuary cities' on the agenda in a dozen states
Latino FOX News
At least a dozen states now considering similar legislation include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, said Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Assembly debate heats up over raw milk
The Baltimore Sun
Throughout the country, states have made different choices when it comes to raw milk. In 31 states, people can buy it at a farmers market or store, or through a cow share program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; the other 19 states prohibit all sales.
 
New Report Examines State Transportation P3 Laws
The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships 
A report that categorizes and analyzes all laws that permit and affect transportation public-private partnerships adopted by 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico has been published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

States take aim at high cost of specialty drugs
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Dozens of bills have been proposed to address the high cost of specialty drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Job Hunting? Why You Need A Strong Digital Footprint
ValueWalk
State lawmakers began considering legislation in 2012 preventing employers from requesting access to personal Internet accounts so that individuals might get or keep a job, and nine states passed such legislation in 2015, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Washington lawmaker aims for bipartisan minimum wage bill
Capital Press
Six states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wages than Washington, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hawaii lawmakers propose dozens of marijuana laws
Hawaii Tribune Herald
Twenty-three states, Guam and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Four states and the District of Columbia allow small amounts of recreational marijuana, while 20 states decriminalized it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Feb. 3

Kansas among several states looking to ban sanctuary cities
Washington Times
At least a dozen states now considering similar legislation include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, said Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina was one of the first states to sign prohibitions on sanctuary policies into law last year after Steinle’s death, though Missouri had passed a law discouraging them in 2008 by threatening to block state funding from cities that refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

Debate heats up over raw milk
CapitalGazette.com
Throughout the country, states have made different choices when it comes to raw milk. In 31 states, people can buy it at a farmers market or store, or through a cow share program, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures; the other 19 states prohibit all sales.
  
Editorial: Lawmakers should pay for own health insurance
DesMoinesRegister.com
If lawmakers want to sign up for a state health insurance plan, fine. But they should pay the entire cost of their coverage. Several other states make coverage optional at the legislator’s expense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. South Dakota and Wyoming do not even offer health insurance to lawmakers. In Iowa, taxpayers foot the bill.
  
20 years after Sara Schewe killed in bus crash, her parents, UMass researchers create life-saving seatbelts
MassLive.com
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have passed some variation of a seat belt law for school buses but funding has not been appropriated in some states.
 
Hawaii lawmakers propose dozens of marijuana laws
seattlepi.com
Twenty-three states, Guam and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Four states and the District of Columbia allow small amounts of recreational marijuana, while 20 states have decriminalized it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Washington lawmakers consider bill to outlaw abortion based on ...
Q13 FOX
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least four other states, in addition to Washington, have introduced similar measures this year:  Indiana, Oregon, West Virginia and Missouri.
 
Hawaii bill would ban police drone use without a warrant
Police News
In 2015, 45 states considered bills and 20 passed laws on topics ranging from drone use in farming to addressing paparazzi, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Over a dozen states have passed laws addressing how police use drones.

Feb. 2

Dreamers Can't Sue For In-State Tuition In Georgia, State Supreme Court Rules
Huffington Post
(NCSL Data Cited) According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Georgia is one of the six states that denies in-state tuition to Dreamers.
 
Hawaii bill would ban police drone use without a warrant
San Francisco Chronicle
In 2015, 45 states considered bills and 20 passed laws on topics ranging from drone use in farming to addressing paparazzi, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Over a dozen states have passed laws addressing how police use drones.
 
Phoenix mayor opposes bill outlawing early ballot collection
San Francisco Chronicle
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least four other states, in addition to Washington, have introduced similar measures this year
 
Voter ID trial ends; decision is now up to federal judge
Winston-Salem Journal
North Carolina is among at least 33 states in the country that have some kind of photo ID requirement, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2013, state Republican legislators passed what was considered then a strict photo ID requirement as part of a sweeping election law.
 
Homeless Youth More Likely to Visit Drop-In Center Than Shelter
Philly.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures has more about homeless youth. 

State's low-key educational effort on new voter ID requirement irks critics
La Crosse Tribune
Wendy Underhill, an elections expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said Kansas ran billboards with the slogan: “Got Voter ID?”
  
Kansas Measure Would Allow Same-Day Voter Registration
KMUW
Same-day registration is allowed in 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under current Kansas law, voters have to be registered at least 21 days before an election.
 
State Senate bill seeks to ban sex-selective abortions
HeraldNet
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least four other states, in addition to Washington, have introduced similar measures this year: Indiana, Oregon, West Virginia and Missouri.

Battle for some Iowa bills highlight statehouse limitations
Newton Daily News
South Dakota was the first state to adopt the initiative process in 1898, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Mississippi was the last in 1992.

How your kid could become a victim of identity theft
MarketWatch
Get a credit freeze. Only 23 states have laws allowing parents and legal guardians to put a security freeze on a minor’s credit report, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

Raising some highway speed limits on table at state level
Meadville Tribune
Since then 38 states have set limits of 70 mph or higher on some roads, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Washington state is among a handful of states this year where lawmakers are seeking to ban abortions sought because of the gender of a fetus
The Republic
Seven states currently ban sex-selective abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy group. According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least four other states, in addition to Washington, have introduced similar measures this year: Indiana, Oregon, West Virginia and Missouri.

Feb. 1

Cyberthieves Have a New Target: Children
Wall Street Journal
Only 23 states have laws allowing parents and legal guardians to put a security freeze on a minor’s credit report, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. This blocks opening a line of credit using the child’s identity. In states without such laws, Equifax will let parents and guardians initiate a report and then freeze it. But TransUnion and Experian will freeze only if there is already an existing report for the child.
 
Self-driving cars would need a driver under California rules
Chicago Daily Herald
Six states, including Nevada and Michigan, and Washington, D.C., already have enacted legislation advancing the development of the cars, according to the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. The Golden State is the pacesetter.
 
Kansas measure would allow same-day voter registration
Washington Times
Same-day registration is allowed in 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Under current Kansas law, voters have to be registered at least 21 days before an election.

Hillary pal profits on inversions
Politico
“The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) led the trend in 2011 by resolving to support states’ efforts to restore property and infrastructure during declared disasters and adopting model statutory language on the issue. Nearly half of all states have passed legislation similar or identical to the NCSL’s model language since then, and the number has swollen to 22 total states currently.
 
Free college programs could be around the corner
USA TODAY College
At least 15 to 20 additional states will consider a bill on the topic this year, predicted Dustin Weeden, a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Battle for some Iowa bills highlight statehouse limitations
DesMoinesRegister.com
Citizen-led efforts for such initiatives have grown over the last few decades, according to a 2002 National Conference of State Legislatures report. There were more than 180 statewide votes on initiatives in the 1970s. That more than doubled in the 1990s.
 
California Voters Will Have Their Say on Drug Prices
MedPage Today
Dozens of bills have been proposed to address the high cost of specialty drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What Kansas could do about the heroin epidemic
Wichita Eagle
Kansas is one of six states that do not allow doctors to prescribe an overdose-reversing drug to addicts and their families and friends, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Kentucky, a push for engineers over French lit scholars
Lexington Herald Leader
Thirty-two states have some form of performance-based education funding, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some of them only apply the model to a portion of state funding. Arkansas, for example, allocates 25 percent of its funding this way.
 
PolitiFact: Texas schools must have voter registrars
MyStatesman.com
And, we learned, the law is unusual. Nationally, only North Carolina has a Texas-like statute, Michael Dolan of the National Conference of State Legislatures told us.

Cultivating hemp for fiber, food getting close to legal
Bangor Daily News
At least 27 states have passed legislation related to hemp, in an effort to allow commercial production, research or cultivation that would be contingent upon federal reform, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
 
Online voter registration will bolster Ohio's goals
Youngstown Vindicator
Further, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that in the 29 states where online registration operated last year, “no fraud or security breaches are known to date.